Fort Pitt

Fort Pitt
Center of the ohio country universe

Friday, February 25, 2011

Some More information on Native headgear...or Shave your head then cover it up

Image showing man wearing an uncocked hat decorated with ribbon.
....Also check out the use of 2 rows of ribbon on his leggings and hangin out Paint scheme

My take on the Above hat. Simply tacked down some left over 2 inch yellow ribbob onto another piece of ribbon. Now to get it rained on and beaten up

Our Spokesmodel CIndy Wearing My take on the hat from the above image

Hendrick wearing Hat, coat and waistcoat

Jackets and Hats on natives. I love this image

So I think I’ll jump back into my Native centric gear for a second here and post some more on native trekking gear. Or really a piece of native gear that comes in pretty handy when hanging out in the treeless landscape that often makes up our event landscape…hats. A lot of the guys I run around with have been taking to wearing hats over the past few years. They are easy to document but also they keep your lilly white head from getting burnt (lets face it 9 out of 10 of you that are reading this that do portray a “native” have skin pigment somewhere between a ginger kid and an albino cave fish)

I thought I’d throw some references together that show a variety of headgear. The Silk scarf is a super documented item but I feel that it tends to be overdone at events. SO I’ll break the hats down into standard men’s hats (laced or unlaced) and caps. I’d also like to point out that while putting these lists together I noticed that on many of the same lists both laced hats and worsted caps could be found.

Standard hats were an item that was destined for Indian trade. In his memoir Pierre Pouchot mentions them as a standard item of trade from the French sector: The goods for Indian trade are….hats trimmed in fine and imitation, with variegated plumes in red, yellow, blue and green
The use of this type of Hat can also be seen in a number of images from Canada.. My personal favorite image of a distinctly native “slouch” hat is an anonymous water color of a native couple done in the 1770’s. The man has what appears to be a loop of ribbon draped off the crown of his hat next to his wife who appears to be carrying some sashes for sale and wearing a peaked hood.
Similar style hats can be seen in the images of Peachey and Davies from the same area. These hats to make even more sense when you see them worn in images of folks traveling by canoe.. Anyone who has spent any time on the water with a shaved head can vouch for the fun one can have with the heat beating on your bare head. The hats shown in these images are often a standard “tricorn” that has been uncocked and wore in a “slouch hat” fashion.
The Laced traditional tricorn hat can be seen in a number of images such as the oft reproduced image of King Hendrick. The outfit he is sporting in this image actually matches up to the standard headman’s gift of a coat, tricorn and waistcoat seen being handed out A LOT in the period. For example here is an example of such a set purchased at Fort Pitt:

Fort Pitt March 4th 1765
George Croghan
Merch sold him for the use of the crown at Carlisle Feb 15th
10 fine broad laced coats @ 165
10 laced hats@ 37/6
10 gay embroidered vests 67 ..10..

A list of goods going to the “Shawnee town” From Fort Pitt

The Shawnee towne
Aug 14 1766 3 doz 10 large silk handk
13 groce bed lace
6 groce red twilled gartering*
6 bolts broad tape
1 dozen gold laced hats
132 (?) lead
2 black leather saddles
4 horse bells

A neat side note there is a moccasin in the Bata shoe museum that has some red striped gartering sewn to it to secure it to the wearer’s foot. This stuff was traded a lot to native folks and is something that is way underrepresented by well….everyone.

The Next couple lists cross into the idea on Natives wearing both Knit/cotton caps and regular “tricorns” I’ve also left some other items in the lists that I thought needed reexamined. SO to start on the Knit caps you can see from these lists that they….well show up going to native heads. The Knit caps in the Cumberland and rockcreek inventories are kewl to me for another reason as well.

If you look at western Maryland/Pennsylvania/Virginia in the early part of the French and Indian war you see action by men like the famed Thomas Cresap. One action cresap’s men took part was written about and sent to the Pennsylvania Gazette:

