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Login Name Post: Longhunter footwear        (Topic#252479)
Little Buffalo 
45 Cal.
Posts: 703
Little Buffalo
12-07-10 09:02 PM - Post#925116    


I'm looking for some footwear to wear on period correct hunts of the mid-18th century. However, all the usual 18th century suppliers sell mostly just the low-quarter buckle style shoes. Now I'm not an 18th century expert, but I can't picture the frontiersman or longhunter venturing into the backcountry with a pair of low quarter buckled shoes.

So what exactly did the longhunter wear on his feet during cold winter hunts? How did they keep their feet warm and dry without Goretex? And, where can I get some?

 
Spence10 
Cannon
Posts: 6215
12-07-10 10:59 PM - Post#925162    

    In response to Little Buffalo

  • Onojutta Said:
Now I'm not an 18th century expert, but I can't picture the frontiersman or longhunter venturing into the backcountry with a pair of low quarter buckled shoes.


Seems strange to think so, doesn't it? But, in the book Westward into Kentucky, the Narrative of Daniel Trabue, there is some first hand description of just that thing. On one of his trips from Old Virginia to Logan's Fort in Kentucky, 1779-80, with a party of men and families, Trabue and two companions were attacked by Indians while hunting in the rain, and they wound up in a foot race for their lives. Describing the race, Daniel said:

"My shews was wet and too big for me. I kicked them off and went pass them. I thought of the silver buckels that was in them which was worth $6. I turned around and reached them..."

  • Quote:
So what exactly did the longhunter wear on his feet during cold winter hunts? How did they keep their feet warm and dry without Goretex? And, where can I get some?


Trabue was deputy commisary for the fort, and his duties including providing meat, lots of meat, so he was out hunting a lot, in all weathers. During the hardest winter they experienced, 1779, he was hunting miles from the fort in knee-deep snow, the temperature was so low that he said they couldn't leave the fire and couldn't reload their guns if they fired them, he commented:

"We made socks to go over our shews with Buffelo skins puting the wool inside and we had woolen gloves..."

And later, "We put on 2 pair of gloves and buffeloe socks on over our shews..."

Trabue wasn't a longhunter or professional woodsman, but he was out in it under all conditions for several years, several times traveling the 200-mile Wilderness trail, fending off Indians and hunting for sustenance, and he wore shoes. Hunting and traveling in all weathers and seasons, he wore shoes.

Only one man, of course.

Spence

 
Claude 
Administrator
Posts: 13718
Claude
12-08-10 10:26 AM - Post#925326    

    In response to Spence10

I always assumed (from reading and conjecture) that people wore what they had (what they came West with). When their shoes wore out, if none were available, they made moccasins.

Today, we tend to label everything. "Longhunter Shirt", "Rifleman's Knife". Although that helps us differentiate styles, back then I think they used what they had at the time.


 
Spence10 
Cannon
Posts: 6215
12-08-10 01:11 PM - Post#925413    

    In response to Claude Mathis

  • Claude Said:
I always assumed (from reading and conjecture) that people wore what they had (what they came West with). When their shoes wore out, if none were available, they made moccasins.


That seems exactly right, to me. There certainly is abundant documentation for that happening, both east and west. It does make a difference what locale and time frame we are thinking about, though. On the Kentucky frontier in 18th century the supply lines to the stations were never interrupted for more than a few weeks, getting replacement shoes shouldn't have been a problem. On the other hand, the longhunters of a slightly earlier time in that same place were sometimes away from civilization for 18-24 months. There is also a lot of documentation people adopting that style of dress all the time from personal preference, not because it was forced on them. I've come to believe, though, that many of the ordinary folk wore what they had when they went into the bush, shoes, breeches, etc., and that the modern interpretation of many reenactors that moccasins, leggings and such were universally worn is not quite right. In some situations, locations and times, yes, but not for everyone all the time.

Spence

 
Black Hand 
Cannon
Posts: 6463
12-08-10 05:14 PM - Post#925551    

    In response to Spence10

They wore what they had and then replaced them when they wore out. Shoes (with or without buckles) were probably more popular than is currently represented. However, even with a longhunt, I can't see many of them staying away from ALL settlements for the entire period, though they might be away from THEIR town/house/settlement for the entire time. They would have to re-supply, be it from native villages or towns at some point. I just can't see their supplies lasting all that long....

