TO PRESS ROOM
Site Begins Master Planning
December 13, 2006
- Fort Dobbs State Historic Site will launch its master
planning process with a public forum on Tuesday, January
30th, from 3:30 - 5:30 p.m.. at Gardner Webb University
Statesville Branch. The purpose of the meeting is to receive
public comment regarding development and utilization of
the site. The public input will be used by the Strategic
Planning Committee during a yearlong master planning process
to chart the site's future. The forum is open to the public
and all interested parties are encouraged to attend.
Page, President and Senior Facilitator of Cool Spring Center,
will moderate the session. A graduate of Davidson College
and the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, Page brings
with him over 33 years in facilitating and community work
in the region.
Christmas on North Carolina's Colonial Frontier at Fort
December 5, 2006
- Thrill to night firings of muskets and swivel guns and
the warmth of bonfires from 6-8 pm, Sat., Dec. 9th and 12-4
PM Sun., Dec. 10. Experience a nighttime, mid-winter French
and Indian War encampment at the fort and join in the evening
revelry of songs and entertainment. Sunday's programming
will include a Divine Service at 12:00 PM with the reading
of the Articles of War, military activities and drill, and
musket and artillery firing.
Christmas for most of the inhabitants of Western North Carolina
in the 1750s would have passed by like any other day. To
strict Scotch-Irish Presbyterians, the holiday would be
accompanied only by the usual religious observance as it
was not mentioned in scripture. For the soldiers stationed
at Ft. Dobbs, it would probably have been a similar story.
Regardless of whether or not they celebrated Christmas,
the people who lived on North Carolina's colonial frontier
250 years ago would have all been concerned with keeping
warm, making sure they had enough food and maintaining security
programs will highlight how soldiers coped with the cold
in wartime on the frontier. In the winter of 1755-1756 the
fort had not yet been constructed and soldiers were forced
to live in tents or perhaps even brush shelters. Programming
explores how soldiers kept themselves alive and fulfilled
their duty guarding the frontier of North Carolina.
the evening of Dec. 9 , visitors will have a chance to experience
what a military camp at night was like once dark fell. Bonfires
will warm the air as they listen and can join with soldiers
singing popular songs of the mid-18th century, some that
bring to mind loss and loved ones and other humorous tunes
as well as patriotic ballads defying their French and Indian
enemies. The night will be illuminated with musket and swivel
gun firings. Seeing the trail of flame exiting the barrel
of weapons at night will give the visitor a new appreciation
for the firepower brought to bear on 18th century battlefields.
Dobbs Alliance Becomes Friends of Fort Dobbs at Membership
August 28, 2006
- The Ft. Dobbs Alliance was renamed Friends of Ft. Dobbs
by a unanimous vote during its third annual membership event
at Ft. Dobbs State Historic Site Tuesday, August 22. Approximately
90 members and guests attended the shrimp boil held under
the picnic shelter at the historic site.
to Membership Committee Chair Sandra Gordon of Cornelius,
the name change "more accurately reflects the purpose
of the organization and resulted from thoughtful discussion
among board members." The Friends of Ft. Dobbs serves
to support the vision of the Ft. Dobbs State Historic Site
"to educate all citizens of North Carolina and beyond
on the history of the fort and North Carolina's role in
the French and Indian War (1754-1763). In particular, the
Friends support the fort's education programming and interpretive
development including the reconstruction of the 1756 fortification
through memberships and private fundraising efforts.
also reported that the organization currently has 616 members,
exceeding the 2006 goal of 600. The business for the evening
included the presentation of board of trustee officers for
the 2006-2007 year. The new officers are Chandler Bryan,
chairman; David Pope, vice-chair and treasurer; and William
Pope, secretary. Members voted to renew the terms of Shelly
McElwee, Louise Hunter and Tom Alexander. Marsha Cornelius
of Mooresville was tapped to fill a board vacancy and received
a unanimous vote of approval
Dobbs Historic Site Manager Beth Hill reported on the past
year's accomplishments including outreach to 50,000 attendees
at events, festivals, exhibits, conferences and classroom
presentations. The accomplishments also included securing
funding for archaeology, an addition to permanent staff
and the reopening of the site for daily visitation.
Walter Edgar, professor at the University of South Carolina
and director of the Institute for Southern Studies, was
the evening's featured speaker.
