Fort Pitt

Fort Pitt
Center of the ohio country universe

Monday, November 21, 2011

Shooting dogs at Fort Pitt for fun and profit

New mocs made using the Galban DVD...worn with knit stockings from South Union mills and wool slippers
Chausons/wool slippers these things are great year round in mocs and easy to make

Cindy posing in her mom's Ug boots....she wears them when I wear my do you tell a 2 year old she's a farb...tough love

It’s raining…again. I had planned today to work on a new fleshing beam to get ready for Rifle season. I have talked to some local deer processors and am going to try and get a fair amount of hides fleshed and put up to dry for the spring. I really want to get some hides for a display Bale as well as some hides for the tan vat.
SO apart from weaving I’ve been able to finally finish up some winter mocs using Mike Galban’s DVD and the last of a Hide I got from Alec. I cant say enough good things about either product. This was my first attempt at Mocs with Vamps and I made a passable pair for my first try. I now have a good pattern for myself and plan on making another pair soon (as soon as I get another hide lol) and I’ll sew them with leather wang (I used Linen cord for this pair) I’m a little leery of wearing these in snow as I’ve found that it rots pretty quickly in the damp weather we get most of the winter.
I also finished some Chausons to wear as moc liners along with my knit stockings. Wearing them around the yard to break the whole rig in has worked pretty well. It has also provided hours of laughter for my family. These are also the same people who watch survivor every week….so I’m not too worried.
Ok my geekness is going to shine thru today. For fun I like to read Orderly books from the 18th century. I’ve found that they are a great resource on the day to day life at an 18th century fort/camp as well as how much you can try and get away with as an 18th century Soldier. My friend/co conspirator Jason Melius have used these for sources of inspiration in our portrayal as the ner dowell’s in any 18th century Army. SO here are a few excerpts from the Fort Pitt Orderly book during the ohio counry uprising of 1763:
June 4 1763 “ He is also to deliver this evening to a sergeant of each company two quarts of loose powder, which they are to distribute to those men that have cartridges, and see that they strengthen each cartridge by adding one-third of an inch in length to it.” **how much of a kick would this load have in a bess?**
June 5 1763 “As the dogs about the garrison make daily great disturbance…It is therefore the commanding officer’s positive order that all the dogs without exception that are not tied up after 4 o’clock this afternoon shall be killed…It is likewise the commanding officer’s that the wolf and bear be immediately killed or put out of the fort.” ***yes he wrote wolf and bear….***
June 16, 1763 Fort Pitt receives word that the war is over…Gotta wonder if they saw the irony?
June 22, 1763… The dogs still being noisy at night, and hindering people of their rest….Patroles will go round the fort for the future to kill them, and for every dog they kill they will get a half crown reward. ***Ecuyer…the guy who did hand out small pox blankets and now a dog killer….he was also an anti-Semite but that’s in a letter…**
July 3, 1763 “The men to lie upon their arms every night till further orders, without taking off their clothes.” ** Yeah there is a story there you just know it***
One of the things I really try to focus on for my portrayal is the lives of the Redeemed captives that lived and worked in the Ohio country. The romantic notion of these men is of people “with a foot in each world” or “trapped between two cultures”. While this may have been the case for some I don’t think it was as “hawkeye” as many would have it.. For me it really seems that these men more often than not seemed to be a little more comfortable living as men who could walk down both sides of the street so to speak.
A good example of this can be found in the example of Daniel Sullivan ( “a spy at Detroit” Page 230 Frontier Defense on the upper Ohio) Below is some of Sullivan’s deposition of his travles through the ohio country villages actin as a Spy for the Americans. He is dressed in “indian dress” but from what I’ve pointed out in past blog postings this could mean A LOT of things. It is also apparent to folks in the know he’s not “native” .
