Fort Pitt

Fort Pitt
Center of the ohio country universe

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Blanket coats, cappa coats, capots and A.D.D.


My Blanket coat and punch bowl....great way to stay warm in the morning


IMage of Canadians....note edging on coats and closure with ties


Image of British soldier in capot/blanket coat.....probably close to what John Henry wore

YOU NEED A BLANKET COAT!




This weather is weird. I swear it’s been fall for like 48 hours so far. The rest of the time the temps jump between freezing and the 90’s. I know I keep griping about this it’s just I’d like a season between august and 3 feet of snow. I should feel like watching zombie movies, deer hunting and getting ready for a winter hunt. The best season to be in the woods is when the message boards are full of people fighting about camouflage and loading blocks.
I picked up a killer traine/toboggan made By Mike Galban (for you southern guys a toboggan is a sled not a hat) and a pair of snow shoes. I have my winter mocs almost finished and leggings cut out. And it’s really tough to get to sewing when it’s 65 degrees outside and the trees in the yard are full of leaves. Argh….
So One project I’ve been fixated on lately (among the 27 other projects A.D.D. sucks) for this fall/winter season has been a new blanket coat. Ok not for me…well kinda….Ok hear me out. I have a killer blanket coat that like most of my clothes I got from Travis Crowder (it’s awesome to have friends with OCD/ADD and make historic clothes) The Coat was made from a Whitney blanket and is based off a few images (I’ll cover in this article). It Rules…but….I’ve found a number of other info on Blanket coats so I kinda want one of each….sick I know. I also think these are an item that is way underrepresented among “backcountry” folks. Matchcoats are great but….sleeves and hoods are greater.
Ok First off let me clarify the difference between a capot and a blanket coat…..99% of the time nothing. From what I can tell blanket coats/capots/cappa coats/capos are all an over garment cut like a coat and in many cases have a hood attached. I feel (****assumption***) that the big difference between the two might simply be the material they are cut out of. Blanket coats cut from blankets and capots/cappa coats/capos out of standard cloth.
Man I can feel the hate mail starting already…..Ok These items are worn by Both French and “English” folks in the backcountry and as a result are items Natives in both spheres of influence adopt pretty quickly (much like knit caps, leggings, Moccasins and breechclouts)
Description of Paxton boys
“dressed in blanket coats and moccasins like our Indian traders or back country waggoners”
AT Fort Pitt/Vincennes/kaskaskia we can see these items being purchased by English hunters along with other cold weather gear:
John Hamilton Jan 4 1768
To the following goods at Fort Pitt
1 pr shoes 10/
1 pr leggings 7/6
1 blanket coat 32/
1pr Mittens 4/
One thing that I found interesting is that the blanket coats are being made “in house” so to speak. Tailors at the fort are making the blanket coats:

Fort Pitt October 15,1767
To piercy Thomas for making 6 blanket coats ….1.10._
To John Hutchinson making 10 ditto…2.10._
To Peter Mckaughney making 6 ditto…1.10._
Fort Pitt Oct 27 1768
To Peter McKeaughney for making eight blanket coats for Batteau men 2.0.0

The papers also go on to give details about just what type of cloth these are being made from or what types of blankets were on hand:
BWM papers: 1764 “118 damaged matchcoats to be made in Blanket coats”
March 13 1768
“ 18 three pointed French matchcoats,….18 ½ yards corded blue stroud, 17 ¼ plain blue ditto, 1 dirty blanket which appears to have a large red striped one but all the stripes were torn off only one red thread left at one end” (so they were thread counting in the period….sorry had to say it. Also note that there is corded stroud and plain stroud listed. Not all stroud cloth had the white list edge/stripe…..but that’s what the cool kids wore)

Some runaway ads also point out the types of blankets used in Blanket coats:
WARWICK, November 15, 1775. RUN away from the Subscriber's Plantation in Prince Edward County, on Saturday the 11th Instant, four Negro Fellows, viz. PRINCE, CATO, CHARLES or TRASH, and BILLY BURTON.-…... All of them but Trash were clothed this Fall in Dutch Blanket Coats and Breeches, Trash had Clothes such as Water Negroes generally wear,

