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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  The American Plainsmen Society (Moderators: Caleb Hobbs, Tsalagidave)  |  Topic: The Everyday Life of a Frontiersman 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: The Everyday Life of a Frontiersman  (Read 8955 times)
Tsalagidave
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Dave Rodgers


« on: April 22, 2014, 12:57:56 am »


Boys, its been a while since I posted something and I apologize for that. I have been doing a lot of writing for my paying job (Audio Visual technology and integration); but I haven't been writing for what passion is which is frontier America.

I am back and I have been working on some articles and hopefully, a book. There are a lot of aspects of the frontiersman that are completely overlooked or have been misrepresented by years of dime novels and colorful script writing.  I've focused not only on the basic "how-to" but what do you do when things go terribly wrong. I know my friends here have their own different methods on how to skin a cat but I figured it would make good discussion material. I have also been doing comparisons between the modern outdoorsman's gear and the simplified bliss of the "primitive" approach.


Topics I plan on doing will be a heavily edited and scaled down version of what I'm putting in the book. I already know that I'll hear all the different sides of the coin both for my methods and against in favor of other ways that worked better for someone else and this is all welcome as part of the discussion. Now I am not fishing for anyone else's ideas to capitalize on so if you're worried about that, please don't contribute. This is strictly for introducing newbies and exposing us old hands to the various ways that our pards do things. It also gives us all an opportunity to go over and discuss our favorite topics of woodcraft.

Topics for discussion will be:

*Clothing
*Gear
*Firearms
*Cutlery and other tools
*packing and provisions
*building camps and homesteads
*trailing and tracking
*hunting game and foraging
*food
*water
*fire
*medicine
*interpersonal customs
*keeping logs, time and navigation

There are other topics to add but I'll stay focused on these for now. I'll try to have something new out under the title: "Frontier Tip (subject)" I know we'll tread over ground already covered in many cases but it will give us more to talk about.

I plan to do this every  few days or once a week. However if you grow impatient and want to see more, just say "What's Next Dave?" and I'll get to work cranking something else out.

I look forward to the discussions.

-Dave
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Books OToole
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Michael Tatham


« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2014, 09:37:28 am »

What time frame?  Firearms, knife styles and manufacturing technology evolved dramatically from one generation (20 years) to the next in the 19th century.

The Prairie Traveler by Randolph Marcy and Redpath's Guide to the Rocky Mountain Goldfields, both published in 1859 are excellent period guide books.

Books
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Dave Rodgers


« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2014, 11:52:54 am »

Books, I'll speak generally on  the expansionist to CW period so I am actually covering a roughly 60-year period.  I'll be sure to point out items, methods & styles that are time sensitive as we both know. Mainly, I'll keep the focus between 1830 and 1860 with a stronger emphasis on firelock and percussion muzzle loaders along with a few of the early breech loading guns and of course, the various pistols of the periods.

The Prairie Traveller and the various other guides produced for the various western districts being settled can be counted as good authenticity guidelines as to what you should do/think/say at a period event but it just scratches the surface. I have spent years comparing the practices of being an outdoorsmen from past and present times. There are many books I have that are reprints and thus easy for the general public to obtain. Others are out of print or were never reproduced. I will gladly share that information because hogging over it benefits nobody. Since we both particularly like Marcy, I have found many period practices to work better for me than others (as he did). Sometimes I have agreed with him and other times, I have resorted to other period solutions.

My goal here is not to be a historical survival/living history "know-it-all" but rather, I'd like to keep the topics of our discussions well stoked so as to draw in more participants.  The reenacting hobby is on a steady decline. There are contributing factors that we cannot change but there are others that we can. A big one is that we've done nearly nothing to recruit from the ranks of younger outdoorsmen to replenish the ranks as more and more of us age, lose our stamina and drop out of the hobby.

