Monday 30 July 2012

Hunting for Meat, 18th century Style. Video.

This hunt & video was made by one of our group members & good friend of mine Mopoke, also known as Mick. I must stress that this deer was shot for food, not for the fun of it or for the antlers. Though knowing Mick as I do, I know he will be making good use of the antler & hide as well as the meat for his family table.
Well done Mick, first class.

Sunday 29 July 2012


“The women make string out of bark with astonishing facility, and as good as you can get in England, by twisting and rolling it in a curious manner with the palm of the hand on the thigh. With this they make nets ... These nets are slung by a string round their forehead, and hang down their backs, and are used like a work-bag or reticule. They contain all the articles they carry about with them, such as fishing hooks made from oyster or pearl shells.”
- From the diary of an early 18th century settler in the Port Stephens area. 
Port Stephens NSW Australia.

Militia Supplies.

French Militia 1750 By Francis Back.

Following is a list of supplies issued to a French and Indian raiding party in the winter of 1747, which was led by Commander Boucher de Niverville. This list has been, in part, re-translated by the author
Supplies for the six militia men:
6 pounds of gunpowder in bags of one eighth of an ell
12 pounds of lead in bags
6 butcher knives
6 flint and steel with tinderbox and tinder
6 awls
36 musket flints 6 tumplines
6 bearskins
6 deerskins weighing 17 pounds
6 pair of ox hide shoes
6 tomahawks
4 ells of mazamet in 6 pairs of mittens and 6 pairs of ƒocks
6 cotton shirts
6 pairs of snowshoes
6 toboggans
6 pairs of ice creepers
6 pounds of tobacco
The New World Woodsman. His clothing, tools and accoutrements By Keith H. Burgess.

Saturday 28 July 2012

18th Century Travel & Settlement in the New World.

18th Century Travel in the New World.
“When one travels on the roads, one constantly travels in bush or forest.  Occasionally, there is a house and several miles down the road there is another house.”
John W. Kleiner and Helmut T. Lehman, The Correspondence of Heinrich Melchior Mühlenberg, Volume 1, 1740-1747, (Picton Press, Camden, ME, 1986) 118; hereafter cited as Muhlenberg Correspondence.

 “…lost their way several times and had to cross several rivers, through one of which, the Nottway, they had to swim, as there was no one at hand to take them across in a boat.”
William J. Hinke, "Diaries Of Missionary Travels Among The German Settlers In The American Colonies 1743-1748," The Pennsylvania German Society Proceedings And Addresses, (Published By The Society 1929) 34:79.

 “ The settlements here are totally surrounded by forests.”
Muhlenberg Correspondence, 80.

“the whole country is one continuous woods!”
Benjamin F. Owen, "Letters of Rev. Richard Locke, and Rev. George Craig, Missionaries In Pennsylvania of the Society For Propagating the Gospel In Foreign Parts, 1746-1752," The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, (The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa., 1900), 24:470.

“…farmsteads were irregular in their appearance, they were frequently set far back from the roads and most often adjacent to a spring or stream.”
Ibid., 104.

 “The land is not really dear.  One takes up two-hundred acres, promised to pay by installments in ten years and instead clears off the debt in five years.”
Mittelberger, 119.

“Reaching a settlement is like a feast for an inexperienced traveler—to see sun shine on some open grounds, to view clear fields.  You seem to be relieved from that secret uneasiness and involuntary apprehension which is always in the woods.”
J. Hector Crevecoeur, Letters From an American Farmer And Sketches Of 18th-Century America, (Penquin Books, Ltd., Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England, 1981) 359.

“In this country the chickens are not put in houses at night nor are they looked after but they sit summer and winter upon trees near houses. Every morning many a tree is so full of chickens that the boughs bend beneath them.”
Mittelberger, 64.

Dancing. Video.

Smallsword Fight. Video.

Monday 23 July 2012

Augustine Washington’s Probate Inventory. July 1, 1743.

Augustine Washington’s Probate Inventory. July 1, 1743.