There is also small mentions of other colors from a number of sources. Famed Ranger Sam Brady was spotted wearing a “sky blue” cappo and in his Interview Benjamin sites mentioned a neat story about a friend wearing a possible BROWN cappo :
“The other Indian caught him by the cappo, and tore off a great slit. As he passed along he came to a great log and threw himself into the forks of it. His cappo being of the same color, he heard the Indians run along and back without seeing him.” (I know some of you will now probably consider making a capot/blanket coat because of that quote….awesome)

Sites also comments a little more on their use:
“I bought a cappo of Blackfish, that I had to freeze, to get the lice out.Broadcloth”. (I wore one full of ticks the other day does that count?)
“the Indians frequently wore…cappos, etc on their scouts. The one that killed Uncle David Jennings had a cappo and cocked hat…”

And for the other Camp another mention of a white blanket coat from John Henry who was on Arnolds campaign into Canada:
“having a fine white blanket coat, and turning my cap or “bonnet rouge” inside out, the inside being white, made me as it were, invisible in the snow..” (is that describing a lined canadian cap?)

Now….construction, Like I said I cheat I have a Crowder that lives on my other couch and sews clothes for himself that he grows bored with and gives to me. The pattern He used for my Blanket coat started out life as a La Fleur de Lyse “capot” pattern . Travis Did some tweaking cut off the overlap so it tied close and bound the edges with blue tape. This style binding can be seen in an 18th century image of Canadians wearing capots. For a native Capot/blanket coat James Smith had a “tinsel laced cappa coat”.He also shrunk the cuffs from the massive early bucket cuff style.
SO this is one route to go and to my knowledge is the only good 18th century capot/blanket coat pattern. Another route is one suggested to me By Ike Walters a few years ago and he did a write up and that shows you how to adjust a standard coat pattern to a capot/blanket coat. One thing to keep in mind when doing this is that you should choose a coat pattern from your time period. Images of 1750’s capots look different from 1770’s styles just like the cut of a mans coat.
As for a source for commercially made capots/blanket coats…wel flying canoe traders sell an early capot but other then that all I’ve seen are 19th cent knock offs and weirdness. To be honest the flying canoe ones IMHO need some work (but I’m not a big fan of machine sewing).
As far as use in the field goes….I’ve found them to be great to wear all year round. Layered with other clothes in the colder months they cant be beat. They are great at keeping you semi dry in spring/summer showers. In fact they are a great item to carry in place of a blanket or 2nd blanket. Well I should be weaving or sewing or reading or writing……ADD sux

La Fleur De Lyse Patterns
http://www.neheleniapatterns.com/english/lafleurdelyse.html

Ike walter’s blog…..He’s a great resource of info….too bad its French info
http://frenchinwisconsin.yolasite.com/my-blog.php

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Native Workshops at Fort Niagara

If you take my class you learn how to weave with children on your back!

You'll be able to teach Babies to weave!
you can also learn to:
weave in a car!
weave on an airplane!
weave in a Bar ! (ya know you were thinking it...crowder.. you bastard)
weave during a steelers game!
and weave during family holiday gatherings.... and still feign interest! ACT now!
I'm totaly gona weave a snuggy...



ANYHOW....For anyone interested I'll be giving a talk on fingerweaving at Old Fort Niagara in a few weeks. There are also some other GREAT talks being given by Mike Galban, Ward Oles and Eric Schatzel (i dont know the beading lady but I'm sure the class is top notch and well worth it) contact old Fort Niagara if your interested.


Native Workshop Series


November 2010


Proudly hosted by Old Fort Niagara
in the Officer’s Club Building

Learn the necessary skills that 18th and early 19th century Native Americans used in
making their accutrements and various other adornments under the instruction of some
of the best craftsmen available. Materials for all classes are provided.
Participants will get to take home a finished craft.


11/6/2010

BEADWORK

with Rosie Hill

9:30am - 12:30pm
Cost: $30.00.
MAX: 20 people.

