In 1812, the area around Palestine was a wild and untamed place with only a few settlers, a small fort and a handful of soldiers to protect them. This weekend people can travel back in time this spring with the Fort LaMotte Rangers as they bring the early days of the frontier back to life with shops, traders, Native American camps, and a reenactment of the Battle of Africa Point Saturday and Sunday.
The battle took place in April 1813. Two barrel coopers were looking along the Wabash River for wood suitable for making barrels when they came across several Indian canoes.
After they report back to the fort, two groups of skirmishers were sent out. The first group was ambushed by the Indians and four men were killed. The second group returned to the fort to protect the settlers, but no further attack was made by the Indians.
The event on the rodeo grounds at Leaverton Park in Palestine, is sponsored by the Rangers and was scheduled as a replacement for the Old Settlers Days event that has been held for several years at Red Hills State Park.
Visitors to the event will be charged a small admission fee per carload.
As part of the weekend celebration, the Rangers will re-enact the Battle of Africa Point in front of the newly built re-creation of Fort LaMotte in Leaverton Park at 11 a.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m. Sunday.
In addition to the battle, there will be a Traders' Row with vendors and craftsman from four states, including a blacksmith, weaver and candle maker. There will be Native American camps, a food court, music groups including bagpipes, fiddlers and bluegrass.
Soldiers in period dress will be putting on an artillery demonstration and will fire off a candy cannon for the kids. There will also be several children's activities including the formation of a mini-militia.
Richard Day will give lectures about various forts that were built along the Wabash River, and visitors can tour the newly built Fort LaMotte. Black-powder firearms enthusiasts can also participate in a live shoot Saturday at 1 p.m. No modern firearms are allowed in the shoot.
The event runs 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Everyone may attend.