Sunday 31 July 2011

Evacuation. Then & Now.

Evacuation. Then & Now.

Some communities were lucky enough to have been able to hire a Ranger, a woodsman who would range the countryside around the settlement looking for sign of any enemy in the area. If he returned with a warning, then the militia would be put on alert. Outlying farms would be warned & the occupants advised to move into the fort for safety. Sometimes assistance in moving might be offered, towns people would help carry important items to the fort. Anything that would greatly help the raiders would be removed from the cabins, such as guns & gunpowder, shot pouches & food. Much depended on how many people there were to help with the evacuation, & what sort of transport was available. But the evacuation had to be quick, there was little time to stop & think. They had to know exactly where everything was & what was most important to take with them.

Here in Australia evacuations have a long history, from raids to floods & bushfires. Some people have chosen to stay & try & protect their homes, & some have died in the attempt. Just like 300 years ago the public facilities are often lacking in home comforts, whole communities crammed into one building with no privacy. And when the emergency is over & the people return to their homes, their dwellings are often totally destroyed by flood or fire. Certainly they are not habitable.

So how did they cope with this situation 300 years ago any differently to now? Well 300 years ago they were better prepared. Those that moved into the forts took what they needed with them to survive, to create shelter, to create privacy. Going back home after the emergency was over was no different, they had the skills & the knowledge to create what they needed whilst they worked on rebuilding their cabin. Those of us who are 18th century living historians & historical trekkers are in a unique position to practice such an evacuation many times over. There may be important papers, documents, passports, birth certificates etc that we need to take with us, but the basic needs are those that will make us comfortable whilst away from our homes.

I have such a pack already to go at a moments notice, & of course its contents have been chosen with care & thought & well tested over many years. We have the advantage over those that do not go camping, & are not a part of living history. These other people may manage to cope with short term evacuation because of chemical spills, cyclones, floods, fires, & earthquakes. But in a major evacuation there would be little help for many people, they would be on their own & quite unprepared. I think it is worth you all thinking about this.

Recently my wife & I had to make a trip to Coffs Harbour. Whilst we were there the roads became blocked through floods & fallen trees. Fortunately by the time we had to leave, the roads had just been declared open & safe to travel on. But it made me think, what if the roads had not been passable? We could have slept in our vehicle, as both our vehicles are large enough to bed down in, but we had no other items such as food, cooking utensils etc. This was not the time to make fire with a fire-bow for warmth & cooking. We had no means to hunt for food in any case. In reality we could have survived very well, & could have purchased food somewhere no doubt. Still it was a wake up call for me & I have since put together a knapsack “Bug Out” kit for when we have to go away on trips. If you would like to read more on this sort of thing, there is a blog post here: Camping as an evacuation drill exercise.

Wednesday 20 July 2011

Alone In The Wilderness 2

My thanks to Wood Trekker for bringing this to my attention.

Ranging, Pathfinding, Bushcraft & Survival Notes: Water purification methods:

Ranging, Pathfinding, Bushcraft & Survival Notes: Water purification methods:

New Gunpowder Regs In Australia.

As I understand the following information, those of us with the appropriate firearms licence are not affected by these new regulations. If you read it differently, get back to me.

Please click on the image if you wish to enlarge.

Lead Pig.


Weighing in at 134 kg this great lead pig was found in August 1975 in a gravel pit near Colwick, just over 100m west of the old course of the River Trent. Because this old course of the Trent was abandoned in 1801 the ingot can be dated to the eighteenth century. The lead is thought to be from Derbyshire, but the marks on the pig have not been identified.

Registration number NCM 1995-209
Date 18th Century
Maker possibly Derbyshire made
Country found Nottingham, England


Thought For The Day.

"One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, ‘My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.’ The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked, ‘Which wolf wins?’ The old Cherokee simply replied, ‘The one you feed.’"

Tuesday 19 July 2011

Westward Trailer

Daniel Boone & The Westward Movement

The Taking Of Indian Lands By The Americans.

