Saturday, 30 January 2010

Sagebrush Bark Sandles Found In Oregon.

These sandles are believed to date from 9,300 years or older. They appear to be made from cordage that has been made from sagebrush bark. It would be an interesting project to try and replicate these.

Friday, 22 January 2010

My Finished Masquerade Mask.

After much messing about I decided to soak the mask again in a bucket of water and strap it on my head wet! I wore it whilst doing some research with the fan on me and it seems to have worked fine. It is heavy leather and I was getting pressure on my eyebrows. I work the leather with my thumbs before putting it on to try it, and today it was dry enough to do some final trimming.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

More on 18th Century Letters.

For general mail in the 18th century there were no envelopes. Letters were written on one side only and then folded to form an envelope. All the examles I have found so far have been sealed with sealing wax, though I can only assume that letters were tied with cord or ribbon if sealing wax was not available. This needs more research.

18th century bronze letter sealing stamp.

Finger ring letter seal stamps.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

The Block House.

The block house was a safety house. It was the place that families went to in times of trouble. Sometimes these blockhouses stood alone, and some of them were part of a fortification.
You will note that the top floor is larger than the lower floor, this is because there are holes in the floor to shoot through which overlook the walls of the ground floor. Anyone trying to set fire to the walls could be shot from above.
Inside view of the blockhouse as part of a fortification.

Leather Envelopes.

My sketch of how I think this leather envelope is secured.

It looks to me as though the envelope is double. First the letter is folded and placed in leather which is also folded. Then this leather is placed in the actual envelope and secured with a leather tie/thong. At this stage it looks as though these letters are then placed in another package which carries the postal address, as I can not see a way of addressing these leather envelopes. If I find more info I will update this post.
Images courtesy of: http://attentioncherie.blogspot.com/ and http://florizel.canalblog.com/

HANGMEN. A good little movie.

This is a short movie, and I am sorry but I can only supply the link and not the movie itself, but it is well worth watching.


Tuesday, 19 January 2010

The Capture, Life And Times Of Frances Slocum.

"I can well remember the day when the Delaware Indians came suddenly to our house. I remember that they killed and scalped a man near the door, taking the scalp with them. They then pushed the boy through the door; he came to me and we both went and hid under the staircase. They went up stairs and rifled the house, though I cannot remember what they took, except some loaf sugar and some bundles. I remember that they took me and the boy on their backs through the bushes. I believe the rest of the family had fled, except my mother.

"They carried us a long way, as it seemed to me, to a cave, where they had left their blankets and traveling things. It was over the mountain and a long way down on the other side. Here they stopped while it was yet light, and there we staid all night. I can remember nothing about that night, except that I was very tired, and lay down on the ground and cried till I was asleep. The next day we set out and traveled many days in the woods before we came to a village of Indians. When we stopped at night the Indians would cut down a few boughs of hemlock on which to sleep, and then make up a great fire of logs at their feet, which lasted all night. When they cooked anything they stuck a stick in it and held it to the fire as long as they chose. They drank at the brooks and springs, and for me they made a little cup of white birch bark, out of which I drank. I can only remember that they staid several days at this first village, but where it was I have no recollection.

"After they had been here some days, very early one morning two of the same Indians took a horse and placed the boy and me upon it, and again set out on their journey. One went before on foot and the other behind, driving the horse. In this way we traveled a long way till we came to a village where these Indians belonged. I now found that one of them was a Delaware chief by the name of Tuck Horse. This was a great Delaware name, but I do not know its meaning. We were kept here some days, when they came and took away the boy* and I never saw him again, and do not know what became of him.

" Early one morning this Tuck Horse came and took me, and dressed my hair in the Indian way, and then painted my face and skin. He then dressed me in beautiful wampum beads, and made me look, as I thought, very fine. I was much pleased with the beautiful wampum. We then lived on a hill, and I remember he took me by the hand and led me down to the river side to a house where lived an old man and woman. They had once several children, but now they were all gone—either killed in battle, or having died very young. When the Indians thus lose all their children they often adopt some new child as their own, and treat it in all respects like their own. This is the reason why they so often carry away the children of white people. I was brought to these old people to have them adopt me, if they would. They seemed unwilling at first, but after Tuck Horse had talked with them awhile, they agreed to it, and this was my home. They gave me the name of We-let-a-wash, which was the name of their youngest child whom they had lately buried. It had now got to be the fall of the year (1779), for chestnuts had come. The Indians were very numerous here, and here we remained all the following winter. The Indians were in the service of the British, and were furnished by them with provisions. They seemed to be the gathered remnants of several nations of Indians. I remember that there was a fort* here. In the spring I went with the parents who had adopted me, to Sandusky, where we spent the next summer; but in the fall we returned again to the fort—the place where I was made an Indian child—and here we spent the second winter, (1780). In the next spring we went down to a large river, which is Detroit River, where we stopped and built a great number of bark canoes. I might have said before, that there was war between the British and the Americans, and that the American army had driven the Indians around the fort where I was adopted. In their fights I remember the Indians used to take and bring home scalps, but I do not know how many. When our canoes were all done we went up Detroit River, where we remained about three years. I think peace had now been made between the British and Americans, and so we lived by hunting, fishing, and raising corn.

" I was always treated well and kindly; and while I lived with them I was married to a Delaware. He afterwards left me and the country, and went west of the Mississippi. The Delawares and Miamis were then all living together. I was afterwards married to a Miami, a chief, and a deaf man. His name was She-pan-can-ah. After being married to him I had four children—two boys and two girls. My boys both died while young. The girls are living and are here in this room at the present time.

" I cannot recollect much about the Indian wars with the whites, which were so common and so bloody. I well remember a battle and a defeat of the Americans at Fort Washington, which is now Cincinnati. I remember how Wayne, or ' Mad Anthony,' drove the Indians away and built the fort. The Indians then scattered all over the country, and lived upon game, which was very abundant. After this they encamped all along on Eel River. After peace was made we all returned to Fort Wayne and received provisions from the Americans, and there I lived a long time.

