Fort Pitt

Fort Pitt
Center of the ohio country universe

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Eating mush....nicer then it sounds

Joseph's cornmeal cofee....if you dont want a scalper from a store why buy cofee?

Carrie Fellows....this lady can cook

My Food gear bag of parched corn, cornmeal, rice...bottle of shrub....Frying pan (made by Jasper mercantile) Kettle (Highhorse trading) porringer spoon/fork, Tin cup (carl giardano), Corn Husk Salt Bottle (Mike Galban) choclate, hard bread and Jerk

CIndy is ready to go.....can we document footy Pj's? Sled was made by Mike Galban

It’s amazing at when I start these things how far they end up from my initial idea. I started writing about cold weather gear part 2 and next thing you know mind is mush…..well on mush actually. I’ve started getting ready for a few days in the woods at my camp over Late Muzzleloader season. Go hang out in the woods and freeze my but off. The way things are looking we’ll have enough snow on the ground for me to finally use my toboggan/traine. This would make it nice because I can pack in a little more gear then I would normally carry. Right now the gear I have set aside is: A buffalo robe, 2 blankets, a medium sized kettle, a frying pan, water Barrel, Rum bottle, Oil cloth tarp, axe and my food.
Food is one thing I always have a little problem figuring out. If you ask Crowder my usual method of packing food is buying a bottle or two of whiskey and a bag of chew and I’m set for the weekend. I guess the problem is I have been spoiled by the women of the Augusta County Militia. They take 18th cent food as serious as I do hunting (and man can those ladies cook) . So as a result I tried to focus on food for this hunt more then I have in the past. A food stuff that I overlooked for a long time was cornmeal.
I’ve made my share of cornmeal ash (or a$$ cakes as they have become known in the acm) And it’s usually just a way to balance out the insane amount of Bacon/pork We eat at events. I tried my hand at Corn mush a few times but it never tasted like well anything you wanted to eat. On the last ACM canoe trip when I turned down everything but Shrub and bacon for breakfast I watched Carrie Fellows prepare a kettle of mush. The process she took was to put a handful of meal into the boiling water a little at a time. This allowed the meal to mix in evenly. This looked a little more scientific then my dump meal in, boil water, hate the tatste method of cooking.
So I tried a bowl and it was great (better then my bacon but tied with the shrub) Carrie also used Maple sugar to flavor the mush. Since the canoe trek I’ve cooked it a few more times on scouts and I’ve found that chocolate/molasses and even boiling the mush in Birch tea tastes pretty good. This is especially the case when you’ve been eating nothing but deer meat for a few days. It is also pretty good cooked and then fried in Bacon grease.
One thing you notice when you read a lot of travel narratives is the way people complain about the lack of bread with a meal. Creswell is constantly commenting on this in his narrative. You also can note a lot of narratives keep track of the amount of flour they are carrying. This is especially clear when they lament the fact it gets spoiled. Well when reading the Samuel Macclay Journal a number of years ago this detail finally made sense to me. Macclay was part of a surveyor party that traveled across Pa in the 1790’s in his journal one of the camp chores he notes is “baked bread in our kettle”. So I decided to try this out.
Simply using a brass trade kettle I mixed up some whole wheat flour and salt into a stiff dough. I then removed the dough from the kettles and rinsed the kettle out and greased the bottom of the kettle with bacon grease. I put the kettle back next to the fire (not on the coals!) I flattened out the dough like a large cookie and placed it back in the kettle. I left enough room around the sides to fit my fingers/knife in to flip the dough. I also punched some holes into the dough with a knife blade.
I let this sit next to the fire for a few hours making sure to turn the kettle now and then to cook the entire loaf. I also flipped the mass a few times so not to let it stick to the bottom of the kettle.
After a few hours the cake was cooked the whole way thru and was a pretty palatable hard bread. This takes awhile so this is probably something you’d want to do if you were tending a rack of Jerky or some other camp chore (fleshing hides, repairing moccasins)
Now an updates of sorts on the hunter info I posted the other day. Joseph Privott decided to try and make the corn meal “coffee” mentioned in the Timothy Pickering letters. Well Joseph fried up some cornmeal and says that it makes a pretty “palatable” coffee. So this something to consider next time you head out into the woods. If your already in the “they did without store items” camp they why carry a store bought good like coffee? Some maple sugar and cornmeal coffee might be a good historic alternative to your usual cup of Joe.
Well I should be weaving/sewing if I want to try and get anything done before Christmas. Also For anyone interested I’m looking to host a Shoot/woodswalk at my hunting camp in Central Pa in late Feb. /Early March (I’m putting up the prizes) and if time permits a workshop on an item gear (leggings/mocs). SO if you’re interested let me know.

This is a link to Issac Walters Blog “the French in Wisconsin” A lot of great info on cold weather gear, French stuff, etc….10 out of 10 history geeks agree…Ike Rules!

