Saturday 31 December 2011

About Period Blankets. Part 2.

A 3-point blanket carried by Private Henry Marble of Massachusetts in the Revolutionary War. White wool, with 2 3/4 inch indigo blue stripes and points. Marble's blanket is in the foreground. Behind it is a 19th century 3-point Hudson's Bay blanket. Museum of the Fur Trade Collections, Chadron, Nebraska. Frederick C. Gaede and E. Bryce Workman, "Notes on Point Blankets in the Military Service," The Museum of the Fur Trade Quarterly, vol. 15, 2, (Summer 1979), 1-2.

  8 lbs of gun powder 1 beaver 4 beavers
1 gun 2 beavers 5 beavers
40 lbs of lead 1 beaver 3 beavers
1 blanket of red cloth 1 beaver 2 beavers
1 white blanket 1 beaver 2 beavers
4 shirts 1 beaver 2 beavers
6 pairs of stockings 1 beaver 2 beavers
Montreal and Albany in the year 1689.

This is the "Rose" pattern placed in each corner of the Rose blanket.
Between 1711 and 1860 [the Early company] made what became known as the "rose blanket"...[with] motifs embroidered in the four corners....[varying] between 9 and 21 inches in diameter. Blankets were woven in one long length weighing a hundred pounds....The decoration was put on to show where the length should be cut up into individual blankets....Rose blankets were popular in America.



A 17th century Whitney Blanket Trade Token.

18th century Whitney Trade Token.
These are bona fide private coins issued by traders in times of acute shortage of coin of the state to enable trading activities to proceed. The token is a pledge redeemable in goods or in coin of the state, i.e. the face value of the coin represents the real value of the official coinage.

Cabin blankets for use at sea were first made in the early 18th century [3]. Many of these blankets would not have been of the best quality and were plain unbleached or dyed grey or olive. Townley.


My Half-Blanket which I wear over my shoulders in winter. It is held together in front with an 18th century brooch.

, and one rug, most often GREEN or RED, although other colours have been noted. Typically, blankets were counted by the PAIR or in twos, whereas rugs came singly.
From: 'Ruff band - Rutherine', Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1820 (2007). URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=58859  Date accessed: 30 December 2011.

Father Pierre Briard relates in the work Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents that in 1611 the Arcadian Indians "often wear our capotes, and in the winter our bed blankets which they improve with trimming and wear double". Also around this time Mother Marie de L'Incarnation recorded that she saw Indians wearing coats made from trade blankets.

Indians used white, red and blue blankets. "In 1663, ten Normandy "white" blankets are listed among the goods belonging to the trader Jacques Testad dit Loforet. The term "Normandy" refers to the location of textile manufacture. In 1693, during a council held in Montreal involving the French authorities and twelve foreign Indians tribes "no less than 83 white blankets were given as presents." Another important aspect of these blankets were that some bore embellishments such as red or blue stripes at their borders, embroidery, and lace. In fact we see that when the trader Jean Mailhot died in 1687 an inventory of his "la morte" possessions included "seven blankets made of capote cloth trimmed with nonpareille lace". (a very narrow strip of ribbon which was made of false gold, silver or silk) Drawings by Jesuit Missionaries recorded that this trimming in many instances was done in a zig zag pattern and consisted of two pieces of lace.

The actual sizes of trade blankets also differed. During the 1690's the French introduced the "point system". The term "point" then referred to a unit of measurement. In fact the French verb " ‘empointer’ was used to describe that action of making stitches with a thread on a piece of cloth". The historical norms of these blankets ranged from 1 to 5 points, 5 being the largest and 1 being the smallest known as "cradle blankets". http://www.scarletscarab.com/blanket-history.htm

Words That say It Like It Really Is.

There is more than one way to explain something, but this quote I think is very good. It is hard to explain the feeling I get when touching original artifacts, and even copies! Hard to explain the feeling of dressing in period clothing and using 18th century items whilst trekking and camping in period style without anything to remind you of the 21 century.

I found this quote over at Frontier Partisans http://frontierpartisans.com/481/touching-the-past/#comment-226

“A feeling of immediate contact with the past is a sensation as deep as the purest enjoyment of art; it is an almost ecstatic sensation of no longer being myself, of overflowing into the world around me, of touching the essence of things, of through history experiencing the truth.”—Johan Huizinga, historian

Thanks for passing this on Jim.

