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Or perhaps under the radar... :)

Made a trip up North today, good ways from where I live. Been in contact with a older couple that were living historians. They actually built a fort and fully stocked it many years ago. Full scale cannons, sutlery store, etc...and made a living from making period correct clothing and other items. Were at the beginning of the Maine renaisance of Black Powder but were mostly in the times before the 1820's.

Found them, and over a period of weeks finally made a trip for visit. Unbelievable for me. They still had boxed up some of the period gear that the wife had made 10-20 years ago. She is a wonderful pattern clothing maker. I ended up with wool and linen shirts made as the originals from the 1700's. A haversack was brought out and looked to be 250 years old. Canvas, and aged to perfection...the beeswax was done decades ago. Found a brazier..

Then the best part...the gent walked me out to a back part of the property and I was transported to a Maine hunting camp from about the period of 1800....fully stocked and equiped, and built into a hillside as was the traditon. Whisked me back in time. And truth be told...you were there at that period. Nothing would have been different. You were there :)

Going back next week to have them help me with my persona. They are digging out a period tent, a fire iron set...and other acoutrements that I will need for this fall...

Great day! Could have spent all day there....

Here is the haversack or could be used as a true possible's bag. This is brand new, but could pass as a original. Just to show how high quality their work was back in the day....



Been thinkin' of going off the grid for awhile myself ;) Maybe for the Summer. Nice to see this forum gaining strength everyday, with new and interesting members. Might have time to work on the FAQ's for this section of the board and have a chance to devote some time to that and do a quality job.... Summer has been my time to devote to the black powder guns, and I get a chance to truly focus on them. Centerfires are for the other 3 seasons.... :mrgreen:
giz
 

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Sounds like something I'd like to do. Why didn't you give me call? I could've driven up and we could've gone together. Hmmph, some friend you are. :(

Jas. Townshend & Son had those or similar haversacks on sale a month ago - maybe two. Don't remember. Anyway, I bought two. So, tell me, did they treat the canvas with bee's wax? Waterproofing, right? Did they tell you how they did it? You didn't buy me one? Cheapskate! :cry:

There ain't nothin' like that down here. All we have are 20 -30 Mexicans getting shot every week. :shock: I'm jealous.

A persona? I bet you'd look good in a period stovepipe hat. :lol:
 

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Wow that sounds like fun! If I ever get up to that parts of the woods I'm going to need directions to them.
 
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I am so jealous. Never even met anyone that lived off the grid. That would be great walking around their homeplace. Especially one from that era.

Ever watch the new communities in the southwest that are off the grid? Pretty interesting.
 
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Quarter Cherokee said:
So, tell me, did they treat the canvas with bee's wax? Waterproofing, right? Did they tell you how they did it? You didn't buy me one? Cheapskate! :cry:

:lol:
Yep, beeswax...I don't know how they aged it. Should ask when I go back next week...

Giz
 

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I've used this product for waterproofing canvas-type items. It's not exactly HC for the 1820s, but it is >100 years old and is still made in the US - mostly of beeswax. This was the only way to go for treating brush pants and cloth motorcycle rain suits prior to the advent of Gore-Tex. In many ways it's still superior to Gore-Tex.
http://www.filson.com/product/index.jsp ... age=family

I've never tried the hairdryer trick - I just put it out in the hot sun to get the wax to melt.

xtm
 

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Hey Giz,

Let me know, okay? I have some bee's wax for making candles. Actually, I have a lot as I find it useful for fluxing bullet metal.

So, we're going up next weekend? We are, aren't we? ;) God bless! I wish I could. I'd hang around for a week or two and have them teach me a thing or three.

Have fun. I'll most likely be in Idaho visiting relatives. Take care.
 

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Sounds like you are in a very happy space, Giz. Way to go!

Believe it or not, there are mountain man and fur trapping-era groups on the west coast, including in California.

The best teacher both my sons had in high school was (and maybe still is) the persona of a factor in a Hudson's Bay Company group. He had a standing $100 offer to anyone who could verify the presence of a white American woman in Spanish or Mexican California prior to 1835-1840. In passing, it was a damned good incentive to get the kids in his history classes seriously into the books!

He, and most of the guys in his Hudson's Bay group left their flintlocks "in the white" and allowed them to take on a patina of rust. The only rust rubbed off was with cloth or leather; the guns were occasionally oiled, of course. But the story was, that was the way it usually happened in the era.

Any thoughts on that practice, Giz?

Bill
 
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Bill,

I would believe most anything when it comes to the guns and their owners... ;)

Guessing that a man's gun was more of a tool then a prized possession. These were working guns and subject to the elements of nature on a constant basis. I'd imagine a man would be more concerned with keeping his bore clean, his lock well cleaned and oiled, a clean and dry vent hole, and a well sealed wood stock. The barrel itself would be kept up with as best he could. The bluing or browning wouldn't last long, and they would keep the rust down as much as they could.