11/13/2010

FINGERWEAVING

with Nathan Kobuck

9:00am - 12:00pm
Cost: $45.00
MAX: 10 people.

Optional lunch 8.00/person.

QUILLWORK

with Michael Galban

1:00pm - 4:00pm
Cost: $45.00
MAX: 10 people.

11/14/2010

TRADE SILVER

with Ward Oles

10:00am - 12:30pm
Cost: $50.00

- Very Reasonable!


MAX: 10 people.

Lunch provided.

ARCHERY

with Eric Schatzel

2:00pm - 5:00pm
Cost: $30.00
MAX: 10 people

To make reservations, call Cindy Liddell at (716) 745-7611, ext. 230.
Prepayment is preferred.

day hunt or is that a squirrel in your pocket?

The Burtilino/schreangaust gun.....so ugly but it kills stuff

Pocket Trash....checked bag of parched corn tied to my canteen....firekit/tobac pouch/compass/book in left pocket.....Powder measure is an original Pipebowl Also use it to measure shot when taking my time to load....shot snake and scarf with gun eqipment in right pocket....knife in trousers pocket


At the "onion Patch" my favorite place at my camp.....trying out the camera's timer
"


Well I was able to take my new gun for a walk yesterday and for a few hours this morning (saw nothing this morning). I traded a horn strap to a buddy for a broken up .54 smoothbore parts gun. So after a week of gluing/soldering/polishing and rawhide wrapping It was ready to go. And man is This gun is ugly.
I decided to leave my shot pouch at home and just carry all my gear in my pockets. In my right pocket I carried some loose .32 cal ball, my shot snake and a small scarf with turn screw, cleaning toggle and spare flints wrapped in it. In my left pocket I carried a pocket compass, notebook/lead pencil, fire kit and tobacco pouch.In my trouser pocket I carried a pocket knife. These items along with my horn with attached new (old) pipe bowl powder measure and canteen/food wallet was all the stuff I carried.
I know it sounds like a lot for a day hunt (though I’ve seen many folks carry A LOT more) I wanted to try out a simple rig for an upcoming few day hunt I’m getting ready for. I have to say this set up would work for a many day hunt with the addition of a few items in a knapsack/wallet.
The clothes I wore was a pair of viriginia cloth trousers, Linen waistcoat, wool jacket and hunting shirt. On my feet I wore my wool stockings and a pair of mocs. The temps went from 40-upper 50’s so I went with wearing a knit cap under my round hat. I have to say that I was really comfortable all day long. I covered a lot of ground and would then plant myself in a blind. I never once got overheated/cold.
Right off the bat my new rig got it’s first test on speed loading. Along the top of the first ridge I walked I came across a few squirrels hanging out eating hickory nuts. I pulled up on the first squirrel I saw and bam! Or should I say *long flash…….bang! A hangfire….and yup you guessed it lack of follow through (DOH!) So I quickly loaded watching the squirrels move off to my left.
I dropped down to the next table and ran the direction I had last seen the squirrels bolt. Well either I overestimated the distance they traveled or am way faster then I thought (probably the first) but looking into the trees ahead of me I almost walked right by a big fox squirrel 20 feet away. SO I pulled up and Bam….dead squirrel.
The rest of the day was less eventful though I did see around 20 deer, flush a few grouse and see the world’s biggest woodpecker. I also gathered some dogbane shoots for making cordage. It was just nice to get outside and scout out some area for fall turkey.
The pocket “shot pouch” seemed to work out really well. It cut down on the straps and all the weirdness that goes along with that. Nothing to cut into my shoulders or shift around to get in the way. I also knew which pocket to get into for what so it got rid off the digging thru a pouch for everything. I also wouldn’t really have needed much more gear to stay out for a few more days at all. I’m going to head out with this kit a few more times and then try it out at the Welbourne event for 2 nights out.
Now please before the hate mail starts I am by no means suggesting hunting/shot bags are wrong. In fact I’m a huge fan of shot bags I have quite a collection at this point. In fact they end up being d├ęcor in different rooms as I keep buying/making more. I’m just putting some info out on something I felt like trying.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

greensburg show and Stockings

Some of the woven stuff I cranked out over the past few weeks....next tumplines

Bag hose.....these things rock...if you can sew a running stitch and use a tape measure you can have correct stockings

