TUPELO, MS: – On Saturday, May 26, 2012, four noted historians from the region will share their knowledge of the War of 1812 during the Natchez Trace Parkway’s bicentennial commemoration. “Muster On the Natchez Trace: Prelude to the War of 1812,” which will be held both Saturday and Sunday at the Gordon House Historic Site, will also include an array of living history demonstrations and re-enactments.
In three separate programs, the four experts will provide background for visitors and discuss local politics, issues, and fears in the frontier land of Tennessee and the future states of Alabama and Mississippi in 1812.
“The Natchez Trace Parkway is honored that these four authorities on the War of 1812 will be coming to provide their expertise,” said Terry Wildy, Chief of Interpretation and Partnerships at the Natchez Trace Parkway.
“History makes much more sense when it is put into the context of the time, and these speakers will be able to do that for us.”
James W. Parker, currently the Site Director for the Fort Toulouse/Fort Jackson State Historic Site near Montgomery, Alabama, will present “Borderland Background: An Overview of Emotions and Conditions Along the Gulf Borderlands” at 11:30 a.m. Parker is a published contributor to the Alabama Historical Commission, the Alabama Historical Association, the Alabama Archaeological Society, and several books.
Clay Williams and Mike Bunn will partner to present “The Smoldering Tinderbox: Prelude to the Creek War and the War of 1812” at 12:30 p.m. It is not their first collaboration; they are the co-authors of Battle for the Southern Frontier, the Creek War and the War of 1812. Williams, currently the Director of the Old Capitol Museum in Jackson, Mississippi, is also published in the Journal of Mississippi History and Mississippi Now. Bunn, the Executive Director of the Historic Chattahoochee Commission, curated numerous award-winning exhibitions while he was the Curator of History at the Columbus Museum. He and Williams are writing a book for the Heritage of Mississippi series, focusing on frontier Mississippi in the first half of the 1800s.
Dr. Tom Kanon, an archivist at the Tennessee State Library and Archives in Nashville, Tennessee, has been writing and speaking on topics related to the War of 1812 for the last 15 years. He will present “Indian/Settler Tensions on the Tennessee Frontier: The Martha Crawley Incident of 1812” at 1:30 p.m. Kanon is the recipient of the 2012 “Spirit of 1812” award, given by the Tennessee Daughters of the War of 1812 to the individual who has contributed the most to the research and preservation of the war. He hopes to have his recently completed draft of a book on Tennessee and the War of 1812 published in the near future.
These three programs will help visitors understand the perspectives of the people who lived on the frontier, preparing the public to immerse themselves in the living history programs presented throughout the weekend.
“Muster On the Natchez Trace” will be held Saturday, May 26, from 9:00 until 5:00, and Sunday, May 27, from 9:00 until 1:30, and is free to the public. The Gordon House Historic Site is located at milepost 407.7 on the Natchez Trace Parkway, approximately 12 miles west of Columbia, Tennessee.
The event is sponsored by the National Park Service, the 7th US Infantry Living History Association, the Natchez Trace Parkway Association, and the Tennessee War of 1812 Bicentennial Committee. For more information, please contact the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center at 1-800-305-7417, or visit www.nps.gov/natr.
About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 397 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.