Not sure about in the white guns. Thinkin' that they would want the least reflective surface they could have. A reflective barrel would draw attention in the right light.



giz
 
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Quarter Cherokee said:
Hey Giz,

Let me know, okay? I have some bee's wax for making candles. Actually, I have a lot as I find it useful for fluxing bullet metal.

So, we're going up next weekend? We are, aren't we? ;) God bless! I wish I could. I'd hang around for a week or two and have them teach me a thing or three.

Have fun. I'll most likely be in Idaho visiting relatives. Take care.

The gent use to teach woodscraft and survival as it would have been done in the late 1700's. He is one of the founders of the Ancient Ones here in Maine. Still does a occasional 'Vous. He's willing to share his knowledge and this Pilgrim is all ears when he speaks... ;) He's been a bladesmith, made primitive style Indian hunting gear ( his spears are simple, true to form, and historically correct ~ yet inspire a certain awe)....

Anyrate, there were four or five more items that I needed. Think I might just use that as a excuse to go up a few more times :mrgreen:

giz
 

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Giz, I expect your assessment is probably about right. As far as the reflective surfaces go, that's really on target.

I always figured the folks who lived, worked and traveled in that early era would rub down their arms with whatever oily or greasy compound was handy. They would do what they could to protect the arm or other metal tool. And because they largely lived outside, they probably couldn't stop rust.

(Comment to the skeptics here: ever wonder why so many of the matchlock, wheellock and flintlock arms in the museums look so good? They likely were owned by the richer people of the time, were not carried every day, and have spent a century or two or three either in a private collection or a museum. But they weren't always used everyday by everyday people.)

FWIW, I'd like to know when "stainless" with varying degrees of nickel content, got so popular. Older edged tools I have inherited (I talked about some of this in another thread in this area) aren't stainless, so rust is always an issue. But with no nickel content, the edged tools get sharp and stay that way. Just good, honest tools -- as I consider most firearms -- and I like to use 'em that way. They are what they are, no more, no less.

Ah, well. Great thread!

Bill
(Rant over. Picks up soapbox; leaves.)
 

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Smithfan said:
Giz, I expect your assessment is probably about right. As far as the reflective surfaces go, that's really on target.

I always figured the folks who lived, worked and traveled in that early era would rub down their arms with whatever oily or greasy compound was handy. They would do what they could to protect the arm or other metal tool. And because they largely lived outside, they probably couldn't stop rust.

(Comment to the skeptics here: ever wonder why so many of the matchlock, wheellock and flintlock arms in the museums look so good? They likely were owned by the richer people of the time, were not carried every day, and have spent a century or two or three either in a private collection or a museum. But they weren't always used everyday by everyday people.)

FWIW, I'd like to know when "stainless" with varying degrees of nickel content, got so popular. Older edged tools I have inherited (I talked about some of this in another thread in this area) aren't stainless, so rust is always an issue. But with no nickel content, the edged tools get sharp and stay that way. Just good, honest tools -- as I consider most firearms -- and I like to use 'em that way. They are what they are, no more, no less.

Ah, well. Great thread!

Bill
(Rant over. Picks up soapbox; leaves.)
I agree with your insight as to the condition of museum guns. Most were never exposed to the use that others were. Just like my Greatgrandfather's 1897 shotgun. Its nothing but patina now, it has been used by atleast 30 other family members learning how to shoot shotguns before it came to be mine. It still works and has only had minor work done to keep it so. I don't shot it much these days, but I do love the time spent oiling and cleaning her. She will one day go to my son, and hopefully to his. It has been in my family since 1902, and along with some other family heirlooms, I hope it stays that way.

As for being off the grid, there was an older man, 60+, who lived up along the little tennesee river that we met one year while camping up there. It started a family outing every year to his place for about ten years till he passed. He was a real card of a fella to sit around a fire and listen to some of his stories about the "G" men and revenuers always trying to find his still's. He was a bootlegger from way back, and his family had been doing it for generations. He made some pretty good stuff, most of the time he would give us some, and the times he wanted stuff, its was things like some .22lr ammo, or shotgun ammo. Its all he hunted with was an old winchester singleshot .22lr. The shotgun which I never saw was for folks getting to close to his still.
 

