On horseback in the year 2000

I had to go through some old photos today and found these.  These were taken in the summer of 2000.  I was experimenting with a contemporary 18th century saddle made by Don Newsome.  The horse, Mandy, is now long gone sadly.  She was almost 30 at that time and was a sure footed as any horse I had ever ridden.

Mak Mandy 1 Mark and Mandy 2

She decided that she did not want her picture taken I guess, as she stuck out her tongue just as it was being snapped.  After, we went out for about a five mile ride and the saddle worked out quite well.  I will need to do quite a bit of riding for the expedition next May that will follow the Boone Trace and Wilderness Road.

Published in the Boone Society’s periodical

The Boone Society has a publication that is called The Compass.  I am thrilled that they have published the first in a series of five articles I wrote about the life and times of Simon Girty.  Simon Girty was considered a traitor to the American Revolutionary cause and worse yet, a dangerous, psychopathic, violent man who enjoyed leading Indians raids on the frontier.  He and Daniel Boone are linked by a very sad incident—the death of Daniel and Rebecca Boone’s son Israel.  Israel’s death occurred at the Battle of Blue Licks in 1782—some say the last battle of the American Revolution.  Daniel Boone was standing right next to Israel and heard the bullet hit home.  Simon Girty was present there and probably aided in laying out the strategy for the battle on behalf of the British government, but was not involved in the actual fight.  In fact, most of what has been written about Girty has been false.  That is, until recently when historians have finally uncovered the truth about this man.  The story is in the articles, which first appeared in Muzzleloader magazine.  Back issues are available from that publication.  I enjoyed writing about Simon Girty and in many ways have grown to admire him.


Presenting about the Great Lakes Fur Trade

I spent a wonderful morning at Mahnomen Elementary School in Mahnomen, Minnesota discussing the Great Lakes fur Trade era with a group of (mostly) sixth graders.  We had a great time!  I brought a number of visual aids with me, including items of clothing—which the class had opportunity to try on.  The sixth graders had been studying the Fur Trade, so it was perfect timing to be there.  I think they enjoyed the class and I saw a number of smiles at the end of the session.  Presenting in schools in one of the things that I enjoy doing best.  My goal is to help young people become motivated to discover our great and interesting American heritage no matter what the geographic area or time period.

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Repairing a broken gun stock (con’t)

A while back my English Type G trade gun suffered a broken wrist in a weird sort of mishap. Guns on the frontier were broken also. I had never made a repair like this before and I was nervous about doing it myself. So I called a couple of friends of mine and they gave me some ideas and encouragement. Gathering up some courage, I glued and pegged the wrist back together and I think the end result came out well. I am not quite done, though. I will either wrap the wrist with rawhide and sew uit in place or use a sheet of brass, nailed in place–both methods were use to make wrist repairs in historic times.
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Repairing a broken gun stock

Firearms on the frontier were constantly subjected to abuse, after all, they were mostly tools.  Accidents happened and repairs had to made.  My English flintlock smoothbore broke the other day at the wrist when one of our dogs bumped into it while it was leaning up against the barn and it hit the ground funny or something, but sadly it was broken.  I took it back into the house, looked at it and thought about how to make a repair.  After calling a few friends I made a plan.  I have started the repair process and it is in todays entry in the journal part of this website.  Many firearms on the frontier were just used up and those that have survived show a lot of wear and abuse and yes, even repairs.

More pictures on the journal part of my website


Testing an copy of an 18th century saddle

I spent a pleasant afternoon breaking in a handmade saddle, period correct for the 18th century.  I plan to do some horseback riding out east next spring.  It was surprisingly comfortable to ride that  saddle.  The padding under the saddle in nothing more than a sheep skin, however,  I may make a blanket pad for this saddle out of an old wool blanket I own.

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History Repeats Itself

In a situation that seem very ironical to me, the stock on one of my favorite hunting rifles broke at the wrist today.  It is a very close copy of a mid-seventeen hundreds, English, smoothbore, flintlock longarm known today as a Carolina Gun.  Some call it a Type G.  Two things are ironic here.  1. I am in the process of writing about an original Carolina Gun for Muzzleloader magazine and 2. it has a similar break in the wrist area as mine now does.  The original was repaired and put back into use and I will do the same with mine.  I will glue, pin and clamp the wrist area back together and when the glue has set up and cured I will either wrap the wrist in wet rawhide and sew it together—or I will make a repair using a piece of copper or brass sheeting, forming it around the wrist and securing it with small nails.  This gun, like the many original ones I have examined will be put back into use—just with a bit more character.


The rest of the pictures can be seen on Daily Woods Journal page on this website for the date 1.5.15