First off I'd like to thank all the folks that stopped by my table at the Greensburg CLA show. I'm really amazed at all the people that are actuly reading this thing. The show was awesome and I got to sit down with Tom Conde for some weaving talk and picked up some pointers on beading. I was also set up next to an awesome young blacksmith Jed Wray. This guy is doing some great knives and tools and I'm hoping to have some of his stuff in the near future to review for you all.
THe high point of the shsow for me was looking at Fred Griser's (sp?) with ALan Gutchess. Alan pointed out some really cool details on a few of fred's guns and I was able to handle a German Import Buck and ball gun. From Alan's research it's a weapon you'd see in the hands of alot of common folks heading west. that being said Alan is a bastard and talked me into one....SO my kids should have a nice Guthrie knife, axe and gutchess gun to look forward too, I'll be dead by then lol and i still need to pay off my type G anyhow....
SO The temp is starting to drop (again) so Its time to start thinking about cold weather gear. The most important piece of gear this time of year is the stuff on your feet. Shoes are an odd deal…at this point I hate fugawee’s…..I only know a few ppl that like these but personaly I found they didn’t hold up well. I also tried the shoes put out by /carried by flying canoe traders. The FC shoes are ok for awhile but have all kinds of construction errors and weirdness in them. But they are way more comfortable then the fugawee’s in my opinion
The Robert Land shoes are ok for me for around a season but if you do much walking in them they fall apart rather quickly. The caveat here is I do a lot of walking/treks in an area that is FULL of iron ore/rocks. So my shoes put up with a lot of wear. If you don’t do much trekking these shoes should be perfect for you in both wear and construction (to a point).
Well I guess I should just get down to brass tacks and focus on stockings….Like I mentioned in an earlier blog Chris Utely stockings are pretty awesome and if your doing more walking then from the car to the campsite they are right up your alley for knitted stockings.
For awhile I was a fan of Paul Meekins stockings but that lasted until I walked 10 miles s in them. While they look good they sucked for walking. When they got wet they acted like sandpaper and killed your feet. (Worn as a second layer they are great). This was the problem I had on the Brandywine walk. I knew they’d eat my feet if wet but I ignored it and well…..it sucked. SO my meekins stockings are now stocking sleeves for a linen waistcoat or going to be stocking leggings.
So honestly the best stockings I’ve worn during an trek/scout/march I made myself. I picked up a pair of stockings based off the Kannick’s Korner Pattern from Travis Crowder a few years ago and they have been the best pieces of footwear I’ve ever worn. (chris’s stockings coming in a very close 2nd)
Travis used a Jersey Knit organic wool from a vendor he found But man I cant say enough good things about these stockings. The fact he used a knit fabric allowed them to stay up when I was wearing them and the construction kept them from causing me the 1000 blisters I found with the meekin’ s knit stockings.Using his pattern and fabric I sewed myself up a second pair of stockings and 4 years later both pair are still in good shape.
I also made a pair of stockings from this pattern from some hemp cloth in a Jersey knit and they worked out great. Summer weight stockings that kept me from getting blisters and were really nice in the middle of july under a pair of leggings.
So for around $40-50 (20 for the pattern 20 for the cloth) you can make yourself a few pairs of awesome stockings that will last awhile and improve the look of your kit. The Kannick’s Korner Pattern is also in a packet of gear for women so if you phrase it right your wife will think your buying her a set of patterns and you’ll get bonus points “I just need to try this pattern out first honey before I sew up your stockings”.