Samuel Macclay’s journal

Long Hunter Leather company…good source for parched corn and other trail food Mr. Browder is a great guy to deal with.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Happy holidays and Pa Hunters or "We're all misfits!"

Mark Baker, Brandyn Charlton, Me, Mark Hersee and Steve "bless his heart" Ginglebach
Krause, Tim Carmarda, Tom Conde, Me, Ward Oles, Jaimie Penisi and Niels Hobbes

Tom, Jason, The Galbans, Crowder and Big

Me, Ward and Jason....three Bad ideas come to life

So it’s the holidays…..time for reindeer games , rein deer games men…Falala (that’s for you Crowder). I’d like to wish a happy holiday season to all of you. Especially to the Folks I run with …happy holidays/midwinter to the Galbans, Eli, Ward, Burke, crowder , Stout, duane, Jamie ,Krause, The Gore’s , Mark / Ehrin/Steve (bless your hearts) ,Neal ,Ike , Jesse/Suze , Jason/Katy and the rest of the Island of Misfit toys. You guys rock and my family thanx you all for keeping me in check. (who ever heard of a gutchess/Stephenson/Guthrie in a box?)

Funny Part for me is If I ever got all those folks in one place at a time…well the 18th century as you know it would change lol. I’m one lucky Mf’er to have the friends I do and I know it. I feel really Lucky to have the friends I do and I know Natalie and girls Thank heaven everyday for you folks. I guess I’m tough to live with (who knew). SO thanx gang and happy holidays.
So my blog was all set to go when Bam it was messed up by a virus. SO this blog is gonna be a little held back but in the spirit of the season…hunting I figured I’d Post an account Stephenson dug up and Steve Rayner dug up on Pa hunters.

Thanx Scott:
The Pennsylvania Gazette March 10, 1757
Some time ago, in Hunting Time, a Man in Frederick County, (MD.)
having made himself a Jacket of the Skin of a Deer, with the
Hair and Tail on, went out to hunt for Deer, and as he was
creeping thro Bushes in pursuit of Prey, was seen by another
Hunter, who taking him for a Deer, fired at him, and shot
thro'the Skin, but happily did not kill. (It is not
improbable but he might wear the Horns as well as the Tail).

And yes I’m now working on a deer skin jacket for next year….The following from the "Life of Timothy Pickering" Vol. 2, though brief, are some of the most abundant and detailed camp food notes I've ever seen. I was looking for evidence of improvised "coffee" at the time.

Pickering was kidnapped during the political unrest over the Constitution in July 1788 and taken to the far reaches of the Wyoming Valley. He was held hostage for the release of a Colonel Franklin.

From a narrative of the events written in 1818:

"[Unspecified date.] The leader of this band was a hunter, and had his rifle-gun with him. As we proceeded a fawn was started, and as he bounded along the hunter shot him, and in five minutes had his skin off and the carcase slung at his back. At the distance of three or four miles from the river, they halted close by a very small run of water. A fire being quickly kindled, they began to cook some of the venison. The hunter took the first cut. They sharpened small sticks, at both ends, running one into a slice of the fawn and setting the other end into the ground, the top of the stick bearing so near the fire as to broil the flesh. Being hungry, I borrowed one of their knives and followed their example. I observed the hunter tending his steak with great nicety, and sprinkling it with a little sauce. As soon as it was done he, with a very good grace, presented it to me.

Before night they cut down some limbs of trees and formed a slight booth, to shelter us from the dew. One of them taking post as a sentinel, we lay down on the ground; my pillow was a stone. In this station we remained about a week. At first they had some good salt pork and wheaten bread, that lasted two or three days, after which they got Indian meal, which they made into cakes, or fried as pancakes, in the fat of the pork. Of the pork they were very sparing, frying only two or three small slices at a time, and cutting them up in the pan. Such was our breakfast, dinner, and supper. My share did not exceed five mouthfuls of pork at each meal.* They fared better, sopping up with their bread or cakes, all the fat in the pan, of which I felt no inclination to partake." p. 384-85.

Ca. July 16.
"I lay down with my guard that night, not doubting of my speedy release. As soon as it was light I rose, put the firebrands together (in the woods a fire is generally kept up at night, even in the warmest weather), mixed up some of their miserable coarse Indian-meal for cakes, spread the dough on pieces of hemlock bark (the usual trenchers), and set them to the fire. As soon as it was light enough to see our green tea, I went to gather it. This was the winter green, bearing red berries, which went by the name of partridge berries. Infused in boiling water the winter green makes a tolerable warm beverage.*

By the time my guard were awake, the tea was boiled and the cakes were baked. I told them that, expecting to be released, I had risen and got the breakfast ready, in order to gain time; for if released, I had a particular desire to reach home the next day. I then proposed that we should go to their head-quarters, without delay; where, if released, it would be well; if not, I would come back with them again into the woods. They readily assented, — took up their kettle and frying-pan (our kitchen furniture), — and down we marched." p. 387-88.

