About Mark Sage

Mark and CindyAll of us walk down the highway of life one step at a time. My journey has been an interesting one, but not painless. And on that road I have encountered defining moments where the route has taken abrupt and significant turns that changed my life forever.

Growing up in the fifties I was enamored with Walt Disney’s Davy Crockett and later on NBC’s weekly series Daniel Boone. I grew up in a time when our heroes were squeaky clean and the American ideal was hardly questioned. But by the time I had graduated from high school I had become deeply disillusioned with our government and became not only critical, but revolutionary towards it. I was part of the anti-war movement, the anti-America movement – identified simply as “the counter culture.” Is it any wonder that at the same time my own life was spiraling down into one of anger, despair, emptiness, chemical and drug abuse?

In the summer of 69 I was booted out of my home because I refused to cut my hair and I lived from hand to mouth in my hometown of Davenport, Iowa, sometimes stealing to make ends meet. Thankfully, I had a girlfriend (named Karen) who was able to help me some with some of the simple necessities, but life was tough. I remember sleeping one night on a cold garage floor and shivering for hours. In August of that same year I experienced a spiritual rebirth that has formed the foundation and motivation for my existence here on this earth. Things went better for me after that. I cleaned up my act, got married, had children and then 10 years later another significant event happened to me that has directed and defined my life’s focus for the last 27 years.

While visiting my parent’s at their remote lake cabin near Lutsen, Minnesota, I had opportunity to shoot the same type of gun that men like Boone and Crockett carried. It loaded from the front, using loose, black, gun powder from a powder horn and shot a funny looking round ball. When I pulled the trigger the gun roared and a mighty plume of white smoke came exploding out of the barrel. From the first squeeze of the trigger and in that very brief instant of time the light went on. That firearm became a conduit, a portal of discovery and somehow I made a connection to our nation’s past that I never had done by reading a book or sitting in a classroom. I was in the present moment, yet I was also somewhere in time years ago, deep in our nation’s past and I was seeing the world through the eyes of an early frontiersman.

That is an example of what I call “time connectedness”, something that transcends mere thought or perception and draws us into the visceral feeling of history and ultimately brings us to a closer comprehension of the truth, of “how it really was.”

In my case, it took a simple artifact to open the door of my understanding and to begin my journey. In a matter of weeks I had purchased that gun, started shooting it and learning about the guns of our nation’s past. My experiences in the field led me to do research and my

Research led me back into the field. Eventually I was introduced to the term that described what I was doing. That term is “experimental archeology.” Some people like to label it “living history.” Whatever the term used, it involves testing existing historical theories that archeologists and historians have made  based on data they have taken from historical records and examination of  artifacts. Then, the experimental archeologist will take those artifacts or copies of them and experiment in the field with them to further “flesh out” the existing theories.  But whatever label you attach to the process, the end result is the same – a deeper sense of historical connection and perception.

For instance, I had heard that these old muzzleloading guns were slow to load and unreliable. Experience has shown this to be wrong. With flintlock firearms I have successfully hunted bear, deer, wild boar, grouse, rabbits, squirrels and the world’s unluckiest woodcock. Another myth that has been debunked (along with the help of others in this field) is that frontiersmen did not dress from head to toe in buckskin. Yes, they did wear some leather. But, I found that leather is not very comfortable when it gets wet, takes a long time to dry and is hot in the summer. From research in primary sources (diaries, etc.) and field work, we have found that frontiersmen dressed much like Native Americans – yet history books and the media rarely show this.

The process of “Experimental archeology” has also led to forays out in the woods in an 18th century manner. Included in this has been hunting with flintlock firearms, traveling by horse, foot or by birch bark canoe. Other features include starting fires without a match, freezing, starving, burning up, becoming insect fodder, being injured and getting lost. But no matter where the journey led and no matter if the experience was momentarily good or bad, the end result has been the same – a closer knowledge of what our early frontier was really like.

