BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – The Raleigh County Historical Society, along with the City of Beckley and the Youth Museum, presented a West Virginia Humanities Council “History Alive” program at the Wildwood House in downtown Beckley for a very important part of local history.
“This is probably about the 10th year that we’ve done this, and we’re just so grateful that we can do it and we have a beautiful day. And today we have Francis Pierpont, they call him the “Father of West Virginia,” says Leslie Baker, director of Raleigh County parks and rec.
The reenactment was given by Travis Henline of Wheeling, as he portrayed Francis Pierpont, or the “Father of West Virginia,” most known for being strongly against Virginia’s secession during the Civil War and West Virginia’s first governor.
“It’s very unique, the first part of the program he stays in character, the next part of the program he answers questions in character, and the third part he becomes Travis Henline and he answers questions about his research and how he decided to do this character,” she says. “So, you walk away knowing a whole lot about this particular person and about West Virginia history.”
These historical presentations usually last about an hour and they take place all over the state on multiple historical figures, and it’s a good way for people to learn about West Virginia’s past by getting to briefly re-live it.
“We are so pleased that we have Wildwood, which is the house of Beckley’s founder. A lot of people don’t have that kind of dwelling that we can look at that represents our founding fathers, so we use this particular site to get people coming and learning about the history of Beckley, but then it’s always nice to know about your roots and the state you’re from,” Baker adds.
If you missed this reenactment, the historical society plans to hold another one in July on Ruby Bradley, one of the most decorated women veterans from West Virginia. The event will take place at the Exhibition Coal Mine.