Footnote to July 16.
* "They once asked me if I should like a dish of coffee. 'A dish of coffee by all means,' I answered. They went to work. Boiling water in their iron pot, to make it clean, then emptying it, they set it over the fire to heat. They next strewed into it some Indian-meal ; and when this was roasted, they poured in water ; and as soon as it boiled, the coffee was made. It was an agreeable change for our green tea." p. 388.

[Mentions going nineteen days without a shave or change of clothes and being given a razor, clean stockings and a shirt.]

Letter written while hostage:
"July 3d, 1788.
My Dear Beckey...
The following articles I wish to have sent me, as early as may be, viz.: My old camlet cloak, two pairs of my strongest worsted stockings, one shirt, one coarse pocket-handkerchief, one coarse towel, half a pound of soap, half a quire of paper, two quills, my penknife, my leathern gloves, needle, thread, and worsted yarn (the thread to darn my fustian trowsers), one pound of chocolate and one pound of sugar. To these add Dr. Price's sermons, which I was lately reading to you and Betsey. All these may be put into a strong bag, which will make a pack convenient to carry at the back ; and to sling it, send me four yards of the strong yellow binding. I forgot shoes. Send my strongest pair. Send also a smalltoothed comb." p. 392.

From a journal of his captivity, copied by his son Octavius:
[Citing manuscripts, Vol. lviii, No. 45.]

"Thursday, July 10th... T. Kilborn showed me the twig of a tree, whose bark is a very agreeable bitter. He says there are many large trees of it on the flat by his father's, and that they have used it in timber for part of Sill's house-frame, — a soft wood : it is called winter bark. No meat ; but butter to eat with bread; ginseng at our encampment, in the deep shades of hemlock woods." p. 400.

"Friday, July 11th, fair. Moved our camp about four miles from the river, west of Kilborn's, and about a mile over Mehoopenny Creek. Pork to-day, and what the guard call coffee, — -i.e.,- a crust of wheat-bread toasted very brown, not burnt, and then boiled in water, which is then sweetened. 'Tis very tolerable drink." p. 400.

"Saturday, July 12th. Fair, with wind. "Winter-green tea last evening with supper, and this morning with breakfast. P.M., thunder with rain, then fair. Two meals to-day. " p. 400-01.

Sunday, July 13th. Cloudy, with intervening sunshine. P.M., rainy ; no bread or meat, and, of course, eat nothing." p. 401.

[The account of the kidnapping runs from about p. 381 to about p. 405.]

Upham, Charles W.; "The Life of Timothy Pickering." Vol. II. Little, Brown and Company, Boston, 1873. [Google Book Search.]

Steve Nailed this shit…….There is more info in this little section then in some issues of reenacting magazines or whole months of msg boards.Unless you “f*ckin hate reading” this is the research you can use. It always amazes me the number of people who portray hunters that have never even killed a deer. Hell I know some golems who have yet to prove to anyone that have killed a mouse let alone a deer…but hey I guess you don’t need to really kill a deer with a muzzleblast to show how much info you stole in a magazine named after the same. But hey what do I know I’m trapped on the island of misfit toys with friends that really matter….”Who ever heard of a Golem finding research?”…..

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Winter Gear or "my kid brother looked like a tick about to pop"

View of Jeffries Undershirt/waistcoat

Inside of Underwaistcoat....seams sewn flat to keep from rubbing the skin...and no thats not machine stitching thats Just Crowder

FrontView of my underwaistcoat.

"The Ballad Seller" check out the ties on his under waist coat visible under his jacket, Long trousers, shoes with ties, short brimmed hat.....guy has enough brown on to be a longhunter ;)

