‘100 Years on the Ohio River’

Re-enactors to highlight
event at Farnsley-Moremen Landing

Timeline event honors
those who founded Louisville

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

LOUISVLLE, Ky. (May 2009) – Abraham Lincoln will be part of an entourage of famous Kentuckians who will visit Louisville in May for a timeline event honoring those who founded the city of Louisville and contributed greatly to Kentucky’s rich history. Joining him will be Frederick Douglas, John James Audubon and Gen. George Rogers Clark, men whose exploits have woven them into the fabric of the state and country’s heritage.

Rod Smothers

Photo by Helen McKinney

Re-enactor and event organizer
Rod Smothers often gives a flax
demonstration at many living
history events.

Lincoln will be portrayed by Dennis Boggs, who has researched countless primary resources to provide an educational look at the life of the 16th president. His presentation often encompasses different aspects of the president’s 56 years of life.
Boggs will be part of the historical timeline re-enactment “100 Years on the Ohio River” set for May 16-17. This event explores the years 1765 to 1865. Friday, May 15, is a day set aside for area students.
“Students from local schools will see some of the demonstrations from the event, will get to interact with the re-enactors including Lincoln (who had strong ties to the Speed family and who visited them in Louisville),” said re-enactor and event organizer Rod Smothers. Students will also be able tour the Civil War-era home where the event takes place, Riverside, the Farnsley-Moremen Landing.
Smothers is part of the Falls Landing Foundation Inc., comprised of a group of living historians, Louisville Metro Government and state representatives. The foundation approached Riverside, the Farnsley-Moremen Foundation with the idea of holding a commemorative re-enactment on this 300-acre Metro Park, and the event has now been expanded into a timeline event.
They approached us with the idea of holding an event here because they liked the setting, said Patti Linn, park director for Riverside. It’s a place where “it’s easy to image yourself back in time.”

Farnsley-Moreman Landing

Photo provided

The Farnsley-Moreman Landing in
Louisville has two miles of river frontage
in a relatively natural setting.

We have a split time period interpretation in the house, said Linn. The first floor pertains to 1840 and the home’s founder, Gabriel Farnsley. Farnsley built the house in 1837 and lived there until his death in 1849. The second floor depicts the year 1880 and the period when the Moreman family lived there, having moved in in 1862. For this reason, a timeline event was a good fit for us, she said.
Smothers aided in creating “100 Years on the Ohio River” several years ago with the focus of the event on “the founding of Louisville, the exploits of Clark and the Revolutionary War on the Western front,” he said. In addition to the 18th century lifestyle, the event takes a look at the people and events connected to Kentucky that shaped the 19th century as well.
“Louisville is located on the Ohio River which was the main route for settlement of the 18th century frontier,” Smothers said. “We felt that the river should serve as the centerpiece of the event. We found the perfect place to host the event at Riverside, the Farnsley-Moreman Landing, which has two miles of river frontage in a relatively natural setting.”
Smothers became involved in re-enacting due to his mother’s genealogical interests. “There are many facets to re-enacting including genealogy, history, camping-outdoors, shooting, music, textiles, gardening-agriculture, calligraphy, woodworking, hearth cooking, sewing-costuming and more,” he said.
Included in the weekend event will be period craft demonstrations, military units, food, camps, river pirates, period music, vendors and different historical figures, said Linn. Visitors will be able to stroll through each time period and interact with presenters. Past speakers have included Frederick Douglass, George Rogers Clark, John Floyd, William Clark and Lucy Croghan.


Photo provided

These ladies will be part of the
re-enactment at the "100 Years" event.

“This event has been doubling in attendance every year,” said Smothers. Re-enactors attend from surrounding states representing many groups and time periods including Native Americans, long hunters, Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Regency Period, Mexican War and Civil War.
Louisville Metro Council officially declared May 27 as “Falls Landing Day” in June 2008. “We wanted to call attention to the day that Clark and his expedition landed on Corn Island in Louisville,” Smothers said. “This was the beginning of a permanent European settlement at the Falls of the Ohio.”
Clark’s campaign helped to double the size of the colonies at the end of the Revolutionary War. Louisville is now the 16th largest city in the United States.

• Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and $3 for children and includes all activities and a guided tour of Riverside. For more information call (502) 935-6809, email info@riverside-landing.org or visit: www.FallsLanding.org or www.Riverside-Landing.org.

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