A LIVING HISTORY BLOG.

18TH CENTURY LIVING HISTORY IN AUSTRALIA.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

A Longhunter Challenge!

I challenge anyone to find primary documentation that a longhunter existed in the 18th century. By this I mean the word or term longhunter or long hunter actually being used in the 18th century. So far I have found no proof that this term was ever in existance before the 20th century!
So what was this so called longhunter supposed to be? I mean we now see adverts for "longhunter shirts" and "longhunter packs", and the list goes on as if this longhunter was something special, out of the ordinary compared to a woodsman. Well in fact the modern meaning of a so called longhunter is that he hunted for a long time, or he was in the woods hunting for a long time. Woodsmen who hunted commercially for meat and deer skins are now called longhunters because they were in the woods hunting for a long time, i.e. months at a time.
But this does not make them any different from any other woodsman who hunts, they did not wear different clothes or use different guns. My point here is, that if the term longhunter was not in use in the 18th century, then why are we using it now? Fine to say a woodsman has been gone for a long time, fine to say he has been out there hunting for a long time now, but to call him a longhunter? At what point is an ordinary hunter supposed to become a long one?
Personally I think it is time we stopped using this term "longhunter" until someone can come up with proof that the term was in use in the 18th century. Until then they are woodsmen and hunters regardless of the length of time they are in the woods.








9 comments:

Gorges Smythe said...

So, when do you suppose the term "mountain man" was coined?

Le Loup said...

Well I have to admit that I have not been looking for that term, but I would wager that it has been in use for a long time.

Jenny said...

Hey Loup!

Just saw this and thought of you. It's second hand via Mr. Baker's "Sons of a Trackless Forest" but references the first hand material --


Exactly when the title long hunter first came into common use has been obscured through time. But in the book History of Kentucky, written by Humphrey Marshall and first published in 1812, one valuable hint can be found. Marshall states that, "None of this company, led on, but the present Colonel James Knox, reached Kentucky; and from the time they were absent, obtained the name LONG HUNTERS (11)*. Marshall attributes the title being first used in relationship to one of James Knox's 1769-72 hunting parties (dates of long hunt vary by a year, depending on source). In a letter to the historian Draper, Robert Wickliffe endorsed the same view as tat promoted by Marshall - perhaps even paraphrasing Marshall's earlier publication. In recalling the initial entrance of Knox into the hunting grounds of Kentucky, Wickliffe explains, "after Christmas Col. Knox returne to Virginia & was one of the company of long hunters as they were called from being absent from the settled parts of Virginia twelve month in a single hunt. (Draper: 5C 54)."


"Sons of a Trackless Forest" p. 889

So... it looks like the folks who were there used the word... but whether they used it at the time is inconclusive. Still.. "as they were called" hints to me it's likely a term of the era.


Emphasis in the original. I assume "11" refers to the page number of the work in question.

Le Loup said...

Many thanks for this Jenny, appreciated. I would still like to see more primary info written at the time. Published in 1812 re 1769-1772, certainly not F&I war era. But more info than I had.
Thanks again, worth pursuing.
Regards.

Stephen Dowdy said...

John Curry implies that that was a term that was used. He mentions it in an interview.

http://www.gcdailyworld.com/blogs/nickschneider/entry/51428/

I

Stephen Dowdy said...

John Curry implies that that was a term that was used. He mentions it in an interview.

http://www.gcdailyworld.com/blogs/nickschneider/entry/51428/

I

Stephen Dowdy said...

This author says that that term was used in the 18th Century. I've not read the book but he is a reputable source concerning Long hunter activities.


http://www.gcdailyworld.com/blogs/nickschneider/entry/51428/

Keith H. Burgess said...

Thank you Stephen.
Regards, Keith.

Keith H. Burgess said...

I would like to see primary evidence that this term was used in the period. I would like to see at least 3 different quotes from 3 different people living in this period. Otherwise it is just hearsay. I have made enough mistakes in my time, so has Baker & so has Curry. I don't, won't take anyone's word for anything unless there is primary evidence.
Regards, Keith.