So December is here…and It feels like it. I’m finishing up my winter Kit just in time for time the late muzzleloader season and am hoping to do a few day/nights at my camp over the Holidays. The only gear I’m really trying to finish up is a winter pair of leggings and a pair of mittens. And if time permits a new wool undershirt /Drawers. SO like my now stalled Native gear thread (deer season what can I say) I’ll start throwing some winter gear info I have on here. This started out as an article For On The Trail but my ADD kicked in and well Sorry Jason.
I can still remember the first cold weather event I went to. I was 14 and the Unit I was a member of at the “Cluggage’s Rangers” decided to do a small scout from our annual 12th night party. My clothing was (this is hard to admit) three cotton shirts, a green wool waistcoat, a blanket wool shirt and overall that wrapped a blanket. I also wore a green bonnet, center seam cheeto’s orange leggings, a few pair of cotton stockings and the world’s worst pair of moccasins.
Pretty Quickly into the scout we were hit by some freezing rain/snow which quickly soaked my moccasins and cotton stockings. Some of the guys had Moccasins made over sneakers so they held up a little better but their Cotton and linen waistcoats and hunting shirts didn’t help much. Overall the scout was over in a few hours and then Back to the lodge to Thaw out and brag to each other about the adventure we had just concluded.
The only Guy in the Scout that didn’t freeze out fast was A gentleman Named Peter Dobbs. Pete Wore a Canadian cap, brown wool coat, brown wool waistcoat, thin wool shirt, Linen shirt, Breeches, two pair wool stocking under leather leggings and a pair of Shoepacks that would turn back the ocean. It seems Odd to me I would remember Pete’s Outfit 20 years later but the way he carried himself in the bitter cold on Brush mountain made an impression on me. That’s when I realized there was more to 18th century cold weather gear then 10 shirts and a blanket!
The Focus of this will be on the use of foul weather gear from an English point of view. Karl Kostner and Isaac Walters have both put out great info for folks of the Canadian persuasion but this will focus on those of us that can’t speak French and proudly so. My intent is to cover documented Pieces of foul weather gear from an English world viewpoint and show that there is a little more to this then the “ blanket wool shirt” idea. Which is one garment I’ve personally never come across an original of or solid reference to.
The Key to being outside in Bad weather today like the 18th century is the idea of Layers. Wearing multiple layers of clothing means all the difference in your level of comfort. The Basic 18th century idea of being dressed means wearing breeches, a shirt, waistcoat, frock/jacket, neck cloth and head covering. Pretty basic and simple, you make these layers out of linen or wool to the season right? Well actually there is a little more to it then this and the mixing of the different types of fabrics really adds to the comfort level.
SO the first thing I’d like to focus on is the “underclothes” garments. These are items like under waistcoats or drawers that are common during the period. ……These garments are constructed like jackets or waistcoats but meant to be worn under clothes. The seams are sewn flat and to the outside of the garment this done to prevent chaffing as some sources point towards men wearing these underneath their shirts. Also these items can use tapes to close them. The reason for this is to keep the garment from messing up the proper Silhouette of an 18th century man. As well as not making you too bulky to work.
A few examples of these garments survive. One well Known piece belonged to Thomas Jefferson. It is made of a red flannel and lined with Stockings (yes I said stockings). The front of the garment is secured shut with tape ties. Ok I can hear folks now “Jefferson was a man of wealth I wouldn’t own a garment like that” These garments turn up in a number of runaway ads as well as an image of a “Ballad Seller” The image is of a man in typical working class clothes and under his jacket one can see the ties of his under waistcoat.
These garments show up here in the colonies on the working class as well:
march 12, 1772. SIXTY POUNDS REWARD. RUN away from the Subscriber, on Little Pipe Creek, in Frederick County, Maryland, the five following SERVANT MEN, namely, EDWARD RYLOT, about twenty seven Years of Age, five Feet six or seven Inches high, with a pale yellow Countenance, straight brown Hair, black Eyes, very bad sore Shins, and had one of his Ankles put out of Place; JOHN POLLARD, a well set Fellow, about twenty five Years of Age, five Feet six or seven Inches high, with a middling clear Skin, down Look, gray Eyes, straight brown Hair, and a large Scar on his Breast, occasioned by a Scald; JOHN BISSEY, about twenty years of Age, five Feet six or seven Inches high, has a bold saucy Look, gray Eyes, straight black Hair, and is much pitted with the Smallpox; WILLIAM NORRIS, about five Feet four or five Inches high, a well set fellow with a fresh Countenance, Pot Belly, flat Nose, and straight brown Hair; HENRY WITMORE, about five Feet four or five Inches high, a slim Fellow, with brown Skin, fresh Colour, black Eyes, and curled black Hair. All the above Servants had on under Jackets of white Linsey, Breeches of white Kersey, white Yarn Stockings, coarse Country made Shirts, Country made Shoes, the Bottoms of which are well-nailed, and old Felt Hats; three of them had on old blue Fearnought Jackets, and two had on white Kersey Jackets; they carried with them a new Felt Hat, a Country Cloth great Coat, a new gray Bearskin close-bodied Coat, an old white Cotton Ditto, and an old Linen Jacket….
July 26, 1776. DESERTED from the Hero galley, CHARLES FREEMAN, an Englishman, about 25 years of age, 5 feet 6 or 7 inches high, pretty full faced, with short brown hair; had on when he deserted a brown sailor's jacket, with an under jacket of scarlet stuff that had been turned, a check shirt, and a pair of osnabrug trousers. Also JAMES MARTIN, an Irishman, about 25 years of age, 5 feet 6 or 7 inches high, dark complexioned, and a little marked with the small-pox; had on when he deserted a brown sailor's jacket, a white linen shirt, osnabrug trousers, and a new hat. Whoever apprehends the said deserters, and secures them so that they may be returned to the said galley, shall receive 20 s. for each, and reasonable charges, from
GEORGE MUTER, capt. of the Hero.
February 17, 1774. RUN away from the subscriber, living in Cumberland county, on Thursday the 9th of December last, an Irish servant man named NICHOLAS M'CARTNEY, about 27 years of age, about 5 feet 8 or 10 inches high, pretty much pitted with the smallpox, of a fair complexion, with short black hair, and is by trade a shoemaker; has on a short brown coloured duffil coat, lined with plaid, a Virginia cloth under waistcoat, cross barred with red worsted, and an old pair of leather breeches. I will give a reward of FIVE POUNDS to any person that will secure the said M'Cartney so that I get him again.
There are two more examples of Undershirts/waistcoats that I am familiar with. One was worn By Dr. Samuel Jeffries as part of his “ballooning” clothing. The Other is a garment that was worn by Lord Horatio Nelson. These items are made from a Thin woolen cloth and seem to have been meant to be worn close to the body (i.e. under a shirt). These are tight fitting garments. With seams sewn to the outside to keep them from rubbing against the wearer.
The Underwaistcoat I wear is made from green flannel and was made by (yeah you guessed it) Travis Crowder. Travis simply took a waistcoat Pattern and tweeked it. It’s cut short at the waistline and has tape ties to close it. I’ve found wearing it under a wool waistcoat with a hunting shirt on top I’m comfortable when it’s pretty chilly out (early fall and late spring) but Under a wool linen wool waistcoat, and wool frock coat on top of that I’m good into the lower teens (with a wool cap on, mittens, breeches and thick stockings). I’ve even worn one under a jacket under a hunting shirt while wearing a….Matchcoat! (the shock..the horror!)
While the references I have seen to these items has been woolen cloths I don’t feel its outside of the realm of possibility to make one out of a linsey Woolsey. These items are part of working class clothes in Europe and the colonies and I don’t see why this idea wouldn’t have traveled west. And honestly it takes a lot less cloth to make and less room in your pack then 3 extra shirts. Try one out....