Hall Back Room
1 Bed and Furniture £8
1 Bed £4
1 Chest of Drawers £3
1 Tea Table £0.5
4 Rush Bottom Chairs £0.10
2 Window Hangings £0.8
1 Dressing Glass £0.15
1 Trunk £0.6
1 pair hand Irons £0.2.6
1 large table £0.17.6
1 couch £0.5
1 small table £0,2
Back Room
2 beds and furniture £4.10
1 chest and box £0.8
1 old chest of drawers £0.5
1 Scren Fore (possibly an escritoire or writing desk) £0.13
1 Large Looking Glass £2.10
1 Large Table £1
1 Small Table £0.15
1 Arm Chair £0.12.6
11 Leathern Bottom Chairs £2.15
1 fire shovel and tongs and one pair hand irons £0.7.6
3 beds £9
Old table £0.6
3 old chairs £0.2
1 old desk £2
1 looking glass £0.15
1 set window curtains £0.2.6
1 sugar box £0.4
Lumber in the room and cupboard £0.15
Upstairs Hall Chamber
3 beds and furniture £9
1 trunk £0.8
Parlour Chamber
2 old beds, 3 mattress cases £1.12
6 rugs £4.10
9 blankets £1.16
1 large cooler £0.10
Negros At The Home House
  • Jack £30
  • Bob £35
  • Ned £22
  • Dick £30
  • Ned £30
  • Toney £30
  • Steven £2.10
  • Jo £0.0.1
  • London £20
  • George £20
  • Jcumy £5
  • Jack £5
  • Lucy £20
  • Sue £35
  • Judy £20
  • Nan £32
  • Betty £15
  • Jenny £12.10
  • Phillis £12.10
  • Hannah £8
  • 6 oxen at £2.10 - £15
  • 9 cows at £1.10 - £13.10
  • 4 two years old 15/ - £3
  • 2 heifers at 20/ - £2
  • 6 calves at 5/ - £1.10
  • 21 sheep at 5/ - £5.5
  • 2 sows £1.4
  • 2 barrows £1.4
  • 15 shoats £1.17.6
  • 3 horses £12
  • 1 mare £1.15
  • 1 Soup spoon £1.10
  • 18 Small Do. £13.10
  • 7 Tea Do. £1.15
  • 1 Watch £5
  • 1 Sword £1.15
  • 1 Decanter £0.1.6
  • 1 Mugg £0.1.6
  • 3 Tumblers £0.1.6
  • Sundry Salt Sellers £0.2
  • 9 Gilt Saucers
  • 6 Do. cups
  • 1 Do. Teapot Milk Do. £1
  • 1 Slopbowl & Butter dish
  • 1 Tea pot Stand & Spoon Boat
  • 8 blew Cups and Saucers
  • 1 Slopbowl and Tea Pot £1
  • 1 Milk pot & Stand & Sugar Dish
  • 1 Large Blew and White Bowl £0.7
  • 1 Do. Gilt £0.10
  • 2 Dishes £0.5
  • 9 Custard Cups £0.9
  • 4 Coffee Cups £0.4
  • 11 Plates £0.11
  • 16 Pewter Dishes £3.4
  • 44 flat Plates £2.4
  • 18 Soop Do. £0.18
  • 4 Large Basons £0.12
  • 2 Small Do. £0.3
  • 3 Dish Covers £0.1.6
  • 1 Cullender £0.5
  • 2 fish Drainers £0.5
  • 1 Do. Kettle £1.5
  • 1 Small brass Do £0.1
  • 1 bell Mettle Skillet £0.5
  • 2 Old Sauce pans £0.2
  • 1 Safe £0.1
  • 7 Rundlettes £1.1
  • 1 Churn 1 Pale 2 Wash Tubs 2 Piggins £0.12.6
  • Old Tubs barrels pr £1
  • Sundrys Lumber £2
Store House
  • 49 Sifters £2.5
  • 14 Searches £0.17.6
  • 1 Set Coopers Tools £2
  • 1 Set Surveyors Instruments £1.10
  • 1 Old Suit of Curtains £1
  • 9 yards wide Cloth £1.7
  • 3 ½ yards Lite Do. £0.7
  • 16 ½ yards blew pans £0.16.6
  • 4 ¾ yds Druggits £0.6.6
  • 12 yds Fustin £0.12
  • 16 ¾ yds Shalloon Remns £1
  • 1 ps Irish Linnen 25 yards £2.10
  • 6 yds Do. £0.9
  • 65 Ells Course Oznabrigs £1.12.6
  • 81 Do. at 6d £2.0.6
  • 27 ½ yds Cotton £1.7.6
  • 22 yds Cours Plaid £0.11
  • 8 yds dyd ozna £0.4
  • 1 Old Saddle £0.6
  • 2 Sugar Tubs £0.5
  • 5 Small Coolers £1
  • 7 Iron Potts £2.2
  • 2 Coppers £4.15
  • 1 Old Dripping Pan £0.0.6
  • 2 frying Do. £0.3
  • Old tubs £0.10
  • 2 Spits
  • 5 pr pot hooks £0.5
  • 3 Racks £0.5
  • 1 Large Skimmer & flesh forks £0.4
  • 1 Grid Iron £0.1.6
  • 1 Pr Stillyards £0.3
  • 1 Box Iron £0.3
  • 1 flat Do. £0.2.6
  • 1 pr Hand Irons £1.2
  • 6 Diaper Table Cloths £2.2
  • 10 Napkins £0.10
  • 6 pr Sheets £4
  • 10 White Linnen napkins £0.6.8
  • 11 pr Pillow Cases £1.3
  • 8 Towells £0.5.4
  • 5 pr White Sheets £1.10
  • 5 pr brown Do. £1.5
  • 6 pr Pillow Cases £0.4
  • 12 Towels £0.8
  • 1 Suit of Silk & Cotten Curtains £1.5
  • 7 Table Cloths £0.7
  • 11 Old Napkins £0.0.11
  • 1 Set of Silk Curtains £2
  • 12 Oznabs Napkins £0.8
  • Cash in a Purse £9.7.4

