Archive Fort Henry Commemoration Speaker Series

Fort Henry Commemoration Speaker Series Archive

Program Eight, August 31, 2017

Re-enactors, historians and authors Alan Fitzpatrick and Joe Roxby protrayed a Native American warrior and a patriot respectively while conducting a “walk and talk” visiting the sites and recounting the events of the first siege of Fort Henry in 1777. To view the program please click on this link

About our speakers

Born and raised in Canada, Alan Fitzpatrick has been a resident of West Virginia since 1973 when he graduated from Kent State University in psychology and became employed at the West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville as a Classifications Counselor. Since then, he has made the Wheeling area his home and ran a retail carpet business for thirty-three years before retiring. Alan has always been fascinated by the early frontier history of the Upper Ohio Valley, and in 1997, he was a founding member of “Fort Henry Days,” a yearly living history commemoration and re-enactment of the 1782 last battle of the American Revolution. The event is held at Wheeling’s Oglebay Park every Labor Day weekend. Alan has written four non-fiction early American history books dealing with the conflict between Native Americans and colonials during the tumultuous period of the late 1700’s: Wilderness War on the Ohio, In Their Own Words, The Place of the Skull, The White Indians and The Fort Henry Story D

Joe Roxby was a member of the last graduating class of the Sacred Heart School in Warwood. He is a 1971 graduate of Wheeling Central Catholic High School and he earned a degree in history in 1975 from West Liberty State College. He entered service with the Wheeling Police Department in 1978 and retired in December of 2003 with the rank of Lieutenant.

Roxby is a noted local frontier historian. He is a staff writer for the magazine Precision Shooting and he has written pieces for Tactical Shooter, The Accurate Rifle, Outdoor Magazine and for local newspapers. He is the co-author of the book The Heroic Age, Tales of Wheeling’s Frontier Era and a book of short stories entitled Lost Legends of Fort Henry. He is a past president Fort Henry Days Living History, which hosts annual reenactment events over Labor Day Weekend at Site One, Oglebay Park. In 2008 Roxby was elected Magistrate of Ohio County and currently holds the

Program Seven, July 27, 2017

Our guest speaker Allan Spencer, reenactor, historian and author presented a program entitled “Native American War Process at Fort Henry.” Allan has written a three volume work, They Gave the Scalp Halloo. His research into the culture of the Eastern Woodlands tribes provides insights into their decision making process leading to warfare. He has been involved in reenacting since he saw his first reenactment at Fort Henry Days in 1997 and has participated in that event nearly every year since. His program provided context for the social customs, dynamics among different tribes and the convening of war parties along with practical information on Native American day-to-day living and their scouting skills. To view the program, please click on this link.

About our Speaker

Allan Spencer grew up with a strong tie to history due in part to his family regularly visiting historic sites. He also developed a passion for learning about other cultures having been exposed to several in Africa, the Middle East, and Central America.

Following his graduation from high school Allan enlisted in the US Army’s Eighty-Second Airborne Division. After twenty-two years of service and deployments to three different conflicts Allan retired honorably with the rank of Captain.

In his effort to portray accurately a Native American warrior, Allan has done extensive research. He found that there was no single source of information to guide him, which was the motivation for writing his three-volume work, They Gave the Scalp Halloo. Allan is currently working on the fourth volume of his book.

In his free time, Allan reads first person frontier narratives from the Colonial period and provides demonstrations at various historic sites to shed some light on how Eastern Woodlands Natives lived.

Program Six, June 28, 2017

Historian, author and Weirton attorney Michael E. Nogay spoke about the new edition of his book, Every Home a Fort, Every Man a Warrior. This fascinating work chronicles the public and private fortifications in the Northern Panhandle during the colonial and Revolutionary War period.  His book earned him the honor of being named a West Virginia History Hero. Mike shared his research on Hollidays Cove Fort, among others, and his recent discovery of muster rolls of local forts, newly available from the National Archives.