Also in the love of Shameless capitalism I thought some folks might dig this. My Friend Mike Burke (Happy Birthday BTW) started a site to sell some of his Modern Horn work. It’s crazy to see his horn carving on a punk rock item like a “black sheep” (I’m Outa step with the world!!!!) But the stuff looks great and really shows off his talent. The site is:

This site has some good images of Nelson’s undershirt:

This site has some images of the Jefferson Under waistcoat:

Articles on Underclothes:
Apparel for Ballooning with speculations on more commonplace garb ,Kidwell, Claudia

Under Waistcoats and Drawers, Baumgarten, Linda

Monday, November 22, 2010

belt pouch hunting....or "do you want a round house kick while I'm wearing these bad boys? Forget About it!!!"

This time of year is so hectic…..So I’m going to apologize for the lag in my posts. Between hunting/work/family and my own weirdness (mostly my own weirdness…..I have issues) I’ve been pretty busy. I gave a weaving talk at Fort Niagara which went pretty well but for me the best part was the tour of the Fort By Ian Stout as the few times I had been to the site I never had time to walk around and take it all in. It was also awesome to hang out with the usual cast of characters (eric schatzel, Ward Oles, Mike Galban, Eli Motsey, Mark Hersee, Brendan Menz) As usual the craziness resulted in a lot of learning and more questions. Those are the weekend I really feel lucky to have the friends I do. Then again they also result in the drinking of shawneebrew….it had a lot of hops…forget about it! Anyhow….This week I’ll make up for it with the stuff I started and stopped over the past few weeks.
So anyhow…the week before the talk I was able to spend a lot of time in the woods. One Thing I finished was a copy of the Lyman pouch I had cut out….I think 2 years ago. Being a slacker sucks sometimes. The pouch was based off a tracing I had done of the original pouch. I used some Bark Tan pig hide for my pouch (I’ll cover this more later) But after the pouch was finished I decided to try it out at my camp in place of my new pocket method (ADD is a hell of a drug)
So my hunting rig was a belt pouch (shot/round ball in the front pocket, turn screw flints and toggle in rear pocket) my horn with the pipe bowl measure (pick and whisk on the strap) I also wore a haversack (authenticity gods forgive me) to use as a game bag as I haven’t finished my netted bag yet. And while hunting I found a penance for this…..
Anyhow…So I headed out from my camp building towards the center of the camp. I had lost a tobacco pouch in the “brush” last time I was out so I figured this was a good route to take to try and get it back. As I walked the trail I flushed a grouse right off the bat. The grouse flew ahead of me and I had no chance of shooting it. So I Pulled the gun up to my shoulder and walk towards the spot the grouse landed. About 15 yards from the spot the grouse landed the grouse popped back up and before it could fly I pulled the trigger. The grouse rolled onto the open trail ahead of me.
Ok so here is the point some ppl will say to themselves….hey !he shot it on the ground! That’s not what I would have done!....well F*ck you. That’s how I learned to hunt. Why put a grouse in the air or flush the rabbit from the brush pile when you can shoot it and eat it? Kobuck’s Kill animals and eat them. You have a problem with that…well don’t hunt with me.
So I reloaded quickly as I was in the brush and had seen a lot of grouse this season in the area. But nothing else popped up. As I walked I spotted a section full of dogbane. So cut a few stalks and shoved them on my pouch and kept walking.I walked the rest of the trail until I came to the end of the brush. I headed up the ridge and found a nice hollow to watch.
I sat on a log looking down the hollow and while I was there saw 6 does work their way up towards me. While I watched them I broke up one of the dogbane stocks and striped off the bark to make cordage and rolled it on my leg. It sounds odd but The deer came within a few feet of me as I sat there making cordage. After about an hour I tucked my new “string” of dogbane in my pocket and walked along the ridge towards the camp.
As I was heading towards the camp I spotted a hornets nest in a pine tree. It was about 20 feet up so I took a few minutes to toss limbs at the branch until the nest broke free. I then looked at the nest for a few minutes for live wasps and tossed the bag into my haversack. I plan on using it for wadding for the rest of the season/