I never fully understood the politics involved in the American Revolution until I read Simon Girty, Turncoat Hero By Phillip W. Hoffman. I guess it all depends on which side of the fence you are on, but from what I have read it was not Girty who was the traitor, it was George Washington. Washington was one of several land grabbers who wished to provoke the Indians into a war so he could wipe them out & take their land. King George was standing in Washinton's way, but Washington had already illegally surveyed land beyond the Ohio. It was not the French or the English who confiscated Indian lands, it was Americans after the Revolution.

Firearms Regulations, Don't Care or Just Ignorant?

If you were worried about gun crime in Australia, which would you rather see people using, this

Or this

Single shot flintlock muzzle-loading guns are classed along with breechloading firearms, same licence, same restrictions. I don't know if the firearms advisory committee simply don't give a damn or if they are just ignorant. But let's face it, it has to be one or the other. The differences between the two firearms systems are so blatantly obvious. One would think that the government would have enough common sence to allow the public to own & use flintlock pistols & long arms over modern firearms. I for one would gladly swop my modern guns for firelock muzzleloaders. But no, they have to make it hard on themselves & everyone else. Okay, I will get off my soap box, but will leave you with a quote from Terry Pratchett in his Disc World book:

Swing, though, started in the wrong place. He didn't look around, and watch and learn, and then say. This is how people are, how do we deal with it?' No, he sat and thought: This is how the people ought to be, how do we change them?' And that was a good enough thought for a priest but not for a copper because Swing's patient, pedantic way of operating had turned policing on its head.

There had been that Weapons Law, for a start. Weapons were involved in so many crimes that. Swing reasoned, reducing the number of weapons had to reduce the crime rate.

Vimes wondered if he'd sat up in bed in the middle of the night and hugged himself when he'd dreamed that one up. Confiscate all weapons, and crime would go down. It made sense. It would have worked, too, if only there had been enough coppers - say, three per citizen.

Amazingly, quite a few weapons were handed in. The flaw though, was one that had somehow managed to escape Swing' and it was this: criminals don't obey the law. It's more or less a requirement for the job. They had no particular interest in making the streets safer for anyone except themselves. And they couldn't believe what was happening. It was like Hogswatch every day.

To Make Orange Shrub. A Link.

English Housewifry: exemplified in above four hundred and fifty receipts giving directions in most parts of cookery ... with an appendix containing upwards of sixty receipts, by Elizabeth Moxon, 1743.

The reciept is here at The Old Foodie: http://www.theoldfoodie.com/2011/07/shrubanyone.html

International Routier-the Blog

Blacktown Fayre ’11Ok, so it was a small lifetime ago. Ok, so I should have blogged about it earlier. But in the scheme of things and considering we are reenacting lifestyles of 400 years ago, couple months late is nothing really.

On on.
We had a different spot than last year, requested in an effort to make our display a little more accessible. Last year the steepish, shortish slope proved a bit of a barrier for some people. This time we were over on the other side of the lake, still backing onto the water and still with slopes- but really that is an issue no matter what site you have there. The food stalls are on flat ground but that is about it. We were also considerably removed from the main action, and on Saturday especially a decrease in visitor numbers to our particular display was noted. Sunday morning we rejigged the set up a little; created more of a flow through path rather than a ‘bounce around the edges’ display. We used the bunting and some increased signage to lure people from the pathway down to our encampment, as well as placing the children’s dress ups outside the canopy and the changes certainly paid off.

We had lots and lots of people through on the Sunday and after all, that is kind of the point of the exercise. If we aren’t talking to and interacting with the general public then there is not a lot of point being there. I know I would much rather be busy at these events, makes the day a lot more interesting.

On Sunday morning we were given the opportunity by the organisers to move camp next year as they had recognised the lack of visitors on the Sat too. They were very complimentary about our encampment and wanted us to receive the attention that they knew the effort put into the display deserved. The site offered puts us more in the thick of things and Sun morn we were very enthusiastic about it. By Sun arvo and upoon reflection I am a little more circumspect. We did make that site work well on the Sunday, and we didn’t have to risk being near loudspeakers to do so. We shall have to think carefully about moving methinks. Youthinks?

Other thing to note is that next year we should shout ourselves lunch in the camp. Standing in the lines for the food trucks is not the best use of our time. Display picnicking roolz.

And more flags. 1642 flag making working bee anyone?