" I had removed with my family to the Mississinewa River some time before the battle of Tippecanoe. The Indians who fought in that battle were the Kickapoos, Pottawatamies and Shawnese. The Miamis were not there. I heard of the battle on the Mississinewa, but my husband was a deaf man, and never went to the wars, and I did not know much about them."

'' We live where our father and mother used to live, on the banks of the beautiful Susquehanna, and we want you to return with us; we will give you of our property, and you shall be one of us and share all that we have. You shall have a good house and everything you desire. Oh, do go back with us!"

"No, I cannot, I have always lived with the Indians; they have always used me very kindly; I am used to them. The Great Spirit has always allowed me to live with them, and I wish to live and die with them. Your wah-puh-mone [looking glass] may be longer than mine, but this is my home. I do not wish to live any better, or anywhere else, and I think the Great Spirit has permitted me to live so long because I have always lived with the Indians. I should have died sooner if I had left them. My husband and my boys are buried here, and I cannot leave them. On his dying day my husband charged me not to leave the Indians. I have a house and large lands, two daughters, a son-in-law, three grand-children, and everything to make me comfortable; why should I go and be like a fish out of water?"

Source: Biography of Frances Slocum, the lost sister of Wyoming: A complete narrative of her captivity and wanderings among the Indians. John Franklin Meginness. Publisher Heller Bros.' Printing House, 1891.

Information courtesy of: http://flintlockandtomahawk.blogspot.com/

Saturday, 16 January 2010

18th Century Winter Salstice Masquerade Party June 19th 2010.

I am hosting an 18th century masquerade party at Linstock House in Wychwood Forest on the 19th of June 2010. This will start at 4pm, but participants are welcome to attend earlier if they wish.
Requirements: 18th century clothing and masks to be worn. Bring your own Grog and a plate. 
Musicians with 18th century music would be most welcome.

Included will be: 1) a decorated tree 2) food 3) interior house decorations of holly 4) candle lighting inside 5) outside fire 6)bales of hay for seating 7) outside torch lighting.
Weather permitting this will be held outside, so wear something warm.
This activity is for New England Colonial Living History Group Members and Guests only. Membership is FREE.


National Reenactor Public Dress Up Day.

National Reenactor Public Dress Up Day: All reenactors and living historians, of all time periods, are invited to wear period clothing for the entire day. Be proud of your part in bringing history to life!
Network: Global

Start Time: Wednesday, 14 April 2010 at 00:00

End Time: Thursday, 15 April 2010 at 00:00

Location: The world!

Tuesday, 12 January 2010


Samuel Mcdowell-Draper Manuscripts

….”Spies did a good job to keep off the Indians. They afterwards kept up towards the Big Sandy and Kanawha and over towards Greenbrier, on the branches of the Monongahela. The spies extended from Tygerts creek to Louisville. Took a blanket and lay out at nights, sometimes in a hollow tree. There used to be a good many large sycamores. Get inside one of them, and sometimes tolerably warm. In rainy weather elsewhere our blanket was stretched up on sticks and we lay under it. Sometimes under a bank, in a place where it would not be seen far, we would build up a fire.

History of the Dividing Line Wm Byrd 1728 page 143

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Clothing & Equipment Guide for the NECLHG.

Clothing and Equipment Guide for the New England Colonial Living History Group.
This clothing and equipment list is based on a civilian lifestyle with the men having to occasionally attend militia musters and scouts. Women may also participate in Historical Trekking but if attending militia scouts they are required to dress in part or wholly in men’s clothing.
This list is a guide only, and you will need to do your own research to help you in your personal choices of clothing types and colours and the equipment and tools you wish to use and carry.
Civilian men’s clothing.
• Low crowned wool felt hat.
• Linen or cotton shirt.
• Linen or cotton neckcloth/neckerchief.
• Linen/wool/leather breeches.
• Linen or woollen stockings or socks.
• Leather shoes or moccasins.
• Wool or linen weskit/waistcoat.
• Men’s work frock or frock coat.
• Leather leggings and garters(optional).

Civilian woman’s clothing.
• Shift/chemise.
• Linen or woollen stockings.
• Garters.
• Mobcap.
• Straw hat (optional).
• Stays.
• Pockets.
• Panniers (formal wear only).
• Underpetticoat.
• Overpetticoat.
• Kerchief.
• Stomacher (open front clothing).
• Gown.
• Bodice (closed front clothing).
• Cloak.
• Apron.

Woodsman and woodswoman clothing.
• Low crowned wool felt hat.
• Linen or cotton shirt.
• Linen or cotton neckcloth/neckerchief.
• Linen/wool/leather breeches or breechclout.
• Linen or woollen stockings or socks (optional).
• Linen or wool weskit/waistcoat.
• Men’s work frock or frock coat.
• Leather or woollen Indian style leggings, garters, and waist tie.
• Moccasins.
• Leather waist belt or wool woven sash.

Alternate clothing for women.
Some women like Ann Bailey wore a mixture of men and women’s clothing. The mix is totally your choice.

Other images of men and women’s clothing.

Woodland Indians, white, black and native.
Captives were often adopted into Indian society and as such were considered to be Indian in every respect.
Men’s clothing.
• Linen or cotton shirt.
• Breechclout and waist tie.
• Wool or leather leggings and garters.
• Moccasins.
• Wool woven sash.
• Frock coat or matchcoat.
Women’s clothing.
• Leather or wool woven waist tie for legging ties.
• Linen or cotton shirt.
• Wrap around skirt
• Wool or leather leggings and garters.
• Frock coat or matchcoat.
• Moccasins.

