Henderson Hall marks West Virginia’s founding with Civil War reenactment

Henderson Hall turned into a Civil War battlefield as people re-enacted a skirmish complete with cannons and rifles. (Photo by Candice Black)

WILLIAMSTOWN — Scenes from the Civil War were brought to Henderson Hall this weekend as a way to commemorate the establishment of West Virginia in the height of the war in 1863.

Every year, the community gathers at Henderson Hall to learn about the Civil War and its impact on the state. According to Henderson Hall director Randy Modesitt, G.W. Henderson, the man who built the house, was a member of the Wheeling Convention which established West Virginia as a state.

“That’s another reason why we do it. They were pro-Union, G.W. had already ended his slaves, almost all of the Hendersons were pro-Union,” Modesitt said.

Actors arrived Friday and camped out over the weekend to teach people about the Civil War and show what a typical skirmish might have looked like. Modesitt is hopeful people of the younger generation were able to learn about the country’s troubled past during the event.

“I hope the younger folks learn that the country at one time was divided and it did struggle,” he said. “I hope that everybody here, if they’re not a fan of the Civil War, that they understand this was never a pleasant time in history. This was a terrible time in our country’s history and we’re living in a day today where I hope it’s not repeated.”

A re-enactment of a Civil War skirmish took place at Henderson Hall Sunday to commemorate West Virginia Day. (Photo by Candice Black)

Abraham and Mary Lincoln impersonators were also part of the weekend’s festivities and Modesitt said they was a huge hit with participants.

“He and Mary talked to people about the history and what happened to people during the Civil War and what it was like being President of the United States during that time,” Modesitt said. “He is very good with the young kids, there was a time he was surrounded by people listening to stories about Abe Lincoln.”

Modesitt is thankful for the support of the community and hopes they were able to learn a thing or two from the event.

“I hope that people understand that we all have the same blood, we’re all made by the same creator and we all need to get along. These guys are demonstrating that period of time when we didn’t, we had such division in our country,” he said.

Henderson Hall hosts different events about once a month but Modesitt said the West Virginia Day celebration is one of their biggest.

Henderson Hall celebrated West Virginia Day all weekend by inviting people out to experience life during the Civil War. Re-enactments were set up all throughout the plantation, from glass making, blacksmithing and woodcarving to cannon fire and battles. (Photo by Madeline Scarborough)

“It’s always a fun weekend. We appreciate all the people here who support us and help us make this a success,” he said.

Candice Black can be reached at cblack@newsandsentinel.com.

A little rain didn’t dampen the spirits of those celebrating West Virginia Day at Henderson Hall. Tents were set up to keep people and items dry. (Photo by Madeline Scarborough)

Dave Fetty, who worked at Fenton Art Glass Company for 47 years, gave demonstrations of his artform at the Henderson Hall West Virginia Day re-enactment. (Photo by Madeline Scarborough)

Brent Smith, left, owner of 3 Arrows Forge and Woodshop and a champion on the television show “Forged in Fire,” along with Bladesmith Mark Lambert from the Golden Sun Forge, gave demonstrations of blacksmithing at Henderson. (Photo by Madeline Scarborough)

Patrick Wentzel, of Parkersburg, hand carves an eagle. (Photo by Madeline Scarborough)

People dressed up as Union and Confederate soldiers came to Henderson Hall Sunday to shoot cannons and fire rifles to demonstrate what the Civil War might have looked like. (Photo by Candice Black)


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today