Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘Dan Cutler’

Fort Henry Days Celebrated Oglebay Park, West Virginia

For Henry Days Encampment at Oglebay Park

Fort Henry Days Encampment at Oglebay Park

After driving the scenic, winding, mountain roads of Oglebay Park, the scene changed to one resembling a Revolutionary War Camp. We had arrived at Fort Henry Days celebrating life as it was on the frontier in the late 1700’s. Fort Henry was built as protection from the Indians during Dunmore’s War and also used during the Revolutionary War. Originally it was called Fort Fincastle in honor of Viscount Fincastle, Lord Dunmore, Royal Governor of Virginia. Later the name was changed to Fort Henry, to honor Patrick Henry, the Revolutionary Governor of Virginia.

Young settler makes a stem for his pipe.

Young settler makes a stem for his pipe.

A stroll through the grounds indicated there would be a variety of ideas to explore with people who were very knowledgeable regarding the war as well as life during that time. Everyone was camped in tents using only supplies and equpment that would have been available during the late 1700’s.  One family told of seeing deer grazing nearby and even having a red fox and her cub come into their tent.

Near the center of the encampment, benches had been placed to face a platform made of bales of straw covered with sheets of plywood. This was the spot for today’s presentations. Dan Cutler, dressed in Indian garb with a headdress made of antlers, portrayed Chief John Logan. This mild-mannered chief extended a wampum belt of friendship to the white man. His kindness shone through when he made a pair of beaded deerskin moccasins for a barefoot, little girl of the settlers.

Chief Logan displays a Christian peace offering.

Chief Logan displays a Christian peace offering.

Chief Logan told of the Indians’ struggles with the settlers at Yellow Creek after they had killed his brother and other female relatives.  Chief Logan, who by Indian custom had the right to retaliate for their murders, then raised a hatchet that had long been buried. His hatchet handle contained fourscore notches – one for each scalp taken in their subsequent attacks on settlers.

Later in the afternoon, Dan Cutler also portrayed Chief Cornstalk and told tales of the chief’s adventures at Fort Randolph on the Scioto River, where they floated quietly on rafts of driftwood to surprise the settlers. Having the standing of warrior was very important, but some felt it important for the young men to get an education. When the educated returned to their tribe, they were considered “good for nothing” …no longer warriors.

Chief Cornstalk told of the Ohio Company promising the land to the Indians, but then supporting the British and pushing the Indians off their promised land. He vividly remembered the first surveyor of the Ohio Company, George Washington, who didn’t even know how to read and write…according to Chief Cornstalk..

Alan Fitzpatrick, author of Indian legends

Alan Fitzpatrick, author of Indian legends

The grounds at Oglebay Park were filled with battle re-enactors, people depicting life of the times, and vendors selling wares. Under the pavilion were located Sons of the American Revolution, Daughters of the American Revolution, Wheeling Area Historical Society, and authors selling their books. One of these authors was Alan Fitzpatrick, author of Wilderness War on the Ohio and In Their Own Words. His tales of life at that time are based on written records he has found. Anyone in that era who could read and write was very highly sought after with quill, ink, and tablet. There was also beautiful handmade Native American jewelry for sale…my Fort Henry Days’ remembrance – a thunderbird necklace!

Gallowglass musical entertainment

Gallowglass provides musical entertainment.

Member of the Wayward Companions plays a jawbone.

Member of the Wayward Companions plays a jawbon

Musical entertainment was provided by Gallowglass, a lively group playing and singing period music as well as old Irish tunes. There seemed to be a lot of drinking ballads in the mix.This group has been performing at Fort Henry Days for several years and their performance contained not only songs but humorous stories as well. Included in their performance were: Welcome Home, Nancy Whiskey, and several reels. A member of the Wayward Companions joined in on many of their songs by playing a bovine jawbone with a period bone toothbrush that he had brought from Gettysburg.

Dr. Jessica Fisher, dentist

Dr. Jessica Fisher, dentist

An interesting frontier dentist informed those gathered at her office about dental practices of that time.  Arsenic was one favorite remedy for a toothache. Their favorite mouthwash was a combination of mint or rosemary in orange water or rose water mixed with alcohol, of course. When someone died or was killed, their teeth were removed to replace those lost by the living. early concept of “tooth implants”?