 

Another great way to view the past is through the eyes of someone who actually lived in that time period. So, it was a natural thing for me to become interested in Daniel Boone. Why not? He certainly is one of the morning stars of America’s early, westward expansion.

As I began to focus on Daniel Boone’s life and times, I found that most everything I had ever learned about him from the media was false and deeply misleading. As an American frontier icon, he deserves the status awarded to him as the heroic, honest and resourceful woodsman. But like all of us, he was person of many dimensions, shades and hues. It is some of these other sides of Daniel Boone that I like to bring out, the dimensions that really shaped and solidified his character and made him a truly great man. This is the very human side of failure, pain, depression and regret.  I have learned many valuable life-lessons from Boone’s 18th century experiences that are so applicable to our lives today, whether in the work place or at home. Both in the field and in research, Daniel Boone’s life has encouraged, energized and motivated me. Part of what I do is simply share what I have learned.

This whole historical journey has changed and enriched my life in many ways and I have had fun along the way. That’s what I want to do for others – introduce them to a history that is alive with lessons for living today and that is what Portals In Time is all about.

I have a few historical affiliations that I would like to mention.  I am honored to be a member of The American Longrifle Association, The Contemporary Longrifle Association and The Upper Mississippi Alliance of Adventurers (local group of reenactors).  My gratitude to all these groups and their kind members, they have been invaluable in my understanding the American Frontier of the 18th century.

In addition, I  am  a full time staff writer for Muzzleloader magazine.  Muzzleloader’s main focus is our early, American frontier history.  Over the years I have also written  many articles for other publications–including American Rifleman–all of them history related.

None of this would have been possible if it had not been for my wife of 35 years, Cindy.  Her help, support, encouragement and ideas have been the real, sustaining force behind the scenes and her smile is the sunlight in our home that has brightened not only my life, but many others as well.

Finally, and most importantly, I would like the thank the Lord Jesus Christ who came into my life at 17 years of age and changed a very lonely and lost young man and gave him hope and purpose.  To Him I owe everything!

 

I hope our trails cross in the future!

23 thoughts on “About Mark Sage

  1. Mark,
    You are a fascinating man. We met at a gas station in Strasburg Ohio and talked “history” for an hour or so. It was wonderful to hear someone who really understands the inside scoop of history and what it was really like then.

    Your last words above are “I hope our trails cross in the future!” I am happy they crossed when they did, and I too hope they again cross in the future. Enjoy Ohio, and if you are here a few days, I would love to buy you a beer and chat some more. My cell phone number is 330-412-9774

    Check out our website. It is about our little cabin we built to retire in. We have a few chickens and some raised bed gardens. We love it here.

    Tim

    • Hi Tim, It was great to meet you on the road. I do get to Ohio from time to time and I will contact you. Have a great day!

  2. i heard from my Mother that she had met you in church so I looked you up to say hello. Sounds like you lead a very interesting life, and I enjoyed reading a bit about what you are doing here. A lot of years have gone by since I saw you last, I think it was about 1972 or 1973 when I was last at the Farm. I often wonder where everyone ended up. It would be great to hear from you and catch up a bit. Please contact me if you wish and I will do my best to respond. Steve…

  3. Mark just want to let you know how much I enjoy your writing in Muzzleloader . I grew up in a gun shop in Larwill , Indiana and have loved history from the time I could read . My dad built and sold black powder rifles in the early 70’s to sell thru the shop . Love your writing style and dedication . Thanks .

  4. Mr. Sage,

    I just wanted to commend you on your four part series of Simon Girty, “One Man, Two Worlds.” It was such a well researched, thorough examination of his life, times and associations. I’m convinced Girty would be proud to have his story presented in such a talentedly manner.

    Will you be posting the 4th article in the series sometime soon?

    Again, well done, sir.

    • Hi Kevin, Thanks for the kind comments. I believe that both the forth and fifth article are published. I certainly enjoyed writing about Simon Girty. Sometime in the future I hope to write about Simon Kenton. Have a great day!

