Association Meeting Minutes – March 20, 2009

Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail Association

March 20, 2009


Present: Sally Kelly, Bob McConnell, Wanda McConnell, Harold Jerrell, Benny Reed, Edgar Hood, Joy Nihil, Kay Addington, Megan Krager, Jean Brown, Margaret Crouch, Dr. Larry Fleenor, Billy Heck, Craig Seaver, Marci Holland, Charlie Allen, Doug McDonald, Mary Erwin, Lisa McConnell, Chris Edwards, Joan Short, Bill Smith, John Stafford, Joe Brown, Michael Beard.

President McConnell called the meeting to order at 12:06 PM. There were no additions to the agenda. Bob introduced guest Doug MacDonald, Duffield Branch Manager of the Powell Valley Bank.

The minutes of the January meeting were approved. The motion for approval was made by Benny Reed and seconded by Harold Jerrell.

Bob McConnell presented the treasurer’s report, as Joe Fuller was absent. The ending balance in checking was $8592.21 and the expenditures for the period were $368.69. The complete report is in the minute book. A motion for approval was made by Charlie Allen, seconded by Lisa McConnell and approved. Wanda McConnell made a motion to accept the expenses report, that was seconded by Chris Edwards, and approved.

Old Business

Committee Reports:

Events: Sally Kelly reported that the committee is working on Siege at the Blockhouse 2009. A reenactor workshop will be held at the Blockhouse Interpretive Center on April 4. Mark and Sherry Finchum will present; as will Billy Heck and Sally. Attendees will be able to buy lunch.

Volunteers: Jean Brown asked folks to sign up today for this summer’s weekends at the Blockhouse.

Interpretive Center: Wanda is also seeking volunteers for the summer at the Center. Craig reported that he has been in touch with the Director of State Parks regarding an effort now underway to get legislation passed to provide for non-profits like the DBWTA to conduct retail business at state parks. This will approve our sales at the Interpretive Center. A managers meeting will be next week in Richmond. It is an example of the credibility of this organization that this legislation is about to become law

Bob reported to the meeting that the DBWTA had commissioned Billy Heck, master rifle maker of Cumberland Forge to make us a rifle, tomahawk, shot pouch, and knife for display at the interpretive center. Today Billy brought the rifle, pouch and belt ax and presented those to the Association

He stated his gratitude for the opportunity to make something historically accurate for the association. He mentioned that he had attempted to create what a common man on the frontier might have had – not pretty, but functional. The ax was made in the forge at Wilderness Road State Park. The pouch is in the Germanic style, of deer skin, bark tanned, the thread spun at Martin’s Station. The gun is a long gun, smooth bore, similar to those that were made in the Winchester area of frontier Virginia around 1775.

Five Year Plan Committee Reports:

Blockhouse Site Projects: Chris Edwards

Items that will be completed by the Siege date!

The “Bake Oven” will be constructed this year. It will be located about 24’ from the left side of the Blockhouse (behind where we have the Fire Pit for cooking at the Siege). The park employees are willing to construct the Bake Oven and we will need to buy some supplies. We have estimated it might cost us around $200-$500 depending on what the park can provide and what we will actually have to buy.

Lighting – The pathway lighting from the parking lot to the flagpole at the Interpretive Center will be completed by the park employees. They will be putting pathway lighting in and also a spot light at the bottom of the flagpole to shine on the flag and a dawn-dusk light at the parking lot. They will rework the area around the bottom of the flagpole for a flower/shrub garden.

Permanent Fire Pit – We will construct a permanent fire pit near the back of the Blockhouse. This will be built out of the some of the stones and will be dug out a little deeper. It will be built in the back of the blockhouse.

We will construct and plant a garden along the line fence at the very back of the property of the Blockhouse. We will plant some vegetables and herbs. It will be outlined by logs and be kind of a raised beds with better topsoil filled in. The park is looking for the logs now and they also have some topsoil to fill in with. We will need volunteers when we get ready to construct the garden.

The park will be transplanting some trees in various locations this spring. Craig said that they will put them in where it does not affect the Siege. Some of the areas they will be putting Trees area along the pathway coming up from the parking lot, various places in front of the Blockhouse, in the area where the horses will be tied, at the back of the line fence of the property, etc. We were thinking of using some Maple Trees so they we be fast growing.