In his review of the book, West Virginia History’s Benjamin G. Scharff wrote, “Violence pervaded the upper Ohio River valley during the American War for Independence. Using a series of anecdotes and descriptions of fortifications, Michael Edward Nogay addresses this subject in Every Home a Fort, Every Man a Warrior. With a focus on the present northern panhandle of West Virginia, the author paints a picture of a militarized European- American people whose private and public fortifications played a critical role in their survival during the American Revolution.” Please click on this link to view the video of the presentation:

About the Speaker

Michael Nogay is a lifelong resident of Weirton. He earned his undergraduate degree from West Virginia University, magna cum laude, and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, and he served as editor of the Daily Athenaeum. In 1983 he was awarded his law degree from Washington and Lee University where he was a Benedum Scholar. He subsequently passed the bar examinations in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Mike practices law in the four-member litigation firm of Sellitti, Nogay and McCune, LLC. Appointed by Gov. Gaston Caperton to the West Virginia Ethics Committee, he served as its first secretary. Mike has also served as an elected member of the Hancock County Board of Education. A recognized expert on antique fishing tackle Mike is founder of the Old Reel Collectors Association, which has 800 members in more than a dozen countries. Mike is married to Robin and they have three children.

Program Five, May 25, 2017

Two members of Wheeling’s Zane family are well-known – Ebenezer Zane is considered the founder of Wheeling, and his younger sister, Betty, is remembered for her heroic run for the powder during the second siege of Ft. Henry. This talk focused on the “other” Zanes – Ebenezer’s brothers Silas, Jonathan, Andrew, and Isaac, and Ebenezer’s wife, Elizabeth McColloch. The other brothers settled various Wheeling and nearby areas, two were killed by Indians, and one remained with his Indian kidnappers and married an Indian princess. Elizabeth McColloch Zane was a sister of Sam McColloch – who made the famous leap that still bears his name. Their lives are fascinating and deserve as much recognition as their more famous family members. Please click here to view the presentation.

About our Speaker

Jeanne Finstein considers herself to be an amateur historian. Most of her research has focused on Wheeling’s Civil War and Victorian eras, so this topic has expanded her knowledge of the areas earliest citizens. She has a bachelor’s degree from WVU, masters from Wheeling Jesuit, and doctorate from WVU – all in mathematics education. She taught math at WPHS, then worked at the NASA Classroom of the Future at Wheeling Jesuit, and now is a partner in Polyhedron Learning Media, an educational software development company. She is president of Friends of Wheeling and corresponding secretary of the Wheeling chapter of the DAR.

Program Four, April 28, 2017

Retired West Liberty University associate professor Earl Nicodemus offered our fouth program on April 28, in observance of this year’s 240th anniversary of Ohio County’s government, the oldest in the state. With Ohio County’s formation from West Augusta County in 1777, the first Ohio County court was held early that year at Black’s Cabin in West Liberty. Nicodemus wove together a fascinating story involving prominent colonial figures, such as Silas Hedges, David Shepherd and John McColloch to name a few, who we associate with the Revolutionary War in Wheeling and who were among the early county’s leaders. Please click here to view the program. Please also view the web page that Earl has created for more history of West Liberty.

About our Speaker

Earl Nicodemus, whose field is instructional technology, completed his 40th year as an educator at West Liberty University in 2016 and is the institution’s longest-tenured professor. He also served as a chair of the Department of Professional Education and retired at the end of the 2016 academic year.

A charter member and founding president of the West Liberty Historical Society, Earl currently serves as vice president and treasurer. He has been a trustee of the old West Liberty Cemetery since 1985 and is responsible for cemetery maintenance and upkeep.

He has mapped the grave sites and done extensive research on those buried there, including veterans of the American Revolution and Civil War. Nicodemus has documented the Old West Liberty Court House. The author of numerous articles on the history of West Liberty and the cemetery, he also gives presentations on the town’s history to civic and social organizations.

Program Three, March 30, 2017

Ohio County magistrate, historian and author Joe Roxby presented our third speaker presentation, a play-by-play of the second siege of Fort Henry, based on the best primary sources available. The program on March 30, attended by 97 people, was held in the historic Federal courthouse, birthplace of our state, at West Virginia Independence Hall. Click here to view the video of the presentation.

Roxby commented, “My talk will be a blow by blow account of the second siege as reconstructed by the best primary sources.  If the previous series presentations by Alan Fitzpatrick and Margaret Brennan were sportscasts, they are ‘color commentary’, mine will be the ‘play by play’. Among things I will discuss are the history and construction of the fort, the strategic situation in 1782 during the Revolutionary War, relevant events in 1782 leading up the siege, including the lesser known ‘aborted siege’ of 1781, and the gunpowder run controversy.”