I also have to wonder after reading this how much of his cover story is well…true. Also It’s important to note that his story doesn’t seem odd to Governor Hamilton or the other ID folks he comes across.
“AT Guyahaga were two traders with stores of Indian goods and a cargo arrived there the 18th of april from Detroit. The 19th I hired myself agreeable to Col. Morgans directions to James Howel to serve as a batteau man to go to Detroit with peltries and to bring away other goods. We were eight days coasting it to Detroit. On my arrival I assisted to unload the boat and then was conducted to Governor Hamilton in my Indian dress who enquired who I was and my business. I informed him that I had been taken prisoner when young by the Delawares, that nine years afterwards in 1772 or 73 I went to live with my relations in Virginia But the present war coming on between Britain and America and having no way but my gun to maintain myself I had removed back to my Delaware relations and determined to live with them until I could do better. That I had hired with a trader at Guyahaga to assist him with his peltries to Detroit in order to enable me to buy some powder and lead to hunt…..The Governor Dismiss’d me to go where I pleased and he would be my friend….”
Sullivan spends the nigt lodged with an ID interpreter and his family but his walk through of the city gets a little tougher the next day.
“In this tour Pluggy’s son discovered me and applied to the Governor to have me confined on Accot of my having in the fall of 1776 killed his brother in law near the Kenhawa. John Montour seconded this information and as a proof referr’d to the wound I received in my left arm at the time….”
Sullivan then is sent on a tour of a few posts in Irons..LOL not a great spy. From notes in “frontier Defense..” Sullivan may have been wounded in this account from “The revolution on the Upper Ohio…” acting as a spy for Fort Randolph. Remember a “spy” is generaly someone who goes out dressed as a native vs. a scout who is looking for indian sign but normaly dressed as a local.
“They saw some indian signs & was immediately fired on by an indian no above 8 yards distance. Just at the very moment the foremost of the spies was jerking his gun off his shoulder in order to shoot & the indian bullet took the box of his gun (just opposite his breast) & lodged there The spy received little damaged only grazed on the arm in two or three places either by part of the bullet or of the box lid—such as buckshot might have done The spies shot at him as as possible both,& he fell but recovered immediately & he & his partners cleared themselves as quick as possible, with the loss of his shot pouch Powder horn & many other little articles the damned savages had the assurance to camp there within a mile of this fort (Fort Randolph) but on their own side of the river. They were so provident as to bring a string for a prisoner but unluckily lost it in the fray”
Sweet he was probably carrying a rifle and the natives lost a prisoner Line. Gotta love the little details and curse them for phrases like “little articles”. This for me also is yet another account of a guy getting shot in his gear and I still have yet to find a guy getting shot in anything that resembles a bullet/loading block (think about it something hanging around your neck about breast high full of ball and NO ONE got shot in one? I have shot horns, rifles, bags , knife handles and even blanket rolls but no bullet boards yet)
Well that’s it for today. Now back to weaving and getting ready for the first day of Rifle season. I need to finish myself any kind of tumpline to drag a deer (I really hate those modern weird drag ropes…junk) and get my modern gear into some kind of order. Every year it’s the same speech from my father….I shouldn’t hunt in Doc Martens ,jeans a knit cap and a punk rock sweatshirt, I’ll get cold (and I never do). For some reason he never says anything about my 18th century stuff….Hopefully my Whale wars/ Animal Liberation front sweat shirt shows up in time. The deer will be looking for guys in Cammo , they’ll never notice me…