Old Town, at Colonel CresapFort, May 7, 1756.
"On the 23d of last Month Thomas Cresap, junior, marched out of Fort Cumberland with about Forty Voluntiers, all dressed in Indian Apparel, and red Caps; intending to go towards Ford DuQuesne, and having advanced about ten Miles, they discovered fresh Tracks of Indians, who appeared to have gone along about an Hour before; upon which it was agreed by the whole Party to pursue them with all Speed, and accordingly they pushed on, and having got as far as Savage River, about 15 Miles from Fort Cumberland, they heard the Death Hollow at a small Distance behind them, and in a short Time after saw a Party of Indians advancing boldly up towards them, when our People disappeared by the Bent of the Road, and put themselves in a Posture to attack them, with Orders not to fire, until they came to a certain Place in the Road, where they might have a fair Prospect of them, as the Trees and Bushes, which stood very thick, would have obstructed their Firing. When the Indians came within about a Rod of the Place appointed to fire at, one of the Party discharged his Piece, and missed them; and immediately after several others fired, and wounded one of the Indians, who was seen to fall and recover three times, but made his Escape in a thick Lawrel Swamp, which was within two Rods of the Road. The said Indian had a Looking glass on his Back, which was shot all to Pieces. They then saw another Party coming up on Horseback, whom they got ready to attack; but a Dog, which our Men had with them, ran off to meet the Indians, which made them stop, and get off their Horses, before they were near enough to be fired at by those of the Party appointed to fire. Upon this one of the Advance Parties, who were posted a Look outs, fired, which caused the Enemy immediately to break off and run. Out People pursued them directly different Ways; and Mr. Cresap, who was at a considerable Distance when the Indians went off, ran to the Place where the Firing was, and being informed of the Course they had taken, followed them. Our Men kept hollowing the Indian Hollow incessantly as they ran along; and Cresap, after running above a Mile, came in Sight of some of his Party, who were pursuing one of the Indians, and coming up gave his Pistol to one of them, and passed on till he saw the Indian, and getting with 20 Yards of him, the Indian got behind a Tree, and fired at him; Cresap also stopped and fired, but had not Time to take to a Tree. They fired at one another so close together, that it seemlike one Gun. *The Indian, with a fine French Gun, mortally wounded Cresap with a Bullet and seven Swan shot in the Breast. Cresap, with a Rifle, mortally wounded the Indian through the Right breast, being the only Part to be seen of him. The Indian had gone but a few Steps further, when tow of CresapMen came up to him, knocked him on the Head with one of their Guns, and scalped him. Cresap had not fallen when the two Men passed him, but told them he was a dead Man, and desired them to pursue, which were his last Words. They returned to him in about four Minutes after, found him dead, and buried him. On their Return to their Baggage they discovered a great Number of Indian Tracks, who had gone off the Road, and passed by between them and the Road; they also saw an Indian running after the Party that had passed. It appears, by all Circumstances, the Enemy took our Men to be Catawba; and it is thought they killed two or three more of the Indians, but that they got into the Swamp, which was just by, where they could not be seen. One they shot in the Belly, as appeared by his matchcoat taking Fire, and his clapping his Hand to it; but he likewise got into the Swamp. Our Party got all their Baggage, with six Horses, and a white ManScalp. It was the Party that attacked Captain Mercer, and killed him the Sunday before. It appears by their Tracks, and by the Account of those that saw them, that there could not be less than 100 of them. Captain Ashby, on PattersonCreek, says, that when they demanded a Surrender of his Fort, he thought there were as many, if not more, than ever he saw at a General Muster in Virginia; and the Indian Embassador told him, he had 400 Men with him, paraded on a Hill just by, three Men deep."

The next two lists are from the Washington Papers:
List of Indian goods at Fort Cumberland sept 17, 1755
6 laced hats
14 mens worsted caps

December 1756, Lists of Indian Goods at Rock Creek
strip'd & scarlet worsted Caps from 5\--to 12--per dozn.
Silk Han kers: from 28\--to 33\
Silk Caps--@ 40\ --
Mens worsted Hose from 24\ to 45\--per dozn.
grey, green & red yarn Do.--from 10\6--to 15\--not many left
Mens beavr: Carolina Hats from 4\6--to 6\--not many left

abt. 2 dozn. fusee Guns proved Barrells @ 14\--very good at the price but rather larger Bows than those commonly used in the Indian Trade ; they wou'd answer very well for a Bullet & Shot & believe wou'd suit the Southern Indians ; as I have been told they do not use a single Bullett so much as the Northern Indians*
(someone should have told the native that shot cresap this fact… but inspite of this here we have two period refs to the use of buck and ball by natives more on this in a blog to follow on loading your gun like a native)

So here in the same region and time period we have a few items that point to the commonality of Natives having access to and wearing knit caps and Hats. In fact the use of them seems to be a normal look for the English natives as the one comment was that Cresap’s men may have been mistaken for Catawba’s. The Silk Caps on the list may be the same style that we refer to as workman’s caps. In the Bayton Wharton and Morgan papers I have found cotton and silk caps also being purchased by by natives. SO again we have yet another type of euro headgear on a native.
The final list I’ll post for today is part of the massive list of goods that goes to the lenapes during the rev war:

Estimates of Goods to be sent for the Delawares-May 10,1779
From the Continentals, intended for the Lenape at Coshockton

4 doz black silk handkerchiefs
3 doz black silk cravats
80 pieces of taffata ribbons, yellow,blue,green red & purple
30 regimental coats. good
30 do hats half silver laced good
50 worsted caps
2 lb cruels or other worsteds*
"Frontier Advance on the
Upper Ohio 1778-1779" Pages 413-415

Once again we can see laced hats as well as worsted caps. I’m also a big fan when lists mention specifics like the color of ribbon. These seem to be the standard for the color of ribbons pout of fort pitt from the 1760’s period as well. Also the “cruels “and worsteds are yarns that would probably be used for finger weaving so I’m always pumped by those being mentioned as many people still have an idea that only unraveled blankets were used for finger weaving.

So Now what? Well this isn’t the only type of headware worn by natives there are hoods/peaked caps, ear caps, turbans, etc but I think this shows some info on the use of euro style hats and their commonality. SO shave your head and then cover it with a hat you’ll be glad ya did. Also if your looking for some Good knit caps Ike walters posted some great images on his blog of period knit caps and His wife also makes some nice repros. As far as Good sources for standard hats There are a number of resources out there for them depending on how much you want to spend but that’s a whole blog onto itself….wow 2 blogs in a week Looks like my winter blahs are over .

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post, thank you. I will post a link on my blog.