Kanniks Korner- Some really nice patterns
http://www.kannikskorner.com/patwomen.htm

Near Sea Naturals Source for the organic jersey knit wool
http://www.nearseanaturals.com/

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Native water containers for scouts or the sound of One hand cupping

Von Reck's Image.....Guy carrying a bottle, crazy

Native water containers...Bottles, tin canteen, Jug and yeah I guess a gourd


New Turkey Call made by John Curry


Man do I love fall…now when is it going to start? 90 degree days and 45 degree nights is really throwing my system off. I’m still getting all my gear back in order to head out to the woods for some small game/turkey hunting. Speaking of Turkey hunting I got a nice gift in the mail This morning A wingbone turkey call made By John Curry. I’ve been sitting around using the call all morning to the amusement of my daughter Cindy. I just hope I don’t amuse turkeys with it as much.
SO one of the reasons I started this Blog was I’ve been working on a Native “trekking” article for…well ever. I have a ton of info and paring it down to fit into one article just wasn’t happening. So here I can go Piece by piece the gear I have found that was commonly carried by 18th century natives from what I have found in narratives, journals, ledgers as well as archeological reports and Images.
SO I’ll start off simple…Something to carry Liquid in. I’ve heard a lot of native reenactors complain about just what they should carry water in on a scout. I heard a lot of theories “they just drank from every spring with a cupped hand” (love flute plays in the distance, cue single tear) to “just use a cupped hand to get from over the side of the canoe”….honestly I heard A LOT of “cupped hand” theories which led me to think that those in the hand camp had not walked very far from the Canvas villages.
Then about the 20th time I read James Smith’s narrative “scouwa” I came across a passage that is often used but for the trophy coat guys: " I observed they had a great many bloody scalps, Grenadier's caps, British canteens.." There it was a simple answer to a simple problem. I pointed it out to a few people but the response was stand offish as canteens didn’t seem to many like an item a native would buy.
The more I started digging in the Fort Pitt records other examples of native use of what many would feel would be a totally euro item. Then I found Canteens listed as the goods being sold by Bayton Wharton and Morgan and bam there it was:

1765 Fort Pitt Day book
Alex Mckee
Delivered the Indians for the use of the crown
2 canteens @ 5/…….10
1 breechclout /to a senneca/ ..7..6
1 pr halfthick Leggins ..5..
6 broaches @ 1/6 ..5..
1 callico Shirt 1.._.._ 2/11/6

The purchase of canteens by natives happens a few more times in the day book. SO for me this was proof of their commonality among the Ohio country Tribes during the 1760’s. Yes I know this is very specific but it was what I was looking for. But the purchase of rum, brandy and shrub of natives at the fort didn’t match up the amount of canteens being sold so I started looking for more documented examples of ways to carry these Items.
The most basic Item is the Glass Bottle. Bottles of many sizes and styles pop up in archeological sites from Michigan to Georgia. The more I looked the more I started finding bottles also popping up in images of natives as well as in a Canoe Model of all places.
One of my favorite images of a traveling native was done by Phillip Von Reck of a Yuchi in the 1730’s. The Image clearly shows (along with notes) a native man wearing his pack as well as carrying a small mallet bottle of “rum or brandy”. A simple easy way to carry water…in a bottle held in your hand. It’s also not a far stretch to assume (there is that word) it would be plausible to carry a bottle of water in your pack.
Another style of liquid container I found in a few sites were Ceramics. The Conestoga site in Eastern Pennsylvania contained some larger ceramic jugs as well as some delftware containers. These same style Containers were also found in Tunica sites in the Mississippi Valley. While both these communities are earlier then most of reenact it shows the ready use of European items for more than just hunting and warfare.
Well I should be weaving. I hope this gave you some new info/Ideas to think about and hopefully try out. Well I should be weaving I have a big show this weekend I’m heading to the “Fine Folk art and Firearms” Show in Greensburg, Pa. I’ll be set up with Mike Galban, Travis Crowder and Mike Burke’s powder horns so stop by and say Hi.
Also if your on Face book check out the new site I put up to show my latest weaving/sewing projects
http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=648771937#!/pages/The-Buffalo-TraceTreaty-elm-Traders/148727705165662

Wow way too much self promotion at the end of this one….Next thing you’ll know I’ll start taking myself seriously....get all golem on ya….mmm probably not.

