POINT PLEASANT — On Thursday, preparations were under way to prepare Tu-Endie-Wei State Park for the annual Battle Days Festival.
Though many who are local to Point Pleasant have been to the park countless times, some know very little about “the point between two waters”, or, Tu-Endie-Wei, which is what the Wyandotte Indians called the land on which the park sits.
Resting on only four acres, the centerpiece of the park is an 84-foot granite obelisk that honors the Virginia militiamen who gave their lives during the Battle of Point Pleasant - “The Magazine” monument also honors this sacrifice. Smaller memorial tablets in the park are dedicated to Chief Cornstalk and “Mad” Anne Bailey, whose husband, Richard Trotter, was killed in the battle. Another marker rests on the spot where Pierre Joseph de Celoron de Blainville, a French explorer, buried a leaden plate in 1749, claiming the land for his country.
Then, of course, there is the Mansion House which was erected in 1796 by Walter Newman as a tavern. It’s the oldest hewn log house in the Kanawha Valley. Preserved as a museum, it features displays of antiques and heirlooms of the era, including a large square piano believed to be one of the first brought over the Alleghenies. Two bedrooms are furnished with authentic four-poster beds that are more than 150 years old.
Members of the Col. Charles Lewis Chapter. N.S. Daughters of the American Revolution volunteer as available and conduct chapter meetings at the Mansion House Museum. The museum is open May through October.
Of course, there would be no Tu-Endie-Wei State Park without the Battle of Point Pleasant which took place on Oct. 10, 1774 when Col. Lewis’ 1,100 Virginia militiamen defeated a like number of Native Americans led by the Shawnee Chieftain Cornstalk.
The Battle is considered a landmark in frontier history with some believing it to be the first battle of the American Revolution. This action greatly affected the power of the Native Americans in the Ohio Valley and is said to have quelled a general “Indian war” on the frontier. It also prevented an alliance between the British and Native Americans, one which some historians believe could very possibly have caused the Revolution to have a different outcome, as well as having altered the entire history of the United States.
For a more detailed history of the park, the Battle Days Committee is offering a free lantern tour of it starting at 7:30 p.m. tonight. Today is the start of Battle Days which wraps up on Sunday. Admission is free to events at the park.