Pioneer Handbooks: - Free downloads from the pioneers and settlers are here.

Pioneer Handbooks: - Free downloads from the pioneers and settlers are here.

Still on the stick.

As some of you may know I am recently returned home from having a complete hip replacement. That means no woodsrunning for me for a while. As well as regular special excersizes I also have to go for a walk every day. It has been so wet here of late that walking off the track has not been possible. So I am restricted to walking our forest road to our front gate and back again, which is about 1Klm there and back. This morning being my first walk of 2012, I decided to take some photos and share them with anyone who is interested. Unfortunately I run out of room on the digital card before I reached the gate!

Looking back at the main house, "Linstock" and over Butterfly Valley to the forest beyond. As you can see, plenty of room for historical trekking.

Here Linstock is to the left, and this is looking up the road which leads to "Elm Cottage", which we use as a club house for the New England Colonial Living History group 1680-1760.

Starting my decent down toward "Bull Ant Bend". When I first put this track in, I encountered a large bull ant's nest right on that bend. It remained there for many years and was not a good place to hang around!

Bull Ant Bend looking further down the track. Old Fort Henry is just off to the right in Henry's Wood which is seperated from the rest of Wychwood Forest by this track.

Round the next bend.

In the distance you can see open pasture belonging to a "Brumby" farm. This is where they train the wild horses for sale. Our gate is still a little further on round the next bend. Henry's Wood to the right, the rest of the forest to the left.

Looking into Henry's Wood at the old fort.

A small stack of firewood drying in the sun ready for next winter. Green stacks like this and larger are dotted about the forest. Mostly we cut dry wood and carry it back to the wood shed, but when trees fall, then we sometimes cut them green and stack them to dry like this.

Another view of the open woodland in Henry's Wood, named after my Father. He never got to see this place, but I know he would have loved it here. Mostly Stringybark trees with some Yellow Box and Mountain Gum.

This is a Mountain Gum, very similar to look at as the Manna Gum. Can you see the Currawong centre picture? A black and white bird about the size of a Raven and similar to our Magpie but a little larger and not so much white as the Magpie. Just look at that big blue sky!

Elm Cottage with it's two chimneys, kichen on the left, living room on the right. It has solar power now as my youngest son uses one room to store some of his art work.

The living room 18th century style fire place with chains and hooks for hanging kettles. No solar lighting in this room, just candles, grease lamps and rush lights. Group members are able to bed down on the floor in this room if they wish to stay over.

So, 2012 has arrived!

Many think that this year is the beginning of the end of the world as we know it. Personally I keep an open mind. I have seen some things in my time that some would not believe or understand. I am pretty sure that I can handle anything that comes my way short of a nuke!

Here I must thank all of you that have followed this blog for as long as you have. To those who have taken the time to comment on my posts, my sincere thanks. Your questions and feedback are very much appreciated, and often they prompt me to do further research and give me ideas for more posts. It is you that keeps this blog going. Without you I would have no need to keep posting.
My very best wishes to you all for a good year in this 2012 and beyond.

Friday 30 December 2011

About Period Blankets. Part One.

18th Century Wool Blankets.
White blankets were very popular in the 18th century. This white blanket coat is good cover in the snow, but not so good when there is no snow on the ground.

The wool blanket is a vital part of any 18th century travellers equipment. Wool blankets have also been used as matchcoats and for making blanket coats, leggings and moccasin liners.

“…a most terrible Storm came on…we are quite without shelter…passing our Time sitting in the Snow under an Oak with a Blanket wrapped round us.”
~ David Thompson, Northern Plains, 1798
I have been researching 18th century blankets, both trade blankets and home hand woven blankets, bed-rugs and coverlids, and the information has been very hard to find! The harder it got, the more convinced I was that this research needed doing. This research will be ongoing, as I find most of my research is, but at least I can publish what I have so far in the hope that it may help other Living Historians.

