Jesus do I have a lot of catching up to do, SO in typical me fashion I have to admit I’ve been busy. The real world and my quasi job have been kicking my butt as of late. So Sorry to the folks who have been waiting for a new post (sorry Russ) but hopefully the stuff that have been kicking around in my skull will be worth the wait. Just what have I been up to? Let’s see canoe trip, Longhunter school, woodstime, reading and weaving like there is no tomorrow. Oh and don’t forget reading. SO this week I’m going to focus on getting all the stuff I wrote about into a coherent somewhat normal write ups. So since I missed a bateau ride this weekend I spent some time in the woods at the camp.
While kicking around the woods I took some time to shoot at a mark. In doing so I was breaking in a new jacket I got from Jason Melius . It’s a short brown unlined jacket and is pretty sweet if I do say so. So while shooting the lock of the gun became caught on a handkerchief I had in my right pocket.quickly I realized I was bringing a reference to life.
In his 1847 History of Kentucky Lewis Collin mentions a story (lack of footnotes dam you 19th cent) of Kentucky woodsman Micheal Cassidy:
“But Cassidy to his consternation, found that his pocket handkerchief was tied round the lock of his gun, so as to prevent its being cocked, and he feared to untie it, lest the indian perceiving it, should fire”
Cassidy is mentioned in the oft quoted Interview of William Clinkenbeard. He was in Clinkenbeard’s mess company on the Clark Campaign (a fact that point towards even frontiersmen such as Clinkenbeard serving in a military structure…Take that “I’m not in your dam militia” camp) It also flies in the face on the idea that the people in Kentucky wore only nettles and buffalo wool clothes. Unless of course this is a nettle/wool handkerchief….how much would that hurt to wipe your snuff boogies with. It also points out that Cassidy no stranger to the Dangers of the backcountry was probably sporting a jacket rather then a hunting shirt. If your wearing a belted hunting shirt over a jacket it’s tough to get to the pockets. AT the least (say he didn’t have the shirt belted) it shows him wearing a waistcoat and using the pockets (crazy right!). Now we could toss this reference out because it’s from a 19th century source that doesn’t mention the specific interview, but if we did that some of us wouldn’t be able to publish anything...ever.
The handkerchief is one of those pieces of gear that is really ignored by most folks. Most simply sport a woodsy color checked cotton deal around there neck (or even dye this too with walnuts…come one guys). But from period artwork mixed with period references we can see these was quite a variety of these out there
. The styles shipped to Pittsburgh seemed to run the gambit from plain to fancy:
Invoice of goods on the Batteau Forbes headed to Kaskaskia 1768:
20 bordered Handkerchiefs no. 8 6 shillings
26 do. Do. 6 shillings
17 linen handkerchiefs 3 shillings
32 linen handkerchiefs different patterns 5
15 blue and white cotton Handkerchiefs 5 shillings
Hunters also seem to purchase Handkerchiefs with regular frequency:
June 4 1768 Alexander Ferguson 1 knife 5 “ 1 frock 12”10 1 comb 2” 1 Handkf 5”
July 22 1768 Simon Girty To 1 breech clout 9/ 1 Handkf 15/
And from the runaway ad Mafia:
September 14, 1769. BEDFORD, August 29, 1769. RUN away from the subscriber, on the 14th instant, an indentured servant man named WILLIAM RIDDLE. He is an Aberdeen's man, and talks the brogue peculiar to that part of Scotland, is about 18 years old, slender made, 5 feet 6 inches high, tan complexion, pitted with the smallpox, yellow haired, and a little freckled, had on when he went away an under Virginia cloth jacket with copperas coloured stripes, oznabrug shirt and long trousers, and a pair of Virginia made shoes with buckles. He stole when he went away a gun about 4 feet long in the barrel, and a little silvered in the stock at the muzzel, also a new printed linen handkerchief of two shillings sterling price, with red ground and white spots. It is imagined he will make for Carolina. Whoever conveys the said servant to me, at Bedford courthouse, shall have FORTY SHILLINGS reward, if taken in Virginia, and if in Carolina FOUR POUNDS. WILLIAM AUSTIN.
October 18, 1770. RUN away from the subscriber living in Augusta, near Stanton, a convict servant man named JOHN CEATON, an Englishman, about 5 feet 5 inches high; had on when he went away, a white hunting shirt with striped wristbands, a light coloured lappelled jacket lines with white blanketing, two coarse shirts, and a pair of trowsers, a pair of black worsted stockings, a spotted silk handkerchief, old shoes and brass buckles, a red-coloured wig and has crooked toes. Whoever takes up and secures said servant so that I may have him again, shall have FORTY SHILLINGS reward, besides what the law allows, and reasonable charges paid if brought home. ADAM REABURN.
These scarves could have been worn around the neck, on the head or as pictured in a lot of period images in the pocket. The neckcloth and pocket scarf pop up in a lot of images of period working class people. Right now a great source for some killer handkerchiefs is Burnley And Trowbridge. The spotted scarves they carry are very close to an example in the Herkimer house and ones worn by sailors in the Benjamin West 1771 image “Penn’s Treaty with the Indians.”
