WHEELING, W.Va. – – West Virginia Independence Hall (WVIH) in Wheeling will host the seventh program of the Fort Henry Commemoration Speaker Series in the courtroom at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, July 27. The speaker series is observing the 240th anniversary year of the first siege of Fort Henry and the 235th anniversary of the second siege. The program is free and open to the public.
Allan Spencer, historian and author, will present the lecture “War Process of Native American Warriors at Fort Henry.” Spencer’s research into the culture of the Eastern Woodlands tribes provides insights into their decision-making process leading to warfare. He provides demonstrations at various historic sites, hoping to shed light on how Eastern Woodlands Natives lived. Spencer has written a three-volume work titled They Gave the Scalp Halloo and is currently working on a fourth volume.
While making many family trips to historic sites, Spencer grew up with a strong tie to history, and during his travels to Africa, the Middle East and Central America, he developed a passion for learning about other cultures. After graduating from high school, Spencer enlisted in the United States Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. After 22 years of service and deployments to three different conflicts, he retired with the rank of captain. Spencer also is an avid Native American reenactor. After seeing his first reenactment at Fort Henry Days in 1997, he has been involved with that event almost every year since.
The yearlong program is co-hosted by the Wheeling Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution and the Fort Henry Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution (DAR).
West Virginia Independence Hall has been on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) since 1970. It was originally built as a federal custom house in 1859, served as the home of the pro-Union state conventions of Virginia during the spring and summer of 1861 and as the capitol of loyal Virginia from June 1861 to June 1863. It also was the site of the first constitutional convention for West Virginia.
Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1988, the museum is maintained and operated by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, with the cooperation and assistance of the West Virginia Independence Hall Foundation. The museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, except for major holidays. The museum is located on the corner of 16th and Market Streets in Wheeling.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is proud to be able to present its programs at no charge to the public but without a solution to the state’s budget situation, this could be the last year that programs of this type could be offered. The division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, is an agency within the Office of Secretary of Education and the Arts with Gayle Manchin, cabinet secretary. It brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the division’s programs, events and sites, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.