GALLIPOLIS — Ohio Chautauqua, presented by the Ohio Humanities, leads off its week-long series at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday with Dan Cutler presenting as Shawnee Chief Cornstalk.
The event takes place under the red tent in Gallipolis City Park.
Ohio Chautauqua is presented to the public free of charge. Live local music will start at 6:45 p.m. in the tent, followed by Cutler’s presentation of Cornstalk. Youth programs start at 10:30 a.m at Bossard Memorial Library with Chuck Chalberg presenting as Theodore Roosevelt. Dianne Moran will present as Dian Fossey, gorilla researcher, at 2:30 p.m., for the adult workshop in the library.
Respectively, Cutler will present at the children’s workshop Wednesday morning at the same time. Susan Frontczak will feature Mary Shelley on Thursday. Moran will feature as Fossey on Friday morning and Frontczak will present as Marie Curie on Saturday.
Chalberg will feature Roosevelt at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday for the adult workshop. Frontczak will feature as Shelley on Thursday. Cutler will again feature Cornstalk on Friday and Frontczak will feature Curie on Saturday.
Scholars present different days to give the public multiple days to see them appear and to give presenters a chance to prepare for their performances at their scheduled appointments. For the focus presentations under the red tent at 7:30 p.m. their respective days, Frontczak will feature Mary Shelley on Tuesday evening, Moran will feature Dian Fossey on Thursday, Frontczak will feature Marie Curie on Friday and Chalberg will feature on Teddy Roosevelt on Saturday.
According to Ohio Chautauqua information, “Dan Cutler is a Vietnam War veteran and retired firefighter. Throughout his life, he has been a historian with an active interest in the Ohio country of the 18th century. His fascination with the dramas and adventures of that time and place led him to participate in living history programs and re-enactments. For 28 years, Dan has been involved in various living history experiments. He continues to work with the West Virginia Humanities Council’s History Alive program, for which he presents Chief Cornstalk at venues, including museums, schools, libraries, community centers, fairs and festivals.”
Hokolesqua, called Chief Cornstalk by white settlers, led the Shawnee in their struggle against settlers encroaching into Ohio territory. He fought in the French and Indian Wars from 1754 to 1763. He and his followers continued fighting settlement in the 1774 Battle of Point Pleasant. Shortly after retreating, Native Americans signed the Peace Treaty of Chillicothe, where they agreed to not attack settlers south of the Ohio River. Conflict continued, however. Cornstalk and his son would ultimately be taken hostage after visiting Fort Randolph under the pretense of discussing peace. After news of an unknown Native American attack on a American soldier reached Point Pleasant, the pair were executed. The governor of Virginia at the time sought a trial for the murder of Cornstalk and his son, but fellow soldiers would not testify against those who killed them. They were eventually acquitted.
“Many people ask me what Ohio Chautauqua is,” said local Ohio Chautaqua organizer Debbie Saunders. “I just want to stress it’s a coming together of the community to learn about history. It’s a family-friendly program with workshops daily. Friends of the Library sponsor refreshments for those. We’ll have tributes to Ray McKinniss both Tuesday night and Saturday night for his work in bringing Chautauqua to Gallipolis. I don’t want the word ‘Chautauqua’ to scare people away from coming. It’s a celebration of living history.”
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.
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