Getting ready for our Monday canoe trip brought back memories of a brief time John Hayes, Dan Bergerson and I got to be on the Wabash River near Fort Ouiatenon, by Lafayette, Indiana. There was a time when Rivers were very important for transporting people and goods, and the bark canoe (including basswood and elm bark) were the mainstays for travel. These photos were taken by frontier artist Steve White in preparation for a painting he was working on about Simon Kenton crossing the Ohio River. Prints are available from Steve White’s web site. Oh how the world has changed in so short a time!
Hunting grouse is a favorite thing with me, especially with flintlock guns. I shot this bird about mid morning with the help of my non-hunting dog Lily. The gun is a 24 gauge, .58 caliber flintlock smoothbore. The barrel has been shortened,making it easiter to carry in the woods, on horseback or in a canoe. I had this gun with me all last winter when I went out to feed deer, looking for snowshoe rabbits.
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!
The pistols shown here are copies of ones given to George Washington in the 18th century. The originals are displayed in a museum at West Point. I will be traveling soon to photograph and write about them. The article will be in American Rifleman sometime next year.
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.
THE WASHINGTON/LAFAYETTE PISTOLS:
About a year and a half ago, I was given the privilege of examining, photographing and writing about a pair of pistols given to George Washington by the Marquis de Lafayette during the American Revolutionary War. I am pleased to say that the article is in this month’s issue of American Rifleman. This has been the most interesting writing project I have ever worked on. These pis…tols are indeed a national treasure, selling for close to two million dollars at an auction. They now reside in the Fort Ligonier museum, in Ligonier, Pennsylvania. The pistols stand out as a shining example of old world craftsmanship, but the meatier part of the story is about Lafayette and Washington. He (Lafayette) is one of the main reasons we were successful in the Revolutionary War. He became a national hero and years later visited the United States and went on a national tour. Sadly he is all but forgotten in these times. “Hands across time” is a concept I think of when examining an artifact. The artifact becomes a kind of touchstone to a past time period for me. I felt that connection keenly while examining those pistols. How quickly Americans for get their past heroes. See More
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.
logs for the three walls of the shelter
More to come images to come soon, having some web site issues–thanks for you patience!
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.