I started doing this as a teen and when I did it, there was an equal ratio of guys under and over 40. Now, a good kid that has grit is few and far between. I'm 42 and called "kid" by a lot of the other guys and that's pathetic. I want to see this hobby become focused on  family participation again. It is a great opportunity for the younger people to learn respect as well as realize that they are not children anymore and this hobby will install a sense of confidence to tackle life as a grown-up.  I say this because that was the positive effect it had on me. While my friends started getting high, a bunch of biker/Vietnam vets introduced me to the "mountain man" hobby. It was the first time adults took me seriously and it made me want to grow up and be responsible so that I could keep getting that respect.

The other alternative is that we can close our doors to the rest of the world, reminisce about better days and slowly die off without ever passing the torch. I don't want to see this hobby die and I know you all posses the knowledge of helping grow this movement. I want to see self reliance, self confidence, personal accountability and a desire to help others while living in a true society of "Liberty and Justice for All" come back. I want to see accountable, successful kids who value their individuality grow up with a "can-do" attitude. I want to see America and our rugged frontier culture once more be the shining light that fires and inspires the imaginations of people the world over once more.  Who's in?

-Dave
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Michael Tatham


« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2014, 12:06:11 pm »

Sounds great.

 I started camping with the family when I was three.  As a kid the only thing that I really excelled at was Boy Scouts.  When I graduated college (BS - Wildlife Biology & History) I fell in with a group of Buckskinners/Mountain Men.  I have also done 19th century military living history (1812 era and Mex. War.)  Now I primarily do WAS with NCOWS and shoot in the Originals class (ie. document everything you are wearing-shooting-carrying.)

Anything we can do to encourage the next generation is a step in the right direction.

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Dave Rodgers


« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2014, 01:20:33 pm »

Thanks Books,  sharing backgrounds is a great idea. The people on this site have impressive resumes ranging from former active duty military and history majors with a passion for field research to newcomers who know how to shoot but really want to feed the soul on the core American experience. 

I'll share mine and everyone, please contribute as well.

I became a shooter at age 8 and got heavily involved in scouting also. Through my childhood into adulthood, my family had a cabin up in the San Bernardino Mountains and I spent a lot of time at various outdoor camps and taking outdoor, flora & fauna, tracking, & survival classes. I soon branched out on my own tracking, hiking, hunting and camping. As a teen, I got recruited into the mountain man scene and started doing everything from frontier colonial to American Civil War and Frontier Expansionist. I lost interest in the bang-bang battle scenarios pretty fast because they did more to spoil my sense of historic immersion than they did enhance it. My focus centered more on tracking, trailing, primitive camping, hunting, equestrian and the various aspects of non-electric homesteading. Simultaneously, I developed a strong interest in ancient history and studying the pre 1900 United States while amassing a pretty extensive collection. I am also involved with a lot of modern stuff that really does not apply for here. I harbored all this as my various hobbies keeping my life as an outdoorsman separate from my career in international sales/marketing and journalism.  After talking with some publisher friends, I made the decision to shift my writing from audio-visual technology to my true passion which is the outdoors.

So here goes...

Okay, what's the next member's story?

-Dave
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« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2014, 05:47:38 pm »

Eagle Scout here started out as a Bobcat in cub scouts then crossed over into boy scouts with the arrow of light cerimony.
then I went from den leader tio scout master when my boy was growing up
so ya I was deeply involved with scouting
I live just outside the Chickamauga battlefield in the Chickamauga, Chattanooga National military park so a lot of our focus was related to historical battles.
There is a Boy Scout camp site at the foot of Snodgrass Hill that I always loved camping out at. the troop leaders would tell spooky storys about green eyes to try to scare the crap out of us. then I wound up telling the same old stories to my boy and his friends when we camped out in the battlefield. Grin
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« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2014, 06:37:03 pm »

