Fort Pitt

Fort Pitt
Center of the ohio country universe

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Random documents for you to check out

List of goods....check out the color of ribbons goes along with the matchcoat/legging blogs

Manifest/bill of lading.....Batteaus and Canoes had these made out before they left Fort Pitt.

Cargo Markings.....anyone know a good maker of crates?

Well to keep the ball rolling from week to week I decided I’d just toss a few random scans of the BW&M papers up here today. One is a document that gives you an idea of how cargo was marked. I know some folks have used faux trade bales as seats in camp or use pieces of canvas as shelters from “bales”..well here are some ideas to mark them up.
Another document is shipping manifest for Bateaus bound for De chartes from Fort Pitt. This shows in a way how items were distributed on Bateaus (and canoes) and just how items were accounted for. The documents are great for giving you insight into just what an undertaking it was to get these basic items from Fort Pitt west (not to mention how the items got to Fort Pitt from all over the world).
I also posted a partial trade list to show some ideas for colors of Ribbons being shipped to De chartes/Fort Pitt. It’s also got some great info as well on common items in the trade. SO have at it folks…I need to get back to weaving and getting gear fixed for my tactical next weekend. I got a big box of tiny yarn in the mail today so it looks like I’ll be living on Chew and ice tea for a few weeks.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Henri can write, Who Knew! Journal of the Early Americas

This is why we keep guns out of the hands of table monkeys...friends dont let Neal shoot.

SHoot the loon in the neck.....killer paint scheme, hair stuff and the typical white shirt

Gene's class tried to fight the scalplock only policy...but lost

Wow multiple posts in a week this is Crazy! Actually I blame the fact I ran out of powder, lead and beads all at the same time. This with the fact my family is now sprawled around the house Jonestown style in front of the air conditioners has cut back on my weaving. So I thought this was a perfect time to do a post about a new magazine some of you may have heard of “The Journal of the Early Americas”.
An old friend Gene contacted me some time ago and let me know about the magazine and asked if I’d be interested in submitting some articles. Of course I said yes (this is my standard answer when asked for an article) Then in typical me fashion I went thru my files reworked a few things I’ve written up , found a new subject to look into and then watched Mystery Science Theatre 3000 (I’ve got the ADD bad…Sorry Gene and Jason) want to ride bikes?
So….I decided after seeing Gene at Fort Niagara and going thru some issues of the magazine myself to get a better idea of what its all about to drop him an email with some questions on the journal to help spread the word.

Buffalo Trace Interview with Ph.D. Candidate, Publishing Juggernaut, and
N’er do Well of the Pays d’em Haut:
Eugene R.H. Tesdahl or Henri Fran├žois Letannier

Buffalo Trace: You are one of the few people from academia that embraces the ideas of living history. How do you think this is an asset? IS it ever a hindrance?
Gene/Henri – Indeed, serving as a bridge between historical re-enactors and academics is one of my main life goals. I even wrote an article about this in Issue I of Journal of the Early Americas entitle “What an Amateur: Or, Why I love Re-enacting.” Re-enactors often feel academics are stuffy know-it-alls living high above society in their ivory towers, but never actually living enough to consider how some in colonial America would light a fire or catch a fish. Similarly, many academics feel living history participants are ignorant, self-appointed experts, with hokey clothing, who perhaps have never before cracked a book in their lives. Of course, both of these stereotypes are wrong. And yet, we all know enough in either camp to understand why such perceptions still exist. The truth is that re-enactors, academics, museum professionals, and historic site staff are all on the same team. We all love history and aim to share the most accurate and complete presentation of these stories to the public in insightful and hopefully, entertaining ways.