Walter Edgar to Speak at 2nd Annual Shrimp Boil
August 16, 2006
- The Fort Dobbs Alliance proudly announces that southern
historian Dr. Walter Edgar will be the guest speaker at
the not-for-profit support group's 2nd Annual Shrimp Boil
and Membership Meeting. The event will held at 6:00 PM on
Tuesday, August 22 at Fort Dobbs.
A renowned historian and author,
Edgar has written and edited numerous books including South
Carolina: A History and Partisans and Redcoats: The
Southern Conflict that Turned the Tide of the American Revolution.
Edgar graduated from Davidson College
in 1965 with an A.B. in history. He received his M.A. (1967)
and Ph.D. (1969) from the University of South Carolina.
After receiving his Ph.D., he entered the United States
Army where he served a two year tour (including one year
as an advisor in Vietnam). In 1971 he was awarded a post-doctoral
fellowship by the National Historical Publications Commission
and assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens (a South Carolina
political leader during the Revolutionary War) at the University
of South Carolina. From 1971-1976 he served as editor of
the South Carolina House of Representatives Committee on
Historical Research. He joined South Carolina's faculty
in the Department of History in 1972, was promoted to associate
professor in 1976 and professor in 1982. In 1995 he was
named to the Claude Henry Neuffer Chair in Southern Studies.
He was named director of the Institute for Southern Studies,
an interdisciplinary program of the university's College
of Arts and Sciences, in 1980. During the 1986 academic
year, he was Visiting Professor at Middlebury College and
Historian-in-Residence at the Sheldon Museum, Middlebury.
Since 1997 he has also served as Director of Graduate Studies
for the University of South Carolina.
All members and prospective members of
the Alliance are welcome to attend.
of Soldiers' Preparations for French and Indian War
August 7, 2006
- See how 18th century North Carolina soldiers prepared
for military campaigns during the tumultuous years of the
French and Indian War (1754-1763) August 12-13 at Fort Dobbs.
From 10-4 on Saturday and 10-2 on Sunday,
visitors can thrill to colorful reenactments of provincial
soldiers drilling and firing with muskets and artillery,
marching, guarding, cooking military rations and living
in a mid-1700s military camp on what was once an isolated
military post located on North Carolina's western frontier.
Other living history programs scheduled for the weekend
include a Sunday morning worship service and period music.
The program is free and open to the public.
The garrison weekend program will help
prepare the fort's historic interpreters for participating
in the Ft. Loudon 18th Century Trade Faire, scheduled September
9-10 in Vonore, Tenn.
Ft. Loudoun was also a French and Indian War
fort which the colony of South Carolina built in 1756 to
protect the Cherokee from French attacks. Today, the two
forts are among only a handful of French and Indian War
forts in the U.S. and are collaborating in the 250th anniversary
commemoration of the French and Indian War through the year
Dobbs State Historic Site Reopens for Tours
June 30, 2006
RALEIGH - Significant community interest
spurred the N.C. Division of State Historic Sites to open
Ft. Dobbs State Historic Site in Statesville for tours beginning
Tuesday, July 11, 2006.
Historic interpreters will be available
to lead public tours at 10:00 am and 2:00 PM each Tuesday
through Friday. Ft. Dobbs is North Carolina's only French
and Indian War (1754-1763) state historic site.
Since 2003, Fort Dobbs has been under
redevelopment and open only for special events and by appointment.
Upon hiring a new historic interpreter for Ft. Dobbs, it
was determined that public interpretive programming could
be offered on a daily basis. The site will continue undergoing
development while plans for reconstructing the 18th century
fort are made.
Interpreter Introduced at Fort Dobbs
June 30, 2006
- Ft. Dobbs proudly introduces historic interpreter Matthew
Keagle of Charlotte. Originally from Vermont, Keagle has
worked in historical interpretation and programming for
the past five years at Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge,
Mass., Colonial Williamsburg and Historic Brattonsville
in McConnells, S.C. He is skilled in presenting such historic
trades as shoemaking, tailoring, farming, blacksmithing,
milling, pottery making, wigmaking and even apothecary,
a profession which in the 18th century, combined doctoring
and drug/remedy making and dispensing.
Keagle holds a bachelor's degree (magna
cum laude) from Cornell University in 18th century living
history and historical interpretation. Besides interpretation,
he has developed and planned public programs and reenactments.