If you have a trade or a craft which you intend to practice then you will need the tools and equipment for that trade or craft. Also there are “toys”, accessories for both men and women such as a pocket watch or a chatelaine with scissors and other accessories.
Men from the age of 16 years to 60 years were expected to join the local militia. About town these men may carry such items as pocket pistols, swords, or a cane if they were wealthy, but if they were the “middling sort”, then they would carry these items only when attending militia musters. For militia musters they would be required to carry:
• "one good Musket, Fuzee or other Firelock, well fixed, a Cutlass, Bayonet or Tomahawk, a Cartouche Box filled with 12 or more Cartridges of Powder, 12 or more sizeable Bullets and 3 Good Flints." 1757.
• "Each soldier to provide himself with a good fire arm, a steel or iron ram rod and a spring for same, a worm, a priming wire and brush, a bayonet fitted to his gun, a scabbard and belt thereof, a cutting sword or tomahawk or hatchet, a cartridge box holding fifteen rounds at least, a hundred buckshot, six flints, one pound of powder, forty leaden balls fitted to the gun, a knapsack and blanket, a canteen or wooden bottle to hold one quart." (Journal of Arthur Harris of the Bridgewater Coy of Militia.)
• I gave orders to them to go home and fetch their arms whether guns, swords, pitchforks, axes or whatsoever might be of use against the enemy and for three days provision in their knapsacks”(early 18th century).

On top of this of course is any personal items that you may wish to carry, such as a snapsack instead of a knapsack, or a clasp knife, shot pouch, powder horn, gun tools, spare lock parts, a leather costrel, a pistol, a cup, small trade kettle, a wooden spoon.

French Militia.
1 blanket; 1 capot or bougrine; 2 cotton shirts; 1 breech cloth; 1 pair of leggings; 2 skeins of thread; 6 needles; 1 awl; 1 firesteel; 6 gunflints; 1 butcher knife; 1 comb; 1 gunworm; 1 tomahawk; 1 pair moccasins every month.
For The Winter Equipment In Addition To The Summer One: 2 pairs of short stockings; 1 pair of mittens; 1 vest; 2 folding knives;
1/2 aune of blanket to make leggings; 2 pair of deerskin shoes; 1 greased deerskin; 2 portage collars; 1 toboggan; 1 pair of snowshoes; 1 bearskin.
1/2 pound (livre) of gunpowder; 1 pound (livre) of balls; 1 pound (livre) of tobacco; 1 axe for 2 men; 1 tarpaulin and 1 cooking boiler for every 4 men

Woodsman and Woodswomen Equipment.
The above French equipment is a good guide for woodsrunners. But again there may be other personal items that you consider necessary when travelling far from home such as a powder wallet or bag for carrying extra gunpowder or storing spare tinder fungus, or a crooked knife used for making anything from a wooden spoon to a canoe or survival bow and arrows. Plus of course your choice of gun and shot pouch, probably an oil cloth for shelter and perhaps an extra butcher knife carried in your pack or tucked inside the top of your leggings. If you look over the militia list you will see other items.
Spectacles need to be of period design, so research these carefully. I decided to use 17th century eye glasses so that I know they will fit into any period early or late 18th century.

Or if you only need reading glasses you could use a reading glass instead.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

18th Century Masks.

The idea of making a mask to wear to an 18th century party sounds very interesting. From leather or paper mache.

Advantages In The New World.

I must needs say, even the present Encouragements are very great and inviting, for Poor People (both Men and Women) of all kinds, can here get three times the Wages for their Labour they can in England or Wales.

I shall instance a few, which may serve... The first was a Black-Smith (my next Neighbour), who himself and one Negro Man he had, got Fifty Shillings in one Day, by working up a Hundred Pound Weight of Iron, which at Six Pence per Pound (and that is the common Price in that Countrey) amounts to that Summ.

And for Carpenters, both House and Ship, Brick-layers, Masons, either of these Trades-Men, will get between Five and Six Shillings every Day constantly.

As to Journey-Men Shoe-Makers, they have Two Shillings per Pair both for Men and Womens Shoes: And Journey-Men Taylors have Twelve Shillings per Week and their Diet. . .

The Rule for the Coopers I have almost forgot; but this I can affirm of some who went from Bristol (as their Neighbours report), that could hardly get their Livelihoods there, are now reckon'd in Pensilvania, by a modest Computation to be worth some Hundreds (if not Thousands) of Pounds. . .

Of Lawyers and Physicians I shall say nothing, because this Countrey is very Peaceable and Healthy; long may it so continue and never have occasion for the Tongue of the one, nor the Pen of the other, both equally destructive to Mens Estates and Lives; besides forsooth, they, Hang-Man like, have a License to Murder and make Mischief.

Labouring-Men have commonly here, between 14 and 15 Pounds a Year, and their Meat, Drink, Washing and Lodging; and by the Day their Wages is generally between Eighteen Pence and a Half a Crown, and Diet also; But in Harvest they have usually between Three and Four Shillings each Day, and Diet. The Maid Servants Wages is commonly betwixt Six and Ten Pounds per Annum, with very good Accommodation. And for the Women who get their Livelihood by their own Industry, their Labour is very dear...

Corn and Flesh, and what else serves Man for Drink, Food and Rayment, is much cheaper here than in England, or elsewhere; but the chief reason why Wages of Servants of all sorts is much higher here than there, arises from the great Fertility and Produce of the Place; besides, if these large Stipends were refused them, they would quickly set up for themselves, for they can have Provision very cheap, and Land for a very small matter, or next to nothing in comparison of the Purchase of Lands in England; and the Farmers there, can better afford to give that great Wages than the Farmers in England can, for several Reasons very obvious.

As First, their Land costs them (as I said but just now) little or nothing in comparison, of which the Farmers commonly will get twice the encrease of Corn for every Bushel they sow, that the Farmers in England can from the richest Land they have.

In the Second place, they have constantly good price for their Corn, by reason of the great and quick vent [trade] into Barbadoes and other Islands; through which means Silver is become more plentiful than here in England, considering the Number of People, and that causes a quick Trade for both Corn and Cattle; and that is the reason that Corn differs now from the Price formerly, else it would be at half the Price it was at then; for a Brother of mine (to my own particular knowledge) sold within the compass of one Week, about One Hundred and Twenty fat Beasts, most of them good handsom large Oxen.

Thirdly, They pay no Tithes, and their Taxes are inconsiderable; the Place is free for all Persuasions, in a Sober and Civil way; for the Church of England and the Quakers bear equal Share in the Government. They live Friendly and Well together; there is no Persecution for Religion, nor ever like to be; 'tis this that knocks all Commerce on the Head, together with high Imposts, strict Laws, and cramping Orders. Before I end this Paragraph, I shall add another Reason why Womens Wages are so exorbitant; they are not yet very numerous, which makes them stand upon high Terms for their several Services...

