Long Run Massacre

Re-enactors prepare for battle
in annual Shelbyville event

Tennessee native to play
pioneer doctor at this year’s battle

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

SHELBYVILLE, Ky. (September 2010) – When Albert Roberts toured a local historical site in Henderson, Tenn., he was literally drawn into another world. The history of the 18th century became real to him, something he wanted to explore further and share with others.

Painted Stone Settlers' re-enactors

Photo provided

Painted Stone Settlers’ Long
Run Massacre provides an exciting
re-enactment show for visitors
each September in Shelbyville, Ky.

The site’s tour guide was a first-person interpreter who drew him in and shared the excitement of the 18th century. “I was not even interested in history until I was an adult,” said Roberts, 37.
As a result of his experience, this Nashville, Tenn., native has been an historical interpreter for the last decade. He has portrayed an 18th century doctor for seven years, and before that a schoolmaster.
“I do a medical and surgical demonstration typical to the late 18th century,” said Roberts. The Doctor is “an amalgamation of doctors and surgeons typical of the era. It’s the medical and surgical knowledge that I want to get across.”
Because the Doctor is not a specific person, there’s a lot of elbow room to improvise his character, Roberts said. Roberts has used a lot of reproduction medical texts from the period that have been published about medicine and surgery to research 18th century doctors. “There’s been a bevy of things written.”
In the 21st century, Roberts is a Visual Communications teacher at Beech High School in Henderson. He has traveled to Ohio, Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois to portray The Doctor. A special highlight for him was attending the 250th Siege of Fort Niagara in New York where he portrayed the chief surgeon of the British army.
He will bring his unique medical demonstration to this year’s Long Run Massacre and Floyd’s Defeat, held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 11-12 at Red Orchard Park in Shelbyville. He will also participate in a special School Day Program on Friday, Sept. 11.
Red Orchard, or Whitaker Station, was established in 1782 by John Whitaker and attacked several times by Indians. This land has since been donated to the Shelby County Park’s Department and transformed into a beautiful park where the event will take place.
The Long Run Massacre is sponsored by the Painted Stone Settlers Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving history. Each day at 2 p.m., the 1781 evacuation of Squire Boone’s Painted Stone Station will be re-enacted. There are various events before and after the re-enactment that portray life in the 18th century along the Kentucky frontier.

Albert Roberts

Photo provided

Tennessee native
Albert Roberts
portrays an 18th
century frontier
doctor and will appear
at the Painted Stone
Settlers’ Long Run
Massacre in September.

“Although we portray the Long Run Massacre each year we try to fill the event each year with different aspects of the 18th century,” said Kathy Cummings, the group’s president. In the 12 years of its existence, the group has invited different guest speakers to participate such as “those that do first person portrayals of famous historic figures, authors, historians, musicians and more,” she said.
By featuring Roberts as part of this year’s event, “we can give people some insight into just how far medicine has come in the last 230 years,” said Cummings.
Spectators can “not only enjoy the battle re-enactment but spend some time beforehand speaking to an 18th century doctor, Native American, blacksmith or even a ratcatcher. It’s all interesting, fun and a great learning experience for adults and children alike.”
Roberts generally portrays a frontier doctor, one who would have apprenticed under another doctor to learn his trade. An 18th century doctor’s education “depended on where he was from and what economic class he was from,” he said. A well-to-do doctor of the period from the East would have been trained at a hospital or university, unlike the frontier doctor.
The Doctor carries with him a standard surgical kit of the time period which contains all the modern instruments of the period: amputation saws and knives, bleeding apparatus, dentistry tools, and instruments to remove lead balls.
In school Roberts said he was “turned off by history.” In the re-enacting world, “I’ve learned more about history by doing this.”
Admission is $6 for adults, $3 for children 12 and under, and free for children 3 and under. A two-day pass is $10.

• For more information on Albert Roberts, visit: http://manskerman1780.blogspot.com. For more information on the Long Run Massacre and Floyd’s Defeat, call (502) 228-3746, (502) 738-9435 or visit: www.PaintedStoneSettlers.org.

Back to September 2010 Articles.



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