BT: Does Fred Anderson beat you with Crucible of War if you disagree with him? No really, you can share with us this is a safe place.
G/H – Choosing to study with Dr. Fred Anderson at the University of Colorado at Boulder was one of the best decisions I have made. Dr. Anderson is not only a brilliant historian, but an engaging and compassionate teacher, and a well-balanced and approachable person. In my experience, to get all these traits in one professor is truly remarkable. Dr. Anderson is proud yet humble of his works: A People’s Army, Crucible of War, Dominion of War, George Washington, and The War that Made America (This was the companion to the PBS mini-series about the Seven Years’ War). I read and re-read People’s Army and Crucible before I even applied to study with Dr. Anderson. I am able to speak my mind with my advisor. He genuinely listens to me and dedicates more time to me, than I think he should with such a rigorous teaching them more clearly, but with the same intent I had in mind. This all started when I traveled to the department to meet Drs. Fred Anderson and Virginia Anderson. She has also been inspirational in my time here at CU. One of her works should be on everyone’s shelves Creatures of Empire: How Domesticated Animals Transformed Early America. It is an artfully written mind blower. I encourage anyone interested in a graduate program to base that decision on the advisor – not the program or the name of the university alone. A graduate program is like an intimate relationship. When you meet the person, ask yourself if you will enjoy the next two to six years with this person? If you cannot answer yes, then grad school may not be for you. In my case, the past five years invested in Dr. Fred Anderson and the history department at the University of Colorado – Boulder is a decision well made. I do, however, look forward to graduation in May 2012.

BT: SO what is the main focus of your magazine?
G/H – Journal of the Early Americas is something I feel the re-enactment community has needed for over ten years. Interestingly, I never intended, nor imagined that I would be part of such a change. The idea to actually launch such a magazine only took form last summer. This is a family affair. It is the brainchild of my father-in-law Casey Criswell who has dabbled in muzzleloading and re-enacting since 1974. My sister-in-law Summer is the designer with a degree in graphic design. My wife Jasmine is the Public Relations department. I am the historical consultant who does the historical editing and fact-checking. Our friend David designed and maintains our wedsite and my mother-in-law Peggy puts up with our shenanigans. We launched in February 2011. We were even featured on National Public Radio – a link is still available on our website with a file of that interview. Our mission is to be the premier publication for the history enthusiast and re-enactor portraying 1521-1848. We chose these dates to give concreteness to our scope: the founding of Mexico City to the end of the Mexican American War.

BT: What sets your magazine apart from the other re-enactor magazines out there?
G/H – We carefully chose our title to welcome both Mexican and Canadian re-enactors into the conversation. We also welcome those who portray non—English-speaking groups: Native Peoples, Spanish, Swedes, French, Dutch, Germans, and others. We aim to cover a blend of topics, not simply muzzleloading firearms. We include: trekking, cooking, music, politics, religion, and crafts of the period documented with primary sources written in a style approachable and useful to all. We see everything we publish as a conversation, not as a monologue or tirade for the author or us, the staff. It is a conversation including author, staff, and readers. It does not end when an article is finished or an issue goes to press. It continues in conversations, debates, and research that our readers do later. We value subscriber feedback. This is why we are here and the only way we can grow into the future.

BT: Do you swear at other grad students in French?
G/H – No. . . I do sometimes think about bizarre colonial approaches to classroom management though.

BT: The first time we hung out (in 2001 at Faire at New Boston) you taught me how to make basswood cordage what other skills do you feel folks from the French realm of the hobby should be focusing on?
G/H – Even then, I was impressed and happy to meet a young college student (Nathan Kobuck) who was even more talented and passionate about living history than I was. I still consider him a credit the hobby. The main thing that any re-enactor should do is see their persona development as a conversation too. It is an on-going one that grows over the years through research, reproducing items, and knowledge gained from learning by doing experimental archaeology. The moment you say “I am done” is the day you shut off your learning valve. This also inhibits your ability to teach others. Keep your mind open. Always consider art, primary and secondary writings about your period of portrayal, the role of language, the use of period body painting (tattoos), piercings, hair-styles, dress. Aim to be average – not the exception. Even if you bought that cool 1755 pocket watch from Antiques Road Show does not mean that the average coureur de bois would have had one. A re-enactor new to the hobby recently deeply impressed me. Though she was new, she knew she had a modern tattoo on her foot that would not fit her persona. Rather than simply flaunt this, or to wear shoes or mocs. She chose to go barefoot, but cunningly bandaged her foot with linen rag as if she was lame. This was a great fix to the anachronism and gave her a common talking point with which to engage the public about the poor medical knowledge of colonial life.