Here is my friend Mungo's blanket lean-to, which is a reasonable example of how one might construct such a shelter. More here: http://www.mungosaysbah.com/2008/10/walk-in-valley-how-to-build-simple-lean.html
An interesting historical fact is that some people in the 18th century used their blankets to make shelters rather than wrapping the blanket around them for warmth, as in this example: “…setting poles slantwise in the ground, tying others cross them, over which we spread our blanket and crept close under it…”
~ John Bartram, near Lake Ontario, 1743 (Bartram, 38 ).
But since reading similar quotes I have found the following:
in 1716 unscoured Witney cloths used for waterproof coverings or clothing were mentioned in a poem by John Gay, implying that they were widely known.

And the poem: 'True Witney Broad-Cloth with its Shag unshorn/Unpierc'd is in the lashing Tempest worn . . .': quoted in Plummer and Early, Blanket Makers, 42.
From: 'Witney borough: Economic history: economic life 1500 to 1800', A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 14: Bampton Hundred (Part Two) (2004), pp. 77-88. URL:/ www.britishhistory.ac.uk/report.aspxcompid=116956&strquery=unscouredcloth  Date accessed: 31 December 2011.
Which begs the question, were these travellers using “True Whitney Broadcloth blankets? Something to at least consider.
An old lean-to frame in Henry's Wood.

bearskin : A particular sort of thick, shaggy woollen fabric (18th century) http://belovedlinens.net/fabdico/textile-dictionary-b.html

BEARSKIN a coarse, very thick woollen finished with a shaggy nap. As well as being made in Norwich, much cloth of this kind was produced in East Norfolk. http://www.norwichtextiles.org.uk/info/research-resources/glossaries
what did we ever realize from this ample store  - why, perhaps a coat (we generally did get that) and one or two shirts, the same of shoes and stockings, and, indeed, the same may be said of every other article of clothing - a few dribbled out in a regiment, two or three times a year, never getting a whole suit at a time … all of the poorest quality, and blankets of thin baize, thin enough to have straws shot through without discommoding the threads ...

“I marched with only my military suit, and my implements of war, without any change of dress or even a blanket ..."During the post-battle American retreat from Germantown Morris was captured by British soldiers, "and marched back to Germantown under a guard." His waiter made his escape, taking with him Captain Morris’s "blanket and provisions with a canteen of whiskey ..."That night having had no refreshment and "no blanket or any covering to shield me from the cold," he asked a sympathetic British officer for assistance. After being given some food he was brought "a large and clean Rose blanket ... for my use that night, I accordingly went out into the field, and lay down among the soldiers who were prisoners, wrapped myself in the blanket, kept my hat on my head, and slept soundly through the night..." Memoirs of James Morris of Litchfield, Conn., Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty - Land - Warrant Application Files, National Archives Microfilm Publication M804, S16204.
A fragment from the corner of a Rose Blanket. The Rose blanket had one of these in each of the four corners.

Wool and woollen cloth making has been an important trade and industry in the Cotswolds and West Oxfordshire for hundreds of years. This was mainly because the local landscape is made up of large areas of open limestone grasslands or hill pasture which is very good for breeding and grazing sheep. Witney itself was sited on a fast flowing river useful for powering cloth-fulling mills and it also had good road networks connecting it with important trading centres [1]. A History of the County of Oxford XIV - Witney and its Townships
Townley, Simon(editor).
My old white Whitney blanket, no nap left on it any more. Where it has become threadbare, I have sewn on some "real" bearskin.

Some info on Grease Lamps on Frontier Carpenter.


Editor's Note: I used to melt our fat in water to make the tallow. Sometimes changing the water several times after letting it cool. Salt & heavy particles sink to the bottom, leaving the refind tallow on the surface. We lived for 20 years or so without electricity & used tallow candles & fat lamps for lighting. These were the days of early to bed & early to rise.

