The Spirit of America 10@72

The expedition was a long one with highs and lows, but it was a success!  Here are a few pictures from our adventure at Martin’s Station in Virginia.

From left to right: expedition leader Mark Sage, core rider Larry Spisak, core rider John Hayes, core rider Don Newsome, Rusty Cottrel as Black Hoof, Core rider Cindy Jackson.

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Hi, an exciting living history event is in the planning stages for next May, called America’s Frontier History Expedition  To learn more about it, there are two documents on this page.  The first one is an overview the month-long event.  I posted this on Facebook, so you might have already seen it.  The second document, labeled Participant Information Form is a more detailed description of this unique event, including how to become a participant.

Thank you for your interest!

An overview of the Expedition:

America’s Frontier History Expedition

Last summer I contacted the Boone Society with an idea to walk the Boone Trace, which Daniel Boone scouted and marked along with 30 axe men in 1775.  Author, historian and presenter Mel Hankla later suggested that it be done on horseback.   So my original idea to walk morphed into a ride, and then into a ride with a number of people.  Below are the particulars.  Perhaps you might want to join in this epic journey following the corridor of our early westward movement.

What is the America’s Frontier History Expedition?

  • An educational/promotional/living history event to take place in the spring of 2016 for the purpose of making the public more aware of the history of America’s early western expansion and to promote the recently rediscovered Boone Trace.
  • A two hundred and thirty mile trip made primarily by horseback starting from Sycamore Shoals State Park in Elizabethton, Tennessee to Boonesbourough State Park in Kentucky.
  • From May 5, to May 30, 2016.
  • Sponsored by the Boone Society, a 501-C-3 organization
  • An educational/promotional event to:
    1. Provide educational opportunities for the public to learn about America’s early westward expansion.
    2. Commemorate the development of the Boone Trace for future educational and tourism purposes.
    3. Give people an opportunity to interact firsthand with America’s early westward movement
  • The travel route will follow a historic corridor of early travel including the Boone Trace that was marked by Daniel Boone and thirty axe men in 1775, and the Wilderness Road, over which thousands of settlers traveled as part of our early western movement.
  • Includes a stop at Historic Martins Station, a recreated 1775 frontier fort of Joseph Martin at Wilderness Road State Park, Virginia and then crossing over the Cumberland Gap during the second weekend of May.
  • Stops will be made along the trip at various schools, parks and historic places to present, discuss and demonstrate the lifestyle and times of those earlier pioneer and settlers
  • A core group of living history participants will make the entire trip. All the riders included in this group will be dressed and accoutered in historically accurate clothing. These participants’ responsibilities will include meeting the public, making presentations and educating people about the route of the Boone Trace and the history of the Western Expansion.
  • All core riders will submit applications, be interviewed and juried before being accepted.
  • Saddles and all horse tack will be historically correct for the time period.
  • Considering that everyone cannot commit to the entire length of the ride, those who wish to participate by riding portions of the trip are welcome. All part-time living history participants taking part in the ride will be juried.  They must be dressed in historically recreated eighteenth century clothing and personal accoutrements. Their saddle tack must be correct for the time period. Since they represent the living history aspect of the trip, they must adhere to the strict standards of historical accuracy and rules of conduct.  They can provide their own horses—or make arrangements with the horse ranch that is providing horses for the expedition.
  • Non period riders are also welcome; however, those who cannot provide historical clothing and saddle gear will ride separately in the convoy. For further information, including how to become one of the participants or help with the support crew, follow the link on my website; then click on the page: American’s Frontier History Expedition.  One can also access the Boone Society website:

Participant Information Form:

America’s Frontier History Expedition

Mission Statement:

“To promote the history of America’s early Trans-Appalachian/Allegheny westward movement, for educational and tourism purposes”

  • This is a 230 mile, living history/educational event on horseback starting from Sycamore Shoals State Park in Elizabethton, Tennessee to Boonesbourough State Park in Kentucky.
  • Starting May 5, and concluding May 30, 2016.
  • Sponsored by the Boone Society, a 501-C-3 organization to:
    1. Provide educational opportunities for the public to learn about America’s early westward expansion.
    2. Commemorate the opening of the recently rediscovered Boone Trace for future educational and tourism purposes.
  • The route will follow a historic corridor of early travel including parts of the Boone Trace first scouted by Daniel Boone and later marked by Daniel and thirty axe men in 1775 and also of the Wilderness Road, which came into being later.
  • Includes crossing over the Cumberland Gap during the second weekend of May.
  • All of the participants in the ride will be dressed in eighteenth century, historical clothing and carrying period gear.
  • The horse tack will also be historically correct for the time period.
  • We will ride horseback as much as is practical given our various presentations to the public, road conditions and weather.
  • Stops will be made during the trip at various schools, parks and historic places to present and demonstrate different aspects of our early, westward expansion.

There are four ways to participate in this event

OPTION ONE: Be one of the core riders.

    1. A core rider (he or she) will travel the whole distance either riding or leading a pack horse.
    2. Core riders will be dressed in historically correct clothing, and utilize period correct tool.
    3. Horse saddles and tack will also be historically appropriate.  Core riders will have to apply, be interviewed and juried before being accepted.
    4. Some of the core riders will do presentations to the public.