BT: You have a killer first-person persona as “Henri.” Do you have any tips to help others build on their first-person portrayal?
G/H – A friend told me that he is impressed when either old-timers or those new to the hobby improve their kit by one thing each time they go out. I aspire to this goal in either historical knowledge, devices to educate and entertain the public, or historical accoutrements. I consider this question often and will give a presentation on it, entitled The Art of First-Person Interpretation: Building or Repairing your Persona at the Grand Rendezvous at Grand Portage National Monument in northern Minnesota on August 14. I love first-person historical interpretation. I think it adds a productive element that we do not get when we simply don historical attire. It should not be entered lightly and should be done responsibly. No re-enactor should be forced into first-person. It is not for everyone. I began Henri fifteen years ago with little more than Pepe le Pieu accent and my engage (voyageur) gear. You have to start somewhere. Years later, with years of study of French, working in France, work on an Ojibwe reservation, two and a half history degrees, work experience at museums and historical sites, and nearly 1000 birch bark canoe miles under my belt I feel I have a more believable portrayal because much of this I have lived. As we go, we must build a persona into something useful for the public and FUN for us. Why do it if it isn’t fun? One final thought of first-person or re-enacting in general is that even if we get to a high level of accuracy in dress, speech, etc. We will always be twenty-first-century minds and bodies in historic gear and settings. This does not mean we should give up, but that we should always walk humbly with a thirst to learn and teach more.

BT: Does it make you sad that your “little” brother Ike has started wearing orange buckskins and calling himself griz?
G/H – Ha! That would be news to me, but like many of us he has that Multiple Re-enactor Personality Disorder (MRPD). I am blessed to have met Isaac Walters in the summer of 1999 when we were both in college in the Midwest. I was working at the Villa Louis Wisconsin State Historic Site in Prairie du Chien, WI. It was an instant friendship and has endured over the years. Isaac is a talented and knowledgeable teacher, researcher, writer, and re-enactor. He is a loving daddy to Noelle and Lili, a caring husband to the wonderful Hillary, and a generous friend. He is so dedicated to their sustainable life in Blair, WI, these days that seeing him is like sighting the Yeti. Yet, you may read of his exploits on his blog I will get to see him soon at our old stomping grounds, Grand Portage.

G/H – Thanks for including me in this conversation.

Votre serviteur obeisant,

X Henri

So that this isn’t totally devoid of historical content Here is a link to the google books version of “John Long's voyages and travels in the years 1768-1788”

This narrative is full of a lot of great info and focuses a lot on the life of a great lakes trader. Little details like shooting loons in the neck at 150 yards, how to stuff a head with moss, why laudanum is useful for traders. It sounds like a weekend with Ike and Henri…..

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Some tips for sewing up matchcoats...on a 100 degree day

Some Period images of matchcoats....JB must of kept ppl sewing for years

I bet the guy in the canoe is shooting a chewed bullet.....

Step 1

Step 2

Use of embroidery hoop

“ The women wear an under petticoat called a machicote made of an ell of blue or red cloth….the lower edge is ornamented with several strips of yellow, blue and red ribbon or English edging lace.” Pouchot

One project (or should I say projects) I’ve been cranking on as of late is matchcoats /leggings/ breechclouts with ribbon work. For some reason this has been a nice way to chill out in the evening as opposed to weaving. SO my evenings have been full of ribbon work and zombie movies (I got issues).
I’ve had a number of questions from folks on how I sew up matchcoats so I figured I’d keep the blog post ball rolling by doing a how to on matchcoats. A matchcoat is simply a small wrap blanket. (matchcoat + Capote = 18th century snuggie yeah that could get weird) From most accounts the standard men’s matchcoat measurements run about 60 wide by 60-72 long.
Matchcoats for us as reeanctors have become a kind of catchall expression for any decorated wrap blanket. Looking at period images/accounts you can see them listed as “matchcoats”, “strouds”, “cloaks” etc. SO for the purpose of this blog a matchcoat is any piece of wool smaller then a 3 point blanket. The colors of wool I have found listed are blue, Red, black, purple, WHITE (a lot of white) green and 1 mention of brown (odd to base a whole industry on one brown matchcoat)

Also a matchcoat does not mean the item HAS to be decorated with Ribbon. Pouchot mentions natives simply using White blankets and painting a red cross on them. Think about it plain white wool and some paint might cost ya around $40 ($106 if ya use Kochan wool but that would be a sweet white matchcoat)

I’d also like to clarify something here Stroud does not just mean a saved list cloth. Stroud was produced with a saved list as well as WITHOUT. That means just a solid color of wool. Some stroud merchants have done as much as possible to muddy the dye soaked waters on this subject. So keep that in mind when looking for a source of wool for a matchcoat.