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Back in the seventies my parents were in a snomobile club that had a lot rides way back into the mountains. There was one ride that was done three times a winter. It was about a three hour ride back into a valley that had been homsteaded before the turn of the century and a old man Named Mc Phearson lived there. He had no running water or electricity and had had lived there his entire life.
I remember seeing hides stretched and game hanging. He snowshoed around on top of the ten foot deep snow and also used old wooden cross country skis. He had a log house bigger than a cabin and a big shed. and barn I was to young to have asked to see his guns but recall my Dad talking about them being very old and valuable.
With the invention of snomobiles his ranch was a popular destination and the old guy would always have you sighn a guest book and loved it when the snomobiles showed up.
Every one brought him something bags of sugar coffee salt pepper all kinds of things and he would tell you what he was low on.With 60 plus members in the club and others who rode in he did real good on supplies. Once winter hit he was very isolated and the only way in or out was by shoshoe or skis for him.
I never seen him in summer but in winter he was always dressed in wool shirt and pants and had a big heavy wool coat.He was always wearing knee high rubber steel toed mine boots I assume one of the many miners had hauled in for him. He panned a little gold and hunted and trapped.
His place was called Mc Phearsons ranch but he didnt have any live stock. I guess at one time back when he was young the family had live stock and horses etc.He was a real nice old guy and every one liked him and he would hear you comming and build a big fire out front of his place.Some one finaly found him dead and I dont know what ever happened to his place.
 
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Great stories guys...and much appreciated that you chose to share them. Been haunting the old book shops and trying to build up a decent collection of the stories of Maine back when. Lots of books of the logging industry and it's roots...but not much for the colonial era. Course we were still apart of Massachusetts way back when...:mrgreen:

I'm putting the word out with the dealers that I would buy any primary documents about the 17 to early 1800's. Especially in the Western foothills and north of here.

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My mother's family is from Maine and were part of the vanguard of early settlers who arrived to work as indentured servants at a plantation near what is now York.

A lot has been written about all aspects of life on those plantations - not just about life on the farm, but also about the hunters who roamed and provided food for the colony. I don't have copies of any of that, but I've read much about it over the years. As the servants worked off their indentures, they usually wandered off into the wilderness and up the coast - far away from their former "employers" and their previous restricted status. Again, much has been written about life on these scattered 18th century settlements. As the decades passed, these folk became the revolutionaries who wanted their own country and the descendants of their former overlords generally supported the king.

I'm asking around and trying to get some specific titles for you to look for. :) Several of them have titles along the line of, "History of Yorke Plantation". Bookstores in those tourist towns in southern Maine are probably a good source. Some of my favorite first-hand historical accounts have been found in tourist trap bookstores! :)
xtm
 
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xtm,

Maine has some outstanding State Museums that deal with the collections of Militia ( Magazines on display that would awestruck you!) and the history of the early settlements. I plan on using my August vacation in doing some primary document research up in Augusta at the State Museum. Let me know what you are looking for and I will attempt to line that up in advance.

There is a absolutely ragin' debate amongst the PC/HC crowd that no Bess guns were shortened for the Indian trades...I've called BS on this and taken much heat. And Maines collections will prove me either the fool or the one that turns opinion :mrgreen:

giz
 

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Giz, if I understand this right: About the Brown Bess muskets as trade guns, damned right they were traded to the Indians!

In various museums, small and medium throughout the intermountain and far west, I have seen examples of the Bess muskets that obvously were traded, sometimes with barrels cut back, but always with "after-trade" decorations by Indian owners, usually nails or brads hammered into the wood as decoration, sometimes notches carved into the stock. Who knows what that really meant... ;)

The point is, the arms were traded to the indians, who traded them and traded them further until they found their way to the mountain- and far west. I am certain that such examples also can be found throughout the Canadian west in museums of all sizes.

I guess the real point is, hell, some of us who are enthusiasts and who go thru the museums in every town we happen to hit have seen the damned things!

Bill
 
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And there were Marine carbines made for the Crown. Yet there are no existing primary documents to show bills of ladling to merchants that show shortened Bess's being sold as trade goods. It is a great debate. Much the same as the debate about blanket guns and canoe guns. All of these subjects can inspire rather vocal and heated debate. Seems lately, especially the canoe guns. So when they really get vehement ~ I like to toss in a pic of this one...Ol' Tacky, a 20 ga Canoe Gun... :mrgreen:



It makes perfect sense as a upland game gun for hunting in thickets. With a shortened barrel it has less to get hung up on and is easier to carry through heavy growth. It is everybit as accurate at shorter ranges as the long guns. If it makes sense today, it made sense 200 years ago.

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Good point about documentation or the lack thereof!

I guess a lot of things happened, and a lot of stuff got sold or traded, without any records -- at least that have survived.

And sometimes, things and people simply weren't included in the records. A former business associate was looking into his family genealogy a few years back, and could trace only as far as a baby born to parents in New England in the 1670s -- but there was no trace of the parents ever having emigrated. His guess is, they were indentured servants and somehow not deemed worthy of inclusion on any ship's manifest.

Great thread, Giz!

Bill
 
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