Reader, what I have here written, is not a Fiction, Flam, Whim, or any sinister Design, either to impose upon the Ignorant, or Credulous, or to curry Favour with the Rich and Mighty, but in meer Pity and pure Compassion to the Numbers of Poor Labouring Men, Women, and Children in England, half starv'd, visible in their meagre looks, that are continually wandering up and down looking for Employment without finding any, who here need not lie idle a moment, nor want due Encouragement or Reward for their Work, much less Vagabond or Drone it about. Here are no Beggars to be seen (it is a Shame and Disgrace to the State that there are so many in England) nor indeed have any here the least Occasion or Temptation to take up that Scandalous Lazy Life.

Jealousie among Men is here very rare, and Barrenness among Women hardly to be heard of, nor are old Maids to be met with; for all commonly Marry before they are Twenty Years of Age, and seldom any young Married Women but hath a Child in her Belly, or one upon her Lap.

 Gabriel Thomas, An Historical Description of the Province and Country of West-New-Jersey in America. London, 1698

Script Curtesy of http://b-womeninamericanhistory17.blogspot.com/2010/01/blog-post_3349.html

Monday, 4 January 2010

Clothing & Equipment.

Period clothing & equipment.

“Those who go to war receive a capot, two cotton shirts, one breechclout, one pair of leggings, on blanket, one pair of souliers de boeuf, a wood-handled knife, a worm and a musket when they do not bring any. The breechclout is a piece of broadcloth draped between the thighs in the Native manner and with the two ends held by a belt. One wears it without breeches to walk more easily in the woods.” - d’Aleyrac, 1755-60

“(do not) let any militiaman come [to a religious procession] wearing only a mantelet and a tuque, when they are certain that these people have capots and hats at home.”

- orders to milita capatians by Monsieur de Noyan at the request of the parish priest of Varennes, 1756

“Many nations imitate the French customs; yet I observed, on the contrary, that the French in Canada, in many respects, follow the customs of the Indians, with whom they converse everyday. They make use of the tobacco pipes, shoes, garters, and girdles of the Indians.” -Peter Kalm, 1749

“During their travels across Canada, the French dress as the Indians; they do not wear breeches.” - Peter Kalm, 1749

“It is not uncommon to see a Frenchman with Indian shoes and stockings, without breeches, wearing a strip of woolen cloth to cover what decency requires him to conceal.” - Jonathan Carver in Detroit,. 1766

“To this end, I laid aside my English clothes, and covered myself only with a cloth, passed about the middle; a shirt, hanging loose; a molleton , or blanket coat; and a large, red, milled worsted cap.”

Henry leaving native captivity, “Being now no longer in the society of Indians, I laid aside the dress, putting on that of a Canadian: A molton or blanket coat, over my shirt; and a handkerchief about my head, hats being very little worn in this country.”

-Alexander Henry, 1761

“…& about sixty militiamen with a kerchief on their heads and wearing shirts and their backsides bare in the Canadian style.” - Pierre Pouchot (1755-60)

18th Century Equipment.

This list is from the Bourlamaque Papers, National Archives of Canada (1757).


1 capot; 1 blanket; 1 woolen cap; 2 cotton shirts; 1 pair of leggings ;1 breech-cloth; 2 skeins of thread; 6 needles; 1 awl; 1 firesteel; 6 gunflints; 1 butcher knife; 1 comb; 1 gunworm; 1 pair of moccasins every month; 1 tomahawk.

For The Winter Campaign in Addition To The Summer Equipment:

1 bearskin; 2 pairs of short stockings; 2 folding knives; 1 pair mittens;1 vest; 1/2 aune of blanket to make leggings; 2 pairs of deerskin shoes; 1 greased deerskin; 2 portage collars; 1 toboggan; 1 pair of snowshoes.


1 blanket; 1 capot; 1 cap; 2 cotton shirts; 1 pair of breeches; 1 pair of leggings ; 2 skeins of thread; six needles; 1 awl; 1 fire steel; 6 gunflints; 1 butcher knife; 1 comb; 1 gunworm; 1 tomahawk; 1 pair of moccasins every month.

Winter Equipment In Addition To The Summer One:

2 pairs of short stockings (socks); 1 pair of mittens; 1 vest; 2 folding knives; 1/2 aune of blanket to make leggings; 2 pair of deerskin shoes; 1 greased deerskin; 2 portage collars; 1 toboggan; 1 pair of snowshoes; 1 bearskin


1 blanket; 1 capot or bougrine (capot or a loose blouse or cape?); 2 cotton shirts; 1 breech cloth; 1 pair of leggings (mitasses); 2 skeins of thread; 6 needles; 1 awl; 1 firesteel; 6 gunflints; 1 butcher knife; 1 comb; 1 gunworm; 1 tomahawk; 1 pair moccasins every month.

For The Winter Equipment In Addition To The Summer One:

2 pairs of short stockings ; 1 pair of mittens; 1 vest; 2 folding knives; 1/2 aune of blanket to make leggings ; 2 pair of deerskin shoes; 1 greased deerskin; 2 portage collars; 1 toboggan; 1 pair of snowshoes; 1 bearskin.


1/2 pound (livre) of gunpowder; 1 pound (livre) of balls; 1 pound (livre) of tobacco; 1 axe for 2 men; 1 tarpaulin and 1 cooking boiler for every 4 men.



Their grow’s here Large Berch trees…on the Root of the branches of the Said tree, grow’s Large Knops of wood of Different form’s, which they style (posogan) which posogan is of great service to the Natives, they use itt to strike Light to, as we do touch wood… itts Substance Resembles Spunge…once Light is Very Difficult to put out…will Clow and Bur’n tell Consum’d to ashes and never Blaze.”

~James Isham, Hudson’s Bay, 1743-49

“They employ tree mushrooms very frequently instead of tinder. Those which are taken from the sugar maple are reckoned the best; those of the red maple are next in goodness, and next to them, those of the sugar birch, for want of these, they likewise make use of those which grow on the aspen tree.”

