According to local legend, a brash young lawyer leapt from a window of his tastefully appointed home in Washington to an awaiting steed, evading federal authorities who wanted to arrest him 226 years ago next Sunday.
The lawyer on the lam was David Bradford and his escape, whether dramatic or pulled off with less flamboyance, happened during the Whiskey Rebellion.
The rebellion is generally regarded as the first internal challenge to the authority of the fledgling United States government and its taxing power on rye whiskey.
These events can be hard to visualize 200-some years later, so a mural facing the Bradford House has been taking shape over the past year to help tell the story of the Whiskey Rebellion, thanks to the vision of the Rural Arts Collaborative.
Tracie Liberatore, executive director of the Bradford House Historical Association, said Washington High School students visited the Bradford House at the beginning of the last school year to learn about the era so they could participate in its depiction.
“Even though it is in Washington, most of the students had never been to the house. when school year started,” she said.
Claysville artist Diane Adams began planning the mural months ago, and local residents in costume posed for the students during the school day.
The artist was paid for her expertise and her work with the students, plus supplies, through grants.
The young artists were not permitted to apply paint to the mural, but they could work on wooden cutouts that were later mounted on the brick.
“There was a liability issue,” said Carmelle Nickens, who manages the Rural Arts Collaborative.
The pandemic disrupted in-school instruction, but work continued.
“When we were in lockdown I painted some of the finer detail stuff in my studio,” Adams said.
With the advent of warm weather, the project moved on site.
“She amazes me, what she can get done in a day,” Liberatore said of Adams from her office across the street at the Whiskey Rebellion Education and Visitor Center.
Liberatore envisions a large map of the many Whiskey Rebellion sites in the center, and she also expects art to eventually adorn its walls.
“When you tour the David Bradford house, you learn about him and his residence, but at the center, there will be visuals and information about the context,” Liberatore said.
The outdoor mural was to be finished before this past summer’s Whiskey Rebellion Festival, but what had been an annual event was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Instead, the dedication of the mural next to 175 S. Main St. is scheduled for Nov. 10.
Nickens, founder of the Rural Arts Collaborative, and Jim Denova, vice president of the Benedum Foundation, are scheduled to kick it off at 5.15 p.m. in person and via Zoom through 6:30 p.m.
Plans call for guests wearing face coverings to gather in the garden of the Bradford House Museum.
Adams will be there, as will Washington High School art students who worked on the project.
The Bradford House Museum will be open for those who would like to walk through, although only 10 visitors are allowed inside at one time and they must wear face coverings.
To access the Zoom link for the event, visit https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82251627865