To escape the heat and refresh ourselves with cool, green woodlands, my husband and I drove back into the Alleghenies this past Sunday. One stop, a secluded little valley called Sweedlin in West Virginia. Not only is the area rich in beauty but also in history. We came upon an old Methodist church, abandoned now, but apparently in use for many years. During the Civil War, the congregation split over divided loyalties and formed a second church. This original building eventually fell into disuse. It’s very quaint tucked back among the trees near a pond.
Not far from the church is the site of Fort Seybert where a bloody attack on the settlers sheltering in the fort took place during the French and Indian War. For a historical account of the massacre and events leading up to it click here. The Indians don’t come off looking very good, but the account was written back before anyone gave their side of the matter a thought. And it was a brutal affair.
Also, I discovered a facebook group dedicated to Fort Seybert that says: “Remembering the more then forty white men women and children that were murdered captured and kidnapped by the Shawnee Indian‘s at Fort Seybert and Fort Upper Track on Apirl 27th and 28th 1758. A Story Long Forgotten.”~
Not forgotten by me. I certainly keep the colonial frontier in mind with all my research and the novels I’ve written and am writing set in that dramatic time period. But I’m rather unique in this regard.
Every September during the Treasure Mountain Festival the reenactment of the burning of Fort Seybert is a key event. Quite a production. I should go again. Colonial Reenactors turn out in droves and it’s kind of a wild time. If you like that sort of thing. Which I do, but it’s rather smoky when they torch a small reproduction of the fort during the play. With all due respect to those who lost their lives, of course.
The reenactment and tiny cemetery gives you an awesome sense of history, and a sobering one, as we remember that tragic event. What took place there is part of the inspiration behind my Native American historical romance novel Through the Fire. The fort in the novel is based on a compilation of forts from that era including Seybert.