The inventory contains several words that are not in common usage today. Here are a few definitions (correctly spelled):
rundlet - a small barrel of uncertain size from about 3 to 20 gallons
piggin - small wooden pail or tub with an upright stave for a handle
shalloon - a lightweight wool or worsted twill fabric, used chiefly for coat linings
osnaburg - heavy, coarse cotton fabric used for grain sacks, upholstery, and draperies
drugget - a fabric woven wholly or partly of wool, used for clothing
ell - English linear measure equal to 45 inches (144 centimetres)

Primitive Fire Lighting Book. 20% OFF !



Sunday 22 July 2012

Lee's Observation on wearing two Waistcoats.

My thanks to Lee for drawing my attention to the following painting. The man on the left does appear to be wearing a sleeveless waistcoat over a sleeved waistcoat.
Lord Boyne in the cabin of his ship 1730-31

Saturday 21 July 2012

Dwellings & Fortifications.

About 25 years ago I built a small fort in Henry's Wood on the Eastern edge of Wychwood Forest. This fort is now in a bad state of repair, with some walls having fallen down. Since building this fort I have learnt a lot more about original constructions, so I hope to rebuild this fort better than I did the last time.
 Fort Henry in Henry's Wood.


Wednesday 18 July 2012

Northeast Voyageur: Into The Woods - available for Kindle and Nook!

 Have not read this one yet, but for the price I think it might be worth checking out.

I Found A New Blog. Check It Out.


Recreating the French Habitant in the Illinois Country.


More Than One Weskit.