OPTION TWO: Be a part-time reenactor participant

  • Reenactors are welcomed to join the ride for shorter periods of time, but they must agree to adhere to strict standards of historical accuracy and rules of conduct—and be juried.  Depending on the time they plan to spend on the expedition (and our budgetary restraints,) they might have to either provide their own horses—or make individual arrangements with the ranch that is providing horses for the expedition; i.e. rent a horse on a daily basis.

OPTION THREE: Be a non-period participant.

  • Non period participants are both welcomed and encouraged, but they will ride separately from the group traveling in period clothing.  They are not required to dress in historically correct clothing.

Option Four:  Become a member of the support team

  • We will need a number of people available along the trip to help set up camp, drive vehicles, run errands and generally help out wherever needed.

Requirements for core  and part time riders 

  • Must be healthy enough to participate—man or woman.
  • Must be well acquainted with the history of America’s early westward expansion, circa 1760-1800—including Daniel Boone’s life and contribution to that time period.
  • Must have clothing and accoutrements correct for the time period.
  • Must have experience with horses and must be trail ready by the time the expedition starts—important!
  • Possible exceptions might be if a person choses to lead a pack horse by walking.
  • Must be willing to work as a team with the other members of the expedition.
  • Must have experience camping in the outdoors with period clothing and gear.
  • Some core riders will also present to the public aspects of American frontier history.  Example: History of the Boone Trace, or Daniel Boone’s life, clothing on the frontier, Indians on the frontier, slavery on the frontier or something pertinent to our Westward expansion.
  • Must be willing to follow orders and conform to the schedule, as we will be presenting at various events and places.Non–core ridersNon-core riders can also do historical presentations, but must be approved first by Sam Compton and Mark Sage.Note: This trip could be trying at times and whoever considers joining this expedition should keep that in mind when considering his or her possible involvement.  The motivation for participating should be a love for our early history and a willingness to be a living history example of those early pioneers and pathfinders.  We will potentially face all sorts of weather situations and other intangibles along the way.  Participants must possess a positive attitude and willingness to problem solve along the way.  We are looking for team players.

Some rules and things to consider:

  1. Mark Sage and Sam Compton will be the team leaders.  That being said, we will make as decisions as a core team on a consensus basis whenever possible.  Sam will be in charge of ground support; Mark will be in charge of the riders and the educational aspect of the expedition.
  2. All core riders and reenactors participating in the expedition will remain in period clothing at all times when riding or presenting to the public.
  3. Time and opportunity will be made to take showers.
  4. In case of severe weather, we will stay in a motel.
  5. All camp gear must be correct for the time period—no cast iron, etc.
  6. Food should be period also.  We are working on the possibility of having a camp cook along to provide the evening meal.  There will be times when food will be provided for us at public events.  Reenactors on the ride will only eat and drink with period correct utensils when in view of the public.
  7. Cell phones may be brought along, but must remain hidden from the public except in case of an emergency.  No selfies.
  8. Cameras are allowed, but discretion must be used here—again we want to keep things as period correct as possible when in view of the public.  There will be other photographers taking pictures of the expedition along the way.
  9. There is a very good chance we will be filmed for local and maybe national broadcasts, so we must do our best to look and act according to the time period we are representing.
  10. Period eyewear must be used.
  11. Modern medications are certainly allowed, but must remain out of the public’s view.
  12. All firearms must be appropriate for both the time period and the region.  They will be checked and remain unloaded during the event.  The exception to this might be if someone is demonstrating firing of flintlock firearms.
  13. Knifes and edged weapons must be carried in an appropriate, period sheath.
  14. Any alcohol consumed during the expedition must be restricted to evening time, those doing so are expected to act responsibly and conform to the rules of the campsites.
  15. At all times, the public is to be treated in a respectful manner.  We are there to educate and leave a lasting, positive impression.
  16. Participants will need to bring a personal canteen, water will be provided along the way
  17. Those employed to care for the horses will have final say at all times concerning any aspect of the horses’ health and well-being.
  18. A support vehicle will accompany the expedition, allowing us to some carry extra gear.
  19. Participants are required to treat one another respectfully regardless of political, social or religious beliefs.
  20. Keep in mind that this is not a strict, historical trek where we will be on horseback one hundred percent of the time.  Though we will use horses and be period correct in our appearance, we will more of an educational team, showcasing our early frontier history.If you are interested in joining this expedition, please send me an email and briefly answer these questions:
  • Why do you want to join the expedition?
  • Do you want to be a core rider (travel the whole event) or a part time rider?
  • What could you offer as a presenter?  What experience have you had as a presenter?
  • Who would you be presenting as a living history reenactor?  For instance, a settler, longhunter, land speculator, a frontier women, indentured servant, slave.
  • Please include your contact information.

Long hunters crossing the stream DW


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Saddles and Tack:

Here is the saddle I will be using:

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We are moving right along on our project.  Here is a picture of the truck that has been loaned to us for pulling our horse trailer.  Many thanks to Dan Bergerson for this.



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