Saturday 17 May 2008

Deerslayer in the woods.

Bark shelter construction in Butterfly

Early 18thc. equipment.

Olde Time Adventure For Young And Over 40s


The New England Colonial Living History Group is a non-profit group dedicated to keeping pioneer skills alive, through 18th century living history and experimental archaeology. At present we are looking for new members to join our group.
Our main period of interest is 1700-1760 in the New World. We chose the new world because it gives us more freedom of choice in nationalities, period living skills, wilderness survival skills, trekking scenarios, period tools, and clothing styles. Also of course Australia was not settled in our period of interest.
Our main activity is Historical Trekking, that is hiking and camping 18th century style. We only use original items or copies of 17thc.-18thc. Items, including clothing and equipment. Our campfires are lit using flint, steel and tinderbox or fire-bow. Our food is roasted or boiled in a period trade cook kettle, which is small enough to fit in our knapsacks. We don’t usually carry period tents, except when we attend Living History Rendezvous, because they are too heavy. Instead we carry period oil cloth and build our shelter on-site.
We are strong on period living skills and primitive wilderness survival skills and practice these as normal activities on historical treks. Some of the skills we learn and practice are: Flint and steel fire lighting, fire-bow fire lighting, spinning and loom weaving, finger weaving, tomahawk throwing, survival shelter construction, wet weather fire lighting, open fire cooking, primitive tool construction, and more.
For those who wish to practice the skills from the comfort of a warm fire in winter, our group holds meeting at Elm Cottage in Wychwood Forest, not far from Armidale on the Old Armidale road which leads to Guyra. The back road from Guyra is a short cut for those coming from Glen Innes and Inverell.
The New England Colonial Living History Group charges no membership fees, as we are all volunteers. There is only a small charge for individuals to pay for insurance cover, and this is payed to the Australia Living History Federation, of which we are members.
There is no age limit for membership, though parents and guardians are responsible for minors. Most of our members are over 40, though we do have some young family members.
If you are looking to make new friends, or looking for a hobby, interested in history or primitive skills or wilderness survival, or just looking for something to do on weekends or for something the whole family can participate in, then our group could be just what you are looking for. We have regular meetings on the first Sunday of each month, though historical treks and drive-in camps can be organised at any time to suit individual members. If you think you might be interested, and want more information, please contact: Mr Keith H. Burgess. Phone 67 755 292.
Email: historicaltrekker@gmail.com Post: Mr Keith H. Burgess, Wychwood Forest, MSF 2007, Armidale 2350.
We also have two internet sites: http://woodsrunnersdiary.blogspot.com/
And at: http://skirmishmagazine.ning.com/ which is the forum for Living History Worldwide.

Group Statement of Aims


I would very much appreciate it if you could include the following information in your next member newsletter. My very best wishes and most sincere regards, Keith H. Burgess. NECLHG.

NECLHG Statement of Aims.
We, the New England Colonial Living History Group are dedicated to the study of the New World frontier lifestyle by means of literary research and experimental archaeology. We are living historians, historical trekkers, and experimental archaeologists, studying and emulating to the best of our ability the period of 1700-1760. This also involves some research into the late 17th century.
As is the purpose of an archaeologist, to establish facts about people in a particular time period, we establish facts and an understanding of the people and their lifestyle in the early to mid 18th century. This is accomplished through experimentation in various historical situations, often in a wilderness setting, by using clothing, arms and equipment that was used between 1680 and1760 on the New World frontier to accomplish historical tasks and everyday living activities that involve period living skills and primitive wilderness survival skills.

We are not historical re-enactors involved in public displays; we practice our skills and experimental archaeology in the privacy of Wychwood Forest. We do however encourage the public to approach us for historical information, and we welcome enquiries for membership.
Contact: Keith H. Burgess, Wychwood Forest, MSF 2007, Armidale 2350 Phone: 67 755 292. Email: historicaltrekker@gmail.com

The Pilgrim's Manual

New England Colonial Living History Group.
The Pilgrim’s Manual.
How to get started in our living history group.
©Copyright Keith H. Burgess Esq.2007.

