I am a huge history buff. When I learned Old Fort Harrod, located in Harrodsburg, Kentucky was having their annual Settlement and Raid on Father’s Day weekend, I knew I had to attend. This weekend long event brings skilled reenactors and Native Americans from around the country to participate.
The fort has a colorful history. In 1774, James Harrod brought a group of men into the area and established a camp. They briefly left the area and returned in March, 1775 with women, children and supplies to establish a permanent settlement. Fort Harrod soon became a bustling fort. Built on sacred Native American hunting grounds, the Native Americans resented the intrusion and planned a month long siege of the fort. The fort was saved from starvation by the help of Simon Kenton, who sneaked out of the fort at night to hunt for food. He was known to travel as far as twelve miles away to keep his shots muffled so the Native Americans did not know he had left the fort.
We arrived at Old Fort Harrod just as the fort opened and were greeted by settlers cooking breakfast around a campfire inside the fort. After stopping by to feed the sheep, we walked to the outdoor church service being held under a tree near the fort. We were greeted by the Parson and his indentured servant, who gave us our bulletin for the service.
During the day, we were able to tour the buildings and speak to reenactors and historians who demonstrated different skills like soap making, doll making and blacksmith skills. My favorite was a presentation by the reenactor who played Simon Kenton, who explained the importance of women on the frontier and told stories of their bravery and exploits. The Native Americans were more afraid of a woman holding an ax than of the men who had settled in the colony!
After visiting the Native American village in front of the fort for a drum ceremony featuring Native American chants, it was time for the highlight of the day; the siege and raid, which felt like stepping back into the past as the Native Americans besieged the fort.
I highly recommend the Settlement and Raid as it is a great way to sneak in some history for the kids while they think they are having a good time. On an interesting side note, James Harrod , after establishing the fort, disappeared one day in 1792 and was never seen again.
Need a place to stay while in Harrodsburg? The Baymont Inn and Suites features a free continental breakfast, free wi-fi and some rooms are available as suites with hot tubs. If you prefer a bed and breakfast, the Beaumont Inn is a must visit. Formerly a girl’s school and Daughter’s college, there are three buildings, including a beautiful mansion, and two restaurants on the premises.
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Want to know more about Harrodsburg? Check out their website at www.HarrodsburgKY.com.