Thursday, February 19, 2009

Princess Aracoma

This is the story of how my hometown, Logan, West Virginia was settled:

As I remember the Aracoma story when I was a kid, the white settlers befriended Chief Logan and Boling Baker married his daughter, Aracoma. Then the settlers massacred the indians and built the town of Logan. What I have printed in this blog is what the Princess Aracoma website that I found says. The truth has been whitewashed (so to speak). It is sad that people feel the need to rewrite history rather than acknowledge it - then again, maybe I just remember the story wrong.

Logan County, West Virginia, lays claim to one of America's most romatic legends, the story of Princess Aracoma. The story grew in Logan County around the authentic details of an incident in the history of the region more than 200 years ago.The story asserts that Princess Aracoma and Boling Baker moved into this valley sometime close to the year 1760 and lived in peace on the island (today's City of Logan) until 1780.

In 1915, while the Abdoney Building was being constructed on the 100 Block of Stratton Street, workmen uncovered a grave that was eight feet deep which was considerably deeper than other Shawnee Indian graves in the county. In the grave was a skeleton of a young woman wearing a necklace of buckhorn beads. The string had rotted away, but the necklace was still arranged around her neck. The gravesite was located at the bend of the Guyandotte River, almost exactly where the old and half-forgotten folklore claims was the final resting place of Princess Aracoma.

"The Aracoma Story" blends tales of the Shawnee Indians with the story of young love. Boling Baker, a scout from General Braddock's Army, is captured by the Shawnee who are led by Chief Cornstalk. He is rescued from death by Cornstalk's daughter, Aracoma, and adopted into the tribe that moved to the island in the Guyandotte Valley. The drama tells how Baker and Aracoma's people were weakened by disease and how a raid, lead by Baker to steal horses, ended in the destruction of this adoptive tribe.

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