Our group’s main period of interest is 1700-1760 in the North Eastern parts of the New World.
Your Persona: Before you can start to research the period, you need to choose your persona; the type of period character you wish to emulate. Your choice may be influenced in several ways.
Q Who were your ancestors back in the 17th &18th centuries? What country were they born in & what were their occupations? This knowledge may give you a starting point.
Q If you had lived in the 18th century, what sort of lifestyle would you have chosen, given the choice?
Q Our group is very focused on the period living skills & the wilderness survival skills. Our main activity is historical trekking, that is trekking & camping in a historical manner using only period equipment or copies of that equipment. In order to participate in historical trekking you need to be properly clothed & equipped, so you need to choose a persona that would at some time have traveled & or lived in the woods. The following list of personas will give you something to choose from.
· A trades person or labourer who is also in the local militia.
· A woodsman or woods woman.
· A woodland Indian.
· A person who was captured by Indians & was adopted into Indian society.
· An ex-military person with a new occupation.
1 Having chosen your persona, you can now start to do the research. The things you need to know are:
· What were the most common clothing & equipment that your persona would have used?
· What other clothing & equipment choices were available?
· What skills would your persona have had?
· What other obligations or occupations might your persona be involved in, such as militia duties ?
Before you start searching the net, or Dixon Library, check with Keith to see how much research information is already in our library. Our authenticity rating is very high, so you can count on us to help you as much as possible and make sure you get the right information.

Good research will increase your enjoyment of living history, and it will save you a lot of time and money in the long term. Always remember that early styles of clothing and equipment can be used in a later period, but later styles cannot be used in earlier periods. Also if you are living in the years between 1700 and 1760, not everything you own will come from that period. It is only reasonable to expect that you may have items dating to the 17th century.

Some people find it easier to relate to a different period and lifestyle if they give themselves/their persona, a different name and history. I did not change my name, but I will offer you my own persona as an example. I found this construction of a fictitious history easy to do by basing it on my actual history but setting it back 300 plus years, though my family home was actually built in 1745AD.

My name is Keith Henry Burgess. I have two Woodland Lakota Indian blood brothers. They named me Le Loup.
The year is now 1740, and I was born in 1680 in England in a small town on the south coast. My Father owned a large house in sheep lane called High House.
My Great Grandfather was a wheelwright, and my Grandfather a harness maker. My Father was a stage-wagon driver and owned his own stage-wagon. He wanted me to continue in that work, and although I mostly enjoyed working for my Father, the hours were long and I did not want to spend the rest of my life driving a stage-wagon in all weathers. I was also starting to feel confined. The lands I happily roamed and played in as a child were no longer open to me, and so I decided to leave England and voyage to the New World.
I was fortunate to leave my home with a little of my own money, a good knapsack and haversack, an oilcloth my Father gave me, and also a good fusil. When I arrived here in New England, fifteen pounds of meat was worth £1.1.6, so I was able to start my new life as a woodsman, or as we would say in England a forester and hunter. I have worked as a farm labourer for 8/- a day when game was scarce close to the settlement, and I have worked as a scout and courier in the local militia, known as the Flying Company.
I am now in my 60th year, and married with three fine sons. My home I have built in a forest, which I own and have called Wychwood Forest after a forest so named in the old country. I have known and lost three good close friends in my time here, which has been forty or more years.
Our forest farm supplies most of our needs, and what we do not produce, can be traded for.

Research Sources:
· Primary sources of information are best. These are accounts written in the actual period. Information may be in the form of books, someone’s estate records, diary notes or journals, and paintings and sketches.
· Secondary sources are accounts that were written in the period by people who were not actually present at the particular event themselves, so their interpretation may not be correct.
· Tertiary sources are books, magazines and papers , often written many years after an event, even hundreds of years, and what is written is an overall view as interpreted by the author. This can be a good source providing the author supplies a Bibliography so that you can check where the author got the information.
· Experimental archaeology is the using of period tools, clothing and other items to perform a period task. This can be anything from building and sailing a ship, to making fire with flint and steel. Historical trekking is a good example where many tasks and skills are performed, and which gives a broader understanding of a particular lifestyle.

