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1 year ago

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Well, despite my best efforts, I've gotten bit by the reenacting bug. A buddy of mine who regularly goes to this 18th century get togethers invited us down to Boonesborough a few times when some sort of event was going on. I've always liked history and it was was fun interacting with visitors to the fort and discussing the various characters who showed up on the frontier and had a hand in Kentucky history. I spent most of my time hanging out around the blacksmith shop and trying to learn a little about the craft. It's seems most of the folks are out to portray Dan'el Boone or Simon Kenton or someone resembling that type of hunter/explorer/indian fighter. I find myself leaning toward wanting to portray a farmer of the period. So, I imagine I'll be spending some time hewing out shoulder yokes, shaving down rake handles and assembling an eye hoe (preferably one who's metal end isn't stamped "made in India". My one disappointment is try as I might, I can't find a single reference to anyone coming through the gap on a mule. Sure, Boone brought horse on his 1769 trip to the Blue grass, but I can't find a single mule mentioned until the 1840s when Henry Clay imported a Jack to begin raising them. While I have my eye out for a short stocky horse that has sense enough to pull a plow, pack a load and preferably one with a pretty good gait, fox trot or running walk, this may also be that nudge I've been looking for to finally start a yoke of calves. The one down side I've seen to this new hobby, is it ain't cheap. I priced broad fall knee britches just yesterday and it's a heck of an investment. Couple that with buckled shoes, wool stockings, shirt, smock, and a tri corn hat and there's a sizeable outlay. It makes it hard to smear with grime and tear a little to give the outfit that authentic look. I may have to start off as a craftsman and see if I can peddle enough oak baskets, candle boxes, churns and plow handles to support this new addiction. I may have to look at it as my "indenture". A lot to learn and a lot to do putting together a character.

Billy Foster says 2017-06-20 07:03:35 (CST)

We decided to hit Gettysburg after HPD this year. That should be a good show.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

BrianL says 2017-06-20 08:25:38 (CST)

Jerry, Sounds like it will be both fun and educational. For re-enacting gear, I suspect you've found

As for mules, you bring up a good question. The written history of mules is a little foggy in the early years (aside from the documentation related to George Washington's breeding program, which accounted for some of the first commercial mule trade) and I'm hardly an expert. Although by 1808, the US already had an estimated 855,000 mules with almost all being in the south. In KY, at auction by 1840, a quality jack used for mule breeding could fetch up to $5,000, so mules were well established in the state by that point. (In 1845 Kentucky had $684,504 worth of mules and for the same year horses in Kentucky were worth $10,294.22, so definitely a lot more mules than horses.) One can extrapolate the mule first appeared in state years prior, probably as early as 1795 to 1810.

In 1832, Henry Clay imported the first Catalonian jack into Kentucky, but this wasn't so much to introduce the mule but to improve on the breeding since Southern mules that were already established and available tended to be smaller and not as rugged.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Ralph in N.E.Oh says 2017-06-20 20:41:54 (CST)

Jerry, my wife and I have been to fort Boonesborough. The only thing we liked better on that trip was the museum of Appalachia. We really enjoyed everything about both places. Seeing a reenactment would only make those places even better.
I will tell you that it was our honeymoon trip to boot...On second thought...maybe there was something I liked a little better.... he typed with a red face.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

JerryHicks says 2017-06-21 05:22:31 (CST)

I have always wanted to visit Gettysburg. The most of the Civil War reenactments I've visited have been in Kentucky. I've gone to Perryville a couple of times and really enjoyed it. Once, while on a trip to DC we made a side trip to Antietam and while there was no reenacting going on, it was still a worthwhile visit. I had ancestors on both sides in the war. I have a set of spurs belonging to my great great grandpa who was in the confederate cavalry and was later a circuit riding preacher. I briefly considered getting involved with civil war reenacting once but apparently ran into the wrong people. I had just gotten a new marker for my grandpa's grave from the sons of confederate veterans and was thinking of joining the group from his area. When I approached their booth at Perryville, I could have closed my eyes and I would have thought I was at a Klan rally based on the conversations they were having. I decided they were not a group I wanted to be involved with and so made a donation for the stone and left. The 18th century crowd seems to be a little more friendly. I'm not so sure I have much interest in reenacting battles. I feel like I'm getting too old to be running around through the brush with a long rifle but being a farmer or craftsman may be more my speed. I've contacted Townsends for a catalog and currently have a friend sewing a shirt for me. I already have a flint lock rifle, a tomahawk and a skinning knife, so I'm on my way. Ralph, I have a cousin who does reenacting up closer to you. He lives in Mansfield and goes to some sort of rendezvous up that way. We made the decision to quit tobacco this year, so this hobby may take up my time until we figure out a new cash crop.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Wanderosa says 2017-06-21 10:22:14 (CST)

Every year Middletown, VA does a massive Civil War battle reenactment. It's jaw dropping. I love driving up business Route 11 during the event. Thousands of reinactors on foot and horseback on both sides of the road, with smoke rising and the heavy thudding of the cannons and rifles. The whole town gets into it. People dress up and sit on their lawns selling period attire and other goodies.

There's an English company called Prior Attire that custom builds the most fantastic (and expensive!) clothing for movies and reenactors. I drool over it!

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

JerryHicks says 2017-06-22 05:08:15 (CST)

Not only have I been told my mule would be out of place, but apparently my flint lock rifle is a tad too modern as well. It would fit in more in the 1830s or 40s as a southern mountain type rifle, and ironically, would also fit into the same time frame as mules in my area. There is definitely a lot to learn! There is a lot more to this than a person could imagine. Apparently, not everyone wore a white powdered wig or even a coon skin cap, which not even Boone ever wore. It seems a person can just about immerse themselves as deep in the hobby as they like and still not cover it all.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

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