Fort Pitt

Fort Pitt
Center of the ohio country universe

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tripe, Belt pouches an Jumbo

"Any Tripe.." Paul Sandby 1760....Belt pouch/knife sheath

Mr. Charlton? did you run oft?

Mr. Gore....

So did I mention I like Blanket coats? This has definitely been the year of the blanket coat. Spring…wet summer…wet , the fall so far…yup you said it..wet. I headed out the other day and well it wasn’t raining and it was sunny,it got so warm I almost took of my coat…then blammo rain. SO I moved down off the ridge I was hunting and got into a group of pine trees that over looked two shelves below me.
As I sat there listening to a blue Jay rat me out I watched 5 deer move across the lower shelf. They were feeding on the acorns that litter the woods this year. I sat there for about 45 minutes watching them feeling the temperature drop quickly and the rain pick up in speed. The deer slowly moved into the bayberry bushes (jagger bushes if you’re from Pennsylvania) I sat there for about 15 more minutes and then climbed back up the ridge and headed home. I didn’t get a shot at anything, I got soaked (to a point) and made a new hole in my left moccasin. But this is why I do this. The time in the library, the research trips all that really does in my opinion help make the time in the field easier.
I thought a lot about this the other night as I sat up at 3am trying to finish a sash and jumping online in intermittent fits of ADD to look at images. I Finish a few inches of weaving then a thought about gartering jumps into my head and off to the images….sickness I know.
….I knew If I needed to take a shot my gun would go off in the rain. Why? well I did the reading found a period way to cover the lock (cows knee) and the gun case (tucked into my sash if I needed it. I knew if I needed to take a shot between 50-100 yards I was fine with an unpatched ball. Why? Practice with a period documented method (chewed ball). I didn’t want to take a shot over 50 yards but I knew from practice I could if needed.
I stayed comfortable in a documented over garment in the rain (it would have really sucked in the standard 3 linen shirt method) I could deal with just about any problem I encountered with a period documented (common) item I had on me. All based on research (i.e. the Library) and practice (i.e. Doing) my point? No I don’t think I’m king sh*t, and this isn’t an ego trip(I need to replace my tumpline with a basswood one, get a better coat, leather breeches and shoot A LOT more and get way better at plant Id etc etc..I'm a farb I admit it). It’s that you can’t settle into either of these camps of thought and expect to improve yourself in this hobby. You need to read and do….but then there is the know-nothing party and they don’t care bout nuffin.

SO back to the Images… For some reason I’ve been on an apron kick. As a result I’ve been looking up a lot of working class images particularly Butchers (they do look a lot like my Friend Mr. Charlton, all of them…its weird. I also found my Buddy Mr. Gore a few times beating up a French guy) As a result I found myself with more questions….Many folks ask about “camp keepers” for longhunting parties one task they would have would be to flesh hides. I wonder how many of these folks had aporns with them and Sharpening steels. These steels appear in a lot of images of folks who need to do a lot of cutting (often attached to the aprons belt). I need to look more in documents to see if these pop up. The questions never stop…
I did find one gem that gave me a total history geek moment. AN image of a Guy selling tripe (mmmm tripe…just kidding even I have my limits) attached to what appears to be a belt is a rig no simple forest gump could have figured it out. He’s wearing a belt pouch with a sheath knife next to it at his side. Ok I can hear ppl now….I don’t portray someone that sells pigs feet I’m in the backcountry of BFK….yadda yadda yadda, mental elephant, etc. Alright that outa your system?
My point these simple common items one…were so common a street vendor in England was sporting them and two….These items were so common a street vendor in England was wearing them. The idea that these mass produced items made over there couldn’t have shown up over here (and we know they did) wouldn’t have been something so far out of the norm they wouldn’t have been worn by a person at say…fort pitt (where we know they sold shot pouches and knives with nice finished sheaths already made for them).
Just something to file away in your old mental image photo bucket site. Shot bags/waist bags on the military and pigs feet vendors (I could totally see a pigs feet vendor at fort Pitt, sellin Jumbo pigs feet inat dahn at da lower town…Msr Primanti at the sign of the Swine’s hoof . if you cant read that you’ve never been to pixburgh. Go STillers! ) Well anyway I need to finish some weaving I’ll be set up this weekend at the Fine Folk Art & Firearms show in Carlisle with Black smith Jed Wray. If your there stop by and say hi.

Monday, October 24, 2011

My Jim Dresslar story....

As most history folks know collector Jim Dresslar passed away over the weekend. Jim was an amazing guy with a great sense of humor so in honor of Jim I thought I'd keep this light...