You may remember the post I made a long time ago regarding the wearing of more than one weskit/waistcoat in winter. Well here is some more documentation.
As you can see, some waistcoats had sleeves.
The body of a man found drowned in the Sault St-Louis opposite the house of Andre Lamarre; approximately five feet and a half tall, long auburn hair with a braid held against the head with a rosary, a shirt of common linen, a pair of breeches of homespun linen, a white short waistcoat, another brown one and a waistcoat fastened with a double row of pewter buttons, blue leggings.
Parish of Saint-Antoine-de-Longueuil. 1747
Costume in New France, 1740-1760: A Visual Dictionary by Suzanne and Andre Gousse, page 66:

Tuesday 17 July 2012

Prolonging The Use Of Your moccasins On The Trail.

There are two ways in which I prolong the use of my woodland centre seam moccasins. One is to sew extra soles on the moccasins, and the other is to carry inner soles in my pack. I also carry spare moccasins tied to my blanket roll.
The leather inner soles I carry are not a permanent repair, but if you have a whole right through the moccasin sole. these will protect your feet until you can make a better repair.

Bra not a modern invention? 15th Century bra unearthed


Of course it could be possible that these underpants were only worn during the woman's menstrual cycle to hold some form of pad in place. During the early to mid 18th century I believe it was considered not healthy for women to wear underpants, but I wonder if something like this was used at times?

Ambush 1725 at Lovewell Pond by John Buxton

 Ambush 1725 at Lovewell Pond by John Buxton

Sunday 15 July 2012

Over The Hills & Far Away. Sharp.

A Little late for my period, but I enjoy watching Sharp occasionally and I love this music.

Saturday 14 July 2012

A Bodger's Blog: Bench Hook

 A Bodger's camp. 19th Century.

Book Review. The Lure Of The Labradore Wild.

This true story is set in the early 20th century, but the hazards these three young men face on their explorations into the Labradore interior would have been much the same in the 18th century in similar conditions. I found it hard to put this book down, as I found it very interesting. Not so much from the point of view of learning what to do in similar conditions, but what not to do!
On the one hand these three men were seeminly smart people, but on the other hand they were ignorant about a lot of things. 
The half-breed that accompanied the two white explorers certainly seemed knowlegeable regarding woods lore, but made little attempt at advising his employers when it came to caching supplies along the way. Nor it seems did he have any say in what was carried in the way of arms. Anyway, if you have an interest in exploration or historical trekking or even "Bug-Out" survival, this book is certainly worth reading.
My thanks to my good friend Dave/Girty for loaning me this book, much appreciated Dave.
Regards, Keith.

Friday 13 July 2012

Rain. A Story of a Historical Trek.

"Something hidden. Go and find it. Go and look behind the ranges-. Something lost behind the ranges. Lost and waiting for you. Go!"
Kipling's "Explorer".

