Fort Pitt

Fort Pitt
Center of the ohio country universe

Thursday, June 23, 2011

did they dye easter eggs with walnuts or indigo? do you care?

"X" patch made of leather

x patch of brain tan used to fit a .50 ball to a .62

Some of Mr. Payne's books...I'd have more but I lent them out

MY new ohio country "native hunter" kit....yeah there are native longhunters and french longhunters in the records....I gotta get my new fort clothes dirty

I’ve been keeping up on my shooting a few times a week and I gotta say I’m loving the blue gun. I’ve been shooting it with an un patched 60 cal ball on top of 60 grains and I’ve been hitting at 50-75 yards 9 out of 10 times. While going thru some of my grandfathers muzzleloader stuff I came across a lot of .50 round ball and for some reason I started thinking about an image I had posted on FF awhile ago.
At the Fort Freeland site there were a number of leather patches shaped like x’s. The idea was to be able to shoot an undersized ball in your gun. SO I figured I’d give it a go. I cut 10 patches out of some brain tan I had and just to give it a shot 10 patches out of some wool scraps I had laying around. I was pretty happy with the results. I figured this was a siege “fix” for someone in a blockhouse/fort trying to simply take a shot at an attacker. SO I used a “torso” sized target since the idea was to only see if I could hit someone with this type of load.
I set the target at 75 yards and fired a few shots with an unpatched .50 ball. Well I’m not ashamed to admit I didn’t hit the thing once. So I swabbed the barrel and tried using the leather patches. I was surprised at how easily the round went down the barrel (no grease just spit). I was also surprised to see that out of the 10 shots with this set up 6 shots placed in the “vitals” section of the torso and the rest placed in areas that well….I wouldn’t want to get shot.
The problem for me was that I couldn’t keep a consistent grouping with this load. Also I wouldn’t want to hunt with it as like most hunters I don’t like wounding animals. However in a blockhouse shooting at attackers this would really help solve a lack of ammo problem.

Speaking of consistent….One item I have consistently pushed since seeing it/them for the first time is the books of Dale Payne. Dale is a former police officer and he has compiled a number of books on the 18th century backcountry using 19th century interviews/period journals and the draper manuscripts. His books in my opinion are required reading for anyone that is interested in the backcountry. Longhunter, Native, French Canadian (they are in there a little) are all mentioned in these books. I was able to do a brief interview with Dale, this is the boring stuff after we talked about f troop and the Davey crocket films….

SO how long have you been involved with Living history? What got you started?
I have always been an avid student of 18th century history, ever since I was a child. I guess the Davy Crockett rage in the 50's contributed to it.

What got you interested in the Draper stuff?
As far as I am concerned the Draper manuscripts are the bible for 18th century re-enacters. It holds such a vast amount of information. It would take a lifetime to view it all. However some of the information should be viewed with caution. I think first hand accounts are the best you can get when looking for information as to what life was really like.

Has any info you’ve dug up changed a previous idea you had about the 18th century backcountry?
It has given me a better understanding of what 18th century life was really like.

Have you found anything in an interview odder then the “easter egg” refrence?
There has been lots of unusual and out of the ordinary things discovered while doing research. This was definently one of them. At the time I was amazed that they would be using eggs and calling them Easter eggs and leaving the eggg shells along the road. I have since discovered they had been doing this for centuries in the celebration of Easter.

Which interview is your favorite?
It would be really hard to pick a favorite, there are so many of them that gives us so much insight into the daily life during that time period. The interviews of the Clinkenbeards, Benj. Allen and Josiah Collins rank at the top

From looking at the interviews what do you think is missing from most folks kits/portrayals?
I really hate to go an event and see folks walking around in clothes they are afraid to get dirty, especilly women. I don't think they have a clue as to what life was like back then. Perhaps if they were portraying some person in Williamsburg it may be okay. I think on the frontier they were a pretty grubby looking bunch of people.

You can find Dale’s book at smoke and fire, wennawood, Longhunter leather (not 100% but pretty sure Bob carries them) They run between $15 and $20 and are well worth the money. Come on folks youll drop a lot of coin on quillwork why not point some of that towards books? If you had to pick between some of my weaving and Dale’s books…buy his books. My weaving rocks but his books educate you.
SO that’s it for today….my family has left for a week leaving me to run amuck in my files as well as the woods of central Pa. Maybe later today I’ll do the unthinkable and post 2 things in a day. Oh well I need to make an ammo run as I’m heading to the woods with a few friends this weekend. On deck is some matchcoat info and native hair stuff…plus a total kit documentation break down…

Some of Dale’s books
Narratives of Pioneer Life and Border Warfare Volume II
by Dale Payne
FRONTIER MEMORIES III: Rev. John Dabney Shane Interviews As Taken From the Draper Manuscripts edited by Dale Payne

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Rumors of my Demise...

