History runs deep in the heart of Southwest Virginia, through the Cumberland Gap and into Kentucky. To help preserve that history, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park interpreter Pam Eddy and Wilderness Road State Park concessions manager Mike Brindle have collaborated on a piece of artwork that captures the very essence of the westward movement.
This massive interpretive sign will be made of metal with the notch of the fabled Cumberland Gap very noticeable in its overall design. It measures 10 feet by 10 feet, with the rich red sunset, spirits of the Cherokee warriors, and the settlers heading west led by Daniel Boone capturing “The Dark and Bloody Ground,” the name given Kentucky at the time of settlement in the mid-eighteenth century. Northern and southern Native American tribes, particularly the Cherokee and Shawnee, had long fought over this region, known for its rich hunting grounds, favored salt licks and bountiful fresh water springs.
When Richard Henderson of the Transylvania Land Company signed the Treaty of Sycamore Shoals in 1775, purchasing the land known as Kentucky from the Cherokee, Daniel Boone was taken aside by a Cherokee Chief, whom he had grown familiar with, and told, “Brother, we have sold you a fine land, but you will have much trouble in settling it, for I have seen a dark cloud over that land.” Fiery Chief Dragging Canoe also warned they had secured a dark and bloody ground.
“When Pam first approached me about the idea of creating this wonderful interpretive sign, I listened to her description and immediately pictured this scene in my mind,” stated Brindle. “Using Photoshop, I took various photos of interpreters in period costume, combined them with a brilliant red sunset, the distant mountain terrain and added ‘see-through’ spirits of two Cherokee Warriors, watching over the settlers heading westward. We have a wonderful partnership with the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park and this project is just another example of our combined effort to interpret the Wilderness Road and the amazing history we are blessed with in this area.”
For more information on Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, call 606-248-2817.