Monday, November 14, 2011

Conde shot a man in Reno just to watch him die...

Tom and I at Niagara this summer...notice the lack of weaving worn by weavers...He made the pouch I'm wearing
Some crazy beaded sashes made by Tom
Sweet sweet sash

The past few days have been a little slow for me as I’ve
quit one of my horrible vices (no not swearing ,drinking, chewing, Sabbath
breaking or uncontrollable fits of sarcasm hells that’s what makes me so
loveable) I quit drinking Coke. As a result my malaise has kept me weaving like
a robot and fighting to stay awake.

This has led to major bouts of ADD and asking me more questions than I can count on
different preconceived notions about the 18th century. I spent a few
days in the woods but I’ll get to that at another time and to be honest my war
on the local squirrel population only has so much interest for people reading
this. I have been focusing on making cordage and starting fires as I know these
are two skills that I should be able to do in my sleep. I’ve found making
cordage is an easy thing to do while tucked inside a blind watching for game.

So rather than focus on my weirdness I’ve got a promised product review/interview of one
of the OG’s of the weaving world… Tom Conde.
I’ve known Tom for about 13 years now. I first met him thru my friend Pete Dobbs and I was pumped to talk to anyone about weaving. AT that point Tom
was was one of the top weavers I knew of (not much has changed) and oddly
enough now that I think about it…Tom looked exactly the same then as he does
now (Tom Conde weaving vampire? Think Twilight but meaner and with more rondyvous
Tom has been a constant source of help/ information/criticism/encouragement for me
through the years and has a wide knowledge of different weaving styles. So here
is a brief interview with Tom....I need to start interviewing quill workers…these
weaving bastards are cutting into my profits…:

Ok Tom we all know the cowboy stories….how the hell did you
start finger weaving?

Nathan I got started not long after I "discovered"
rondezvous/re-inacting. I lived in Colorado then but a few folks were starting
to look into eastern stuff and that was where my interests lay. Didn't take
long to figure out that French were cooler than Roger's Rangers. Some folks out
there knew a little about fingerweaving and told me it was the cool thing for
French so I went to the library and found the Alta Turner book
"Fingerweaving: Indian Braiding" and learned that style. Then Found
Tim Connin's article in "The Book Of Buckskinning" and learned to do
oblique weave. At the time I had never seen any examples of either weave in my
hands. Things grew a lot after that.

How do you decide on a project? What projects do you enjoy
working on?

Deciding on a project is a combination of many things. If it is
a custom order it might be a copy of an original piece or it could be a design
of my own based on originals. All depends on what the customer wants. If it is
a piece I just do for stock or for myself it will depend on what I have been
looking at and talking with others about lately. Something will tickle my
imagination and I will go for it. My Favorite things are bags. They are so cool
and have so many variations in how they are created that figuring them out is a
rush. Regardless of the project though. Bag or sash or strap or garters. When
you work it out and think you have the right size yarn and you know the bead
counts in all the elements of the design and all the dimensions of the piece
you are attempting to recreate and you get done and you have "nailed
it" so to speak, size comes out, color comes out, everything just feels
"right on". It is an amazing feeling no matter what the piece is.
Same with twined work. It just blows me away sometimes.

What types of weaving do you do?

I work mostly with oblique weave nowadays and I like to do the
twined bags of the Great Lakes also. I started with the warp-faced weaves and
need to get back to doing more of them again. It's all amazing.

Any advice to folks on how to start weaving?

I tell students that the first thing to do when you want to
become a weaver is get a bunch of marbles and fill your mouth with them. Then every
day before you start to practice take one marble and throw it out in the yard
as far as you can so you can never find it. When you have lost all your marbles
you will be on the road to being a fingerweaver. Seriously though the best
advice I can give is to spend 5 or 6 dollars on Alta Turner's book and to find
that old Book of Buckskinning Vol. VI somewhere and sit down with some decent
yarn no heavier than sport weight and teach yourself. If you get stuck ask a
weaver. All the ones I know are glad to help.

DO you consider your work “art” or as a functional item?

I consider it "functional art"

Any good Rendezvous stories for us?

Rendezvous stories don't tell well. Ya gotta be there ;-)

Any chance you’ll join my Wild west Show? And is it true you
shot a man in Reno “Just to watch him die?”

No more Wild West shows. Age slows me down. ;-) And I didn't really SHOOT that guy. I was cleaning a pistol and it went off accidentally...4 times. Kind of a touchy trigger. :)

Tom's website is and you can see more examples of his artwork there. So now I'm off I need to weave more myself and I'm stuck in a mental loop trying to work through just what tools your average ohio country native would have had. But thats weirdness for another day.....

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Election Day!!!! GO VOTE!

Butcher with sleeves and apron....

I know its a highlander but neat shape for a belt bag...hmm what smells?