Saturday 16 July 2011

Belfast Bushcraft Blog: Firesteel failure

Belfast Bushcraft Blog: Firesteel failure

Belfast Bushcraft Blog: Firesteel failure

Belfast Bushcraft Blog: Firesteel failure

A REAL fire steel won't do this, but as you have found out, a ferrocium rod will!
Long live the tinderbox.
Regards, Keith.
A Woodsrunner's Diary.

The Timeline Festival Melbourne Victoria.

This is just a follow up email to see if you are able to attend the Timeline Festival at the Berwick Cheese Factory, Homestead Road, Berwick, Victoria on November 5th & 6th . I sent all groups an expression of interest form a few weeks back and if you are on this list I have not received a reply as yet from your group.

The timeline festival will be run for the second time this year and we are hoping that all Victorian re-enactment groups and those from farther afield will support us in making this a regular Melbourne event.

If you would like me to forward another copy of the expression of interest form please let me know, if you would like further information please let me know. If your group has decided not to attend the festival could you also please let me know and I will take you off my mailing list.

Hope to hear from you soon and looking forward to catching up with you at the timeline festival
Michelle Barraclough
Groups Liaison Timeline Fair Committee  mickey65@optusnet.com.au

Friday 15 July 2011

More Information On Period Packs & Bags.

The following information confirms what I have published previously on this blog, but it also has new information in regard to terms used for bags. I believe that the haversack was in fact in use as a horse feed bag much earlier than stated here, but it does not ditract from this this interesting piece of work.

If you click on the pages below it will take you to a page where you can easily enlarge the script for easier reading.

My thanks to Mr Al Saguto for this informative piece of work, & my thanks too to my friend Dave Schmidt for giving me the link to this PDF.

Another Knapsack.

This knapsack started life as a haversack just like mine, but this one I found in an op-shop for $2.00. This all cotton knapsack had a front pocket & flap. I picked out the stitching & removed the flap, & stitched the pocket closed to add strength. The closure straps & cheap alloy buckles I removed, and added 3 bone buttons plus of course 3 sewn buton holes in the flap closure. Three buttons seem to have been most popular, but two button closures were also used.
In the same manner as my own knapsack in the previous post, I cut the carry strap & added two leather shoulder straps & buckles. Instead of a chest strap, I simply added a leather tie. It worked out very well & has made a good inexpensive knapsack.

Thursday 14 July 2011

Ranger Manual PDF. Revolution Period.

A bit late for me, but if anyone is interested in this later period this manual makes good reading. I have not read it word for word, & it does use the modern term "frizzen" instead of hammer, but it does look like someone has put a lot of work into this manual.

Wednesday 13 July 2011

The Knapsack I Use.

I recently had an enquirie from a subscriber on YouTube in regard to what sort of pack I use. So I thought I would post a little more about it here in case anyone else has an interest.
My knapsack started life many years ago as a heavy canvas haversack that my good wife made for me. She also added a personal touch by adding an embroidered flower decoration & my initials to the bag flap. I used this haversack along with a bedroll carried with a tumpline until the day the bedroll got caught on some scrubby plant growing out of a cliff face on a goat track. The bedroll swung round moving my point of ballance & I fell. Fortunately I was a little nimbler in those days & as I felt myself going, & with nothing to grasp at, I litterally ran down the goat track as I fell. The track was steep, & I gained a good distance before having to jump. Being fortunate again I landed in soft river sand feet first, but it was a wake up call.
When I got back home I cut the haversack carry strap in half & added some leather straps to make them longer. I then fitted two buckles to the bottom of the bag to secure these two shoulder straps. I wore it this way for a while until I realised that I needed a chest strap or tie to hold the pack firm & to stop it moving off my shoulders. I used a leather tie until I did some research to make sure a strap was authentic to the period.
This being done & finding it was okay to use a chest strap I then used some strapping from an old horse bridle I had, stitching the leather straps to the canvas shoulder straps. This is the knapsack I still have & use, & I don't think I would find anything that works better for me.
It is not a large pack, and it has no side gussets. It is dwarfed by the blanket roll that I simply tie to the shoulder straps. My oil cloth I secure under the button down bag flap. 

Above you can see the leather carry strap I stitched to the cut canvas carry strap. You can also see one half of the chest strap attached to the canvas strap.

