West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture & History

History Alive! Character David Hunter Strother to visit West Virginia Independence Hall on Sept. 22


WHEELING, W.Va. – David Hunter Strother, aka Porte Crayon, will make a special appearance at West Virginia Independence Hall (WVIH) in downtown Wheeling at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22.

The West Virginia Humanities Council’s History Alive! Character, portrayed by Don Teter of Monterville, W.Va., will discuss his experiences as a writer, illustrator and Civil War soldier. A reception will follow the program, which is free and open to the public.

Strother was born in Martinsburg, W.Va., trained as an artist in Europe and gained fame as a writer and illustrator for national magazines under the name Porte Crayon. He illustrated several early travel stories, including The Blackwater Chronicle that shared the exploits of an 1851 expedition of sportsmen into the Canaan Valley. From Charles Town he reported and illustrated John Brown’s capture, trial and execution for Harper’s Weekly in 1859. Strother served as a Union officer and topographer who saw action in several major Civil War battles.

The History Alive! program brings historical characters to life through portrayals by presenters who have conducted scholarly research on their character. The presentations consist of three parts, beginning with a monologue in which the character introduces the historical, social and political issues of the era, followed by the character initiating a discussion with the audience, allowing time for questions, debate and disagreements with the character. The program wraps up with the presenter breaking character to answer questions as a researcher.

The West Virginia Humanities Council program is being hosted by WVIH. The Humanities Council is a private, not-for-profit organization that has provided educational programs in the humanities for all West Virginians for more than 30 years.

For more information, contact Travis Henline, site manager at WVIH, at (304) 238-1300 or email him at travis.l.henline@wv.gov.

West Virginia Independence Hall, 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 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with the exception of 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 an agency within the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts with Kay Goodwin, Cabinet Secretary. The Division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, 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.

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Media: A photo of Don Teter as David Hunter Strother is available upon request.


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