And we think waiting in line is bad.....guy in foreground with scarf worn Pirate style...note the fit of the jackets...Glad I already have a club

Well I missed Guy Fawkes day posting so here is one to remind you to go Vote. Election day images from the period are pretty killer. Ok now go VOTE!!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

pocket knives, waterheads and David Crockett

The cobblers shop...check out the knife next to him...awesome image of a shop/house
John Dade 1755....sportsman image...Gotta make the leather spatterdashes...look how tiny the fuzee is..normal for period guns
Edward Hatley 1752 " A sports man" Thanx to Jim Mullins for this one note the belt pouch in the image. hmmmm hunting ideas from a age before our grandfathers might work?
Bullet box, Bark box both good for holding shot/ball and a french knife and penny knife by Jed wray...honestly this whole kit is awesome for hunting/skinning small/large game in Pa in a period manner.....kinda makes shot pouches make sense after awhile

“Thou canst not touch the freedom of my mind.”

the past few weeks have been spent in a mix of weaving/sewing and traipsing
around the woods of central PA.I also spent a couple days hanging out with
friends at the “fine folk art and arms” show in Carlisle. The weather killed the
show but honestly there were a lot of great folks there showing off their wares
and I had a blast. Plus Jed and Code kept me on my toes…and Jed Also got us
lost in historic Carlisle too many times to count. The man is lucky his Paduk
handled knives are awesome or I might have stabbed him…to die by a knife you
forged…irony for a blacksmith.
Blankets coats seem to be all the rage and the
demand for colors other than black and red in weaving are at an all-time high. Together these are both awesome in their own
weird way but I’ve also been able to spend more time in the woods which is why I
do this weirdness.
I have declared total war on the local
squirrel population and a turkey got a reprieve because of a misread in the
game laws on my part. In all honesty if the day had gone as it could of it
would have been a massive middle finger to the idea of you can’t hunt and do it
by the 18th century numbers so to speak. A total “Davey Crocket”
moment but I’ll take what I got and smile because it was still a day a in the
woods. I still shot some game and above all….I wasn’t pulled into some internet
Right off the bat I had stalked up
a ridge to a clearing that is bordered by massive oak trees. I slipped in behind
a few trees covered in grapevines and was able to watch a massive doe for a few
minutes graze her way towards me. Ok so here is the point the modern world
comes in…In Pa If I shoot a doe in early muzzle loader season I cant go after a
regular season buck. Yes I I cant eat horns but I have some criteria that needs
to be met before I shoot a doe right now. 1 it needs to be huge 2 it needs to
be fawn free (I’ll make orphans later in the season) and 3 It needs to be Huge.
Well this was a really big doe and I watched it for about 20 minutes graze and
look away (I was at about 25 yards) I Kept my G on it and followed It move
broad side from me. I had a chewed ball loaded with 60 grains so I knew It’d be
an easy shot. Then when I thought about pulling the trigger a fawn bounded in
next to it.
Ok SO criteria 2 are shot. Say what
you will but I do have younger brothers and the quest for a rack is a true
problem. You haven’t met my youngest brother….We compete, and he’s ugly. SO I
sat in the vines and waited while these two grazed off the ridge. When I felt
they were gone I walked across the ridge and dropped down to another shelf.
Midway I spotted two squirrels chasing each other. I stopped and dropped 8
buckshot ontop of the load and wadded it with some leaves. I waited a few
minutes while they ran back and forth and slip in behind some trees.
In a few minutes I shot one of the
squirrels and speed loaded the second shot ( a handful of powder, a handful of
shot and a leaf wad) but the second squirrel was long gone. I tied the squirrel
off on my game carrier ( a hemp finger woven strap) and dropped down along the
next shelf. I moved to a point that allowed me the best view of both the shelf
I was on and the lower two shelves. As soon as I started to clear the leaf
litter to make a quieter view point I heard something coming towards me in the
leaves to my right. I chirped a few times (sucking against the back of my
teeth) and heard the sound speed up. A
few seconds later another fox squirrel popped up from behind some logs as I pulled up
to shoot the trees to my left shrieked. I looked quickly and on the top of a
dead tree another squirrel was ratting me out. How he moved there without me
seeing I don’t know but I took a few steps forward and shot the squirrel on the
ground as he paused on a log. I then turned and ran towards the tree with his
friend. I palmed down some powder and shot and finished ramming it home as I
came to the base of the tree. The squirrel had jumped to a nearby tree and as
