Fort Pitt

Fort Pitt
Center of the ohio country universe

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

"All one Devil"

Close up of SE garter you can see the bead turned at an angle showing it's woven onto the piece

SE garter (bottom) note odd shape beading.....that aint no thunderbrid

THe hair garter GUY

Pistol Grip swept blade knife.....I need like 5 of those things

"dude just give the coat or I will mess you up"
The High top mocs...rockin

Well folks I was really AMAZED at the number of people that I met at the CLA show in lexington that actuly read this. I was pretty sure it was only the usual cast of Misfits I run around with. As soon as I get the pics from the show I'll post some of the Set up myself, Travis Crowder and Mike Burke had. Now to further poke the golem so to speak I decided to post some research on SE natives . Before I start I want to thank DR. Scott, David hobbs, Wynne Eden, Rick Guthrie, Jason Melius, Jim Apple and Joseph Privott for their help in researching SE natives over the past however many years.

The involvement of South eastern Tribes such as the Cherokee, Catawba, Chickasaw and creek natives in the campaigns of the seven years war has long been overlooked by many. Their role as allies of the English is …. Many of the events at Forts from the Carolinas to Pennsylvania the only appropriate role for a Native reenactor would be that of one of the English Allied southern tribes. It is the focus of this article to help someone build up a basic kit of an English allied Southern native during the Seven years war. My main focus is that of the Cherokees as personally this was the route I chose to interpret.
Basic Kit
The basic clothing of the18th century native is rather simple. It generally consists of a basic European mans shirt, leggings, breechclout, moccasins and a matchcoat. Henry Timberlake commented on their dress in his journal:
“ They that can afford it wear a collar of wampum, which are beads cut out of clamshells, a silver breast plate, and bracelets on their arms and wrists of the same metal, a bit of cloth over their private parts, a shirt of the English make, a sort of cloth boots, and mockasons which are shoes of a make peculiar to the Americans, ornamented with porcupine quills; a large mantle or matchcoat thrown over all completes their dress at home; but when they go to war they leave their trinkets behind, and the mere necessaries serve them.”
SO as you can see the basic kit for the portrayal isn’t really that hard to get together at all. From what I’ve found the most common colors for legging/matchcoats/breechclouts are White, blue, green and red. A great place for colors available to war parties is the list of goods given by the English at different forts. For example at Fort Cumberland the colors /types of woolen goods for the native allies was listed as:
2 ps red stroud
1 half piece blue stroud
6 blue strouds
3 ps blue ½ thick
2 ps white ditto
2 pcs red ditto
33 pr blue Indians stockings
The most common types of shirts; listed in the gift/trade lists for southern natives are either plain white or checked shirts. These shirts seem to have been made like the standard European man’s shirt of the period. One detail of note is the fact that many of these shirts seemed to have been made without buttons. It was common for European men of the period to wear cufflinks or “shirt buttons” as they are listed in the trade ledgers among the native goods and found in native arch sites it seems natives adopted their use as well.
Leggings seem to be the typical Side seam leggings with the wide flap that was typical during the period. These leggings were often sold/given in premade forms. Over all the Typical “dress” of the SE native male wasn’t that different than that of the northern tribes in that well they were all getting the same stuff from euro sources.
The real difference comes about when you look at the details of the clothes. Types of beading on the woven items, Hair styles, tats, lack of quillwork (except on mocs) etc. SO those are some details I’ll hash out here over a few separate blogs. This is also useful for those portraying SE hunters, soldiers etc as you’re view of just what a “native” looked like would be pretty different than that of a person from New York.
When most folks look at SE weaving the first idea is often the large diamonds and chevrons you see in the 19th century images. There are some examples of the diamonds and chevrons from the late 18th century but in all honesty the look nothing like what most weavers I have seen at shows are making today and calling 18th cent SE (except for David Hobbs that man can weave like a mofo!!!) And before you think this is an ADD for my own weaving I’m the first to admit I can’t make the SE diamonds/chevron stuff. I really wish I could but then again all I end up making is black and red leg ties but I digress…
Looking at 18th century SE images the Oblique weave seems to be common or at least show up (hard to say common with the very few pieces of SE anything that survive) The main difference in the SE oblique woven pieces seems to be that the beads are actually woven onto the strands as opposed to being woven in on a separate thread. The other BIG difference is that the bead designs …well..Look nothing like the northern stuff. Squares, circles, curves are woven into the item. The shapes look very close to images you would find on Mound Builder pottery.
Another type of SE weaving is the bead twine technique I mentioned in a previous blog. This type of weave is used for making garters, bags, hair fobs and Belts. Since I’ve already covered this to a point I’m not going to comment too much. I also don’t want to step on a friends Toes and put too much out as there is a forthcoming article on this (Come on DR. Scott get it out there) This stuff does pop up in the North but like the oblique woven items the southern examples have the early Pottery motifs on them.

“In the winter season the woman gather buffalos hair, a sort of coarse brown curled wool: and having spun it as fine as they can and properly doubled it, they put small beads of different colors upon the yarn as they work it. The figures they work into those small webs are generally uniform, but sometimes they diversify them on both sides." -- James Adair
"They in a very friendly manner, tied plenty of bead garters round my neck, arms and legs and decorated me a la mode America" -- James Adair
"The women likewise make very pretty belts and collars of beads and wampum also belts and garters of worsted." -- Henry Timberlake
“The cloathing of their body is simple and frugal. Sometimes a ruffled shirt of fine linen,next to the skin, and a flap, which covers their lower parts…The leg is furnished with cloth boots; they reach from the ancle to the calf, and are ornamented with lace,beads,silver bells,&c.” Bartram pg 121

Here are some good sites to find so info/images on SE natives.
this is Wynne Eden’s site it’s full of info/images. Wynne is a great guy and very knowledgable about the creeks during the F&I period


  1. Thanks Nathan - great stuff. How about a list of links to resources like the Amohkali Creek site. Some of this stuff is kind of on the down-low and is not easily searchable or findable. Also maybe pointers to museums that have significant collections? I didn't know anything about Aberdeen until now.

  2. Hey Nathan - moved my site, it's just now.