The Section I was hunting wa the spine of a ridge with little islands of brush and open timber on each side. I walked a few yards then stood still listening. Then to my left I heard some squirrels chattering. I snuck along the Ridge and spotted 4 squirrels in a section of pine trees on a shelf below me. As I snuck towards them 3 of the squirrels climbed to my left and one went higher in the tree I spotted them in. as I got within about 10 yards of the tree I shot the loan squirrel.
The squirrel fell in front of me and I quickly reloaded and moved towards the squirrels to my left but they had already moved behind me to a section of hollow trees/brush. I waited a half an hour for movement but it was getting dark so I walked off the ridge spotting a few does as I did. It was a pretty nice day to be in the woods….especially with a new shot pouch…
The pouch I made is based of the Lyman pouch. The pouch is pretty small by most modern shooters tastes but it has a really kewl feature. There is an internal divider that allows you to put shot/ball on one side and the other items you might carry on the other (in my case a screwdriver, extra flint and leather pad. The pouch matches up to the description of the belt bags worn by Roger’s rangers as well as a description of early 19th century hunter/rev war Veteran Nicholas Stoner: “He usually wore a fur cap when hunting, and a short coat, or cloth roundabout. A belt encircled his waist, at the foot of which was fastened a bullet pouch, and beneath which upon the left side were thrust a hatchet and knife; while under his right arm hung a powder horn of no mean capacity.”
I was able to examine the pouch when I was working the clash of empire exhibit and there is a really good image of the pouch in the Clash exhibit Catalog (which is worth buying for so many images ) From what I understand Matt Wulf did an article on the pouch for “On the trail magazine” but I haven’t seen the article yet. God I’m a slacker….anyhow…
I’ve often wondered if these belt pouches were something you’d see more in the Northern states based on the info I’ve seen but honestly….I don’t have a clue. I’ve been a big fan of belt pouches for some time. I’ve carried a pouch based off a dug example since the late 90’s and a belt pouch combined with a belted hunting shirt (with a pocket)t in all honesty I have found has been all I really need to wear when in the woods for long periods of time. My gun equipment goes in the belt pouch (shot/ball, turn screw, flints), pick and whisk on my horn strap (with a tow worm) and other gear goes in my hunting shirt (like Doddridge mentions) or in the hunting shirt pocket.
It might seem odd to carry so little But the more I look in period info from any source relating to hunting I just don’t see the oversized shot pouches full of a hundred little pieces of gear. I really think as a culture reenactors are so “stuff” focused that we really miss the simplicity in the idea of meat/hide hunting. If you’ve ever hunted with anyone that learned to hunt during the depression your idea of “gear” goes way beyond the real tree under armor of today’s hunters. But there I go….off on a tangent.
SO folks if ya get a chance get a hold of WUlf’s article or the Clash Catalog and try a belt pouch out for yourself. They do rock and help cut down on the straps you wear as you walk thru the woods.

back issues of OTT for the Wulf article
catalog with Lyman pouch and alot of killer stuff in it...
"Clash Of empires The british French and indian War 1754-1763" By R.S. Stephenson

Monday, November 8, 2010

the WM3 dont care about bullet boards

Rabble rabble rabble…..did that make sense? Well it shouldn’t have. That’s what my fiancé and daughters say I sound like when I’m focused on…well anything. I’m pissy and mean and say hurtful stuff to…well anyone. It’s tough being Me some days LOL. SO today I got pissed about a lot of shit and while writing 2 blogs (1 on leggings and the other on trousers) I came back the usual shit. And for me one big thing is the West Memphis Three. So ok I know this is odd but hear me out…….ok so I donated my $ in the month of Oct to the WM3 defense fund it for the first time in awhile didnt really amount to shit. Yes I said SHIT….its ok I’m a professional. So I figured I’d do another blog post about the WM3 and scream…..Please if you can donate anything ($, time, facebook space) to these young men. They need our help.