These are great “stuff” books

Brain, Jeffrey P.1979 Tunica Treasure. Papers of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, No. 71. Harvard University, Cambridge.
1988 Tunica Archaeology. Papers of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, No. 78. Harvard University, Cambridge.
Kent, Barry C. 1984 Susquehanna's Indians. Harrisburg: The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission,

Friday, October 8, 2010

Moccasin making/repair kit....Or I need to cover my feet it's getting cold

Examples of handled awls from Diderot's

Fire steels and awls by Eric Schatzel....The examples on the fire right are original for comparison

My Moccasin making/repair kit awl, large eye needles, wax, cane needle case with brain tan wang, original pair of scissors/ Avalon forge scissors


“ Moccasons in ordinary use cost but a few hours to make them. This was done by an instrument denominated a moccasin awl, which was made of the backspring of an old clasp knife. This awl with it’s buckhorn handle was the appendage of every shot pouch strap, Together with a roll of buckskin for mending the moccasins. This was the Labor of almost every evening. They were sewn together and patched with deer skin thongs, or wangs, as they were commonly called.” Dodderidge

So my shoes are all trashed….LOL finally died on me. SO rather then drop the $ on a new pair of shoes I’ll kill again by spring I’m going to start putting money aside to buy myself a custom fitted pair. SO now I have to sit down and start to make myself a pair of shoepacks and some winter mocs. I’ve also decided to make myself a pair of mocs based off an example found in a cabin here in central Pa (private collection) I also have a few orders for mocs from some customers so it seems like a good time to do a run of mocs.
So while I start to get all my ducks in a row for a few days of leatherwork I figured I’d do a little write up on my moc making kit. SO let’s start off with the heart of the Moc making gear the AWL… Doddridge mentioned that moccasin awls were a common piece of gear for backcountry guys. When James Smith Goes on his long hunt with Black Jamie in his mention of his surgical equipment he mentions a Moccasin Awl (with his knife and bullet mould…not a lot of stuff). And yes Doddridge does mention his is made from a back spring so if you want to go that route awesome but there are a Ton of examples of standard Trade awls put into handles (remember kids “trade” doesn’t always equal Native)
For example BW&M hunter Valentine Schope’s purchase on April 21, 1768:

1 knife 5/ 2 handkfs P 13/6 .13.6
1 razor 3/ 1 pr leggings 9/ .12.0
1 britch clout 9/ 1 comb 2/6 .11.6
1 tom hawk 22/6
1 check shirt 22/6 2.5.0
1 ozenburg shirt 15/
4 pound tobacco 4/6 1.13.0 (have you ever thought about how you pack 4lbs of Tobacco? a pack of Levi garret is only 3 ozs lol)
1 blanket coat 37/6 1.17.6
2 awls 6d .1.0

The next part of my gear is a pair of scissors. For the record I avoid the Chinese scissors like the plague. They just don’t do it for me historically or even functionally. I’ve been able to buy a few pairs of original scissors that still held an edge. The other alternative I was able to find is a pair of scissors sold by Avalon Forge. These scissors are better than average alternatives to the Chinese scissors and are pretty good for cutting leather. My family call these my “death scissors” so you may want to sew them a sheath before you toss them into your pack.
The last parts of my moc making kit are pretty straight forward. I have a piece of cane I use to hold large eye needles. On the cane I wrap brain tan wang for sewing the mocs (I stopped using linen thread for mocs a long time ago. The leather holds up way better) and a piece of beeswax candle for putting a point onto the wang I am sewing with. Along with some pieces of brain tan scraps I store this whole kit in a spare moccasin in my pack.
Not too complicated and easy to document. Mocs aren’t that tough to make in the field especially when you have the right tools. Poor walker’s guys wouldn’t have needed to use a bent nail to make mocs if they had read this blog. Now I do plan on doing a moc making blog BUT if you are looking for a great how to on making documented mocs and with a little tweaking real Doddridge shoepacks I suggest you buy Mike Galban’s Moccasin making DVD. My blog is only going to focus on the South eastern mocs and the PA example I’m not going to step on Mike’s toes besides his DVD is way easier to follow then my incoherent rambling.