~ Peter Kalm, Canada, 1749

"Maple trees usually have large growths on them, which are cut and dried in the sun, making a sort of touchwood which the Canadians call tondre."

- Jolicoeur Charles Bonin, 1750’s

“…fungus that grows on the outside of the birch-tree…used by all the Indians in those parts for tinder…called by the Northern Indians Jolt-thee, and is known all over the country bordering on Hudson’s Bay by the name of Pesogan…there is another kind…that I think is infinitely preferable to either. This is found in old decayed poplars, and lies in flakes…is always moist when taken from the tree but when dry…takes fire readily from the spark of a steel: but it is much improved by being kept dry in a bag that has contained gunpowder.”

~Samuel Hearne, Northern Canada, 1772

“I said to them…you Fools go to the Birch Trees and get some touchwood,”

~David Thompson, Lake Athabasca, 1790s

“This induced me to resolve not to travel more by land without my gun, powder and shot, steel, spunge and flint, for striking a fire…”

~Patrick Campbell, Canada/New York, 1792

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Gardens For Food.

One of the first things any new settler would have to do is put in a garden. There are wild edible plants in the woods, but they are far and few between. There is no point foraging for wild food plants if the energy you expend is more than the energy you can gain from the plants you find.
Our garden has to feed two of us, but we do have other family that we supply with food if we can. Recently I purchased some rye grass to sow in various areas, especially in Fox Valley and Butterfly Valley. This is to encourage more wildlife and game into the area.
We have had some recent good rains and our garden is doing well. The corn is up and flowering and there are two more corn areas planted. In with the corn we have planted beans as the Indians do, and we have also planted pumpkins. Corn, beans and pumpkins are the staple of the Indians which they call the three sisters. We also keep some chooks for eggs so we need to grow enough food to feed them as well as ourselves.
We have a patch of Jerusalem atichokes which have little taste but grow in plenty and are a crop we can rely on. The sunflowers are pleasant to look at and attract a native bee to our garden but they too are grown as food. Once collected and dried the sunflower seeds keep well.
Today I planted more corn and a marrow patch.

One of our patches of corn and some sunflowers.

Our pumpkin patch.

Runner beans.

Broad beans.

Jerusalem Artichokes.

Ticonderoga & The Black Watch.

One of the soldiers had a dream that he was going to die at a place called Ticonderoga, a place which he had not heard of before. He was among those chosen to go to Ticonderoga, and he did die there.

Video clip curtesy of : http://flintlockandtomahawk.blogspot.com/2010/01/ticonderoga-black-watch.html

Bow Making Workshop This Weekend.

Well despite all the rain the creek was not flooded so my close friends and group members Mark & Chris Jones were able to attend this weekend workshop. Which is just as well as Mark is our Bowyer! We got a little more done to my self-bow and I learnt a little more about bow making. Unfortunately both our bow staves have warped since last time we worked on them so Mark thinks that we may have to steam my bow stave to straighten it! Even so I am pleased with the progress we are making, and like I said, I am learning.
My thanks to Mark & Chris for their instruction & help this weekend, much appreciated.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Long Term Wilderness Survival & 18th Century Colonial Settlement.

Long Term Wilderness Survival & 18th Century Colonial Settlement.

I have an interest in both long term wilderness survival, and the New World colonial lifestyle & history. So naturally I combine the two interests to come up with what I think is the best survival method. In this post I will look into the skills, tools, and foods used by the early to mid 18th century colonial settlers.

The skills list for long term wilderness survival is a long one, and there are some skills such as leadership, counselling, problem solving and socialising that are not covered in primitive skills lists. But here is a list of skills to get started. Some of these would be needed straight away by settlers; other skills would have to be learned along the way. In reality you stand a much better chance of surviving if you learn and practice these skills before you actually need them to survive.

Woodsrunner’s Skills.

This is a list of basic skills in which I personally would expect an 18th century woodsman or woods-woman to have some experience with.
• Flint & steel fire lighting
• Wet weather fire lighting
• Flintlock fire lighting
• Flintlock use, service & repair
• Field dressing game
• Blade sharpening
• Tomahawk throwing
• Making rawhide
• Brain tanning
• Primitive shelter construction
• Cordage manufacture
• Moccasin construction and repair
• Sewing
• Axe and tomahawk helve making
• Knowledge of native plant foods
• Fishing
• Hunting
• Evasion
• Tracking
• Reading sign
• Woods lore
• Navigation
• Primitive trap construction & trapping

Tools, Equipment & Supplies.
9 shirts
11 undershirts
2 pr of linen stockings
2 pr blue cotton stockings
2 hats
3 pr of pants ( translated error from the original german I suspect breeches)
1 pr of leggings~ Gaiters I suspect
4 prs of shoes
1 pr of boots
3 neck bands
1 hat clasp~ (????)
2 white caps
1 silk cap
evening clothes
4 pr of stockings
1 good outfit ( suit of clothes I suspect)
2 tin plates, 1 platter, knife and fork
1 hunting knife
1 pr of pistols
4 handkerchiefs
1 silk stockings
1 blue cotton handkerchief
3 silk "
2 black neck scarves
along with bedding and books..

Journal of Daniel Claus, 1750.

1 old hunting horn

1 bullet mold

14 guns and one musket

200 gun flints

9 dozen and 8 knives a Chien de Corne, 10 Flemish knives, 2 woodcutter's knives

40 pounds of lead balls

1 pair of pocket pistols

2 barrels of powder weighing 100 pounds each

Jacques Bourdon, 1723.

Cot, hunting knife, a silver pistol, bullet mould, and other common household items.

Belting, Natalia; (Natalia Belting died in 1748). Kaskaskia Under the French Regime, Urbana; University of Illinois Press, 1948; 43-46).

Estimation of the cost of emigration to New England were published in the 1600s. The following is a compilation from Higginson and from Josselyn first published about 1630.