About our speaker

Roxby was a member of the last graduating class of the Sacred Heart School in Warwood. He is a 1971 graduate of Wheeling Central Catholic High School and he earned a degree in history in 1975 from West Liberty State College. He entered service with the Wheeling Police Department in 1978 and retired in December of 2003 with the rank of Lieutenant.

Roxby is a noted local frontier historian. He is a staff writer for the magazine Precision Shooting and he has written pieces for Tactical Shooter, The Accurate Rifle, Outdoor Magazine and for local newspapers. He is the co-author of the book The Heroic Age, Tales of Wheeling’s Frontier Era and a book of short stories entitled Lost Legends of Fort Henry. He is a past president Fort Henry Days Living History, which hosts annual reenactment events over Labor Day Weekend at Site One, Oglebay Park. In 2008 Roxby was elected Magistrate of Ohio County and currently holds the office.

Program Two, February 23, 2017

Our February 23 presentation on Betty Zane by local historian Margaret Brennan was held in the Federal Courtroom of West Virginia Independence Hall and attended by 94 people. We were honored that West Virginia Division of Culture and History Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, honorary chairman of the Fort Henry Commemoration Speaker Series Planning Committee, was among the audience members. To view the video of the program, please click “A Profile of Betty Zane, Heroine of Fort Henry” . The tape is about one hour in length.

Brennan commented: “Elizabeth ‘Betty’ Zane, a member of Wheeling’s founding family, is surely an authentic local heroine. Because of the book Betty Zane written by Zane Grey, her story gained national attention. Her fame derives from the now famous run with the powder during the September 1782 second siege of Fort Henry, the last battle of the American Revolution. With powder low in the fort, Betty ran about 60 yards to her brother’s block house and carried back enough powder for the fort’s defenders to hold off the enemy. This attempt to wipe out the strategic settlement of Wheeling was thwarted due to the courage and swift feet of a young girl, Betty Zane.”

About our speaker

Margaret Brennan is a Wheeling native and local historian with a B.A. in History from Wheeling College, and an M.A. in History and a certificate in public history from West Virginia University. She has taught high school social studies and worked in archival administration. Her current research interests are Irish, Civil War and Underground Railroad history and an ongoing study of frontier topics. Margaret portrayed Betty Zane in the first reenactment of the second siege in 1997 at WesBanco Arena.

Program One, January 26, 2017

The first program of the Fort Henry Commemoration Speaker Series was presented on January 26 by local historian and author Alan Fitzpatrick to a capacity attendance of 106 people. Thanks to the generosity of the Wheeling National Heritage Area Corporation, all of the presentations in the series will be videotaped. Please click Who Attacked Fort Henry and Why: 1777 to 1782 for the video of Mr. Fitzpatrick’s presentation. The program is a little over an hour in length.

For 240 years, historians have recounted the story of the heroic defense of Wheeling’s Fort Henry by settlers and militia who repulsed three separate attacks by Native American warriors, beginning in 1777 and ending with the last battle of the American Revolution in September 1782. What has remained a mystery is why the Native Americans, who rarely attacked forts, chose to besiege Fort Henry. Unanswered, too, is a complete understanding of the identity and motivation of the white men fighting alongside the Native Americans. From research obtained from the National Archives of Canada and the Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma, Fitzpatrick will shed light on who attacked Fort Henry during each siege and why they wanted to destroy the frontier fort.

About our speaker

Born and raised in Canada, Alan Fitzpatrick has been a resident of West Virginia since 1973 when he graduated from Kent State University in psychology and became employed at the West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville as a Classifications Counselor. Since then, he has made the Wheeling area his home and ran a retail carpet business for thirty-three years before retiring. Alan has always been fascinated by the early frontier history of the Upper Ohio Valley, and in 1997, he was a founding member of “Fort Henry Days,” a yearly living history commemoration and re-enactment of the 1782 last battle of the American Revolution. The event is held at Wheeling’s Oglebay Park every Labor Day weekend. Alan has written four non-fiction early American history books dealing with the conflict between Native Americans and colonials during the tumultuous period of the late 1700’s: Wilderness War on the Ohio, In Their Own Words, The Place of the Skull, The White Indians and The Fort Henry Story DVD.