Rifle blasts from the past

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By Scotty McDaniel

Sometimes it only takes a few steps forward to walk back in time.


If you were at Red Orchard Park this past weekend, you walked past this sign, “Welcome to the 18th century.” You saw the tents, the storied artifacts and outfits. You saw Indians and horses. You saw the Long Run Massacre reenactment.

“I was really delighted. Everything made off without a hitch,” said Kathy Cummings, president of The Painted Stone Settlers, which put on the 3-day reenactment.

The Painted Stone Settlers returned to the battlefield at Red Orchard Park for their 11th annual reenactment of the 1781 Long Run Massacre. 

About 800 students from Shelby and surrounding counties walked into the past Friday to learn about 18th century life for settlers, including blacksmithing, weaving and other trades.

Food, artifacts, and toys were available for purchase from reenactors eager to share, and participate in, some early Kentucky history.

“The weather cooperated so well this year. They like it when they’re in a spot where it really feels like they’ve turned back the clock, and that’s exactly what we had at Red Orchard,” she said.

Retired Marine Brig. Gen. Ronald R. Van Stockum was the special guest Saturday, speaking before a large crowd about Squire Boone and setting the stage for the Long Run Massacre depiction that was acted out on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

With spectators filling the bleachers just beside the battleground, the scenes depicted the group of early settlers who faced an onslaught from Miami Indians.

Smoke filled the air from blasting barrels and a burning wagon, as Indians stormed the field with firearms and blunt weapons, killing some and taking others as prisoners.

Following the battle, a 10-minute break was offered to spectators, and 18th century cannons were fired in a demonstration.

To conclude the festivities a prisoner exchange was shown, as survivors from the massacre tried to trade merchandise such as jars and guns for their family members who were held captive.

With the battlefield cleaned and the camp moved, Cummings said she is looking forward to next year.

“The goal now is to get more people from Shelby County in there,” she said.