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Living History at its Finest

Don't Miss
The Raid at Martin's Station, May 9 to 11, 2014

Cannon Fire at Wilderness Road
Cannon Fire at Wilderness Road

The smell of gunpowder is distinct as the crack of a musket pierces the spring air during the Raid at Martin’s Station at Wilderness Road State Park. This year’s 14th annual event takes place Friday, May 9 through Sunday, May 11, 2014 and is highlighted by frontier battles between the settlers of Martin’s Station and the native Cherokee warriors. Admission is just $5 per adult and $1 per child, ages 6-14 years.

Frontier Life
Frontier Life

Each year thousands descend upon Wilderness Road State Park to watch as the embers of discontent burst into flame with more than 400 re-enactors, merchants, artists and artisans bringing history to life at the "Raid at Martin's Station."  But, the Raid can better be described as a living history event, with numerous demonstrations that you would have seen if you would have been traveling along the Wilderness Road with Daniel Boone.

Cherokee Culture Program
Cherokee Culture Program

Demonstrations such as hide tanning, blacksmithing, gunsmithing, 18th century gardening, open hearth cooking, militia drills, Cherokee native camps, candle-making, weaving, spinning and more.

The always popular frontier battles are slated for 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, and at 8:30 p.m. that evening when the musket fire and cannon blasts light up the night.  The battles represent frontier skirmishes that happened all along the Powell’s Valley in the late 1700’s as settlers traveled the Wilderness Road.

Encampment with a mountain view
Encampment with a mountain view

The Visitor Center will be hosting world-renowned frontier artists, such as Andrew Knez, Jr. and noted authors, such as John Curry. Knez’s original oil painting, Proofs of our Courage, features Martin’s Station and has sold across the country.

Knez, who has been marketing his "Frontier Art" full time since the spring of 2000, goes about his hobby in a unique way. He tells a story through his paintings.  The stories that accompany his paintings are material from extensive research into period journals, diaries and archival records.

It is not uncommon for the research into a particular portrayal of an event to take much longer for Knez than the actual painting. The text that accompanies all giclées and prints describes the story or event portrayed, so that any viewer might have a more in-depth understanding of the subject of the painting.

The Raid
The Raid

The special fishing program, entitled Fishing as Practiced by Anglers and Coarse Fisherman During the Colonial Era, will be presented by noted historian Paul Waggoner Jones, owner of Historic Angling Enterprises. According to Jones, the angling program offers a look back at the history of fishing, especially as it was practiced in our region by early explorers and settlers at places such as Martin’s Station. He will discuss both angling (fly fishing and use of other artificial lures) and coarse fishing (use of bait) from ancient times to the early 1800's.

Those in attendance will have the opportunity to examine original fish hooks dating from 1800 B.C. to the mid-to-late 1800's, early fishing reels, rods, reproductions of fly patterns and early lures from about 200 A.D. to 1750, and many other early fishing implements.

During the presentation, there will be hands-on training in the use of ancient and early fishing knots, how fish hooks were made by early fishermen, and attendees will, if interested, actually make some horse hair angling (fly line), and a fly pattern described by the naturalist William Bartram as being used by those on the early Southern frontier.

Activities begin on Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and continue on Saturday, 10 a.mm to 5 p.m., with a special evening frontier battle beginning at 8:30 p.m. Sunday activities will last from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. 

Night Battle
Night Battle

Make it a weekend with a reservation for cabins or camping at one of our Virginia State Parks southwest Virginia parks like Natural Tunnel, Hungry Mother or Grayson Highlands state park. 


Published: 05/05/2014


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