The day was overcast & the wind had been blowing from the west for almost two days now. A change was blowing in I knew, but despite this I decided to go on a trip. I was getting cabin fever. I started off on what we call the wilderness road, also known as the "old Indian trail". But as usual my curiosity got the better of me, and I turned off this well worn trail to follow another. This new trail was a narrow game trail which took me to lower ground.
I followed the trail through the forest marveling at new sights of huge fallen trees now covered in lichen. Other trees large and small had fallen across the trail and the wildlife that followed these trails had been diverted around them but always the path led back to the original trail. I always take my time on such trails, stopping frequently to look and listen. Whilst on the move my eyes are constantly searching about, glancing at the ground ahead of my foot falls then back to the forest about me.
The opening in the high ground to my left looked too interesting to ignore. Once when hunting for meat in the Territory I had missed my way in the thick acacia forest and unknowingly passed through a gap in the hills. On my way back with my pack full of meat I suddenly came across this barrier where there should be none. I knew my direction to be true, but was reticent to start climbing this hill that confronted me. So I dropped my pack and climbed the high ridge behind me. When I got to the top of the ridge I could clearly see my way back and was able to retrace my steps that took me through the gap in the hills.
The opening turned out to be a gulley taking me upward. When I got to the top I found myself in open ground, like a grassy avenue with the forest on either side. I was now travelling south, but soon came to another luring sight, another gulley leading downward going west. I decided to see where it led of course. I was not lost, but I was now in an area I did not recognize. This was soon to change however when I finally came out into a an area I knew, it was Hazard Valley.
I decided to go further west which would take me out of this valley and into the next. I had two paths I could take. I could go north and get back onto the Wilderness Trail where it came down from Pilot Rock, or I could go south and then west which would take me up and over the top of the valley ridge. I turned north.
The Wilderness Trail is quite wide and was cleared to get wagons through, though no wagons had been this way for a long time. I followed the trail upward where it passed through the valley ridge. Here the area changed, the forest here was primeval looking with thick bracken and large grass trees. There were fallen trees now green with age and one tall bent tree that was covered in huge growths that I was sure could be cut off to produce wooden bowls.
Now I was descending into Fox Valley. Smaller than the other two valleys to the east with a small forest of She Oak among the other forest trees. There is a pond close to a good camping place which is where I was headed. The sky was now very dark to the south west, and I knew that rain was coming. But the wind that was to bring this rain had not reached me yet, so I had perhaps a little time.
I shed my pack, leather water bottle and shot pouch and set about constructing my shelter. Once canvas was up I started collecting firewood. I made two large piles of wood collected from the forest floor. One branch with many twigs on the end I used as a broom or rake to clear the area of sticks and leaves from around the camp site. Some of this I placed in my shelter for a bed. Small sticks and dried grass I stored at the back of the shelter in case the fire should go out in the night. I dug a small fire pit using the earth I removed to construct a barrier about the fire so rain would not flow into it. I collected rocks and made a reflector at the back and sides of the fire to reflect heat into my shelter. Then I heard it coming through the forest, the wind.
I hurriedly placed my packs and bag plus my gun inside the shelter and set about making fire. I had collected some dry grass and dried bracken along the trail and placed it in my haversack. I placed some larger wood at one end of the small fire pit and stacked the dried bracken and twigs and larger wood up against this like making a miniature lean-to. I quickly struck sparks into my tinderbox and using the dried grass kindling blew it into flame and thrust this beneath the fire lay just as the wind and the first drops of rain reached my shelter.
I could see that I would not be venturing far for the next couple of days. I placed my brass trade kettle beneath one corner of my shelter to catch rainwater, then settled down to write in my diary and watch the rain falling on the pond.  

Research and Primary Documentation.

Research and Primary Documentation.
In our search for historical information, we must be careful not to become too narrow focused. Whilst it is true that we need to find out what a particular character used and wore, we must not discard the possibility that this character, this persona, could have used and wore other items that are not documented in the written word or in period paintings.
One of the least documented characters in the 18th century is the woodsman. A woodsman is a woodsrunner, a person who is knowledgeable in woods lore. A woodman on the other hand is a wood cutter, a totally different persona all together. I have not as yet come across a painting, sketch or etching of an English or colonial woodsman, so the best we can do is use common sense and combine that with written documentation.
People are continually getting confused between the difference in what was fashion and what was common dress. The city and town gentleman or lady may well have been concerned with fashion, but a woodsman or woods woman was not concerned with social graces and fashion, they were concerned with survival, comfort to a certain degree, and practicality.  They did not sit round the camp fire and judge others by their dress, though they may on occasion expressed an interest in certain articles of dress and equipment belonging to others, and in some circumstances given advice on the practicality of certain items.
What we need to do is establish what items of dress and equipment were available in our chosen time period. Then we need to establish the practicality, or the lack of practicality in using such an item. Just because we have not read that a certain item was used, or have not seen a period painting of a woodsman using a certain item, it does not mean that this particular item was not used. If an item was commonly available, then it could have been used by anyone who considered that item to have been of practical use to themselves.
Two examples of this way of thinking come immediately to mind, the use of an oilcloth for shelter, and the use of a belt pouch that in the 18th century was no longer considered a fashionable item. The use of the oilcloth by traders and military is well documented, yet some people still refuse to use it because they are neither trades people or military. The same applies with the use of the belt pouch. It too is well documented in paintings, sketches and etchings so we know the belt pouch was available and being used as a practical item of wear for carrying items that were not carried in pockets. 