Clothing and Equipment.
Once you have done some research and decided what clothing and equipment you need, it is time to start collecting the items you need. You may not be able to afford ready-made items, or you may wish to make your own clothing and equipment as far as you are able. Some items can perhaps be traded for, you can also use second hand materials purchased from op-shops and second hand stores. Second-hand clothing items can be used for many things, and so can wool blankets and good cotton or linen bed sheets and tablecloths. My first real linen shirt was made from a linen tablecloth, and three of the best knives I have were purchased second hand, two from a second-hand store, and the other from a stall in the local market. All three knives appear to be originals, and the handles on two of them are pinned in the correct 18th century fashion. The third had no handle.

In our group there is no pressure put on members to be fully clothed and equipped in a certain period of time, but we do like to see some effort being made in that direction.
If you are having a problem finding certain items, or need some advice, don’t hesitate to ask for help.
The Blog listed below is for member use, please feel free to post comments and questions. We are frequently updating the information on this site so please visit as often as you can. The more our site is used, the more often it will show up in someone’s search and perhaps attract more membership.
Welcome to our group.
Email: historicaltrekker@gmail.com

Blog: http://woodsrunnersdiary.blogspot.com/

Group Forum: http://neclhg.freeforums.net/

Mail: C/o Keith H. Burgess, MSF 2007, Armidale NSW 2350.

Who We Are & What We Do.

New England Colonial Living History Group.

Period of interest: 1700-1760AD in the North Eastern parts of the New World. Our clothing and most of our equipment reflects this period, but some items of equipment can date back into the 17th century.

Activities: Our main activity is historical trekking and the skills, and research associated with historical trekking. We can however accommodate those who don’t wish to participate in historical trekking and just wish to learn some period skills and crafts and experience a little of the colonial lifestyle.

Historical Trekking.
Historical trekking is trekking and camping in a historical style, using only period clothing and equipment. We trek all year round, but do most of our trekking in winter. Winter poses more of a challenge in regard to skills, and clothing and equipment choices, but it is also more pleasant in regard to the lack of biting insects and snakes.
We place a lot of emphasis on the period living skills and wilderness survival skills and these skills are practiced as part of our normal trekking activities.

Common Trekking Skills.
Common skills used on treks are: Flint and steel fire lighting, tinder production using only wild plant fibres, wet weather fire lighting and fireplace construction, primitive shelter construction and using natural shelters, primitive survival trap construction and use, cordage and rope making, tomahawk throwing, open fire cooking methods, wild edible plant and tinder plant identification, stalking and tracking, firelock fire lighting, flintlock muzzle-loading and or archery, and more.

Other Skills.
Other skills that can be learnt and practiced are: Helve and stail making, hornsmithing, spinning and loom weaving, finger weaving, leatherworking, tanning, fire-bow fire lighting, reading glass fire lighting, period fishing, moccasin construction, and more.

Where and When: Most of our activities including trekking and camping are performed in Wychwood Forest. We have regular meetings on the first Sunday of each month. Meetings are usually held at Elm Cottage. Members are welcome to attend on the Friday or Saturday and camp over. Regular meetings start between 9 and 10am. Organised treks can be on any day, but usually over a weekend.

Costs and Fees: Membership is free, but members are required to pay an insurance fee of $16 per annum to the Australian Living History Federation.
We help keep expenses down by advising on the most inexpensive clothing and equipment options and by encouraging and helping members to make their own clothing and equipment. Items can also be purchased or traded for if members wish.

Rules and Regulations: We have strict safety rules and regulations. We are a volunteer based organization and as such all members are protected from any liability (duty of care) claims by the Government’s Civil Liability Amendment (Personal Responsibility) Bill 2002. We are also covered by the ALHF insurance policy.

We set no time limit on members to become fully clothed and equipped in period style, so long as we can see some effort is being made in that regard.
We hope you find this information of some use; you will find more information on the group blog site listed below. Please feel free to post comments and questions on this blog. should you need any further information, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Keith H. Burgess Esq.
Email: historicaltrekker@gmail.com
Blog: http://woodsrunnersdiary.blogspot.com/
Group Page At: http://skirmishmagazine.ning.com/ Post: Keith H. Burgess, Wychwood Forest, MSF 2007, Armidale 2350.