Here you can see that I added leather strapping to the bag body along with the brass buckles to stop the buckles from tearing out of the bag.

Here is seen the chest strap & the two leather carry straps.

This shows the method I use to attach the blanket roll to the knapsack straps. At this time as you can see I had the oil cloth tied to the blanket roll.

Again the oil cloth tied to the blanket roll in stead of being secured under the bag flap. Both methods work fine, but I think the pack is better ballanced with the oil cloth under the bag flap.

Here you can see the other side of the knapsack with the embroidery on the flap. Note that I stitched the leather reinforcing straps right round & up high on the bag.

Here you can see better the period embroidery. This was no mean feat through such thick canvas. The inside of this bag is also lined with linen cloth.

Here you can see that I have the oil cloth secured under the bag flap closure. Two pewter buttons secure the flap. This was taken during winter. The sun made the day too warm to wear my wool half-blanket, but the nights had been well below freezing, so I simply passed the half-blanket over my head & dropped it between my back and the blanket roll. It rides well there & does not get in the way.

The Last Of The Mohicans-Forest Ambush & Tomahawk Fight Scene.

The Patriot Fight Scenes.

The Broken Chain.

Tuesday 12 July 2011


I think this gives a very interesting look into mob behavour & freedom for the common man. This man loses his boat & his livelyhood, he has no choice in the matter. Later because his son is dissobedient & has rocks in his head he is forced to join the army. An old one, but an interesting movie.

Armidale Family History Group (New England NSW Australia).

I am still being contacted regarding family history in our area. The New England Colonial Living History Group is based near Armidale & Guyra, but we are NOT a family history group. Following is the web page for the Armidale Family History Group.

More On English Puddings.

These 'sausages' browning on a seventeenth century gridiron, are in fact two different sweet puddings from the reigns of James I and his son Charles I. The large ring on the left is a Rice Pudding, made from a recipe in Gervase Markham's The English Huswife (London: 1615). The three smaller ones on the right are Lord Conway's Ambergris Puddings from The Queen's Closet Newly Opened (London: 1655). Both recipes are given below.

More info here: http://www.historicfood.com/English%20Puddings.htm

As you can see from the following English skin pudding was not always a sweet meal. Me thinks perhaps the top one here could be good for trail food.

After cleaning your skins well, and turning them out, which you do by inserting the meat at the one end, it gradually turns as you fill, so the wrong side must be out when you begin; take of oatmeal what quantity you want; add about half as much suet, plenty of pepper and salt, and a little weak soup of any kind; tie them at short distances; then boil for two hours; they will keep any length of time, if hung up and kept dry; cut and heat them as you want them, either in the Dutch oven, or hy boiling them.

Clean your skins well, as above; grate a quantity of bread, mix it with about half as much suet, currants, spice, and sugar, the grate of a lemon, and a little nutmeg, a glass of sweet wine, and water; then fill the skins as in the last receipt, and ready in the same way, first boiling, and then heating up as you require them: the skins should be pricked with a large needle, to prevent them bursting. Some people add apples.

A Skin Pudding Reciept.

White Puddings In Skins

(1764) English Housewifery Exemplified, by Elizabeth Moxon
A book necessary for Mistresses of Families, higher and lower Women ervants, and confined to Things USEFUL, SUBSTANTIAL and SPLENDID, and calculated for the Preservation of HEALTH, and upon the Measures of Frugality, being the Result of thirty Years Practice and xperience.
By Elizabeth Moxon.

Author's Note: A skin is animal gut. Skin pudding was made like sausage.

Take half a pound of rice, simmer it in milk while it be soft, when it is ready put it into a cullinder to drain; take a penny loaf, cut off the crust, then cut it in thin slices, scald it in a little milk, but do not make it over wet; take six eggs and beat them very well, a pound of currants well cleaned, a pound of beef-suet shred fine, two or three spoonfuls of rose-water, half a pound of powder sugar, a little salt, a quarter of an ounce of mace, a large nutmeg grated, and a small stick of cinnamon; beat them together, mix them very well, and put them into the skins; if you find it be too thick put to it a little cream; you may boil them near half an hour, it will make them keep the better.