On the Euro side of things I have found them being carried by hunters and bateau men at Fort Pitt. For example in May of 1767 Edward Corigan from the Batteau “the Sherlock” purchased:
1 ½ yards stroud 1/4/0
3 french matchcoats 60/ 4 skeins thread 3/1/0
2 check shirts 30/ 2 pr thread hose 2/10/0
1 silk handk 10/ 1 cutteau knife 2/6 “/12/6
To Peter Mckaghney the taylor his acc. “/7/6

These purchases are very similar to other men in his crew as well. Now here is the rub….I’m not totally convinced he and the other men are using the matchcoats as..well matchcoats. The material involved and the $ to the tailor to me points out that these may be sewn into blanket coats. The BW&M papers mention a few times the fact that damaged stroud matchcoats be turned into blanket coats and the $ for sewing up a blanket coat is along the same lines that the company taylors made for sewing blanket coats. To Paraphrase my friend Wil Gore here “they could visualize sleeves”. Also on the same side of the coin one should remember that in his oft cited description of backcountry dress Doddridge mentions that matchcoats were not popular among the young men. Just something to think about….

However I am not saying don’t use a matchcoat if you’re a white guy.(I am saying however think a little more about a blanket coat :P) Hunters do purchase them and for someone acting as a “spy” a matchcoat is a standard piece of gear. From Washington/bouquet dressing .their provincials in blankets and paint to smith’s black boy’s “green “ shrouds.

In September of 1767 hunter John Johnson purchased:
1 pr leggings 8/6
1 breechclout 7/6
Powder 3/9
Thread & bed lace 2/
2 yds wt (white?) half thicks 8/
1 french matchcoat 20/
3 lb lead 3/9
1 cutteau 2/
1 pr garters 1/6
1 handkf 5/
1 knife 1/3
1 pair shoes 10/
2 matchcoats 40/

So here we have a hunter buying 3 matchcoats and enough halfthicks for possibly another. What I find interesting here is the purchase of thread and bed lace. Bed lace is a type of gartering that was often used to decorate matchcoats. Is this a hunter with a fancy matchcoat?
Also one thing I noticed while skimming thru my BW&M stuff as well as Mark Baker’s book getting some stuff to post on this was the actual lack of matchcoats mentioned being purchased by hunters. I had always just assumed all the matchcoats Hollinghead took with him on his grand hunt were meant for his hunters then today I noticed part of his account I had read over a million times
“ For sale to Batteau men & Indians also Sundries for the use of said company”
This along with the fact there are number of ledger accounts of him selling a lot of these goods to natives during his trip kind of makes me go hmmmmmmm?
Here are two Runaway ads I thought were pretty kewl that mention matchcoats. I feel the “strip’d” matchcoat mentioned is probably decorated with ribbon/lace.

May 29, 1752.
RAN away from the Subscriber, in Somerset County, in the Province of Maryland, on the 3d Day of April last, a tall slim Mulattoe Man Slave, aged between 38 and 40 Years; looks much like unto an Indian and will endeavour to pass for such; had with him a strip'd Indian Match-coat, which I suppose he will make Use of for that Purpose; had on a white Cotton Jacket, an old Fearnought ditto, an old yellowish Duroy Coat; he is mark'd under the Wasteband of his Breeches, on the hind Parts, with one or two white Spots, occasioned by a Burn or some other Acident [sic] when he was young: As he cross'd the Bay, I imagine he designs for Carolina. Whoever secures him so that the Owner may have him again, shall have Five Pistoles Reward, if taken on the other Side of Chesapeake-Bay.
Henry Waggaman. N.B. He has work 'd chiefly at the Shipcarpenters Business, and will endeavour to pass for one.