soon as he paused I shot. He fell from the tree a few yards in front of me so I
ran up and stepped on it (is this ever a good idea in mocs?) Picked him up and
ran back towards the first shot. I found him next to the log I shot him
on. I tied both squirrels to my strap,
Put in a new chew and started walking down the ridge.
I spent the next few hours walking
the trails of my camp and seeing deer in the distance. The time seemed to fly
by. When I felt it was time to head home I turned and started heading back up
the ridge. I spotted a squirrel posing on a log about a 100 yards away. First
thought was “take the 100 yard chewed ball shot and show you are an amazing marksman
of Tim Murphy status” then I thought “your
gonna miss him jacka$$ get closer” (I
had a chewed ball load in with 13 buckshot wadded on top of the ball at this
point) So I stalked in as quiet as
possible. Well The squirrels pose wasn’t just for fun as he kept moving ahead
of me and taking the same F..U..pose at every chance.
He then Moved up over the lip of
the ridge to the point I couldn’t see him. SO using the breeze I stalked up the
hill slowly and staying low. This is the point I remind the reader you need to
know your local game laws. Especially if you feel like following them…like you
should. I could hear leaving moving more then they should in the breeze so I
dropped and crawled up a little closer. When I peaked my head up over the crest
I could see turkeys about 10 yards from
me. I dropped my head down and thought…
“is it turkey season? I know it
comes in soon. is it this this past weekend or next. Do I shoot one of these
guys? Is it the 5th or did it come in around Halloween?” (I look
back up at the turkeys) “jesus just shoot!t look at them all” This is when I
start to fall into my brain pattern of the period “kill it kill it”…..then its
followed by “If dad is bow hunting on top of the ridge when I come walking up
with a poached turkey He’ll freak” (yes I’m almost 35 and am still scared more
of my father then the game warden…you should follow game laws but….dad’s are always
scary. I have a lifelong self-crisis between how my grandfather taught me how
to hunt and how my father and the law tell me what I should do.
SO I laid there until the turkeys
passed through. I then crept up the ridge and out of the woods without seeing
anything else. And for the record…It was turkey Season. I got the trapping
season and turkey season mixed up in my head. SO I could have shot a doe, turkey
and squirrels all in the same trip pretty crockettesque in my mind.
Ok so what gear had I switched up
for this trip? Well In my otterskin bag I had dropped my turn screw for a
Jamblet kife made by Jed Wray. The knife was awesome for changing a flint as
well as skinning the squirrels (the guy makes a great knife) I have switched to
carrying my shot in a birch bark box made by Gene Tesdal “HenRI”. My shot snake didn’t seem to match my mindset
of what I should carry. The box fits into my coat pocket or shot pouch and is
an easy/quick way of getting to shot. Oh
and I need to reread the game laws….yeah it’s pointless to know how many
stitches per inch are on the Caldwell clout when you need to know if you can
shoot a turkey or not.
So Part of the blog I've attached a pic of some of my new gear. A jamblet (spelling doesnt matter its a great frenchified knife lol) and a Penny Knife made by Jed Wray. the man does good work and they have held up. One shot box of birch By henri and one based of an example in the Neuman collection by Matt Stein. The example by Matt is awesome for use as a bulet box as well. Matt is a guy who makes a ton of quality items so check out his site :

So I'm back to weaving...I need to gather more hides for my CLA Squirrel hide pouches/mocs maybe I can untan enough to make them worth the $200+ I see so many roadkill bags go for. Sorry to make that negative but man its weird to see so many ugly bags sell for so much. But then again if a horrible fingerwoven bag can go for 1300 then anything is possible. But ya got to wonder when a bag like that sells in about 15 minutes if it really sold. hmmmmm maybe it'll pollute a table near me and you soon like the other garbage some folks seem to collect. Or at least collect for the upper echelon. Thick pipes, weird research,hemp and bleeding cloth..why do they gather in Gettysburg, Pa? Bad spirits run the show I guess...Love of filthy lucre and lack of knowledge in some circles seems to keep water heads in charge..or at least in charge of their own horror show .

“Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.” Milton
Hmmm This idea to me has more to do with "art" then I think some wil have. Maybe soon this will be an idea that people who practise arts from the age of reason will grab ahold free of for the sake of keeping the art alive. maybe not.....

God I went off the rails with this one. Lets keep this happy. SO My next blog I'll do a product interview ...SO I'm gonna talk to OG Tom Conde...I'm gonna find out how rooster cogburn went from killing men to weaving ;)

Matt Steins chairs and other goods