Monday 11 July 2011

William Moraley: The Infortunate (1729)

I was dress’d at that Time in a very odd Manner. I had on a Red Rug Coat, with Black Lining, Black Buttons and Button Holes, and Black Lace upon the Pockets and Facing; an old worn out Tye Wig, which had not been comb’d out for above a Fortnight; an unshaven Beard; a torn Shirt, that had not been wash’d for above a Month; bad Shoes; and Stockings all full of Holes.

Then he ask’d me, if I was bred to any Business. I told him, Watchmaking was my Occupation. He said, he was afraid I would not do for any other Business, that being of little Service to the Americans; the useful Trades being, Bricklayers, Shoemakers, Barbers, Carpenters, Joiners, Smiths, Weavers, Bakers, Tanners, and Husbandmen more useful than all the rest. They bind themselves for four Years; but If I would consent to bind myself for five, he said he would undertake to get me admitted.—Those Men Brokers have generally for their Pains Three Half Crowns, given them by the Masters of those Vessels which they are employ’d for.

History Of Britain-Nations & Empire. Link to a video.


Sunday 10 July 2011

The Wilderness Road. A Living History Video.

Cornelius Ruddle . Probate Inventory 1787. Tennessee.

1787 may seem rather late for this blog, but you must bare in mind that Ruddle had owned some of these items for some considerable time.

Cornelius Ruddle . Probate Inventory 1787.
a horse, about 14 hands high
five cows
one bed
two bedsteads
six pewter plates
two pewter basins
pewter dish
four tin cups
six pewter spoons
six knives
two forks
Dutch oven
two water pails
two keelers (large bowls)
one wash tub
box iron and heater
a pair of cotton cards
iron candlestick
saddle iron
a saw set
handsaw one axe
two beaver traps
a table
a chest
frying pan
two chairs
a lead inkstand
razor with two hones
looking glass
child’s bed
weeding hoe
small bell
a saw set
pair of bullet molds
a common prayer book
a pair of knitting needles
a little spinning wheel
a cotton gin
lock & key
30 lbs. of flax and toe
31 lbs of cotton in the seed
50 bushels of Indian corn

Ruddle was found murdered, presumably by Indians. His guns & hunting knife were not found.


Saturday 9 July 2011

Baynton & Wharton 3.

John Buxton, Coming To Trade.

Baynton & Wharton, 1768.

I shall impatiently await the Arrival of our red Strouds &c, without without which We shall suffer greatly in our Sales. Should any Accident have happend to them I recommend to you to send at least 100 Pieces of the already described Fabrick, as soon as possible.

I have already sent you a gen^ Order for the Goods which are in demand here & which will afford a great Advance Mess" Clarkson & Jennings drew it out, but I fear the Am* may be beyond your Capacity. If so, I would have you generally confine yourselves to the Articles therein mark'd with an A particularly those mentiond in the inclosed List But a small Part of those markd B, will be very necessary. As to Muscovado & Loaf Sugar, Coffee, Chocolate, Mens, Womens & Childrens best & common Leather Shoes, Tin Ware — Pewter d° Silver Truck, Appalachia Handkerchiefs — Beaver Traps, & Soap, you cannot send too great a Q^^ but an assortment will occasion quicker Returns & prevent Traders going to New Orleans.

Pray dont forget to send the Jesuits Bark by the first Opportunity
I expect to eat a pound of it myself if it comes in Time. We are greatly distressed for Want of Medicines & shall be much more so in two or three Months if Mr Wharton does not bring a small Supply.
I flatter myself that ere this you have forwarded to Fort Pitt A considerable Part of the Goods I sent an Order for P Silver Heels & Mr Young & That that [sic] they will be despatchd to this Place before the Fall of the Waters — We shall be in Want of the following