ALEXANDRIA, June 5, 1775. EIGHT POUNDS REWARD. RUN away from the Subscriber, two indented Servants named ROBERT SHAW and ANDREW INGLES, both Natives of Scotland, and Bakers by Trade. Each of them had on a Bearskin Jacket lined with Plaid, Osnabrug Trousers, old Shoes, and Half worn Castor Hats. Their Bundles consist, as it is supposed, of two Match Coat Blankets, two Pair of Leather Breeches, two Osnabrug Shirts, two Check Shirts, and two red Jackets. Shaw is about 5 Feet 1 0 Inches high, has a swarthy Complexion, dark short frizled Hair, a long Scar in his right Arm, appears bold, and talks much. Ingles is about 5 Feet 5 Inches high, has short straight Hair, swarthy and long featured, has a Scab over his right Eye, his right Leg is sore, he is fond of Liquor, and talks more in his Country Dialect than Shaw.----THOMAS WALSOM, a Convict, about 27 Years of Age, a Barber by Trade, about 5 Feet 6 Inches high, has a Laddish down Look, brown straight Hair, a little knock-kneed, and a leering Look; had on, and took with him, two white Linen Shirts, an old Drab coloured Cloth Coat, one red and one striped Holland Jacket, one Pair of new Drilling Breeches, one Pair of old Buff coloured Stocking Breeches, one Pair of white and one Pair of white and blue spotted Stockings, a new Felt Hat bound with black Ferreting, has a black Silk Handkerchief, and some other Things which cannot be described.----WILLIAM LEE, by Trade a Cooper, about 5 Feet 9 Inches high, marked with the Smallpox, has a remarkable large Nose, speaks thick, and is impudent; he took with him a yellow Bull-Dog, with cropped Ears, one Side of his Face white, has a Glass Eye, and white Breast and Neck, is very fond of going into the Water, and answers to the Name of Turk. The said Lee had a Variety of Clothes, which cannot well be described. Whoever takes up, and secures the said Servants, shall have the above Reward, or 40 s. for each, paid by

So ya want to wear a decorated matchcoat? Ok I knew it ribbon will beat out painted crosses every time. Ok so your going to need:
silk ribbon (a lot of silk ribbon)
silk thread
60 by 60/72 piece of wool
Pins/needles (you know sewing stuff)
An embroidery hoop
A room free of dogs/children/cats/goats with Good light
If your sewing it this week a room with AC….spending all day sewing with a blanket drapped on you in this heat is a great way to drop pounds…

To start I draw out a basic idea of the matcoat I want to sew based on a period image/example. Have the image next to your work area (I’ve had two examples I started sewing recently messed up because I forgot to do this).
Decide on what you want to be the front of your matchcoat. Along the bottom of the backside pin your silk ribbon down so only about ¼ inch is on the wool. Now sew this down using either a prick stitch or running stitch.
When you’re finished with this row turn the ribbon over the raw edge and pin on the other side. Now simply pin the matchcoat to your leg and this will allow you to use both hands to keep your ribbon tight as you sew. Or you can use an embroidery hoop. I’ve found when doing smaller number of ribbon this is a great way to keep everything tight and in order. It’s also easier to join ribbons at right angles such as at the corners.
Now simply (using either method secure the ribbon and keep on stitching.
**tip**When cutting the thread your going to sew with a way to make it easier is a trick I picked up from Travis Crowder is to hold the spool in the center of your chest and using your other hand pull out 1 arms length of thread. Sounds simple but I have seen ppl (myself included) trying to use the entire ribbons length of thread and it gets tangled up pretty quickly. This way your only using as much as you can pull tight.

I dont really know what else I can say in a how to like this. One detail you might want to think about adding in is the “dangle” ribbon. If you look at the images I’ve posted you can see on a few examples there is a little bit of ribbon left to hang down on the edges or where the rows of ribbon stop at roughly the center point. The messiter example has this feature as does the example in the Peter the great museum.
I use pretty much the same technique when doing wrap skirts, leggings, breechclouts or hoods. Just find a period image you like and start sewing. Or go really crazy and just get a white matchcoat and paint a red cross on it. Or go extra crazy and turn that stroud into a blanket coat or a Sky Blue Cappa coat (Galban and Hersee called dibs)