High top mocs and Striped pack

Finished "mckee" leggings...beading is based off 18th cent image of leggings in french collection

latest sewing projects...death of wolfe matchcoat is on deck..’m back. The last few months have been pretty….lets say hectic. Some health issues sidelined my from the blog but I’ve been staying just as busy with weaving, hunting, shooting and reading. In fact the break gave me a lot of time to dive back into the books. So right now I’m tweaking m kit out a little more for a scout I’m heading on next week. I’m using this scout to break in some new pieces of gear as well as well as get some pics of my gear in use (why is it you never take pix of stuff when your doing it?)
So I’ve been trying to refine my native “pack” based on period descriptions. I’ve been gathering info on this for a few years as well as trying out different techniques. The standard base of the pack is the simple tumpline/blanket roll. The container for the items in the pack is a small striped bag I made from a torn petticoat. This is referenced in the interviews Jeptha Simms did with folks from new York after the Revolutionary war. Alan Gutchess first turned me onto simms books a few years ago and they are a kind of “shane” interviews for Northern folks.
In one of Simms interviews it’s states that natives made packs from striped Petticoats they took from settlers on raids. Since I portray someone who was a captive or operates with natives (rev war ID/trader) I figured this would be a good item for me to test out. The pack I’m using is 14 by 24 and is tied with a piece of blue linen tape from the petticoat.
The items I’ll be carrying in the pack are pretty simple. A small bark container for tinder, spoon, pewter porringer, husk salt bottle, whetstone, moc repair /making kit as well as the usual “pocket trash”. The scenario I’ve set for myself is pretty simple…just being in the field. I’m doing some work on my lean to as well as some work around the camp to help set it up for my tactical in august (i.e clearly mark the camp borders so Capt. Bull’s guys don’t end up in the next county)
Some of the other gear I’ve been working on is my “mckee” leggings which got me on a ribbon sewing fit (anyone need a matchcoat? Or clout?) I’ve also finaly made myself a pair of high top Doddridge mocs. Doddridge mentions that : Flaps were left on each side to reach some distance up the legs.
So while working on some mocs for customers and my step daughter I knocked myself out a pair from some black tanned deerskin . For a GREAT how to on moc making check out Ike Walter’s blog, he did a bang up how to on making puckered mocs.

Some quotes on stuff in “native packs” to show what I’m basing my gear on.

reccolections of 60 years...
The knapsack is an old blanket, and contains some parched corn, flour, jerked meat, and leather to patch their moccasins with.

Extract of a Letter from Capt. Jonathan Hampton, dated at Cole Fort, on the Frontiers of New Jersey, June 245, 1758.
The Indians afterwards fled, and left 4 good Guns, 4 Tomahawks, 3 Spears, 18 Pair of Mogasons, 16 Pair of Indian Stockings, 5 Shirts, 12 Blankets, 3 Hats, 1 laced Coat, 5 Silver Buckles, 10 Belts, three Strings of Wampum, 5 Scalping Knives, 4 Scalps just taken, with may Trifles more. (*possibly 15 natives in this party)

Letters from fort pitt:
Journal of J Ecuyer
July 25th 1763 four Indians passing up the mon. close by the opposite shore,
contrary to orders, a six pounder with grape was fired on them…they left
four rifles, with eight pairs of new Indian shoes, al their powder horns and
pouches full of powder and ball, and two pairs of leggings for each, with
five blankets a sure sign they were going to war.

Heckwelder pack quote
A blanket, dressed deer skin for Mocksens, a few articles of kitchen furniture as a kettle, bowl or dish with some spoons and some bread, corn, salt,

Don’t forget a dead goose in your pack:
At an interview with Jacob Enders, previously mentioned, he related the following incident: After the enemy began to move down the valley, he left the fort to hang upon his rear. Discovering an Indian, he followed him along the creek toward the river, until he got a shot at him. He had on a large pack, and over one shoulder hung a goose, he had recently killed. When Enders fired, the Indian fell upon his knees, and dropped his pack and goose ; then springing upon his feet, he set off on a moderate trot toward the river. Enders pursued until the Indian turned and raised his rifle on him, when he halted to load, and the Indian, without firing, again ran off. After pursuing until he was exposed to the fire of others of the enemy, Enders gave over the chase. On arriving where he had left the pack and goose, he found that John Rickard, a fellow soldier, who had seen the spoils abandoned from his position in the block-house, had been there and taken them to the fort. Enders claimed them, but Rickard would not give them up, or any part of them. The pack contained eight pairs of new mocasins.

So just in these few refrences you can see how simple these guys traveled as well as the number one Item needed to travel was….Moccasins (go figure). Well I should get back to sewing/weaving Now that my little break is over I should be posting a lot more esp. in the next few days. I’ve had a chance to get some more images of original common native items as well as a quasi interview with Dale Payne (did you read his books yet? I gave you some time….there will be a test) as well as stuff on shoe packs…shot pouches…native hair stuff just because I wasn’t on the net doesn’t mean I was doing research lol.

Jeptha simms online