Thursday, September 21, 2006

Good News Bad News

First the Bad News, Nick and Rachel had to go back to school so Cathy and I don’t have anybody to play with.
The Good News, we’re back on the road heading south for the winter, but we’re heading there very slowly.

Our first stop was in Wapakoneta, Ohio. A nice Coast to Coast resort with an indoor pool, hot tub and sauna, this helped heal a lot of sore muscle from the summer activities with the kids.

While cruising the back roads of the area we came across the little town of Zanesfield, this was the hometown of Dr. Sloan, you may have seen bottles of his elixir. It started out as a horse medicine but it work so well he took it on the road (the late 1800’s) advertising it for humans and became a millionaire selling his snake oil.

Another road took us to the site of the War of 1812 fort, Fort Amanda. This fort was built after the fall of Detroit to the British and served as the main supply depot for the American forces during the war. There is a nice monument and historical marker there as well as the fort’s cemetery where 75 soldiers from the fort are buried.

We cut across Ohio to the southeast corner and made camp there for a week. We got there just in time for the Mothman Festival in Point Pleasant, W Virginia. If you remember the movie from a few years ago the Mothman is a giant Moth/man with big red glowing eyes that flies around chasing people. This is the area were it was sighted many times, they have a three day festival with people coming from all over the world, many people who have sighted or came into contact with the Mothman attend and give talks and sign autographs. Thank goodness we got here a few days early and were able to explore the town without the crowd.

Our first stop was at Tu-Endie-Wie State Park (Wyandotte for “the point between two waters”); it’s located right at the confluence of the Kanawha & Ohio Rivers.
The historical importance of this location is this is where the Battle of Point Pleasant took place on October 10, 1774, considered by many to be the first battle of the American Revolution; it pitted the Virginia militia led by Colonel Andrew Lewis against the British allied Indians, Shawnee, led by Chief Cornstalk. By the end of the day the Virginia militia was victorious but there were close to three hundred dead and hundreds more wounded.

This is a small park but it houses a 90 foot Obelisk honoring the militiamen who died in the battle, monuments to Chief Cornstalk and “Mad” Anne Bailey Taylor (more of her later) and the Mansion House (1796) which is now a museum housing many artifacts from the area including a hand written, signed letter from Danl Boone.

Anne Bailey, after her husband was killed in the battle, took to dressing in men’s clothing and became a great scout for the military. She would deliver messages and supplies through enemy Indian lines where no man would dare venture; she lived to be over 100 and is buried at this site.

There is another marker there that gives the history of Colonel Andrew Lewis, who led the militia to victory, it notes that his 5th Great Grandson, Major Edward White of Gemini 4, was the first American to walk in Outer Space. It made me think that here you are the First American to walk in Outer Space and you’re still not the most famous person in your family.

From the park we crossed the street and went to the Point Pleasant River Boat Museum. They have exhibits on the history of riverboats and river life in the area, including an old steamboat pilothouse. Upstairs they have a video on the “Silver Bridge Collapse” this was a bridge that crossed the Ohio River at 6th street which during rush hour traffic one day in December 1976 suddenly collapsed into the river killing over 50 people.

This is also the area of Morgan’s Raid during the Civil War and there are markers everywhere related to that event. We missed the five day re-enactment of the raid by two days, the next one is scheduled for 2013; we’ll try to make that one.

Some of the Revolutionary War Heros Buried at Mound Cemetery in Marietta, Ohio and a typical Ohio River Town.