  5. Hey Mark,
    I have a new CD out called “Westward and Away.” It has a song about Simon Kenton , and one about Alexader McKee and Simon Girty, and one about John Colter. I wanted to tell you that it is now available on iTunes. This is the first time I have put music on iTunes and it is all because of my wife who is a computer / internet person and aware of modern trends, unlike my self. Give it a listen and let me know what you think. I hope to see you again soon at Pricketts Fort!
    Thanks, Pete Kosky

  6. Hello Mark,
    I am grateful to you for the “America’s Frontier History Expedition”. I am a direct descendent to Sarah Boone. I want to restore and make available as much of our true history on Daniel as possible. I will be joining you at Martin’s Station for the presentations there. I will be staying with Sam Compton and my cousin, his wife, Carolyn. I so look forward to meeting you. I pray the funds come in to film this full event and put it on the History channel.
    Mark, I am opening Boone Pioneer School, a new charter school in California. Perhaps, you can fly out to help us dedicate the school when we open. I would be honored to have you present.
    God bless you,
    Nancy Eggert Boone, M.A.
    School Developer, California
    (619) 227-1664

    • Hi Nancy, nice to make your acquaintance. I hope the expedition does well also and I would be glad to help dedicate your school if time and schedule permits. Thanks and have a great day!!

      • Good morning,
        I have been persecuted to the max and wanted to get out of California….many people have left.
        Good news is I am starting Boone Pioneer Educational Foundation in honor of Daniel Boone, my uncle. Please let people know they can contact me to give tax deductible donations. Our goal is to educate as many of our nation’s children as possible. Reading is the focus first so that they can excel in every academic area. I will take teams of highly trained teachers for three months at a time, anywhere we are needed. We will bring the students to grade level, then head out for another location. Please pray for this venture as it will soon explode. God is moving. He is watching the children and wants them prepared to follow this great nation and take it in to the next 100 years. This is my prayer as a pioneer to this generation. America needs strong pioneers that do not quit. Our founding families did not quit. We will not stop preserving the foundation of what we have in the United States.
        Donations can be sent to me in California. People can call me at (619) 227-1664 for tax deduction information. Tell any business friends you know in America. Together, we will be sure the children can lead us on.
        God bless you, Mark.
        Nancy Eggert Boone, M.A.
        Executive Director-Boone Pioneer Educational Foundation

  7. Hello Mark,
    It was great to speak with you in the car during the Expedition. I will schedule with you for the school opening in California. You are so amazing. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your dedication to historical presentations. I could hardly leave to return home, but I must work hard now to open “Boone Pioneer School”. We open in the Fall of 2017. Check your calendar. Let’s talk.
    God bless you and your dear wife for making all of this happen. We are just beginning.
    Nancy Eggert Boone

  8. Mark, Enjoyed talking with you at the Boone Society Reunion and hearing your presentation at the banquet. If you ever get to west Tennessee I will show you the “Daniel Boone tree”. Thanks for the advise.

    Bruce Boone

  9. Hi Sage
    This is Angela Axtell, Brian Niemi’s daughter. If you wouldn’t mind calling me I have a question in mind for you.
    Thank you
    Angela Axtell
    MDHA Itasca President
    2182449076

  10. Sorry Mark… comment above was meant for a different wall. The comments for you was… Brian and I really enjoyed reading ur article. Our oldest daughter, Angela would like to get in contact with you. let us know if that’s okay with you.

  11. Hello Mark,
    I am just checking in. I am working hard on Boone Pioneer School in San Diego
    County. I am getting great newspaper coverage now. I look forward to flying you and some of the chosen group that you suggest to California for the opening celebration.
    Thank you again for your value for my family history. It is great to have you telling the great American tale of settlement and sacrifices.
    Nancy Eggert Boone, M.A.
    Executive Director-Boone Pioneer School
    San Diego, California

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