For the past ten years, he has been involved with reenacting
such periods in American military history as the French
and Indian War, the American Revolution, the American Civil
War and the 1830's, when many small communities in the US
relied on local militias for self-defense. Drawing on research
and his reenactment experience, Keagle recreates his own
clothing, footwear, headgear and equipment, enabling him
to craft highly accurate impressions of historical figures.
Keagle is already developing interpretive
programs about the French and Indian War for schools and
other groups that visit the site. The interpreter also guides
volunteers who interpret the provincial soldiers stationed
at Ft. Dobbs 250 years ago. Hopes are that Keagle's continued
research will uncover more information about the soldiers
garrisoned at the fort, the civilians that took refuge there
and the structure itself. His proven attention to detail
combined with an understanding of the broader life and society
of the 18th century will provide a remarkably comprehensive
view of history for visitors to Ft. Dobbs.
Ft. Dobbs State Historic Site's educational
programming is supported by the not-for-profit Ft. Dobbs
and Cub Scout Camp Planned Week of June 19-23
June 16, 2006
NC - Early American patriot, diplomat and inventor Benjamin
Franklin once said, "An investment in knowledge always
pays the best interest." Next week, archaeologists
and local Boy and Cub Scouts will try to prove this adage
at Ft. Dobbs State Historic Site in Statesville. June 19-21,
the site will publicly showcase an ongoing dig in a 560
sq. ft. area where archaeologists, assisted by volunteers
and local Boy Scouts, will be looking for remains of the
18th-century fort. As part of the 19th annual Cub Scout
Day Camp, from June 19-23 more than 300 Cub Scouts will
also be at the site of the former French and Indian War
fort, enjoying outdoor activities and studying the fort's
geology, archaeology and history.
NC Historic Sites Director Keith Hardison
said, "We hope that the experiences these youngsters
have at Ft. Dobbs will not only encourage them to learn
more about our state's rich history but will enhance their
ability to think critically about world events, both past
and present. We are pleased to host such an outstanding
group of local students."
Planned since last winter, the archaeology
dig will focus on searching for remaining architectural
details of the fort including a surrounding ditch, soil
stains and/or partial remains of wooden support beams, field
stone foundations and fence lines or palisades (a fence
of stakes forming a defense barrier). Local volunteers,
as well as a group of local Boy Scouts working on archaeology
merit badges, will help by screening excavated soil for
artifacts during the three-day public part of the dig. In
return, the archaeologists will outline typical scientific
methods (such as detailed mapping, photography and artifact
analysis) used in their field and present hands-on demonstrations
for the Scouts.
Assistant State Archaeologist John Mintz
said, "We also hope to recover other artifacts that
can help us reconstruct daily life at the fort. These might
include fire pits containing charred animal bones; fragments
of ceramics, gun parts, buttons, etc."
Public Archaeology Director Ken Robinson
from Wake Forest University, Dr. Larry Babits from East
Carolina University and other archaeologists from the Office
of State Archaeology will be on hand to supervise and analyze
any findings made during the dig. Also a military historian,
Dr. Babits researched and wrote a comprehensive study last
year on the archaeology that had been done at the site since
the 1960s. The archaeological research being undertaken,
which will continue for some weeks, is being funded through
a joint Ft. Dobbs Alliance and NC Historic Sites partnership.
For nearly two decades, the annual Cub
Scout Day Camp held at Ft. Dobbs has focused on a theme;
this year it is "Prehistoric Planet". The week's
activities will offer learning, fun and friendship for 301
Cub Scouts, a staff of 65 adult volunteers and 33 older
youth Scouts. Its highlights will include woodworking, archery,
sports and team building. Each activity a Cub Scout successfully
completes during the camp will enable him to advance within
the scouting program.
Campgoers will also have a chance to view
various vehicles on display at Ft. Dobbs including a medical
helicopter, fire truck and army vehicles. The special geology,
archaeology and the military history classes presented by
the site's staff will include a lesson on how to perform
a 1756 drill exercise done at the fort and military tactics
of 18th century colonial warfare.
History: Final Archaeology at Fort Site Planned for Spring
NC - After almost 30 years since the last excavation, Fort
Dobbs will hold the final excavation of the fort area this
spring before beginning reconstruction of the 1756 fort.