Look if your on the fence please check out the Documentary "paradise lost"

these young men need our help......

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


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

Ike walter’s blog…..He’s a great resource of info….too bad its French info

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.



with Rosie Hill

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



with Nathan Kobuck

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

Optional lunch 8.00/person.


with Michael Galban

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



with Ward Oles

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

- Very Reasonable!

MAX: 10 people.

Lunch provided.


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 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 décor 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 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… 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

Near Sea Naturals Source for the organic jersey knit wool

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!/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.

Awls and some killer Fire steels by Eric Schatzel check out AT the Eastern Door

Scissors from Avalon Forge (the 10 inch scissors) he sells some nice axes as well

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.

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 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. 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

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Brandywine Campaign...or buy new shoes dummy

Neal Hurst Made the company flag for the event....You can see my pack worn tumpline fashion

Company at the 1st crossing

Company Pic....2nd Va guys on the end of the line

"Bacon Boys" mess stomping out our camp site

So last week I didn’t post well anything..sorry my bad. I was trying to finish up some last minute stuff for the Brandywine Reenactment at Brandywine State park in Delaware. Normaly I am really not into the big battle events, I’m not a “powder burner” and most of the time don’t get anything out of this type of event. This year The Augusta County Militia Set up a March in to the event from an offsite location so I couldn’t pass it up.
The overall march for some of us was an 10 mile march ( 5 miles Friday to the ford 5 miles back Saturday) we would cross at two fords and camp at the 2nd ford. This was the location of ford one of the sites guarded by the militia during the Brandywine Campaign . Some of the crew did the march a number of times that weekend so…you go guys!
The gear I carried was a “warner” pack with: A pair of mocs, extra stockings, old tin cartridge box holding my hygiene kit (tooth brush, tooth powder, soap and my modern contact stuff) , fire kit, mallet bottle of whiskey and tumpline. My blanket was tied to the top of the pack. I also carried a tin canteen and haversack with: Pouch of parched corn/jerk/hard bread, Bag with 3 lbs of bacon, salt bottle, bag of potatoes, tin cup, porringer/spoon/fork and cakes of chocolate.
I wore a hunting shirt, shirt, linen waistcoat, trousers stockings, shoes, and cotton cap under a hat. I also wore a belt with a small belt pouch containing my bag of chewing tobacco, pocket knife and fishing kit. The mess equipment that We carried was an axe/sling and a Kettle in a kettle bag. The kettle contained some stag horn sumac berries and a loaf of bread.
My pack/gear seemed to work out pretty well except for the fact my pack had straps that were about 4 inches too short. It was one of those things I knew I should have fixed before the march but..Didn’t. Lucky for me I brought my tumpline because I ended up using it with the pack to carry my gear (point # 156 for tumplines) The other problem I had was the use of my old knit stockings on the 1st days march.
I spent the summer walking in bare feet/mocs both on site and in the woods and never had any problems. Well for the march on day 1 I wore a pair of Paul meekins stockings I bought some time ago and while the construction on them is pretty good I found out a few years ago wet knit stockings will draw file layers off your feet in seconds. Like a moron I wore them and well that coupled with bad shoes turned the little toe on each foot to hamburg (or at least nasty)
Once at the Camp I put my mocs on and feet problems went away right off the bat. AT camp my mess company set up our fire at the end of the line. I was in a mess with : Joesph Privott, Mike Burke, John Reeese, Matt Mickletz and Matt white (now known as the Bacon Boys Mess). We got a fire going gathered wood and proceeded to eat 3lbs of bacon and talk history.
We took up the 2am-4am watch So I ended up acting as a cpl and put guys out on their posts. Burke and Joseph took up the 1st watch so I stayed up gathered more firewood to last us until morning and then had the best time during the whole event. I sat along the Brandywine put my feet in the water with a mallet bottle of whiskey by my side, a chew and fished with a hand line and piece of bacon. I almost landed a fish but during this watch we heard what can only be described as a “manbearpig”. I sent out the next watch and setup the next mess company for watch and fell into a deep coma like sleep.
The march back was pretty uneventful except for the fact I was still dealing with my bonehead move from the day before. The ill fitting shoes and raw toes proved to…well…suck. By the last half mile I was toast. SO I dropped out with another ACM foot causality And we took our time back to the camp. The other fellow was pretty run down from heat so We got him cooled down and some sugar in him and we headed to our camp for some foot first aid.
Once in camp we hung out drank water and I took the time to get two new Period Tattoos from Joespeh Privott. We then marched to the camp kitchen to cook our Pork/corn rations for diner as mess groups. Thanks to Our Camp follower Brooke Armstrong for this she really took the ball and ran with making our meal more than boiled corn and pork. Also the “Yankee” mess did a great job of mixing up some tasty punch while we sat around and waited for diner to cook.
So what did I learn? Well I’ve done a lot of scouts/treks whatever over the past however many years and this march taught me to…..Pay attention! I slacked in my preparation and I paid for it. Also one thing I picked up from those around me….You do not need as much stuff as you think you do. Look more into period journals/accounts on just what these ppl carried. Less is more. Your pack doesn’t need to be full (you have pockets) but overall it was an awesome time And I’d do it again in a second….