"I started doing this as a teen and when I did it, there was an equal ratio of guys under and over 40. Now, a good kid that has grit is few and far between. I'm 42 and called "kid" by a lot of the other guys and that's pathetic. I want to see this hobby become focused on  family participation again. It is a great opportunity for the younger people to learn respect as well as realize that they are not children anymore and this hobby will install a sense of confidence to tackle life as a grown-up.  I say this because that was the positive effect it had on me. While my friends started getting high, a bunch of biker/Vietnam vets introduced me to the "mountain man" hobby. It was the first time adults took me seriously and it made me want to grow up and be responsible so that I could keep getting that respect."


mine is similar to what dave posted that i attached above.
 I am 41 and im considered the kiddo of the group every where I go.
I grew up hunting and fishing and being outdoors. I never cared for any of the ball sports. i never out grew playing cowboys and Indians and as i got older, i started thinking what keeps me from doing the things that my frontier heroes did? at this pointed i started researching everything i could find on the daily lives of a frontiersman. then set out to learn the skills second nature the best i could that modern laws and modern health concerns would allow.
 i have trapped critters using period traps and methods and hunted and taken white tail deer using period methods from a period camp. i am now in with a group that uses horses and period tack,(something completely new to me) and go on period rides and camps, living off (for the most part) what we can pack on our horse.
 the older i get the more addictive i become to this
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« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2014, 10:37:38 pm »

I'm just beginning to get in to this, while I was in Boy Scouts and liked to camp and canoe, and have always liked to shoot about any kind of guns, I never did get into the buckskinning/reenactment thing until recently. Well, no bucksinning yet, actually. I got into CAS basically because I wanted to shoot with a group, and nobody was shooting any military guns in my area at that time(1990s). For quite a while, my outfit was pretty much SASS minimum.

Since I got started with GAF, I've started getting more into the history, and more "correct" outfit, but pretty slowly, as the budget will allow. I could see myself getting into the Plainsman Society era eventually, again as the budget and time available will allow.
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« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2014, 10:35:16 am »

 I always loved the scout Pow Wow's, Jamborees and camporees who all used to go to these events in your scouting career
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Dave Rodgers


« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2014, 11:44:40 am »

I only have a daughter so its Girl Scouts for this family. She's a little disappointed that they don't really focus on the outdoors because she likes shooting, rock climbing, 4 wheeling, quad-running, kayaking, horses & camping with her dad. Most girl scout troops are a bit too "girly" for the tomboys out there. 

Good news, is that a few scoutmasters have approached me for help in training their scouts in both modern and primitive camping and trailing.  With the way things have been going in this hobby, I think that working with the scouts will provided life blood to keep the tradition alive.

-Dave
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« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2014, 05:13:36 pm »

just remember dave, if you get the women you'll get the children. and the men will most certainly follow. that is the tactics that are used by those who are trying to destroy what our country was founded on. so use it to your full advantage.
 until recently I had no idea on many women are interested in learning primitive skills. last year I was asked to speak at the library about the life in the 1800's. from there the national wild turkey federation had me speak to a group of women on the same thing. I  had 15 women in that class. last month the Louisiana wild life and fisheries had me speak to 20 women at the becoming a outdoors woman (b.o.w.) and I have been asked back for both of these for next year. many of the women are wanting to learn more, anything from brain tanning a deer hide to making moccasin to cooking over a fire and building a fire with a flint and steel.
 its one thing to talk about it but another if you can show them. those of us that are active in this should get involved in teaching. these groups I mention I believe are nation wide and hold events yearly for women. and are always in need of speakers who know these subjects
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Dave Rodgers


« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2014, 07:01:59 pm »

Interesting that you bring that up Billy.  I have been getting a lot of requests to start teaching classes on non-electric survival in a "Post-Katrina" scenario which makes sense since I'm a S. Californian.  I have also been working on similar topics in my book project with my New York contacts. (Not everyone in the media is against the core American values.) I have quite a few "in the closet" friends working with me on this.

Hopefully all our collective stones in the water will eventually form a causeway back to the true path my friends.

