LIGONIER — A direct descendant of legendary frontiersman Daniel Boone will give a first-person performance at “Five Medals at The Trace presents Daniel Boone!” Saturday at Stone’s Trace Historic Site. U.S. 33 and S.R. 5 south of Ligonier.
Steve Caudill will share the story of his ancestor in a first-person presentation about the real Daniel Boone, who discovered and opened the door leading to the nation’s original western expansion, the gateway through the Appalachian Mountains called the Cumberland Gap.
Caudill’s presentation begins Saturday at noon. Caudill, a native of Winchester, Kentucky and former police detective, will present a first person account of “An exciting journey of Boone’s capture by Shawnee while on a hunting adventure,” which will also include Boone’s escape and journey back to Kentucky on foot.
Caudill has portrayed Daniel Boone for over 15 years, but has been interested in the man versus the myth since childhood. He now lives down the road from the site of Boone’s actual Fort Boonesborough, just south of Lexington, Kentucky. Steve Caudill is endorsed by the Boone Family as the official Boone portrayer. The Boone Family is an organization of descendants, genealogists and historians dedicated to preserving the factual history of Daniel Boone.
Five Medals at The Trace is a living history educational experience that offers an exciting adventure, including musket and cannon fire, Native American encampments, regional period-correct artisans, early American shopping opportunities, and one-of-a-kind history lessons. The event features more than 180 reenactors and demonstrators spanning the middle 1600s up through the War of 1812.
Along with holiday shopping opportunities and early American crafts galore, visitors will find several great food options, along with restroom facilities and generous parking.
Five Medals at The Trace is presented by Five Medals Living History, Inc. a for-public-benefit non-profit organization.
Five Medals was a well-regarded chief of the St. Joseph River Band of Potawatomi named Wonongaseah, or(Wa-weeg-she), as his name was ascribed into the treaty next to his mark. He was also known as Onaska.
Wonongasaeah was known by several names, which roughly translated to the medals which adorned him, so he become known as Five Medals. He lived on the Elkhart River northwest of present-day Ligonier. He traveled with Little Turtle to Philadelphia in 1796, where he met with President George Washington, and in 1801 to Washington, D.C., where he met with and delivered an oration to President Thomas Jefferson. He was present and gave an oration at the famous Mississinewa Conference of September 1809.
Following 1795, Five Medals’ village was served by successive agents, William Wells and John Johnston. There were at least two other important villages to the northwest of Fort Wayne, and the main route passing across the grounds on which Stone’s Trace stands today was worn by both Native-Americans and European- Americans.
The events put into motion by the Battle of Tippecanoe on Nov. 7, 1811, swallowed the entire region. Five Medals found himself caught in the storm which ultimately placed him at the Siege of Fort Wayne in September 1812.
General William. H. Harrison’s troops relieved the siege and immediately dispatched columns to conduct punitive raids. A spectator standing at the future Stone’s Trace could have witnessed warriors traveling to Fort Wayne in early September, and their return followed by fast-moving troops commanded by William Wells’ brother, Col. Samuel Wells.
Five Medals’ village was raided and burned to the ground, on Sept. 14, 1812. A second raid happened June 10, 1813.
A stone marker near New Paris in Elkhart County, near C.R. 29 and C.R. 42, commemorates the village of Five Medals, and his remains are interred somewhere nearby. The coordinates are: 41° 31.033° N, 85° 49.004° W.
Stone’s Trace sits at a crossroads of history for the region. To think that important leaders and people who earned lasting fame passed this way is a humbling and reverent thought. Five Medals at the Trace is dedicated to them, to those who strive to reenact history through Living History programming and to visitors.