Food £ s d Tools £ s d

Meal, one hogshead 2 0 0 Five broad hoes

Malt, one hogshead 1 0 0 Five felling axes 7 6

Two bushels of oatmeal 9 0 Two steel handsaws 2 8

Beef one hundredweight 18 0 Two handsaws 10 0

Pork pickled, 100 pound 1 5 0 One whip saw 10 0

Bacon, 74 pound 1 5 0 A file, a rest 10

Peas, two bushels 8 0 Two hammers 2 0

Greats, one bushel 6 0 Three shovels 4 6

Butter, two dozen 8 0 Two spades 3 0

Cheese, half a hundred 12 0 Two augers 1 0

Vinegar, two gallons 1 0 Two broad axes 7 4

Aquavitae, one gallon 2 8 Six chisels 3 0

Mustard seed, two quarts 1 0 Three gimlets 6

Salt to save fish, half a hogshead 10 0 Two hatchets 3 6

One gallon of oil 3 6 Two frows to cleave pail 3 0

Two hand bills 3 4

Clothing Two pickaxes 3 0

One hat 3 0 Three locks and three pair of fetters 5 10

One Monmouth cap 1 10 Two curry combs 11

Three falling bands 1 3 A brand to brand beasts 6

Shirt 2 6 A coulter wieghing 10 pounds 3 4

One waist coat 2 6 A hand vise 2 6

One suit of frieze 19 0 A pitchfork 1 4

One suit of cloth 15 0 A share 2 11

One suit of canvas 7 6 One wood hook 1 0

Three pair of Irish stockings 5 0 One wimble, with six piercer bits 1 6

Four pairs of shoes 9 0 Twelve cod hooks 2 0

Boots for men, one pair 9 0 Two lines 4 0

Leather to mend shoes, four pound 5 0 One mackerel line and twelve hooks 10

One pair of canvas sheets 8 0

Seven ells canvas to make bed and bolster 5 0 Wooden Ware

One coarse rug 6 0 A pair of bellows 2 0

Handkerchief, twelve 4 0 A scoop 9

One sea cape or gown, of coarse cloth 16 0 A pair of wheels for a cart 14 0

Wheelbarrow 6 0

Household utensils A great pail 10

One iron pot 7 0 A short oak ladder 10

One great copper kettle 2 0 0 A plough 3 9

A small kettle 10 0 An axletree 8

A lesser kettle 6 0 A cart 10 0

One large frying pan 2 8 A casting shovel 10

A brass mortar 3 0 A shovel 2 4

A spit 2 0 A lantern 1 3

One gridiron 2 0

Two skillets 5 0

"Certain Useful Directions for Such as Intend a Voyage into Those Parts"

By Mayflower passenger Edward Winslow

as published in Mourt's Relation : A relation or journal of the beginning and proceedings of the English Plantation settled at Plimoth in New England, London, 1622

"Now because I expect your coming unto us, with other of our friends, whose company we much desire, I thought good to advertise you of a few things needful.

"Be careful to have a very good bread-room to put your biscuits in. Let your cask for beer and water be iron-bound, for the first tier, if not more. Let not your meat be dry-salted; none can better do it than the sailors. Let your meal be so hard trod in your cask that you shall need an adz or hatchet to work it out with. Trust not too much on us for corn at this time, for by reason of this last company that came, depending wholly upon us, we shall have little enough till harvest. Be careful to come by some of your meal to spend by the way; it will much refresh you. Build your cabins as open as you can, and bring good store of clothes and bedding with you. Bring every man a musket or fowling-piece. Let your piece be long in the barrel, and fear not the weight of it, for most of our shooting is from stands. Bring juice of lemons, and take it fasting; it is of good use. For hot water, aniseed water is the best, but use it sparingly. If you bring anything for comfort in the country, butter or salad oil, or both, is very good. Our Indian corn, even the coarsest, maketh as pleasant meat as rice; therefore spare that, unless to spend by the way. Bring paper and linseed oil for your windows, with cotton yarn for your lamps. Let your shot be most for big fowls, and bring store of powder and shot. I forbear further to write for the present, hoping to see you by the next return. So I take my leave, commending you to the Lord for a safe conduct unto us."


A Catalog of such needefull things as every Planter doth or ought to provide to go to New-England


Victuals for a whole yeere for a man...

8 Bushels of meale 2 Bushels of Otemeale. 1 Gallon of Aquavitae 1 Firkin of Butter

2 Bushels of pease. 1 Gallon of Oyle. 2 Gallons of Vinegar.



1 Monmouth Cap. 1 Wast-coat. 1 Suit of Frize. 2 Paire of Sheets.

3 Falling Bands. 1 Suit of Canvas. 3 Paire of Stockings. 1 Paire of Blankets.

3 Shirts. 1 Suit of Cloth. 4 Paire of Shooes. 1 Course Rug.

7 Ells of Canvase to make a bed and boulster.



1 Armor compleat. 1 Sword. 1 Bandilier. 60 Pound of Lead.

1 Long peece. 1 Belt. 20 Pound of Powder. 1 Pistoll and Goose shot.



1 Broad Howe. 1 Shovell. 1 Felling Axe. 1 Grindstone.

1 Narrow Howe. 1 Spade. 1 Gimblet. 1 Pickaxe.

1 Steele Handsawe. 2 Augers. 1 Hatchet. Nayles of all sorts

1 Whipsawe. 4 Chissels. 2 Frowes.

1 Hammer. 1 Broad Axe. 1 Hand-Bill.


Household Implements.

1 Iron Pot. 1 Gridiron. Trenchers. Dishes.

1 Kettel. 2 Skellets. Wooden Platters. Spoons.

1 Frying pan 1 Spit.



Sugar. Cloves. Mace. Fruit.

Pepper. Cinnamon. Nutmegs.


Also there are divers other things necessary to bee taken over to this Plantation,

as Bookes, Nets, Hookes and Lines, Cheese, Bacon, Kine, Goats, &c.

From: New England’s Plantation, or, A short and True Description of the Commodities and Discommodities of that Country. by Reverend Francis Higginson, London, 1630.