For anyone interested in this type of thing the Augusta county Militia is hosting an immersion event the weekend of Nov 6th-8th The main American Impression for the event is that of a Militia company
The website for the event is This is a great way to get out with some like minded people for a weekend and try your gear out in a tactical/campaign scenario

Also one of my Messmates John Reese is a wealth on info. He has a website at it has a number of articles from Blankets to Mess companies full of period Information. Please check it out

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Free The West Memphis Three

"Shortly after three eight-year-old boys were found mutilated and murdered in West Memphis, Arkansas, local newspapers stated the killers had been caught. The police assured the public that the three teenagers in custody were definitely responsible for these horrible crimes. Evidence?The same police officers coerced an error-filled "confession" from Jessie Misskelley Jr., who is mentally handicapped. They subjected him to hours of questioning without counsel or parental consent, audio-taping only two fragments totaling 46 minutes. Jessie recanted it that evening, but it was too late— Misskelley, Jason Baldwin and Damien Echols were all arrested on June 3, 1993, and convicted of murder in early 1994.Although there was no physical evidence, murder weapon, motive, or connection to the victims, the prosecution pathetically resorted to presenting black hair and clothing, heavy metal t-shirts, and Stephen King novels as proof that the boys were sacrificed in a satanic cult ritual. Unfathomably, Echols was sentenced to death, Baldwin received life without parole, and Misskelley got life plus 40.In the years since the convictions of Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley for a crime they did not commit, their cause has gained support from all over the world, and these men have become known as the West Memphis Three. "

Ok I know this has nothing to do with history but hey...It's My blog and I dont care. This case has been something I've watched since it made the news back in the 90's. At the time I was the local weird kid with long hair (for reenacting) that listened to "heavy metal" and dressed in black t shirts. this is a trait I've found in alot of guys that now reenact.

Please take a minute you'd normaly spend on the usual msg board and check out the website of the west Memphis three buy a t shirt, sign a petition do something. these young men need our help.

All Money from orders I take in October will go to the defense fund of the West Memphis three. This is my job so this should show you how much this means to me. Please take a second and look at this site. these men need your help. if your at the greensburg show I'll have some more info so please stop and talk about history and getting these 3 young men free

THe Coon skin to Fess parker up your headware in a documented fashion

Me wearing the cap in Boston with the Augusta county Militia....yankees dont like it when you show up to church wearing a clout ,matchcoat, one shoe and Fur cap...

Side view of my cap over a silk scarf

Back of cap showing tie

view of cap

So a few years ago I went on a tangent where I started finding all the documented styles of fur caps you might find on the 18th century backcountry. I found some killer images/original styles of fur caps that seem to be pretty common (working on less country one right now blog to follow lol) One mention that stuck in my head was made by George Fearis. In the Draper manuscripts Fearis mentioned that an Indian he saw shot was wearing “a coonskin cap on his head with a long tail hanging down”.
To me this seemed to line up with the description of Brady’s rangers wearing Raccoon caps to look more like natives. I found a few more references to raccoon fur caps being worn so I decided I’d try and make one. So rather than reinvent the wheel I based my cap off a few extant Otter turbans with 19th century attributions as well as an early (17th cent ) image of a native wearing a turban.
I got a pretty large alum tanned raccoon skin (next one will be brain tan) I figured out how wide I wanted it and divided that in half (a) and drew a line down the center of the skin (using the nose as a center point) Half of (a) went above the line the other half below and trimmed off the excess. I secured it in the back thru the eye holes with a leather lace so I could adjust the size of the cap.
I’ve worn this cap a few times in the winter and worn with a silk scarf keep my head pretty warm. Ok but I’m not gonna lie it looks freakin weird. I have a hard time linking the stuff I’ve read with what looks “normal” to my modern mindset of what I should wear at events. That being said this is also an arguable cap for someone doing a Native portrayal as well. I mean a lot of the descriptions I found for this were on natives. A LOT of natives in hat/cap info out there , just sayin. But there ya go My take on the 18th cent native coon skin turban. Flame away