Sources:
Awls and some killer Fire steels by Eric Schatzel check out AT the Eastern Door
http://www.attheeasterndoor.com/Products.aspx?CATID=12

Scissors from Avalon Forge (the 10 inch scissors) he sells some nice axes as well
http://www.avalonforge.com/MainMisc.htm

Mike’s Moc making video….dont use Artificial sinew now matter how much he cries, RE davis also sells some nice awls made by Bethel Forge (randy Wolfe) I’ve been using one of these awls for 3 years now.
http://www.redaviscompany.com/1044.html

Monday, October 4, 2010

I hate haversacks...and Me...pix part 2

Detail from Hogarth's series "four times of day....Morning".....what apears to be wallets slung over belts carried by young guys

Hemp wallet held in place by canteen strap during hunt.

Large wallet slung over itself and pushed back out of the way. haversack/tumpline all on one


I hate Haversacks...and Me



Giant Wallet....mallet bottle, blanket, rope, clout, stockings, books, cap, kettle, food






Giant wallet in camp....stuff it with leaves and it's an awesome mattress....Me and Delilah hanging out at my hunting camp....whiskey and a book after I just shot a deer



So one of the things I really hate is….haversacks. I’m not sure why these military items have made their way into just about every aspect of the hobby. I really really hate Coverlet haversacks, quilled haversacks and ones made from old feed bags. I guess in the haversack debate you could put me in the “death before haversack” camp. UNLESS it’s in a military context. Then they rule because it’s one of the few things you probably would have carried on campaign.
My hatred of haversacks is tough to even overcome when I should be carrying one (such as at Brandywine) and man do I really get pissed when it becomes useful (the kind of pissed your dad got when you pointed out to him he was doing something wrong) SO to flagellate myself for having used a haversack and find it useful (even though it was all in the proper context) I decided to post some info on Market wallets.
I’ve been a user of Market wallets for awhile now (like 14-15 years) and honestly they are the shit. I’ve found the use of a wallet/tumpline is the most comfortable way to carry gear and documentable from Bean town to Fort boonesborough. But I’m suspect as I sell/have sold both these items. SO I’ll just focus on a few wallet descriptions then go into some of the ways I’ve found them usefull:

From July 14 to July 21, 1738. RAN away the 18th Day of May last, from the Subscriber living in Stafford County, a Servant Man, named Robert Bird, an Englishman, about 22 Years of Age; a short, well set, Fellow, with a down Look, a full black Eye, and short black Hair: He had on, when he went away, a short Swan Skin Jacket, strip'd with blue and white, One Pair of brown Duroy Breeches, patched upon the Knees, and old fine Hat, Oznabriggs Shirt, a Pair of Plad Stockings, a Pair of Pumps, with large Brass Buckles in them: He had with him a Sett of Shoemakers Tools in a Wallet made of an old Sack Bagg,From September 19 to September 26, 1745. July 29, 1745. RAN away from the Subscriber, living in Orange County, about the 19th Instant, a lusty Irish Convict Servant Man, name'd William Cuddy, aged about 38 Years, of a brown Complexion, with sand colour'd Hair, he is very much mark'd with the Small-Pox, and blind in the Right Eye. Had on when he went away the following Cloaths, viz. a Felt Hat, a Brown Linen Shirt, a dark brown Frize Wastecoat, a Pair of brown Linen Trowsers, and an old Pair of Virginia-made Shoes; he also carried with him, in a brown Linen Wallet, two check Shirts, a Pair of check Trowsers, an old Drugget Coat, with Cuffs to the Sleeves, very much patch'd before, a blue German Serge Wastecoat, a Pair of old German Serge Breeches, of a dark Colour, lined with blue Shalloon, two Pair of Men's Stocking, and a Pair of Womens Stockings:
June 16, 1774.Five Pounds Reward. RUN away from the Subscriber, in Prince George, on Monday the 23d of May, an indented Servant Man named BENJAMIN PARROT, born in London, 32 Years of Age, five Feet six or seven Inches high, by Trade a House Carpenter, tolerably well made, dark Complexion, short black curling Hair, and has a down Look; had on, when he went away, a white Broadcloth Coat lately turned, a Lead coloured Cloth Waistcoat, white Russia Drill Breeches darned at both Knees, a white Irish Linen Shirt, a Pair of white Thread Stockings (one of which is much finer than the other) a Pair of coarse Shoes with very large Silver plated Buckles, and a very deep brimmed Felt Hat; he likewise took with him two new Check Shirts, and a Pair of new Osnabrug Trousers, which he carried in a Virginia Cloth Wallet, marked S M.Pa Gazette adsMarch 29,1786Gloucester county March 27 Run away..an irish servant lad named Patrick tool, about 19 years of age…had on and took with him when he went away, a homespun lead colored upper thick jacket, with a fall down collar and cuffs to the sleeves, patches on the elbows and cuffs of new cloth with wooden buttons, one blue and white striped under ditto, old leather breeches, 2 pair of blue grey yarn stockings, half worn shoes with hob nails in the heels and toes, a small felt hat, a large good axe, and a new HEMP SHEETING WALLET with a patch on one end…
March 12, 1751
Lost on the 3d instant from a roan horse a Wallet, of tow linen, which was tied behind the saddle, in one end was Another Wallet of ovenbirds,, and at the other end a bundle tied up in a blue dukes pattern handkerchief, containing a new fine white shirt, and two pocket books, one covered with parchment, enclosing sundry papers of value to the owner, the other with brass clasps, with divers papers also… Oct 10 1754 Run away on the 19th of sept. last..an irish servant man named Patrick wall…hd on when he went away, a grey kersey jacket, and a linsey woolsey jacket under it with stripes across the breast, two check shirts, a pair of lue cloth breeches, blue yarn stockings, and old shoes, with old steel buckles: Also a pair of tow linen trowsers, which he made into a wallet, and carried a blanket in itApril 23, 1752 Run away on the 19th inst….A native irish servant lad, named daniel Coffey..had on when he went away, A new jacket, of a dark wine stone colour,home made, without pockets or flaps, linen with new linsey, of the same colour, with white metal buttons, a middling flax shirt, tore at the wrist, good new trowsers,somewhort, a pair of shoes, newly half soaled with nails in the heels, a sheep skin apron, and a little Wallet, the one end plain cloth, and the other twilled, with the letter D on the twilled end
Benjamin Allen (frontier memories by Dale “the man” Payne) 1790’s Indian wars “ Watson had a beautiful wallet of corn. The Indians just pourer the corn out. They didn’t even let the horses eat it.

So now that I’ve shown you some period examples of the use of wallets here is some of the ways I use them. The largest wallet I carry is almost 6 feet long by 30 inches wide and the smallest is around a foot long by 4 inches wide.
Ok 6 feet sounds crazy I know but hear a brother out. I have seen references to large wallets and found that this size is very useful. I sling the wallet over my shoulder with my gear on one side and food/blanket on the other. I then either wrap the wallet on itself or tie it at this point with a piece of rope. The whole thing is then hung at “haversack” level or high in the arm pit. This with the width of the fabric acts as a wide strap and allows my entire gear ride at a comfortable level and not cut into my shoulder.
For a day hunts or when I’m hunting out of a base camp I use the small wallet (12 by 4) as a type of haversack. I simply carry rations ( parched corn, jerky, chocolate, a tin cup) in it draped over my canteen strap so I can carry all I need to eat while out on a day’s hunt.
So I know if you’re a haversack fan this wont change your mind….but just try it. Wallets rule and no amount of CLA razzle dazzle will ever make the use of haversacks documentable by non military folks. Now excuse me while I get back to finger weaving a haversack. Brown raw silk and a copper button I might bead a hunters star on it….it’ll totally sell, I’m such a whore.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Brandywine Pics Part 2

Couple of the "yankee" mess guys doing the march barefoot
Yes we like hunting shirts and Bucktails
Me and "Irish" crashing out next to the camp kitchen




Sweet Lea....



Capt Krause and Dr. Scott.....both did a KILLER job in making this happen
These pix taken by Lisa Krause