What Provision is made for a Journey at Sea and what to carry with us for our use at Land

by William Wood

from New-England's Prospect, being a true, lively and experimental Description of that part of America commonly called New-England, London 1639

Many peradventure at the looking over of these relations, may have inclinations or resolutions for the voyage; to whom I wish all prosperity in their undertakings; although I will use no forcive arguments to persuade any, but leave them to the relation; yet by way of advice, I would commend to them a few lines from the pen of experience. And because the way to New-England is over the sea, it will not be amiss to give you directions what is necessary to be carried. Many I suppose, know as well, or better than myself; yet all do not; to those my directions tend. Although every man have ship-provisions allowed him for his five pounds a man, which is salt beef, pork, salt fish, butter, cheese, pease pottage, water grewel, and such kind of victuals, with good biskets, and six shilling beer; yet it will be necessary to carry some comfortable refreshing of fresh victuals. As first, for such as have ability, some conserves, and good claret wine to burn [burnt wine is brandy] at sea; or you may have it by some of your vintners or wine-coopers burned here, and put up into vessels, which will keep much better than other burnt wine; it is a very comfortable thing for the stomach, or such as are sea-sick; sallad-oil likewise, prunes are good to be stewed, sugar for many things; white biskets, eggs, and bacon, rice, poultry, and some weather sheep to kill aboard the ship, and fine flour baked meats will keep about a week or nine days at sea. Juice of lemons, well put up, is good either to prevent or cure the scurvy. Here it must not be forgotten to carry small skillets, or pipkins, and small frying-pans, to dress their victuals in at sea. For bedding, so it be easy, and cleanly, and warm, it is no matter how old or coarse it be for the use of the sea; and so likewise for apparel, the oldest cloaths be the fittest, with a long coarse coat, to keep better things from the pitched ropes and planks. Whosoever shall put to sea in a stout and well-conditioned ship, having an honest master, and loving seaman, shall not need to fear but he shall find as good content at sea as a land...

Now for the encouragement of his men, he [the head of a family with servants] must not do as many have done (more through ignorance than desire) carry many mouths and no meat; but rather much meat for a few mouths. Want of due maintenance produceth nothing but a grumbling spirit with a sluggish idleness; when as those servants be well provided for, go through their employments with speed and chearfulness. For meal, it will be requisite to carry a hogshead and an half for every one that is a labourer, to keep him till he may receive the fruit of his own labours, which will be a year and a half after his arrival, if he land in May or June. He must likewise carry malt, beef, butter, cheese, some pease, good wines, vinegar, strong-waters, &c. Whosoever transports more of these than he himself useth, the overplus being sold, will yield as much profit as any other staple commodity. Every man likewise must carry over good store of apparel; for if he come to buy there, he will find it dearer than in England. Woollen cloth is a very good commodity, and linen better; as holland, lockram, flaxen, hempen, callico stuffs, linsey woolsies, and blue callico, green sayes for housewife's aprons, hats, boots, shoes, good Irish stockings, which if they be good, are much more serviceable than knit ones; all kind of grocery wares, such as sugar, prunes, raisins, currants, honey, nutmegs, cloves, &c soap, candles, and lamps, &c. All manner of household stuff is very good trade there, as pewter and brass, for the use of that country; warming-pans and stewing pans be of necessary use, and good traffick there. All manner of iron wares, as all manner of nails for houses, and all manner of spikes for building of boats, ships, and fishing stages; all manner of tools for workmen, hoes for planters, broad and narrow for setting and weeding; with axes, both broad and pitching axes. All manner of augers, piercing bits, whip-saws, two handed saws, froes, both for the riving of pailes, and laths, rings for beetle heads, and iron wedges; though all these be made in the country (there being divers blacksmiths) yet being a heavy commodity, and taking but a little storage, it is cheaper to carry such commodities out of England. Glass ought not to be forgotten of any that desire to benefit themselves, or the country; if it be well leaded, and carefully packed up, I know no commodity better for portage or sale. Here likewise must not be forgotten all utensils for the sea, as barbels, splitting knives, leads, and cod-hooks, and lines, mackrel hooks and lines, shark-hooks, seines, or bass-nets, large and strong, herring nets, &c. Such as would eat fowl, must not forget their six foot guns, their good powder, and shot of all sorts; a great round shot called Barnstable shot, is the best; being made of a blacker lead than ordinary shot. Furthermore, good pooldavies [a heavy canvas] to make sails for boots, roads, anchors for boats and pinnaces, are good; sea-coal, iron, lead, and mill-stones, flints, ordnances, and whatsoever a man conceive is good for the country, that will lie as ballast, he cannot be a loser by it. And lest I should forget a thing of so great importance, no man must neglect to provide himself, or those belonging to him, his ammunition, for the defence of himself and the country. For there is no man there that bears a head, but that bears military arms; even boys of fourteen years of age are practiced with men in military discipline, every three weeks. Whosoever shall carry over drums and English colours, pattesons [spear that is carried in front of troops], halberds, pikes, muskets, bandeleroes, with swords, shall not need to fear good gain for them; such things being wanting in the country.


Provisions List from An Account of Two Voyages to New-England

by John Josselyn

2d edition, London, 1675

The common proportion of victuals for the Sea to a Mess, being 4 men, is as followeth;

Two pieces of Beef, of 3 pound and 1/4 per piece.

Four pounds of Bread.

One pint 1/2 of Pease.

Four Gallons of Beer, with Mustard and Vinegar for three flesh dayes in the week.

For four fish dayes, to each mess per day.

Two pieces of Codd or Habberdine, making three pieces of a fish.

One quarter of a pound of Butter.

Four pound of Bread.

Three quarters of a pound of cheese.

Beer as before.

Oatmeal per day, for 50 men, Gallon I. and so proportionable for more or fewer.

Thus you see the Ships provision, is Beef or Porke, Fish, Butter, Cheese, Pease, Pottage, Water-gruel, Bisket, and six shilling Beea.

For private fresh provision, you may carry with you (in case you, or any of yours should be sick at Sea) conserves of Roses, Clove-Gilliflowers, Wormwood, Green-Ginger, Burnt-Wine [brandy], English Spirits, Prunes to stew, Raisons of the Sun, Currence, Sugar, Nutmeg, Mace, Cinnamon, Pepper and Ginger, White Bisket, or Spanish rusk, Eggs, Rice, juice of Lemmons well put up to cure, or prevent the Scurvy. Small Skillets, Pipkins, Porrengers, and small Frying pans...