-Dave
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Dave Rodgers


« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2014, 01:20:48 pm »

Alright, my first entry that I am working on draws the parallels between first aid of the frontier era versus what we do today. I have used both original and reproduction period medical texts as my sources. When I initially started this, I was amazed at how applicable many of their methods were. Yes, absolutely, some of the treatments then were highly harmful to the patient if not wholly ineffective. Other methods however are not that dissimilar to what we practice today.

I am trying to get the article up but every time I think I've found a stopping point, something new comes up. Below are pictures of my old fashioned but serviceable 1850-60s era medical kit for my homestead or camp outfit impression along with my modern first aid kit for minor injuries, aches and pains along with modified IFAK for treating catastrophic injuries. Just a little parallel there.

This will be a then & now. Then is good for a personal impression while the now builds an appreciation of how much they really did know despite all the progress that has been made in medical science.

-Dave

-Dave



* May14-00018.jpg (190.95 KB, 1000x750 - viewed 321 times.)

* May14-00019.jpg (202.05 KB, 1000x750 - viewed 284 times.)
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« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2014, 01:18:05 am »

Thanks for your dilignece, Dave.

I am starting a new thread for First Aid/ Medicinals and hope you will copy your entry there!

yhs
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« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2014, 08:27:02 pm »

Great topic Dave! I have not seen much written on it, CW medicine yeah - but not much on period lay medicine or what they would have taken with them. When I think trail first aid needs I think of Peg Leg Smith and Jedidiah Smith. Those guy's were not only hardy in spirit - they must have had awesome (an overused word that certainly applies here) immune systems.

Look forward to your writing.
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Dave Rodgers


« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2014, 02:34:04 pm »

Holy Crud! This is taking a long time.  I went into a full-blown research project and now I have to trim it down just to keep it within the 3000-word count. I am targeting a few historical publications once I have the finished product. I may have to split this into 2-separate articles.

-Dave
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« Reply #16 on: December 05, 2016, 12:09:43 am »

I'll add a little of my reenactment history, as a kid I built a CVA split stock percussion,( you know the one), brown pants and that fringed buckskin jacket with the pockets. I bought the rifle kit with my trapping money and the older gentleman that bought my muskrats and coons, tanned me a coonskin to make a cap out of.
Then when I went in the Army and stationed at Bragg I got into Rev war and Civil war, eight years later I got out and went back to Missouri and did more Civil war and F&I.
 Now I would like to try some plainsman since moving to NE Wyoming in the in-between years of the fur trade and Civil war, a time of settlers and migration, it's also a time the reenactors forgot.

I'm slooowly working on getting my outfit together.

I thank all the members here who have contributed their knowledge.
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Dave Rodgers


« Reply #17 on: December 14, 2016, 01:29:40 am »

Jeff, That's a great testimonial on developing a passion to connect with the past so that you may know and love your culture more deeply. As you know, its also about connecting with the inner primal side which every guy should try to do.  Also, thank you for your service buddy. 

-Dave
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« Reply #18 on: December 15, 2016, 08:46:32 am »

Eagle Scout here started out as a Bobcat in cub scouts then crossed over into boy scouts with the arrow of light cerimony.
then I went from den leader tio scout master when my boy was growing up
so ya I was deeply involved with scouting
I live just outside the Chickamauga battlefield in the Chickamauga, Chattanooga National military park so a lot of our focus was related to historical battles.
There is a Boy Scout camp site at the foot of Snodgrass Hill that I always loved camping out at. the troop leaders would tell spooky storys about green eyes to try to scare the crap out of us. then I wound up telling the same old stories to my boy and his friends when we camped out in the battlefield. Grin

VERY familiar with "green eyes" at Chickamauga....  I done Hiving History there for the Park Service, many times.

camping at Widow Glenn's , Snodgrass house & Longstreet HQ. ....I could tell you  Shocked stories,  I personally witnessed at Longstreet's HQ
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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  The American Plainsmen Society (Moderators: Caleb Hobbs, Tsalagidave)  |  Topic: The Everyday Life of a Frontiersman « previous next »
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