by G.T. Swain
After the Battle of Point Pleasant and the death of Chief Cornstalk, in 1774, the Shawnees in West Virginia were under the command of Cornstalk's lovely daughter, Princess Aracoma. Yet, it was fourteen years prior to Cornstalk's death that the princess and many of her people had already moved into a lush valley in what is now southern West Virginia (Midelburg Island, in Logan County). While there, the princessï¾ is credited with settling a conflict between the native population and the earliest settlers coming into the region, which involved her eventual marriage to a white man, Boling Baker. Aracoma brought peace to the territory, became the undisputed leader of her proud people, and lived among them until her death in 1780. This special volume documents the true story of Princess Aracoma and the original settling of the Mountain State.
"Princess Aracoma and the Settling of West Virginia" (Woodland Press, 120 pages, $12.95) is less controversial but still of interest to history buffs.
The story of the beautiful Princess Aracoma, daughter of Indian chief Cornstalk and her love for and marriage to white soldier Boling Baker, is also the subject of a popular outdoor drama (link:ï¾ http://aracoma2009.com/) that this year will be presented July 21-Aug. 8 at The Liz Spurlock Amphitheatre at Chief Logan State Park.
Davis says the book is based on Swain's account of the death of Chief Cornstalk in 1774 near present-day Point Pleasant, WV, and the subsequent trek of the Shawnees following Cornstalk's daughter, Princess Aracoma, into present-day Midelburg Island in Logan County.
"This book aptly describes the settling of the Mountain State and explains how Princess Aracoma resolved a difficult conflict between the American Indian population and the region's earliest settlers," Davis added.
Swain was a student of H. Clay Ragland, a Confederate veteran, renowned attorney, accomplished historian and the first publisher of The Logan County Banner-Logan County's newspaper. Swain's own research is skillfully merged with an earlier work by Ragland. The result is a true story and an exciting adventure, involving Indian Princess Aracoma, that takes place upon the immense backdrop of American history.
Published from Huntingtonnews.net, May 2009 By David M. Kinchen, Huntingtonnews.net Book Critic
About the author:
G.T. Swain was a self-taught journalist and accomplished historian that focused on Virginia and West Virginia history. At the time of this particular writing, in 1927, he was a reporter for The Logan Banner, a newspaper located in the county seat of Logan County, WV.