This morning I headed out to River Preserve County Park, southeast of Goshen, for the Gathering at Five Medals, a reenactment of the history of the Midwest from the 1660s to 1828. After days of cold and copious rain, the sun came out, the ground dried out, and the temps hovered around 60 degrees. So it was a very pleasant day, and the setting was lovely. Not so lovely, the encampment was pretty spread out, which was very nice in appearance but really hard on my knees. So I was one tired puppy by the time I hoofed it back to my car, but very happy that I went.
According to the brochure about the event, the Elkhart River Potawatomi first settled in the area during the 1760s. Five Medals Town, named after Chief Five Medals, was located near the reenactment site. The town was active in the fur trade and was frequently visited by European and American fur traders. During the War of 1812, young warriors from the town allied with Tecumseh and the British. Soldiers from Ohio and Kentucky destroyed the town twice during the conflict.
Accounts from travelers, military officers, and Indian agents describe twenty homes, surrounded by sixty to seventy acres of corn, situated along an extensive prairie. As white settlers pushed west, displaced Miami and Kickapoo from Ohio often settled briefly in the town before moving on. In 1828, as Americans settled the area, the town was abandoned and its residents moved west and merged with a different tribal group.
The event included a variety of sutlers, period craft demonstrations, artillery and weapons demonstrations, fur trade reenactment, River Rogues, and a Woodland Indian village and Voyageurs encampment. I enjoyed walking around—until my knees got too sore—and talking with the reenactors about the crafts they were doing and the characters they portrayed. I picked up a wonderful little book titled Some Thoughts on Scouts and Spies by Gerry Barker that promises to be a gold mine of information. And I also got several packets of wild rice mixtures and one of dried veggies that will be delicious as side dishes with our meals. And I found a sweet, inexpensive little embroidered bag to go with my petticoat.
In the next few posts I’m going to share some of the interesting photos I took. First up are a couple of young women who immediately attracted me, as they were portraying couriers. Both were garbed as me, and we had a very interesting discussion about the role of women during the American Revolution as spies, couriers, and even soldiers. Imagine that! So I gave the young woman on the black horse my card and asked her to email me so we could continue the discussion and I could ask her questions. What a fortuitous meeting!
In my next post, I’ll share more pix and interesting tidbits of info that I gleaned. And of course, I should have a cover or two to share before too long! But for now, Jay has gotten home from Alabama (after stopping to have lunch with my daughters in Noblesville). We’re heading into Bristol to check out the little pizza parlor—now that we’re about to head back down south!—and then walk down to the Stone Soup Emporium. We’ve only been here since mid March, and there are still a lot of places we haven’t taken the time to visit, so we’d better get busy!
John Adams - the HBO series
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