“The town has increased one-third since the year 1745; at that time there was not a single manufacture: the inhabitants either lived by one another, or by the hiring out of ships, or by the salmon trade. At present the manufactures have risen to a great pitch: for example, that of sailcloth, or ‘sailduck,’ as it is here called, is very considerable; in one house, eighty-two thousand five hundred and sixty-six pieces have been made since 1755. Each piece is thirty-eight yards long, and numbered from eight to one. No. eight weighs twenty-four pounds, and every piece, down to no. one, gains three pounds in the piece. The thread for this cloth is spun here, not by common wheel, but by the hands. Women are employed, who have the flax placed round their wastes, twist a thread with each hand as they recede from a wheel, turned by a boy at the end of a great room.”

The men were so harassed and fatigued with continually sitting and
lying on the ground, all huddled in a small compass, that three days
before the convention took place, they complained to the Captain who
commanded, that they were not permitted to fire on the enemy, whereby
they could obtain more ease, and therefore ought to be relieved, and
they received for an answer, when night came on it should be mentioned
to the General. The Captain desired me to go to head-quarters, and
when I arrived there, I found they partook of the hardships in common,
for the three Generals had just laid down on their matrasses, having
only an oil-skin to cover them from the weather; the Aid-de Camps were
sitting round a fire. ..."
Anburey, 2, p. 8-9.
Anburey, Thomas; "Travels Through the Interior Parts of America in a
Series of Letters by an Officer." 2 Vols. London, 1789. Houghton
Mifflin, NY 1923, Reprint, New York Times and Arno Press, 1969.

, upon a baggage-cart, and nothing to
shelter her from the inclemency of the weather but a bit of an old
oil-cloth, a soldier's wife was delivered of child, she and the infant
are both well, and are now at this place.
The Calendar and Quartermaster Books of General George Rogers Clark's
Fort Jefferson, Kentucky, 1780

Stores issued by order of Captain Robert George: to Mr. Miles,
quartermaster Sergeant, one musket or smoothed gun; to Captain Rogers
going to the Falls of Ohio, two muskets or smoothed guns and five tents
or oil cloths (VSA-50: 39)

"This morning an account was bro't to town, that a large army of French
and Indians were seen at a small distance from the German flats, but few
here believe it. Sir William Johnson is still in readiness, with 1500 of
the militia. Every man in the French army that came against Fort William
Henry, was equipped in the following manner, viz. With two pair of
Indian shoes, 2 pair of stockings, 1 pair of spatterdashes, 1 pair of
breeches, 2 jackets, 1 large over-coat, 2 shirts, 2 caps, 1 hat, 1 pair
of mittens, 1 tomahawk, 2 pocket-knives, 1 scalping knife, 1 steel and
flint, every two men an ax, and every four a kettle and oilcloth for a
tent, with one blanket and a bearskin, and 12 days provision of pork and
bread; all which they drew on little hand-sleighs."
Extract of a letter from Albany, dated April 2, 1757 printed in the
Boston Gazette, April 18, 1757.}

"...tarpaulins for covering the provisions and oilcloths to cover the gunpowder."
~ Antoine Laumet de Lamothe Cadillac, Memorial to the Council, 1719 (Kent 2001, 71 ) 

"They name prelat a large and heavy cloth, oil-painted in red, to keep oneself  from the rain."  Louis Franquet, French Military Engineer, 1752 (Delisle, 17 ) 

"1 Oilcloth for every 4 men for tentage..."
~ Anonymous list of supplies for French Army in Canada, 1756 (Delisle, 42) 

“…I made a Lodge with an oilcloth near the small Lac de la puise on the portage.”
~ Jean Baptiste Perrault, Minnesota, 1784 (Perrault, 521 )

 There are many more quotes regarding oilcloth/tarpaulin/canvas.

 This street vendor is wearing two belt pouches.

All of these images date to the early to mid 18th century.