History of Fort Massac brought to life

History of Fort Massac brought to life
By: Carly O'Keefe
METROPOLIS, Ill. - The sounds of cannon blasts and musket fire could be heard for miles around Fort Massac State Park over the weekend. It was the 250th Anniversary of the first French-built fort erected at Fort Massac back in 1757.
Re-enactors from the Heartland and beyond brought to life the French, British and Native American troops that would have battled at Fort Massac during the French and Indian War. While they fought on opposite sides, those who took part were united in by a common hobby.
"We like portraying the past the way our ancestors and relatives lived," said Re-enactor Jeremy Biggs who traveled with his family all the way from Michigan for the weekend-long event.  

Entire families like Bear Whitworth's take part in reenacting the lives of settlers, soldiers and Native Americans. When he's not reenacting, Whitworth is a U.S. Army officer stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky. "I'm on leave right now. I took leave to spend time with my sons and do this," said Whitworth.

Whitworth and his sons dress and act the part of Native Americans who lived in the 1750's. "We just appreciate the culture so we started reenacting as a Native American family," said Whitworth.

It's not just a love of history that inspires folks like Whitworth to reenact. It's also about teaching his sons the values of the past in order to appreciate the comforts of the present. "We got into it really for the living anthropology of it. It's really easier to understand history if you live it and understand it how they slept, ate and lived. The lessons it's taught my sons have been invaluable," said Whitworth.

Fort Massac's largest weekend of living history happens every October. It draws nearly 100,000 people from all over the country to reenact the battles and every day lives of those who lived in the 1700's.