 
Trench 
62 Cal.
Posts: 2989
Trench
12-08-10 05:39 PM - Post#925561    

    In response to Little Buffalo

Did longhunters go out in bitter cold weather? If you could hunt whenever you want, why would they risk injury in that kind of weather?


 
Spence10 
Cannon
Posts: 6215
12-08-10 06:13 PM - Post#925580    

    In response to Black Hand

  • Black Hand Said:
However, even with a longhunt, I can't see many of them staying away from ALL settlements for the entire period, though they might be away from THEIR town/house/settlement for the entire time. They would have to re-supply, be it from native villages or towns at some point. I just can't see their supplies lasting all that long....


I think you are essentially right, although it would depend on the situation. The true longhunters, hunting in Kentucky before settlement in 1775, did record sending someone for supplies back over the mountains during their long stays. That was no simple thing, though, since it was more than 400 miles round trip. There was no possibility of resupplying at native villages, there were none, and if you ran across Indians you would almost certainly lose your furs and outfit, possibly your life. The situation in the east was very different, in some ways, than later in the west.

Spence

 
Black Hand 
Cannon
Posts: 6463
12-08-10 06:15 PM - Post#925581    

    In response to Trench

From what I understand, the summer hides were preferred in the trade as they were higher quality.

 
Spence10 
Cannon
Posts: 6215
12-08-10 06:21 PM - Post#925588    

    In response to Trench

  • Trench Said:
Did longhunters go out in bitter cold weather? If you could hunt whenever you want, why would they risk injury in that kind of weather?


I guess because it wasn't primarily a pleasure trip but a way to make a living. The hides they came for were red or summer deer skins, which they shot, but they were also trappers out for any sellable skins, and many of them are prime in winter, so they were out all winter doing that. And since they basically were living off what they could shoot, they had to be out if they wanted to eat. That's what Trabue was doing when he described his cold weather ordeal.

Spence

 
bull3540 
54 Cal.
Posts: 1943
bull3540
12-08-10 11:19 PM - Post#925750    

    In response to Little Buffalo

  • Onojutta Said:
I'm looking for some footwear to wear on period correct hunts of the mid-18th century.


Here are a couple of places to find mocs that may suit your needs; http://www.arrowmoc.com/scott.html
http://www.arrowmoc.com/4wl.html
http://www.carldyers.com/
http://www.moccasins.com/mens-moccasins/knee-high-moccasin-b...
http://www.mukluks.com/
http://www.etsy.com/listing/61451140/mens-genuine-buffalo-hi...
Or just make you some wool leggings to keep warm and hide your non-PC shoes with.

 
Black Hand 
Cannon
Posts: 6463
12-09-10 06:08 AM - Post#925797    

    In response to bull3540

Sorry to burst your bubble, but the moccasin sites your list have moccasins that are Historically-inspired but are not Period/Historically correct....

 
Kapellmeister 
Moderator
Posts: 2091
Kapellmeister
12-09-10 10:04 AM - Post#925873    

    In response to Black Hand

Black Hand is right... some of those mocs are excellent quality products but just not exactly historically correct - I like the phrase he used: "Historically Inspired". For example, the Dyers (as well as Poppens) mocs are extremely comfortable - but just not exactly like any 18th c. design. I think the Arrow "Ligonier" moc closely resembles a "shoepack"... but I believe they're made of chrome tanned leather. The Steger mukluks are fantastic! - extremely comfortable and warm - but... they have a rubber sole!

You just have to decide what level you're going to go for. For me, when I'm hunting... out by myself... I'll wear my Arrow "shoepacks" or my Steger mukluks and enjoy the comfort they provide. I guess that's the trade-off of not enjoying the fact that I'm completely historically correct. This is supposed to be fun... and when my feet are cold or hurt, I ain't havin' fun. Heck, I even hafta put orthotics in 'em!

Now, I guess the argument can be made that one can wrap their feet all up in wool and make their own mocs to fit over all the wraps (see the Mark Baker "Longhunter" video series)... I just haven't gotten to that "level" yet. And I do respect those that go that extra mile.
~s.D.g. ~


 
Anonymous 
12-09-10 11:11 AM - Post#925920    

    In response to bull3540

  • bull3540 Said:
  • Onojutta Said:
I'm looking for some footwear to wear on period correct hunts of the mid-18th century.