Privacy Fence – There is really no way that we can construct the privacy fence near the Bathrooms. If you were to put the fence up, people could still look into the bathrooms from different areas along the walk. We have to have at least 36” walkway for ADA. Also, if you were to put the fence up, it would hamper the use of the Tent that would be place at the side of the Blockhouse with tables under it. People would have a hard time getting to the table so they could eat. Therefore, with the State Park system, the practicality of it will not fit the requirements so we cannot do the privacy fence.

Items to be completed later this year!

4-5 more reader rails can be constructed along the pathway from the parking lot to where we will go up to the interpretive center. We think that the first one at the parking lot should show a schematic of the layout of the blockhouse and the surrounding area (like a map of the area). It should show the Blockhouse, Bake Oven, Spring House, Fire Pit, Garden, Black Smith area to be constructed, etc.

Blacksmith Shelter / Bellows – The Blacksmith area will be construct near the left of the Spring House near the Fence in front of where the horses are. The park plans to use the logs from the Franklin Cabin for the shelter. This is slated for next Fall/Winter 2009-2010.

We do not have enough logs from the Franklin Cabin to build it back. Craig stated that he did not know if we could find anymore logs from the period. Therefore we are going to use the logs for the Blacksmith Shop.

Rework pathway from Interpretive Center to the Blockhouse has been put on the schedule for the Fall/Winter of 2009-2010. At this time the park will take up the concrete pathway and rework the pathway to the blockhouse coming out of the interpretive center. They will also put in pathway lighting along the new pathway when they do this. We will need to buy some supplies for this project when we get start it.

Project Report: Connecting Sycamore Shoals to the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail Michael Beard

People serving on this committee:

Michael Beard, Chairman

Joe Connelly

David Haga

John Mullen

David Oaks

John Stafford

Norman Sobel

Steven Starnes

Gary Walrath

Copy List:

Bill Albright

Dave Light

Jake White


1) Document the roads that connected Sycamore Shoals to the Anderson Blockhouse on the Wilderness Trail from 1775 to 1795. These include the Old Watauga Road, the Old Jonesborough Road as far as its junction with the present-day Austin Springs Road near Rocky Mount, and the Old Watauga Road from Austin Springs Road to Sycamore Shoals (on the north bank of the Watauga.

2) Personally inspect the proposed routes by driving them.

3) Demonstrate the routes’ worth in terms of:


Function; ie.,is it usable by hikers and bikers rather than just by motorists?

Use; i.e., how much traffic can we expect to attract by mapping and marking the routes?

4) Generate support for this project among public officials and interested groups in Carter, Sullivan, and Washington counties and in the cities of Elizabethton, Bristol, and Kingsport.

Steven Starnes, who works in the Kingsport GIS office, will help us determine the location of the Old Watauga River Road or roads from Rocky Mount to Long Island on the Holston. He will also inspect the routes and help us evaluate the recreational value of the proposed routes. Bill Albright, the Transportation Planning Coordinator for the Kingsport Metropolitan Area, will help us write a TDOT TEA21 grant request to fund this project. Bill has worked with the Tennessee state government for 17 years on local grant programs.

Education Sally Kelly

Blockhouse Unit Box Megan Krager

A unit box to be used by teachers to provide students tangible objects that reflect settler life at the Blockhouse. Lesson plans may consist of writing assignments, a look at the economy during 1774, the money system, and 4th grade VA studies. Items that may be included but not limited to be as follows: a book about the Blockhouse, wool, Indian tools, hides, feathers, spoons/bowels…..

Cost for Blockhouse Unit Box Items Amount Cost Hardwood 6″ spoons 1 $2.00 Hardwood 12″ spoon 1 $4.00 Natural Wool Roving 1lb $24 James Townsend $30 Hides Deer $25.00 Rabbit $20.00 $45.00 Plastic Tub $10.00 Wal-Mart Grand Total: $85 History Telling Coloring Book Sally Kelly

Description: A small(8×11 sheets of newsprint paper folded in half and stapled), 16-20 page book of line drawings and text that tells the story of the Blockhouse. To give to groups of children coming to visit the Blockhouse. Also for sale in the gift shop.

Work Tasks:

Write a story

Choose photos that can accompany that story.

Create line drawings from the photos

Print/Copy text and drawings onto newsprint.