particular Articles, Viz
Loaf Sugar
Muscovado d"
Hyson Tea
Bohea d°
Shoes very large in the instep but not high quarterd fine & coarse Mens Womens & Childrens
Tin Ware
Pitch & Cordage
Pewter Basons &c
Brass Candle sticks
Writing Paper
Spike Gimblets
Tap Bores
3 Largest Scale Beams
Steel Spurs Short of all Sizes
Salt Petre
Worsted or Cruels
Short Pipes
Blotting Cloaths
fine Irish Linnens
fine Chintz & Callicos
White & red Flan^
Black Barcelona
Cravats & Hkdfs
Bandana d°
small Gilt Trunks
Bed Ticken in Pieces
Table Cloths
Candle Wick &
Candle moulds
black Kip Hides
tannd Sheep Skins
Beaver Traps
Nails & Iron Mongery for building of Houses
scyths & Sickles
scyth Stones
Knives & Forks
Garden Spades
Axes, of the best sort
A large Q*^ of English Cheese
12 lb Beeswax
Shirt Buttons
fine y^ w^ Cott Checks blue & red striped Ginghams & Cott

Apalachia Hhdfs
Mens Boys & Womens worsted Hose & th"*
G milld Hose & Mitts & Gloves
Felt & Castor Hats
brass Jews Harps
Castile Soap
Playing Cards
6 best Whip Saws
2 Mill Saws
Bar Iron
Red Stroud &c &c
principally the Indian
Silver Truck as wrote for

These are the principal Articles & w*'*' will yield an immense Profit & are what C & J intend to run principally upon Whether they open a new Store or not, the beneficially closing our Adventure depends greatly on keeping ours properly assorted — The Expences of Store Rent, Agents, Servants, Diet &c will be nearly the same Whether We have those Supplies or not, & the having the necessary Assortments will abundantly contribute to the Sale of the Goods We have on Hand — Mr Clarksons apprehending that we shall not be able to keep up those Assortments & knowing the great Profits on the Sale thereof, has induced him I imagine to draw Mr Jennings in to make the inclosed Proposals,^ knowing that we would not accept of them, & that then he should be at Liberty to offer them to others.

Should any adventurous Persons adopt their Plann, I think they would be still more bold Adventurers than ever B W & M were. Our Trade 'tis true would be greatly injured but would reap no Benefit & I cannot believe that Mr Jennings would undertake such an Affair, provided you comply with the Order of December.

Robert Griffing-Delicate Ballance.

Baynton & Wharton Traders 2.


The same Party of Indians a very few days after attackd six Virginia Men Who were hunting with six Horses on One of the
Branches of Green River — They killd One Man named…… took one Joseph Blankenship Prisoner With all the Horses.
The other four Men made their Escape Which Blankenship also did
after they had crossed the Ohio A particular Relation of his Story
you have inclosed N° 2^ I have cloathd him & furnish.d
him with a Gun & Ammunition to carry him home. This fellow met
with Copes Cannoe the same Morning that he made his Escape &
came in her to the Cherokee Fort from whence he set out with him &
Galloway for this Place He seperated from Cope on Thursday the
14th Instant after being five Days from the Fort in which Time they
had expended all their Powder & Balls & were without Provisions.

On Saturday Evening following being the 16th Instant Blankenship
arrived. On Sunday Morning I sent out Simon Girty with three
other good Woodsmen to seek for Cope & his Partner. As they did not
return that Day, L* Ancram my Chickasaw Indian & myself went out
on Monday Morning. About 9 Miles off we fired several Guns &
were answerd by Girty Who the Evening before had found Cope
& Galloway strolling up & down the Woods they knew not Where.
As the Road to return on that Side the River Was very bad & round
about, We made a Raft for our Guns & the Letters & swam the
Kaskaskia at the Mouth & arrived here at two OClock Which Cope
desired me to be very particular in mentioning to........

I cannot say but I was much vex'd to hear him say & before L*
Ancram that he was ordered by you to take no Letters from any
Officers or any Persons Whatever on Pain of forfeiting his Wages.
A Continuance of such Orders in future may do Us more Injury than
all the Letters Which can be sent here. Nay We have already suffer'd
in the Esteem of the Army as they have always been acquainted with
our Orders as well as We ourselves. They declare We have no
Right to do it & that We make Ourselves liable to have our Letters
stop'd Without a Pass from the Commanding Officer at Fort Pitt.
How this is I cannot say. But I do assure you I would rather not
have rec^ these Letters by Cope than they should have come off in so
private a Manner. Cap^ Forbes Who is much our Friend, advises Us
to avoid the like in future.