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‘Treason Island’ – Blennerhassett show chosen for national distribution

PARKERSBURG — A documentary about the Blennerhassetts and Aaron Burr will be nationally distributed.

The National Educational Telecommunications Association has selected “Treason Island: The Blennerhassetts and Aaron Burr” for national distribution to more than 300 public television stations. The association serves public television licensees and educational entities in all states, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

“Treason Island: The Blennerhassetts and Aaron Burr” was produced by MotionMasters, a production firm in the Charleston area.

“We’re thrilled that our film will be seen by viewers across the country,” said Diana Sole, president of MotionMasters and executive producer and scriptwriter for the project. “West Virginia has a rich history, and we love to produce documentaries about our state.”

“Treason Island” is the story of Irish immigrants Harman and Margaret Blennerhassett and their involvement with America’s fallen founder, Aaron Burr.

Blennerhassett, who fled Ireland due to social scandal and his involvement with the Irish revolution, settled on the edge of civilization on the Ohio River at Belpre and Parkersburg in 1798.

He purchased the island on which he built one of the grandest homes west of the Allegheny Mountains.

The Blennerhassetts entertained nobility and American aristocracy at their home, including Burr, and became involved with his political aspirations, leading to “The Trial of the Century” on charges of treason.

The show included experts on the island, Burr and the Blennerhassetts including Ray Swick, historian for the state parks, of Parkersburg.

The documentary, narrated by Kathy Mattea, premiered in the fall of 2021 on West Virginia Public Broadcasting under the title, “The Blennerhassetts.” It was rebranded for national distribution under the title, “Treason Island.” MotionMasters’ documentaries are viewer favorites on WVPBS, which is the presenting station for the film.

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