Sources for materials
Cloth /ribbon

Back to the grindstone…..I got lotsa weaving to do.anyone in the market for a matchcoat? Or green leggings?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Military shot pouches

Jason's take on the brit LI pouch

pouch along same lines as lyman belt pouch

So wow two posts in a week...crazy! Ok actuly this is a cheater post. I Subcontracted this one to my brother from another mother Jason Melius. Jason and I have been talking/sharing info/ideas on period shot bags/pouches for a long time. After seeing his take on a brit shot bag in use at the Filming I asked him to do a write up on his take on the subject.
I know the main point of this blog is Backcountry/Fort Pitt related info but Shot pouches are shot pouches and every little piece of info on them can help. Plus its my blog so....Shut up. Plus with items like the lyman pouch and the undated belt pouch its cool to see that this was such a common practice.

British Light Infantry Shot Bags
When picturing British regulars at the time of the American Revolution, most people visualize mindless automatons marching very slowly, shoulder to shoulder. Students of the British military of the 18th century are beginning to understand this is very far from an accurate image. Mathew Spring, in his work, “With Zeal and Bayonets Only,” paints a picture in which the often outnumbered redcoat won the majority of battles, not with German style close order drill, but with speed, shock, bayonets and loose formations.
Along with these adaptations in tactics were adaptations in dress and equipment. By 1776, British soldiers were laying aside knee breeches in favor of gaitored trousers, for instance. The inspiration for these changes can be traced back farther. But the intent here is not a broad look at the adaptations of the British Military. The focus is on a single piece of equipment; the shot bag.
In 1771, the British Army command decided to reinstate the light infantry companies abandoned shortly after the close of the Seven Years War. An update to the 1768 Royal Clothing Warrant, the King’s uniform regulations, laid out the clothing and equipment standards of the light companies. While it is an outline, it laid the groundwork.

at New York City
In store 1 August 1780
1,750 Pouches
1,700 Shot Bags & Slings.
Received by 20 September 1781
2,000 Pouches,
2,240 Shot Bags & Slings
2,454 Pouch Slings
2,600 Cartouch Boxes & Belts,
3,700 Powder Horns
5,420 Tin Cartouch Boxes
Covers & Belts Pairs
Issued 20 Sept 1781
2,879 Pouches,
261 Shot Bags & Slings
21 Cartouch Boxes & Belts
261 Powder Horns
1,180 Tin Cartouch Boxes,
Covers & Belts Pairs
Source: Great Britain, Public Record Office,
Colonial Office, Class 5, Volume 103, folio 317A.
(note: pouch and pouch slings refer to the common cartridge pouch with leather body and drilled wood block for storage of ammunition worn by most British soldiers)

The shot bag appears in many forms and in many variations throughout the American Revolution. The British shot bag seems to have always been intended to be worn on a belt, or even on the powder horn strap. Tying together the above information with images by Phillip James De Loutherbourg, as well as a surviving bag of the Queen’s Rangers, a fairly accurate representation of a shot bag can be reproduced.

My interpretation of the bag is fairly simple. I chose to marry the QR bag’s body style and the bag worn on the powder horn strap of the light infantryman above. The body is slightly teardrop shaped based on the QR bag. It is constructed of 4 pieces of 3 oz vegetable tanned leather: body back and flap, body front, leather button and belt strap. There is no divider in the center, though it could be argued one could be present. The flap front has a simple tooled edge commonly seen on British leather work. The bag measures 4 ½ inches wide by 5 inches deep.

It is intended only to carry shot or ball. It is not a bag for carrying cleaning supplies, tools, whistles, cigarettes, car keys or anything else besides lead. Though trial, I have found that wearing the bag on the powder horn strap, as pictured in above images, is very convenient. The bag opening is very close to the horn spout, and the weight of the ball helps to keep the horn and bag from bouncing around when moving quickly. Interestingly, the whole rig tends to slide back and wear just as pictured in 1778 by de Loutherbourg.

Source: Great Britain, Public Record Office,
Colonial Office, Class 5, Volume 103, folio 317A
Bailey, De Witt. “Small Arms of the British Forces in America 1664-1815”, Mowbray Publishers, Woonsocket 2009.
Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection, Brown University Library Center for Digital Initiatives:

Thanks a million Jason! SO tomorrow I'll have a post up on how to sew up a decorated matchcoat.