Monday 26 December 2011

Australian NSW 18th Century Living History Groups.

www Email yahoo group (10 Oct 10)
The New England Colonial Living History Group
"Wychwood" - MSF 2007
Armidale 2350 NSW
Keith Burgess
Phone:02 67755292 Fax: -
www Email (04 Aug 06)
Regiment La Sarre
PO Box 227
St Peters NSW 2044
W Lincoln
Phone: 0411 422 144
Fax: (02) 9591 0100
1651 to 1795 French

Australian NSW Living History Traders.

www Email (26 Oct 09)
Corps Sutler
PO Box 227
St Peters NSW 2044
Bill Lincoln
Mobile: 0411 422 144
Reenactment goods for many periods
www Email (10 Mar 04)
Historica - Reenactment/Events/History
PO Box 1
Petersham NSW 2049
Brett Kenworthy or Stephen Gapps
BK: 0419238611
SG: 0402 969 535
Fax: +61 2 6334 3025
Reenactment Events Management
(09 Apr 02)
Scott "Shanks" Jeffcott
NSW Scott "Shanks" Jeffcott
Phone:0416009083 Fax: -
Blacksmith and Armourer
www Email (02 Oct 00)
Birka Traders
PO Box 3003
Marrickville NSW 2204
Peter Beatson
Phone: - Fax:-
Medieval outfitting and supplies
www Email (21 Oct 05)
Cote & Cutler Outfitters
14 Seventh Avenue
Katoomba NSW 2780
Bess and Karl Cook
Phone: 02 4782 7394
Mob:0411 125 518
Fax:02 4782 7980
Historic Clothing and Accessories
www Email (15 May 04)
Full Tilt
Sherwood Park
176 Sunny Corner Road
Yetholme NSW 2795
Rod Walker
Phone: (H) 02 6337 5218 Fax: (02) 6337 5218
Provide quality jousting displays
www Email (09 May 02)
James Wran
Lismore Northern NSW 2480James Wran
Phone: (02) 6622 1479
Jewellery, Knives, Leather & Wooden Weapons
Email (01 Apr 09)
Kat Kiss
Phone: :0425 364 659
Fax: -
Costumier/Designer/Artist, Period costumes made to your specifications
Email (26 Oct 07)
PO Box 361
Blacktown NSW 2148
Stephen Gapps
Phone: 0402 969 535
Fax: -
Early music - Dark Ages to 17th C
Email (16 Dec 08)Possum Forge 403 Searles Road
Eungai Creek NSW 2441
Richard Coumbe
Phone: (02) 6569 9284
Mob:0412 179 391
Artist Blacksmith: Cooking & Camping Accoutrements inc riveted cauldrons, spits, roman tent pegs etc
Email (03 Feb 05)Savvy Leather Design40 Dowling Street
Northern NSW
Phone: -
Designer and Maker of leathergoods
(22 Aug 00)Ritual Vessels 40 Dowling Street
Arnecliffe NSW 2205
Sophia & Liam Raptis-Hale
Phone: (02) 9597-5329 Fax:(02) 9597-5329
Period pottery made to your specifications
Email (18 Mar 00)Sworded Forgery 19 Little Church Street
Windsor NSW 2756
Igor Marjanovic
Phone: (02)4577 8434 mob:0401 292 774 Fax:-
Arms,Armour,Blacksmithing, Leatherwork
www Email (16 Jan 03)Talerwin Forge PO Box 190
Rylstone NSW 2849
Alex. Scheibner
Phone:(02)6379 1364
Mob: 0428 791364
Fax:(02)6379 1364
Blacksmith, Arms & Armour, Blacksmith's & Armour's tools, Leatherwork, Woodwork and Custom knives
www Email ICQ (19 Apr 03)Crusader Books NSWTony Garrett/ Rick McQualter
Phone: - Fax: (02) 6288 4192
Books, Prints, Videos & Games
Email (23 Nov 04)
Bruce Webber
Muscle Creek Rd
Muswellbrook NSW 2333
Bruce Webber
Phone: (02) 6543 4523 Fax:-
(WW2 Allied/ Axis Reproductions / Originals)
www Email (27 May 05)
The Sutlers Store
The Wilderness
Badja Road
VIA Numeralla NSW 2630
Tony Miller
Phone:(02) 6453 3125
Fax: -
18/19th cent WW2 (Clothing, Clothing Accessories)
www Email (14 Sept 07)
Top Pots
PO Box 8024
Tumbi Umbi NSW 2261
Nick Howard
Mobile:0407 777 294
Fax: -
WW2 Helmets, Clothing, Clothing Accessories