Taylor will be portrayed by his great-great-great-great-grandson, Gerald Taylor of Forkland. Gerald’s son, Jeff Taylor, a fourth great-grandson to Leonard, also of Forkland, will be portraying a younger soldier Leonard — in a “memory bubble,” so to speak — while the older Leonard (Gerald) shares one of his war memories with the audience. Gerald’s grandson, Christopher Jones of Somerset, a fifth-great grandson to Leonard and currently a student at University of Kentucky, also may assist in the portrayal.
Other characters who will be portrayed during the festival are:
** Charles Kirkland, who escaped the Battle of Perryville with the family’s belongings, returns to Forkland.
Charles Kirkland will be portrayed by his great-great-grandson, John Kirkland, who will begin the story from the time Charles King Kirkland and his wife, Caroline, and children were forced to leave their home during the Battle of Perryville.
“They moved from Perryville to Forkland and never returned to their house that was used as a hospital for wounded soldiers,” said John Kirkland. “They left with only the things they could carry.”
** Wayne Thurman, an early medicine man, will present his “cure-all” medicine.
Thurman portrays a traveling medicine man who will try to sell his stuff that “will cure what ails you.” He has treatments for thinning hair that can be rubbed on or imbibed. It will grow new hair or take off old hair, he said, adding, “it won’t cure cancer.”
He will have a noise maker consisting of a pole tambourine and other items to make enough noise to attract attention.
** Lourrae Ewbank will portray a public health nurse in 1940s and ’50s, who will tell what health care was like during that period. The public health nurse’s main job was to go to schools and vaccinate children from smallpox, polio and other childhood diseases. She will wear a period uniform with white cap, dress, socks and shoes.
Ewbank will tell stories from others who experienced the vaccinations and tell the role of the health nurse in rural communities. She plans to have some young cousins acting as nursing students.
** Ben Gorley, an early storekeeper and blacksmith at Polena, will be portrayed by Alex Gorley, a great-great-grandson.
Ben will be dressed in bib overalls and talk about how things were owning a business in past years. He will carry a tool box with antique tools similar to what his grandfather would have used in the blacksmith business.
** Bob Gorley will demonstrate how to find underground water as pioneers did during the early settlement of Forkland.
The ancient practice was essential in finding water in early settlements in Kentucky.
Gorley has used willow and peach limbs like his father, W.T., used to find water for folks.
“I thought it would not work, but he said I could find water,” said Gorley. “I have had a limb to almost twist out of my hand when it goes to the source of water.
After learning that he could find an underground vein of water, he has done the job several times.
He will have some branches to allow spectators to try their hand at water witching.