Apparel for one man, and after the rate for more

l s d

One Hatt 0 3 0

One Monmouth Cap 1 10 0

Three falling bands 0 1 3

Three Shirts 0 7 6

One Wastcoat 0 2 6

One suit of Frize 0 19 0

One suit of Cloth 0 15 0

One suit of Canvas 0 7 6

Three pair of Irish Stockins 0 5 0

Four pair of Shoos 0 8 0

One pair of Canvas Sheets 0 8 0

Seven ells of course Canvas to make a bed at Sea for two men, to be filled with straw 0 5 0

One coarse Rug at Sea for two men 0 6 0

Sum total 4 0 0

Victuals for a whole year to be carried out of England for one man, and so for more after the rate

l s d

Eight bushels of Meal 2 0 0

Two bushels of Pease at three shillings a bushel 0 6 0

Two bushels of Oatmeal, at four and six pence the bushel 0 9 0

One Gallon of Aqua vitae 0 2 6

One Gallon of Oyl 0 3 6

Two Gallons of Vinegar 0 2 0


Of Sugar and Spice... your best way is to buy your Sugar there, for it is cheapest, but for Spice you must carry it over with you.

Prices of Iron Ware

Arms for one man, but if half of your men have Armour it is sufficient, so that all have pieces and swords

l s d

One Armour compleat, light 0 17 0

One long piece five foot, or five and a half near Musket bore 1 2 0

One Sword 0 5 0

One Bandaleer 0 1 6

One Belt 0 1 0

Twenty pound of powder 0 18 0

Sixty pound of shot or lead, pistol and Goose shot 0 5 0

Tools for a Family of Six persons, and so after the rate for more

Five broad howes at two shillings a piece 0 10 0

Five narrow howes at 16 pence a piece 0 6 8

Five felling Axes at 18 pence a piece 0 7 6

Two steel hand-sawes at 16 pence the piece 0 2 8

Two hand-sawes at 5 shillings a piece 0 10 0

One whip saw, set and filed with box 0 10 0

A file and wrest 0 0 10

Two Hammers 12 pence a piece 0 2 0

Three shovels 18 pence a piece 0 4 6

Two spades 18 pence a piece 0 3 0

Two Augars 0 1 0

Two broad Axes at 3 shillings 8 pence a piece 0 7 4

Six Chissels 0 3 0

Three Gimblets 0 0 6

Two Hatchets One and twenty pence a piece 0 3 6

Two froues to cleave pail at 18 pence a piece 0 3 0

Two hand-bills at 20 pence a piece 0 3 4

Nails of all sorts to be values 2 0 0

Two pick-Axes 0 3 0

Three Locks, and 3 pair of Fetters 0 5 10

Two Currie Combs 0 0 11

For a Brand to brand Beasts with 0 0 6

For a Chain and lock for a Boat 0 2 2

For a Coulter weighing 10 pound 0 3 4

For a Hand-vise 0 2 6

For a Pitchfork 0 1 4

For one hundred weight of Spikes Nails and pins 120, to the hundred 2 5 0

For a share 0 2 11

Household Implements for a Family of six persons, and so for more or less after the rate

One Iron Pot 0 7 0

For one great Copper Kettle 2 0 0

For a small Kettle 0 10 0

For a lesser Kettle 0 6 0

For one large Frying-pan 0 2 6

For a small Frying-pan 0 1 8

For a brass Morter 0 3 0

For a Spit 0 2 0

For one Grid-Iron 0 1 0

For two Skillets 0 5 0

Platters, dishes, & spoons of wood 0 4 0

For Sugar, Spice and fruits at Sea for six men 0 12 0

Now of course not everyone could afford to travel with such a large variety of supplies, but we can probably expect the "middling sort" to carry some dried foods to keep them going for a while and of course some crop seed such as corn, pumpkin, and beans. These staples were of course the "Three Sisters" of the native woodland Indians as well.
The woman Natalia Belting carried "hunting knife, a silver pistol, bullet mould" as well as other household items so the average individual or family could hardly be expected to carry less. So you would have your fusil, musket or fifle, plus possibly a pistol or two. You would also have a shot pouch & other neccasaries needed to service your gun. Hunting knife, tomahawk, possibly an axe & auger. If there are several of you then you may even be carrying a crosscut saw & an adze.
A kettle of some sort and perhaps a cup. Candles, flint, steel & tinderbox is priority.

"I noticed particularly, one family of about 12 in number. The man carried an axe and a gun on his shoulders. The Wife, the rim of a spinning wheel in one hand, and a loaf of bread in the other. Several little boys and girls, each with a bundle, according to their size Two poor horses, each heavily loaded with some poor necessities. On the top of the baggage of one, was an infant rocked to sleep in a kind of wicker cage, lashed securely to the horse. A cow formed one of the company ,and she was destined to bear her proportion of service - a bed cord was wound around her horns and a bag of meal on her back. They were not only patient, but cheerful and pleased with themselves with the expectation of seeing happy days beyond the mountains" Diary of Presbyterian Rev. David McClure. 18th century.

” The first and greatest labour after father had thus domiciliated his little family, was to clear sufficient land for a crop the following year, which was, of course, to consist of corn and a few garden vegetables. In this labour I was too young to participate, and he was too poor to hire; consequently his own hands had to perform the whole...”Pioneer Life in Kentucky, 1785-1800: A Series of Reminiscent letters from Daniel Drake, MD of Cincinnati to his Children. (Cincinnati: Clark & Co., 1870).

“we made a boat and

came down the river to the fort and then walked here and put up

a log cabin. We rowed down the river in the night and laid by

in the day, and we walked three or four nights pretty near all

night. We hear Mr. Tolliver is going to send some more people

out here and I wish he would as it is lonesome when Sam is gone.

We have about two or three acres cleared and planted in corn

and pumpkins and we have enough venison dried to do a year”.

Casper River, March 2, 1794. (78).