American frontier life at the Parks at Chehaw - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

American frontier life at the Parks at Chehaw

January 10, 2004

Albany -- Disease, wild animals, harsh weather,those are just some of the elements 17th century families had to face on the American Frontier. And this weekend you can see how they overcame those obstacles at a special event at the Parks at Chehaw.

"They'd go out and kill their meat," says re-enactor, Verna Benslay. "They had to preserve that meat then she still had to school her children". Benslay and her husband demonstrate the hard life of frontier pioneers. And for Verna, the experience has opened her eyes to the vital role women played in survival of their families. "I respect them whole heartily. They had more guts then I do,"she says.

"You have never had to live in a bad place until you have to live on a mud floor. They had to stomp it down and keep it sanded, says re-enactor,Veronica Wiese. The annual festival recreates for visitors the black powder rendezvous of the 17th and 1800's held along the Rocky Mountains. Women of the period not only had to deal with the rough terrain but oppressive attitudes. "Being able to do anything I want know and compare that to a women of the 1700's that had so many limitations," says Wiese. Now the 200 year old stories of the lives of American frontier women are being retold by their daughters so their hardships and achievements are not soon forgotten.

This is the eleventh Frontier Festival at the Parks of Chehaw. The event runs through Sunday.

posted at 6:35PM by scott.hunter@walb.com