Led by archaeologist Ken Robinson, Director
of Public Archaeology, Wake Forest University, the dig will
include a team of archaeologists from Wake Forest and the
Office of State Archaeology. Supporters of Fort Dobbs, including
Fort Dobbs Alliance members, will be invited to participate
in certain components of the archaeological work.
The excavation area will extend from the
inside of the open "cellar" pit westward to a
point 10-20 feet west of the extant ditch that is part of
the outer perimeter of the fort. The excavations will include
much of the 100 foot long excavation area and will cover
at least 560 square feet.
Archaeologists will seek to determine
the western post holes, palisade and ditch features of the
fort. Soil samples will help differentiate previously disturbed
soils from natural subsoil.
Funding for the archaeological research
has been made available through a partnership between the
Fort Dobbs Alliance and the Division of State Historic Sites.
Fence Distinguishes Site
STATESVILLE, NC - Many thanks to Adam Weber, Todd and Stacy
Holden, Tall Bear, Greg Jones and Scott Hill for building
the snake fence that now beautifully surrounds the front
of the fort site. The locust split rail was purchased through
a grant from the Department of Cultural Resources.
Scouts Donate $900 to the Fort
NC - The Iredell County Boy Scouts, Gemstone District, recently
donated $900 to the Fort Dobbs Alliance. The donation was
presented to Beth Carter, Historic Site Manager, by Bill
Hicks, Dave Nagy and John Elliot, Gem Stone District Executive,
Boy Scouts of America.
The Boy Scouts collected the donation
during the fall camporee held at Fort Dobbs in October 2005.
Fort Dobbs and the Cub Scouts are planning for the summer
day camp to be held in June.
Conflict that Led to Revolutionary War and Building of
Fort Dobbs is Focus of PBS TV Special
NC - What if the French had won? This is a question North
Carolinians may ask when they watch the exciting, new PBS
two-part special on the French and Indian War entitled "The
War that Made America," premiering Wednesday, January
18 and 25 on WUNC-TV.
The conflict played out on several fronts
both abroad and in the American colonies, including North
Carolina. Two hundred fifty years ago, it became a battleground
in this pivotal conflict over control of the American colonies,
which pitted the French against the British.
Near Statesville, Ft. Dobbs State Historic
Site recalls where in 1756 a block house fort and palisade
was built on what was then the colony's western frontier
to protect local colonists from Indian attacks encouraged
by the French.
Today, the archaeological remains of the
colonial fort that served as the official North Carolina
frontier headquarters recall the only French and Indian
War fort constructed by North Carolina's colonial government.
Here North Carolina provincial soldiers commanded by Capt.
Hugh Waddell stood watch and in 1760, fought off a Cherokee
attack. Though the fort was abandoned soon after Britain
won the French and Indian War, today plans are underway
to reconstruct it.
Though now overshadowed by the American
Revolution of two decades later, the French and Indian War
actually set the stage for America's emergence as an independent
nation. Historians argue that it truly was "the war
that made America," one that taught a raw Virginia
lieutenant colonel named George Washingtonthen a British
army officerbitter, battle-scarred lessons he later
used to lead a ragtag band of American citizen soldiers
to victory against the world's most powerful military force,
the British army.
Dobbs Receives $2,000 from Wachovia Corporation
January 11, 2006
NC - A $2,000 contribution has been given to the Fort Dobbs
Alliance from the Wachovia Corporation through the Wachovia
During a recent "Director's Challenge"
event held by the local Wachovia board of directors, board
member David Pope won the opportunity to select a non-profit
organization to receive a $2000 donation. He selected the
Fort Dobbs Alliance.
Pope currently serves on the Fort Dobbs
Alliance Board of Trustees and has been an instrumental
supporter of the fort. He recently donated shingles for
the long hunter tri-face shelters that are currently under
construction at the site. The building's construction will
be interpreted this spring during special event programming.
Dave Fechtman, Market President, Wachovia
Bank, N.A. Statesville Community Banking, remarked, "I
was happy to see Mr. Pope's selection of the Ft. Dobbs Alliance,
given that I am also personally a member and believe in
the benefits it brings to our community."
With a mission to build strong and vibrant
communities, improve the quality of life, and make a positive
difference, Wachovia recognized that the Fort Dobbs Alliance
and Fort Dobbs State Historic Site, through efforts to preserve
and interpret the fort, are vital in accomplishing Wachovia's
goals as a strong community partner.
The donated funds will be placed into
a special fund for 2006 educational and special programming.