The first time I met Jim Dresslar was kind of by accident. I was at Manskers Station taking part in the Daniel Boone "hunter heroes" filming for the history Channel. Myself and Jon Failor were goofing around (probably quoting Billy Madison lines) and this Gray haired gentleman walked up to Us and started asking about our gear. Thinking This was just a park visitor I went into teacher mode and started explaining my clothing.
He then got specific about my tattoos and wanted to know if they got very infected after I got them done. We talked about tats for a few more minutes and he got more and more into detail about the idea of infection. To me it was getting a little weird for general public questions. I finally asked if he was thinking of getting a tattoo. His reply was yes he had a gorget of an Indian couple about to (well i'll leave the rest out) and he wanted to get it tattooed on his chest.
Now I had seen images of this gorget and knew it was in the Dresslar collection but for some reason in my brain the idea of a collector was a stuffy tweed jacket type of guy and I was still too busy laughing at the gorget description to really do the mental math. HE then made the comment "you guys like old stuff? well I'm parked right over there I have a few items I'd like ya to see."
Jon and I walked with the man to his car and he opened a door and started handing out artifacts left and right. "hold this" he said handing me a pipe tomahawk "I got a nice indian horn in here somewhere...oh thats squire boones hawk" Well around this point we finaly got to introductions (I thought it only fair as I was holding a small fortune in my hands)
Jim Didnt know Jon and I from Adam but he was all about sharing history and the stories that went with his artifacts.We stood there for quite sometime talking history and old stuff. Luckily for both Jon and I this wasnt the last time we spoke with Mr. Dresslar about old stuff. Honestly that's one of my favorite memories of meeting with a collector. I was able a number of times over the years to spend time with Jim and he was always a hoot. He really killed my idea of collectors in tweed jackets. My condolences to Carolyn and the rest of Jim's Family. History lost a great friend...Oh and I'm pretty sure he did get the tattoo :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

the other 99% Fort Pitt style...

Study of workmen by Joseph Vernet....scenes you would have seen all over the place at Fort Pitt

Bales by moonlight
trunks, crates, barrels and human misery

Blah, this is like the 3rd start for this entry. I need to just start typing when I feel like it and not pause look at some msg boards and anger myself. My Chi was all focused and then blammo the negativity crept back in. Ok so first off a msg to my hate mailers...if you dont like what I write on my blog dont read it.
what I find funny is the fact people have been taking time out of there day to send me long angry emails not realising it's part of a conspiracy by me and the liberal media to take time away from their construction of roadkill pouches and embroidered haversacks. George Soros is behind this whole blog...Nathan Kobuck doesnt exist.
Ok back to normality...First off to show my true geekness this entry has had me stumped:
John Jennings
1 french matchcoat ..15..
1 ditto Damaged ..5..
3/8 blue cloth 6/..4 yards Bedlace 2/...8................1/8

Richard Winston
3 damaged french matchcoats ..12..
3/8 blue cloth 6/ 4 yards bedlace 2/...8.......1/

What are these guys making! is this an awesome blue cuffed bedlace edged blanket coat? Is this the weirdest set up for sleeping ever? Was richard winston alot heavier then John? If canoe A leaves fort pitt at 2pm and native B leaves Mohican John's town at many questions.
One question I get alot is what is a french matchcoat and my answer is I have no idea. They dont specify in the papers i have read what it is but I suspect it has to do with the size. French measurements in the period were slightly different then english measurments. so I suspect this was the selling point. I'm still looking.

Another entry I thought was kewl just for the mental image of what a trading post might look like inside comes from November of 1767 "for the use of the people employed in the service":
18 1/2 yards Chk for Bed curtains..4/............. 3..14
20 yards coarse linen for sheets...2/6......... 2/10
3 yds Callicoe for a counterpine (counterpiece?)..5/......... ../15.
1 1/2 yd ditto for a curtain for the store window..... 7/6
6 yds damaged strouds for working table cloths..7/6

And finally I thought I'd post a few images showing items in shipping containers. Some things (and types of people) you'd see around Fort Pitt in the 1760's. you know the other 99% of folks other then longhunters.

Well I'm getting back to weaving and this weekend I'm off to Fort Pitt to take part in a demo of a hunting camp. flesh hides, run ball, clean my gun (or get Duane to german clean my gun) and finally check out the rifleman exhibit. Then possibly off to the Schoenbrun trade fair for the day...i really need to weave faster.

More Joseph Vernet Images

some killer images showing working class folks/dock scenes/and ship life