I just downloaded a number of articles to this website. They are from a number of different magazines, including Muzzleloader, of which I am a staff writer. All of them are germane to America’s early frontier history and Westward Expansion. Just go to the menu bar and click on articles. Find the article that you want to read and click on it. Be patient it might take a minute or two to download.
In 2016 a number of historical interpreters took a 230 mile history tour, traveling the Boone Trace, the trail that Daniel Boone marked out in the spring of 1775. It was trying, it was epic, it was emotional, it was educational. I wrote a four-part series about our experiences for Muzzleloader magazine. Thanks to Muzzleloader, the Boone Society is now reprinting the series. I am honored to be on the cover of Compass. There is a twenty minute movie I made about the expedition that can be seen on this website. Just click on America’s Frontier History Expedition in the menu. The history of our nation is something that we should not forget or neglect!
I’m working on completing a flintlock pistol project that has been lagging for years now. It is not a copy of anything specific, but is just a nice .45 caliber “pocket-sized” pistol. There is still some final shaping to do, then the final staining and finishing. The pistol was designed and built by friend Eugene Shadley, I re-shaped the barrel, did some lock work and hopefully will have it finished within a week.
I am starting a new project this summer: a half-face shelter. They were usually the first dwelling erected when setting up a semi-permanent camp when traveling west. I am using white cedar logs for mine, locally harvested. There are a total of 30, some for the walls, some for the roof. Friend Gene Shadley came over to help. I will let these logs season for a while before I put up the shelter, about 8 by 10 feet in diameter.
More to come images to come soon, having some web site issues–thanks for you patience!
Spent a great morning in the woods with some close friends testing our snowshoes and bindings. The snow was a foot and a half deep in some places, down about eight inches from a week ago. Spring is coming soon and we wanted to take advantage of some warmer weather (in the twenties.) We found a great place for a future winter camp, kindled a fire using flint and steel, and had something warm to drink, saw a coyote and many many deer tracks. We may snowshoe into the same place and camp overnight in the next week or so—maybe. There is nothing like going out on snowshoes in the winter when the weather cooperates. Our ancestors used snowshoes extensively in the early days of our frontier where the winters were cold and the snow deep.
As someone who has studied and written about the life of Daniel Boone and America’s Westward Expansion for the last thirty years or so—and has traveled to most of the places Daniel Boone lived—and also traveled the Boone Trace in 2016, I would have to say that this documentary is the worst, most historically incorrect I have ever seen! There are so many things wrong with it, I cannot even begin. First of all, Daniel Boone had long hair and no beard; in fact most men did not grow beards in the 18th century—his hat was also incorrect. Further, the guns were wrong; some of the guns depicted utilized an ignition system that had not even been invented yet. Why weren’t American Longrifles used? People traveling into Kentucky in the early years did not use carts or wagons, the either walked or used horses, especially packhorses—the Boone Trace was not a finished road. The rescue of Jemima Boone—wrong, the capture of Boone and his escape—wrong, the siege of Boonesborough—wrong—that is to say many inaccuracies. I was also embarrassed the way Native American’s were depicted—especially the Shawnee Chief Black Fish. There was no mention of other important people on the frontier either like Simon Kenton and George Roger’s Clark: I could go on. I commend the History Channel for finally doing something that pertains to history (instead of Swamp People, Ice Road Truckers and other non-related history stuff) but whoever wrote the script for this so called documentary should be fired–even if Leonardo DiCaprio helped produce it. One can only hope the series will get better, but right now I sincerely doubt it.
“With regard to history, you must consider there’s what happened; what witnesses might have seen; what witnesses believed they saw; what witnesses could recall; and what witnesses chose to write down.”
IN A WORLD WITHOUT ELECTRICITY:
Yesterday I spoke to two large groups of 6th graders here in my home town of Grand Rapids, Mn. The subject: The Great Lakes Fur Trade 1700-1800. I start by asking the class to imagine a world without electrical power. What would life be without electricity? Yet, that was the world of the early American frontier where practical survival was a full-time job. I love talking with people about the frontier. Kids (and adults) love things that they can actually see and touch, so I always bring as many visual aids as is practical. I also like to interact with the students. Yesterday went very well; we covered many important points germane to the Great Lakes fur trade era. I also brought along period snow shoes, a 10 foot toboggan, a birch bark canoe model, various furs, wool blankets, all sorts of clothing and tools, including a fur trade era flintlock era Indian trade gun. One highlight was demonstrating fire making with a bow drill. The bow drill was lent to me by my good friend Larry Spisak. I don’t know how many kids were in the classes, but I bet it tops two hundred. All of us have learning styles and for kids being able to have their book learning augmented with material objects and also to be able to actually use them helps bring the subject matter that they are studying into clearer focus. I commend the teacher who invited me to do this (Angela S.) for caring enough about here students to invite me it there, it was really a privilege. The pictures do a better job of telling the story.
I just received this very nice review from the teacher who invited me to speak to the whole 6th grade class. A lot of work goes into preparation for something like this. Many of my historical interpreter friends know this. It is nice to know that our efforts are appreciated. “The RJEMS 6th grade students and teachers enjoyed the Fur Trade/1800’s presentation. Mr. Sage had command of the group, brought the kids into the time period, and was a true teacher. It was a great culminating activity for some students, and a good anticipatory activity for others. We appreciated the all the materials brought in and wish we had time to explore more! Thanks for a blast!”