Monday, July 18, 2011

the 18th century Black Bloc carried black scalpers...

They told us to dress like protesters...we went old school

Alec and Jed....they like Bear grease

Galban is currently in the lead for most pimped out euro hat.....I finaly sport all my Ward Oles Silver

hair plucker, gun wipers and lead brooch

Black handled scalper and original....rat tail knife and original

Wow coming out of seclusion I’ve really seemed to hit the ground running. The past few weeks have been busy to say the least. Between weaving/sewing for orders or getting ready for the CLA show I haven’t had much time for anything else. I did however take some time to go the event at Niagara to hang out with the usual suspects in the Brit native/ID camp.

The event was great especially since it was the first event for my oldest daughter Riley. I have to say despites falling off the dock, the hazards of learning how to wear a wrap skirt and the million bug bites she had a blast (her last words as she drug herself to bed when we got home was “I love my shoes, I love my bed…..” so I think she’s hooked). I’d like to thank the ID gang again for making Riley feel really welcome her first time out.

I then spent 5 days in Old Virginia working on a film shoot for Lionheart films. The Film is going to show the lead up to Lexington and concord. Filming April in New England in Virginia in July is TOUGH. Greatcoats aren’t your friend…. But it was fun and I got some Boat time. SO just to get some info out there and keep from going this whole month without a post (of anything more than my humblest attempt at this or that) I figured I’d post a few images of some old stuff I’ve picked up and some repops.
First off is my fantasy knife..the black handled scalper. A knife that pops up time and time again at Fort Pitt in the BW@M papers is listed among the usual pen knives, cutteau knives etc. The price is in line with the usual knives so apart from the description I didn’t have much to go on.

Fort pitt July 6th 1765
12 blk handled knives @6

With all the knife fights in the msg board world I opted to keep this simple. I had Ken Gahagan of Pittsburgh simply copy an original knife I owned and use the handle from an example found on a Seneca site (a diamond shape handle in ebony) I opted to use a tropical wood based on the cam wood etc handles out there. So yes this knife is a guess but its an educated guess.
I also have pictured a copy of a rat tail knife I have in my collection (man does that sound pompous…it should read old knife I have stored in a cardboard box next to my computer..i need better display cases) that was copied by young blacksmith Jed Wray. Jed did a tracing of the knife and he really did nail the shape and thickness of the blade. The handle is simply friction fit and he used some pitch as well. I have no idea what the handle on these knives would have looked like.
I’ve also put up a few pics of some small items I picked up. Two gun worms/wipers from native sites. These are the type you would screw in on the bottom of your “wiping stick”. I don’t know of anyone reproducing these things (anyone?) These and the simple brass wire worms are what we should be seeing/using at events as opposed to the modern cleaning jags. Come on your gun cost $1200+, your quillwork $500+ and ya cant spring for $3 from RE davis for a correct worm?
Two other killer pieces are the brass spring or “Indian razor” fragment. These were the hair pluckers/tweezers used by natives to pluck out their hair for scalplocks etc (Mark Tully is WAY off of this in his article on them in the Packet series but the rest of his info is killer).
You can see this type of wire listed among trade goods. For example in the list of goods for the natives at Fort Cumberland on Dec 24,1756 is “ 19 pc. Razor wire” (in the wrong hands this info could make an F&I event get real weird really fast) I have the plucker next to a repro made for me by Joseph Privott of Toqua trading.

The other Item I have is a way to solve your silver shortage. It’s a native made lead brooch. This is simply a cheap copy of a trade brooch made using lead and a puddle mold. I’ve examined a number of these and they range in size from tiny to about a ¼ diameter. For these you simply sew the brooch to the garment as the tongue is attached to the rest of the brooch. Joseph has also made me a few of these that are spot on.
Back to weaving and sewing….The CLA is coming up quickly and even quicker is a week in the woods at my camp. Hopefully I’ll get a blog on hair stuff finished this week and a break down of my gear I’m taking out for a week. Also before I forget I’d like to thank all the folks who I’ve run into that actually read this thing. Thanx for the encouragement and suggestions. I’m hoping this is helping…