One theoretical way to sport a scarf (as in not a solid documented method) is in holding up your breech clout. Quite a few of these hunters purchase a clout the same time they purchase a scarf (or 2 scarves). Morgan notes that the French in Kaskaskia sport a scarf on their head, wrist and waist , so maybe this is the hunters adopting an idea picked up from the French. I have used a scarf as a clout belt for a few years now and have found it to be a pretty nice way of holding everything in place. Deerskin belts stretch or break, gartering cuts into you but handkerchiefs do a pretty good job (and don’t rot away from sweat/dirt)
Also for folks that really want to go the extra yard…want to be super minimalist. Carry a pack that you can document just about anywhwere and anyone can afford…Wrap up your stuff in a handkerchief! Beats the hell out of a coverlet haversack (Why people? Why do you keep making/selling/buying these things? Think of the children….If you carry a coverlet haversack the terrorists win and You hate America) I’ve carried the basics wrapped in a handkerchief on quite a few scouts and it’s pretty simple and easy. If you get tired of carrying it in your hand a buffalo tug/belt works for a strap or simply put it on your gun/walking stick. Yes you can fit all the gear/food you would need for a weekend scout in a handkerchief and your pockets. What does that say about how much you need to carry?
Another piece of gear made by Jason I broke in was my new Blue Plush shot bag. This type of bag is mentioned in a few runway ads as well as store records sometimes even purchased by…(shocking music) LONG HUNTERS! Me thinks the Harmons may have even purchased one…hmmmm does that mean long hunters didn’t always wear deerskin and nettles? Anyhow..here is a mention of a plush pouch in the Virginia runaway ads:
August 16, 1776. Supplement. RUN away from the subscriber living on the levels of Green brier, two convict servant men. One named WILLIAM ROW, 18 or 19 years old, about 5 feet 8 inches high, of a fair complexion, has dark hair, is an artful fellow, and may forge a pass, as he writes a tolerable good hand; had on, when he went away, shirt, drawers, and leggins, of coarse country linen, and took with him a coat and waistcoat of cotton and linen almost white, also a smooth bore gun of the best sort, double breached, which had part of the stock broke off before, a shot bag and powder horn, very much carved, the strap of the powder horn made of striped girting, and the shot bag of blue plush. The other named ISAAC SINGER, 5 feet 4 or 5 inches high, about 25 years old, thin visaged, small made, of a dark complexion, and has very thin whitish hair; had on, when he went away, old leather breeches, a coarse shirt, brown leggins, and old shoes. They are both Englishmen, and took with them a fur hat, besides other things too tedious to mention. Whoever apprehends the said servants, and secures them so as they may be had again, shall have 40s. reward for each, if taken in the county; if out thereof 4 l. for each, paid by ARCHER MATTHEWS.
The bag Jason made me is SWEET. It’s dimensions are on the small side (by average modern shot bag dimensions) It’s roughly 6 ¾ wide by 6 deep and had a linen divider in the center. It does look…Odd but it worked out great. I carried 25 roundball and loose shot on one side as well as a oil bottle, extra flints, piece of chalk and feather in it. The feather is for loading the gun based on Audubon’s loading description as well as for stopping up the touch hole to use the lock as a firekit.(please no hatemail on this one. I am an adult, I keep the gun pointed at a backstop while I do this if this makes you uncomfortable…don’t do it). I also took the idea Baker mention in a Muzzleloader. The feather is placed in the touchhole when in camp as a safety device and a sign the gun is loaded. The chalk well I’ll post the quote:
“Belden had soon reloaded, and with a piece of chalk carried for the purpose, he whitened the barrel of his rifle, took a more deliberate aim at the glaring target and fired again” trappers of NY (267)
SO I haven’t tried out the night shooting with chalk yet but it’s on my short list of stuff to try this summer. So if your looking for a quality handkerchief (or hunting shirt linen) check out burnley and trowbridge’s site http://www.burnleyandtrowbridge.com/neck-handkerchiefs.aspx Also at the Eastern Woodland Indian Conf. Ward Oles of “At the Eastern Door” had some nice small glass bottles perfect to carry gun oil/paint in SO if your looking for a bottle drop him a line. WWW.attheeasterndoor.com
Ok so I broke my mental block and can try and get back to posting these things with greater frequency. Also in the Vein of promotion I want to recommend an article for folks to check out. It’s in the current issue of the William And Mary Quarterly “Fashioning Moccasins: Detroit, the Manufacturing Frontier, and the Empire of Consumption, 1701–1835” Catherine Cangany (a new Buffalo trace reader) This was a great article that shed some light on just how important the “moccasin” was as a trade item. It also shed some new light on the idea of the “shoepack” (looks Like Msr. Tharp is going to get some long hunter customers) info on getting a copy here: http://oieahc.wm.edu/wmq/Apr12/abstracts.html#Cangany
Ok now back to work. Weaving for Williamsburg, orders and a soaking buffalo hide are all screaming my name, Not to mention the laughing 3 year old running out of the room with a matchcoat full of pins….