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Earl Ray Tomblin, Governor
Frank Jezioro, Director

News Release: September 3, 2013

Facebook: WV Commerce - State Parks

Hoy Murphy, Public Information Officer (304) 957-9365 hoy.r.murphy@wv.gov


Matt Yeager, Supt. Beech Fork State Park, 304-528-5794, beechforksp@wv.gov

Legacy of Mary Ingles Event at Beech Fork State Park September 12-15, 2013

            BARBOURSVILLE, W.Va. - The Legacy of Mary Ingles, in its 25th year, is an 18th century living history weekend September 12-15 at Beech Fork State Park. Visitors and guests are introduced to the lifestyle of our pioneering ancestors through demonstrations and the portrayal of life in 1755 that Mary Ingles lived and encountered. The weekend is presented by the Mary Ingles Trails Association, a volunteer organization.

            The four-day event features interpreters and tradesmen and women staged in primitive encampment settings. The interpreters engage in conversation with event attendees throughout the course of the days and with on-going action and work life typical of the 18th century. Presentations are not lecture-style and attendee participation is encouraged. The site is accessible.

            Re-enactors focus on the importance of trade, animal care, spinning and weaving, music, salt making, edible native plants, and medicinal native plants as early healthcare, finger weaving, blacksmithing, candle making, lye soap making, hunting skills, tomahawk throwing, plant dyes, toys and games, wood working, hide tanning, Indian pictographs, women’s and men’s roles, and frontier cooking and foods. Demonstrations are based on the availability of individual interpreters.

            “It’s been 258 years since Mary Ingles made her trek through the Kanawha Valley and New River area, and her remarkable story is woven throughout each day of the primitive encampment as well as our current rural Appalachian culture,” said Beech Fork State Park Supt. Matt Yeager.  

            The Legacy of Mary Ingles is open to the public without charge at Beech Fork State Park near Barboursville and Huntington. Learn more about Beech Fork State Park at www.beechforksp.com or call 304-528-5794.

History Outdoors for School Groups September 12 and 13

            Thursday, September 12 and Friday, September 13, Beech Fork State Park invites school and public school groups to learn more about Mary Ingles and the lifestyle of that era. Each group of children will see at least five different demonstrations, and some of these will have information sheets available for the teachers on where to find the documentation and skills being observed.  Please allow at least three hours in your day to tour the camp and watch the demonstrators.

            A lunch break occurs from 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. During this break, a raid on the settlement may occur as an additional history learning element.  School groups must contact Scott Fairchild at 304-382-1399 to learn how to register and schedule class or group to attend.

Play Cricket September 12 and 13

            What sports did Americans play during the time Mary Ingles lived, a time when there was no football, basketball or even baseball? Cricket! "Play Ball" 18th Century Style is scheduled from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday and is open to the public. One of the most popular sports with Americans was the venerable old English game of cricket, which was played in the United States as early as 1709. Students and the public have an opportunity to learn about and play cricket. The 18th Century cricket games are presented by Tom Melville, an American cricket player and historian.

            Saturday evening, September 14, features period English County Dances from 6 – 9 p.m.  An 18th century wedding, a renewal of vows at 6 p.m., is followed with English country dances.

Living History Encampment September 14 and 15

            Living History Encampment is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, September 14, and again on Sunday, September 15 from noon until 3 p.m. Sunday Church service is set for 10 a.m.

            A variety of 18th Century life skills will be presented throughout the day as part of encampment activities. These life skills may include animal use and care, child care, clothing, life as a captive, medicinal plants, native life, salt production, and tomahawk throwing. The presentations will be a mixture of first-person dialogue and hands-on demonstrations and games. Demonstrations are staggered through the day.

A Century Worth of Music September 14

            A Century Worth of Music, a special event feature is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, September 14, by Pete Kosky is open to the public without charge. Pete Kosky is a prolific songwriter with five CDs to his credit. He plays regularly at fairs and festivals around West Virginia, including Vandalia Gathering, the Folk Festival, Allegheny Echoes, and the Gathering at Sweet Creek. 

            Pete won fifth place in the first Mountain Stage New Song Competition for his song "Prettiest Little Girl In the County" from his CD, "West Virginia Every Time."  His CD "Songs of the Allegheny Frontier” has garnered attention from painters Robert Griffing and Penny French-Deal, for his ability to capture a bygone era in song, and such noted individuals as Larry Spisak, the fiddler for the Lewis & Clark Expedition reenactment.  He has performed on a CD promoting the history of the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike, and has appeared on the West Virginia Public Broadcasting productions "Music from the Mountains with Joe Dobbs" and "Kettle Bottom."  Kosky was honored to have his music played at the opening of the State Museum in 2009. He won the West Virginia Liar’s Contest in 2009 and 2012, and regularly places in the top five in the old-time banjo contest at the Vandalia Gathering. Pete teaches history at South Charleston High School.