Sunday, October 06, 2013

Along the trail at Prairie Trails

And the award for most authentic portrayals at Saturday afternoon's Pioneer Festival in Corydon goes to this pair of desperadoes --- Tony Funk (left) and Bill Shoup, portraying members of the James-Younger gang. Bill was Jesse and Tony was portraying Clell Miller, a gang member killed in 1876 during the Northfield, Minn., bank robbery.

If you know anything at all about Wayne County history, you'll know that the gang robbed the Ocobock Bank, then on the north side of the square, on June 3, 1871 --- and Corydon's never gotten over it; which is a good thing. We've all gotten a lot of entertainment mileage out of that event over the years, and continue to do so.

The setting for this portrayal was a reproduction of Ocobock Bank, located on "Main Street" in Prairie Trails Museum, home of the Wayne County Historical Society and site of Saturday's society-sponsored festival. Organizers could not have asked for a better day. The weather was perfect --- sunny, crisp and fall-like; and it was hard to find a place to park. The crowd was a good one. Lots of kids, too.

Members of the extended Funk family had the portrayal market cornered inside the main museum building  where several stations allowed visitors to roam from display to display for face-to-face encounters with history.

Jaleah Funk was stationed in the Mormon Pioneer Trail display to talk about that spring back in 1846 when Brigham Young led the first party of Saints fleeing Nauvoo and headed for Garden Grove, Mt. Pisgah and points west through Wayne County.

Joel Funk, stationed inside the Robertson Bros. General Store, also on Main Street, deserved a "most animated performance" award as he talked about this Promise City institution's place in county history.

But there were plenty of others on hand, too, including Dale Clark (left) and Pid Pidcock, who were stationed in the museum's extensive display of American Indian artifacts to talk about items left behind by Wayne County's prehistoric residents and about their own experiences roaming the fields and woods in search of signs left by these early people. 

Both Clark and Pidcock, by the way, are meticulous and principled collectors, working in conjunction with the State Archaelogist's Office and never disturbing the earth.

Over in the west gallery, Glen Williamson was on hand to interpret the life and career of George Saling, a 1927 graduate of Corydon High School who went on to earn gold in the 110-meter hurdles during the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. Sadly, Saling was killed in a car crash just six months after the games --- and is buried in the Corydon Cemetery.

There was plenty going on outside, too. Various pioneer crafts were being demonstrated in the big red barn while setup was taking place for the evening's chuck wagon supper and musical entertainment by the Ballyhoo Foxtrot Combo.

On the patio in front, there was a cake walk, a rope-making demonstration, games for the kids and a large-scale cider-making operation that benefitted the TAG programs at Wayne Community and Mormon Trail high schools.

Just beyond the patio, blacksmith Jim Ratliff was demonstrating his skills.

And Brenda Hebl of Cambria was offering horse-drawn carriage rides.

Melvin Tubbs (of Chariton) and some of his Pony Express riders were on hand to offer rides to children, most of whom seemed to enjoy the experience --- most of the time. David Tubbs helped this little guy into the saddle, then moved a companion into place. She was not at all peased at first, but after a little reassurance everything was alright.

And although not exactly pioneer, there were a few bright red Farmalls on hand, too.


Brenda said...

Frank, Tony was portraying Clell Miiller.

Frank D. Myers said...

Thanks for the info --- and for the wild blue plum jelly. It is (and rapidly is becoming "was") great!