Sally can write the story. If the Park can print, would only have the cost of the paper to make these.

Clothes Closet Kay Addington

Kay contacted two of the three Home Economics teachers in our county and have found out that sewing is not taught anymore…they don’t even have sewing machines.  So with that news we will have to look for volunteers to help make the costumes.  The biggest expense of course will be the material for making the costumes. We don’t think we can afford to buy them ready made as that would run into quite a bit of expense.  We would suggest we see how many volunteers we have in our group and go from there to see  how many costumes we may be able to produce . Iwe think to start with the children’s costumes first as they will probably be the simplest to make.  We really do not know how much the costume closet project might cost… depends on how much material we have to buy…let’s just say $300.00 for starters.

Ambassadors-to-the-Community Project (Speakers Bureau) Joan Short

The purpose of this project is to create, organize, and schedule a group of speakers who would be willing to represent the DBWTA in public school classrooms, civic groups, library programs, churches groups, or any other situation where the need may arise.

A sign-up form is being designed for distribution to all members of the association for the purpose of discerning information about critical questions such as: Who is interested in making public presentations? Who is available during the day? Who would be available in the evenings? Who would be willing to present as a first person re-enactor? Who would be willing to present as a third person interpreter? Who would be willing to make general presentations on behalf of the goals of the DBWTA?

In order to assure that we are offering consistent information to the public, a major goal of this project is to create historical information sheets—such as the one we have for Blockhouse interpreters—for our speakers to use in all public presentations representing the DBWTA. It is our hope to draw on the extensive expertise in local history which many members and associates of our organization possess in designing these information packets. Understanding that each speaker brings to this project his/her own unique gifts, the information sheets would be designed as a “framework” of historically accurate facts about a particular subject, and not as an actual script. Some of the subjects we hope eventually to include would be:

1. The Wilderness Road: Where was it? What was it?

2. The Blockhouse—its historical significance and its unique design

3. Daniel Boone: Who was he? What was the historical significance of his presence in our area? What was Boone’s Trace?

4. Earliest explorers: Why were they here? What were they hoping to find?

5. Native Americans who occupied this region and their interactions with early settlers

6. Long Island and the historical significance of the area around the Netherland Inn

7. The history of Natural Tunnel

8. The significance of Joseph Martin and Martin’s Station

9. Cumberland Gap and its significance in the Westward movement in this country

10. What is a “longhunter”? What equipment did he use? What game did he hunt?

11. Women on the frontier

12. Historical importance of the rivers in our region

Music Festivals Ron Short Ron was unable to attend

Media Harold Jerrell

Harold is looking at the possibility of a magazine format publication. There are some businesses in Kingsport that do such work. He suggested that grand money could pay for this project. The Virginia Tourism Corporation has marketing leverage grant matching funds available up to $25,000

Election of Officers.

The nominating committee suggested the following slate of officers at the January meeting: President, Bob McConnell, Vice President, Joy Nihil, Treasure, Joe Fuller, Secretary, Wanda McConnell, Historian, Larry Fleenor; and for members of the Board – Harold Jerrell, Jim Addington, Charles Allen, Chad Bogart, Ted Como, Joseph R Brown, Lisa McConnell, Mary Erwin, Benny Reed, and John Stafford. Directors Emeritus are Hal Spoden and Keith Wilson. Wanda withdrew her name and nominated Sally Kelly for secretary. John Stafford moved that the slate of officers be accepted, Michael Beard seconded the motion and it was approved. Bill Smith moved that the slate of officers be accepted by acclimation, that was seconded by Harold Jerrell, and approved.

New Business

Charlie Allen presented to the Assoc. a tomahawk and a photo, donations for the Interpretive Center.

Megan reported on an education project she has underway for the Park. It is being done in cooperation with Pam Eddy at Cumberland Gap National Historic Park, Wilderness Road State Park, retired Wise County teacher Joan Short, and Scott County teacher Karen Seaver. Area educators were asked for their needs from parks in terms of meeting Virginia state educational goals across the curriculum. She is asking for $850 in funding from the Association. Bill Smith made a motion that be do so, it was seconded by Michael Beard, and approved.

Sally made a motion that the Association fund the publication of our Blockhouse book, authored by William Anderson and others. It was seconded by Wanda and approved.

The meeting was adjourned at 1:50