New artifacts unveiled at Discovery Park during annual celebration of David Crockett’s birthday

Author and historian Ted Franklin Belue joins as special guest

(Union City, Tenn., July 2, 2024) – Discovery Park of America will celebrate David Crockett’s birthday on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2024 with interactive activities, live demonstrations by craftspeople, a performance and community jam session led by Mulberry Jam and the unveiling of new artifacts on display in three areas of the heritage park.

Ted Franklin Belue, winner of the Western Writers of America’s prestigious Spur Award, will appear for the first time at Discovery Park that day. Belue is the author of “Finding Daniel Boone,” “The Hunters of Kentucky: A Narrative History of America’s First Far West, 1750-1792,” The Long Hunt: Death of Buffalo East of the Mississippi and more than 100 essays in trade and scholarly publications. He’s also an educator and musician who has consulted for numerous films including “Last of the Mohicans.”

New artifacts going on display are a collection of hunting guns belonging to the late Allen Homra, a Boone and Crockett Club “Pioneers of Conservation Rifle” and reproductions of a pair of rare carte de visite photographs of Susan Godsey, a.k.a. Obion County’s Sleeping Beauty, recently acquired by the museum.

The collection of guns belonging to Homra is on loan from his family and will be added to the Homra Lodge, a cabin donated to Discovery Park by the Critchlow family. The guns from Homra’s collection will enhance Duck, Duck, Goose: Waterfowl of the Mississippi Flyway,” an exhibit on waterfowl hunting and conservation. Significant gifts for the exhibit were made in memory of Homra and his father, William A. (Bill) Homra. Both were businessmen who had a passion for the sport of waterfowl hunting. Ducks Unlimited, the world’s leader in wetlands and waterfowl conservation was also a premier sponsor of the exhibit.

The Boone and Crockett Club “Pioneers of Conservation Rifle” will be on display in The Roosevelt Cabin, also part of the exhibit on waterfowl hunting and conservation. That cabin was donated to Discovery Park by the Wade family. The rare collectible is built on a fully functioning Henry Repeating Arms .45-70 caliber rifle. Within the high gloss nickel finish of this rifle, in 24 Karat gold, are engraved iconic reliefs that feature both Theodore Roosevelt and George Bird Grinnell in the great outdoors. The Boone and Crockett Club, founded in 1887 by Roosevelt and Grinnell, is the oldest organization in existence dedicated to wildlife conservation in North America.

The rifle will be an addition to the current exhibit where guests discover how The Maltese Cross Cabin and the Dakota Badlands ignited Roosevelt’s lifelong passion for preserving America’s natural heritage. Ultimately, Roosevelt used his power as president to establish 150 national forests, 4 national game preserves, 5 national parks and 18 national monuments on over 230 million acres of public land.

The cabins with the collection of Homra guns and the Boone and Crockett Club “Pioneers of Conservation Rifle” can be found at The William A. (Bill) Homra Lodge and Landing at The Settlement at Discovery Park.

Reproductions of the rare carte de visite photographs of Susan Godsey recently acquired by Discovery Park will be on display in the Sleeping Beauty exhibit located in a cabin that was donated by the Hicks family. Susan Godsey was born in 1836 in Gibson County, Tennessee and moved to Obion County with her family when she was seven. After an undetermined childhood illness that resulted in several years of symptoms, including convulsions, fever and chills, Godsey began sleeping 23 hours each day for the remainder of her life. She died in 1873 at age 37.

“Very few images of Susan Godsey are known to exist, so we are thrilled to be able to add two more to our collection,” said Jennifer Wildes, Discovery Park’s senior director of exhibits and collections. “The artifacts also provide an interesting discovery. Past research has indicated that the family often refused the exploitation of Godsey’s illness. However, the description printed on the back would suggest otherwise.”

There are many places at Discovery Park where guests can experience folk hero, frontiersman, politician and West Tennessee settler David Crockett every day. He lived in Northwest Tennessee from 1822 until he departed for the Alamo in 1835. Crockett was also one of the earliest hunters around nearby Reelfoot Lake. Included at Discovery Park is a statue dedicated to the frontiersman, a Congressional exhibit in Liberty Hall at Freedom Square, a reproduction of Crockett’s portrait by John Gadsby Chapman and a replica of his first rifle.

The events and programs for Discovery Park’s celebration of David Crockett’s birthday are all free with admission or membership.

Schedule of Events:

All events are in The Settlement unless otherwise stated.

10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. | Exploring Sheep Farming: A Hands-On Demonstration with Grant Saum

Guests will have the opportunity to gain fascinating insights into the world of sheep farming today compared to livestock practices in the frontier period from Saum, an award-winning sheep farmer.

11:00 a.m. and 1 p.m. | Reelfoot Lake Birds of Prey Animal Encounter in the Regional History Gallery

Presented by Reelfoot Lake State Park, offering guests a unique opportunity to view these magnificent creatures up close and learn about their importance in nature.

11:30 a.m. | The History of Fur Trapping

Guests can explore the evolution of fur trapping with Micah Seavers, owner/founder of Seavers Beavers and WHOA (Walking Humbly Outdoor Adventures).

12:15 p.m. | Mulberry Jam Performance

A five-piece band that plays period songs of the past with traditional instruments and arrangements of the string dance performers of the 19th and early 20th century.

1:30 p.m. | Finding Daniel Boone featuring Tedd Franklin Belue, hosted by Discovery Park CEO Scott Williams

Author and historian Ted Franklin Belue shares his story of how searching for Daniel Boone’s final resting place resulted in a book that examines the legendary woodsman’s life as much as his death. Belue will also be signing his books which will be for sale in Discovery Park’s gift shop.

2:15 p.m. | Community Jam Session led by Mulberry Jam

All local musicians are invited to participate in the one-hour jam session. All participants are encouraged to bring their own instruments. Find out more on the jam session FAQs page.

All-day Activities (10 a.m.-4 p.m.)

Woodworking demonstrations with Jeb Ewer, owner of Sand Creek Woodworking

Blacksmithing in the Forge at Mill Ridge, hosted by members of the Tennessee River Artist Blacksmith Association

Axe throwing demonstrations with Randal Dilday, long-time Discovery Park volunteer and local historian

Frybread cooking demonstrations with Kimberly Greene Bugg, member of the Oneida Nation on the Six Nations Reserve in Ontario, Canada

J.C. Stahlman’s The Living Historians will bring the past to life with authentic camps, period clothing and other accessories used in the 1800s.

Book signing with historian and author, Ted Franklin Belue

Flintknapping demonstrations with Reelfoot Area Flintknappers

For more information or to plan your trip to Discovery Park, visit

This event is brought to you in part by Jarred Mayo: Allstate Insurance of Martin, Tennessee.

Photo caption: Guests exploring The Settlement
on the grounds of Discovery Park at the 2023 David
Crockett Birthday Celebration.

Download High-Resolution Photo

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