Indian Village for Reenactment

Indian Village for Reenactment

The culmination of the day was a Battle Re-enactment, unlike any I had ever seen before. This recreation told a true story, which was narrated over a loudspeaker. This event occurred back in 1782 at Sandusky, Ohio where the frontiersmen were attacking an Indian village. The natives were doing their normal chores with children playing in the cornfields. An Indian warning call was the sign for everyone to run for cover. They even set the cornfield on fire! Many were captured but some fled to freedom.

Fort Henry Memorial Wall

Fort Henry Memorial Wall

Not much is left of the old Fort Henry, but locals are trying to keep alive the memories. There is a granite Fort Henry marker in the parking lot on the right hand side just past Capitol Theater. A list has been started, but not complete by any means, of those who were in Wheeling at the time of the American Revolution. All these names have been placed on a wall, which is being displayed throughout the Ohio Valley. Should your family name be there?

Fort Henry Days are held the first weekend of September annually. Celebration is held in Oglebay Park at Wheeling, WV. Once you get to the park, signs will direct you to the activities. If you know of any names that need to be added to the wall or wish to display the Fort Henry Wall, contact the Fort Henry Living History board by email at


Peaceful Chief John Logan Propelled to Revenge

Dressed in buckskin clothes, the appearance of Chief Logan transported the audience back to frontier times. Silver armbands, bracelets, a nose ring and earrings – one a cross- glittered in the sunlight as he took the stage at the Ohio Chautauqua during the 225th Anniversary of Marietta – The Crown Jewel of the Appalachians.   Tattoos also adorned his body with a tobacco leaf tattoo on his ear symbolizing “truthful hearing” while a red hawk on his head denoted his tribal connection.

John Logan began his life on the Susquehanna River and followed his father’s Jesuit teachings where John’s “sins were washed away”. Friendly with the white settlers, John was always a peacemaker for the Iroquois, who were usually called Mingos when settling in the Ohio Country, and John Logan is most often referred to as Chief of the Mingos. Perhaps his role as peacemaker gave him reason to learn eight different Indian dialects as well as English, French, Dutch and even Latin. However, Chief Logan could neither read nor write.

The Ohio Land Company kept expanding their boundaries to include more and more of the Indian lands. The Mingos ignored the marks of surveyors saying, “You can’t sell the wind in the sky or the water in the river.”

Along the Ohio River, settlers frequently met at the tavern for stories, nourishment and ale.  One evening, Logan’s camp along Yellow Creek, near present day Wellsville, Ohio, was invited by a nasty frontiersman, Jacob Greathouse, to a tavern across the Ohio River.  During the course of the evening, some of Logan’s family was shot and killed in an ugly massacre.  This changed Logan’s peaceful ways in a hurry.  In the words of Logan, “It made me want to raise my hatchet that had long been buried and color it with the blood of the English.” Sometime during this period, he walked away from the Christian teachings.

While he told the settlers of his anger, he also said the Indians were not all angry…just Logan, as they had killed his people.  Known as Logan’s Revenge, he vowed to take ten white man’s scalps for every Indian that had been murdered on the Ohio River that evening. Every time he took a scalp, he made a mark on his hatchet. According to Native American custom, he had a right to this retaliation.

Chief Logan refused to attend peace talks in 1774 at Camp Charlotte on the Scioto River, but issued his now famous speech, Logan’s Lament, under an elm tree. While the beautiful old elm no longer exists, the words of his speech can be found today engraved on his memorial at Logan Elm State Memorial near Circleville, Ohio. His speech concluded:

“Logan feels not fear. He would not turn on his heel to save his life for who is there left to mourn Logan? Not one.”

The remainder of his life was spent as a kind man who sold deer skins for a dollar each, so he could bury his sorrows in the taverns he visited.  In 1781, he was killed by his nephew, because John Logan was no longer considered an asset to his people. Today there is not a drop of Logan’s blood in any living creature.

Dan Cutler portrayed Chief Logan with ease as he has spent about a dozen years in that role in West Virginia as well as the Ohio Valley.  Frequently he also slips into the roles of The Cornstalk Warrior, Tecumseh and Simon Girty. Dan is currently active in a new outdoor drama, “Drums Along the Mohawk”, which will premier late this summer in New York.

2012 Ohio Chautauqua continues throughout the summer with week long performances and workshops in Gallipolis (July 17-21) and Warren (July 24-28). Hope you find time to join them and learn a little more about “When Ohio Was the Western Frontier”.

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