The Shawnee Trail
Overview of trail drama
Intro by Ron Moxley
It is the Virginia Frontier in the autumn of 1779.
A woman by the name of Jenny Wiley was
captured the past spring from a settlement
Ab’s Valley. (Now Tazewell County, right below
Mathias Harmon, who had raised
a company of rangers to fight the British,
took 40 men to pursue the
raided the settlement.
General William Preston joined Harmon with another
100 men in pursuit of the Indians.
They traveled more than 200miles to the forks
of the Levisa
Fearing an ambush, they retreated.
General Preston’s men crossed over to the
Plans were made to return and explore further
after the fall harvest.
When they returned, Absolom Lusk
formed a scouting party from
Guyan Green formed a scouting party from
Green’s party explored the
A few other notes about the period:
Many of the settlers on the
stayed loyal to
of German birth and was royalty.
It was also a recruiting post for
the American army.
Cornstalk’s murder in November of 1777 caused
many of the raids on the Virginian
Compiled from the book, “William Preston and the Allegheny Patriots”
Suggested classroom activities:
Locate the underlined locations on a contemporary maps of
in the late 18th century.
Acquaint the students with the bold face names.
Those are people they might encounter during their journey on the trail.
Have your students write a journal entry about their
experiences as a guide traveling with Green or
A fort was not always a log structure surrounded by a large log fence.
Large homes where people gathered to defend themselves
from the natives were sometimes designated forts.
Have students do research on the
fort structure on the
in the late 18th century. Draw a map and indicate the location
of these structures. Note their proximity to rivers or
mountain ranges. Have students decide why those
locations were chosen for forts.
Have students look up the terms and names in italics.
Those people and terms are some they might hear during their travels
with us. Give them the following questions
to answer and discuss.
1. Who was Chief Cornstalk? How did his murder lead to an
2. What were Tories? How would their presence influence the
fight of the Virginians against the
3. What things do you think a scouting party might look for
when they explore a new area?
4. Why was it important for someone to be guarding the lead mines?
5. Imagine that you meet someone who speaks a different
language than yourself. How would you communicate with them?
Decide what signs or gestures would
help you greet them as friends.
6. What tools would you need for exploring the Virginian frontier?
How would each be used? How would