Fort Boonesborough
Kentucky History Award

Winner of 2 History Awards From the Kentucky Historical Society



Women on the Frontier

June 9-10, 2007

Photos by Jim & Kathy Cummings

See a slide show
 of photos from the weekend


Women on the Frontier springs from the realization that much less is known about women on the frontier than about their male counterparts. Women’s lives were filled with work -  both their own and part or all of an absent husband’s. 


From firestarting to flintlock rifles to horseback in 18th century clothing- everyone got a chance to learn. Then to put the skills to a test Sunday brought the “skills competition.” In addition there was plenty of cooking, clothing seminars, and a guest speaker - Kentucky historian - Ellen Eslinger.

Women re-enactor’s also feel this lack of information. Since there is less documentation from the frontier there are less resource materials for women portraying early settlers. Fort Boonesborough devotes this weekend to helping women re-enactors increase their knowledge and hone their frontier skills. In addition, the public gets a chance to visit the fort and learn about women’s lives on the frontier and even try their hand at learning some of these skills.



The Skills Competition

A frontier woman was expected to do everything. At the skills competition at Women on the Frontier contestants were expected to  fry a johnny cake, gather eggs from the hen house (don’t be fooled by those roosters) throw a tomahawk (while holding a baby) know the parts of a flintlock rifle, sew a patch on, cook that egg, eat it and the johnny cake, and start a fire - to light a candle - to burn a string to stop the clock that was keeping your competitive time. And judges Jay Kell and Lary Wilcher had decidedly 21st century stopwatches to keep track of that time. And a good thing too - because the top two competitors  - were only one second apart.   


Naming the parts on a flintlock rifle.


Winner Laura Willyard with her first place prize a shooting/sewing box donated by Rolling Fork Trade Co.


New to re-enacting Elizabeth Thomas (above) wowed us all with her 2nd place finish. Shown here with her WOF T-Shirt and DVD’s donated by Graphic Enterprises.

Some of the young girls competed on their own while others accompanied their mothers on the course.


Left - Samantha Kell sews her patch on. Young girls on the frontier were handy with a needle at much younger ages than most of their 21st century counterparts.

In case of Indian attack a women had better be able to throw a hawk. Below Michelle DeEsch aims one at a block of wood. The “baby” she is carrying became affectionately known as “Woody.”

P6091996 P6092006

See More Photos of Women on the Frontier at including past years events.

The original Fort Boonesborough was built by Daniel Boone and his men in 1775


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