Here are a couple of places to find mocs that may suit your needs; http://www.arrowmoc.com/scott.html
http://www.arrowmoc.com/4wl.html
http://www.carldyers.com/
http://www.moccasins.com/mens-moccasins/knee-high-moccasin-b...
http://www.mukluks.com/
http://www.etsy.com/listing/61451140/mens-genuine-buffalo-hi...


If you're a HIPPY!

 
bull3540 
54 Cal.
Posts: 1943
bull3540
12-09-10 11:12 PM - Post#926280    

    In response to bull3540

  • bull3540 Said:
  • Onojutta Said:
I'm looking for some footwear to wear on period correct hunts of the mid-18th century.


Here are a couple of places to find mocs that may suit your needs; http://www.arrowmoc.com/scott.html
http://www.arrowmoc.com/4wl.html
http://www.carldyers.com/
http://www.moccasins.com/mens-moccasins/knee-high-moccasin-b...
http://www.mukluks.com/
http://www.etsy.com/listing/61451140/mens-genuine-buffalo-hi...
Or just make you some wool leggings to keep warm and hide your non-PC shoes with.




 
bull3540 
54 Cal.
Posts: 1943
bull3540
12-09-10 11:17 PM - Post#926282    

    In response to Black Hand

  • Black Hand Said:
Sorry to burst your bubble, but the moccasin sites your list have moccasins that are Historically-inspired but are not Period/Historically correct....


Sorry if you couldn't understand the gist of what I was saying, I underlined and italicized certain words so you can get a better picture of what I was trying to impart.


 
Black Hand 
Cannon
Posts: 6463
12-10-10 07:07 AM - Post#926329    

    In response to bull3540

  • bull3540 Said:
  • Black Hand Said:
Sorry to burst your bubble, but the moccasin sites your list have moccasins that are Historically-inspired but are not Period/Historically correct....


Sorry if you couldn't understand the gist of what I was saying, I underlined and italicized certain words so you can get a better picture of what I was trying to impart.




To quote the original post:
"I'm looking for some footwear to wear on period correct hunts of the mid-18th century."

I did not misunderstand at all. Your sites show moccasins that do not meet their requirements for use in a "period correct" manner.


 
bull3540 
54 Cal.
Posts: 1943
bull3540
12-10-10 07:43 PM - Post#926693    

    In response to Black Hand

  • Black Hand Said:
  • bull3540 Said:
  • Black Hand Said:
Sorry to burst your bubble, but the moccasin sites your list have moccasins that are Historically-inspired but are not Period/Historically correct....


Sorry if you couldn't understand the gist of what I was saying, I underlined and italicized certain words so you can get a better picture of what I was trying to impart.




Again, I underlined the word "may", which means that they might help the person who posted the original question, and they might not. I never stated or implied that the links contained period correct footwear nor that they complied with whatever requirements are set forth at this particular event. In fact, I never said "get you a pair of these ______ because they fit all requirements of "period correct" So I believe that you still misunderstand my intent to be helpful as per the original question.

To quote the original post:
"I'm looking for some footwear to wear on period correct hunts of the mid-18th century."

I did not misunderstand at all. Your sites show moccasins that do not meet their requirements for use in a "period correct" manner.





 
Little Buffalo 
45 Cal.
Posts: 703
Little Buffalo
12-12-10 08:45 PM - Post#927611    

    In response to bull3540

Sorry for the delayed response; I've been away from the computer for several days.

Anyway, some great points here and I appreciate the input. Here are a few questions I have with regard to some of the points that have been made:

It is certainly very logical that the early frontiersman went into the woods with whatever on his feet that be brought with him from back east. However, confessing that I have never actually gone into the woods in a pair of leather shoes similar to those of the 18th century, I can only guess that they must not perform very well. With little ankle support and a drag-slick soles, I can't imagine the standard 18th century shoe would get a backwoodsman very far. So, if perhaps the early frontiersman when into the woods with whatever he had, would it make sense to assume that when they wore out, he would seek to replace them with something better suited to the elements? Especially if he was going to make his next pair himself, perhaps conspire with other frontiersman, hunters, trade, etc. I would think that a footwear well suited to the frontier would evolve very quickly.

Maybe I am just spoiled by my modern Danner Pronghorns, but I still don't have a solution to my problem of hunting in 18th century footwear.

 
Micanopy 
50 Cal.
Posts: 1328
Micanopy
12-12-10 09:11 PM - Post#927633    

    In response to Little Buffalo

Buy some moose hide and make a pair of moccasins, its easy and not taking so long to do. You can find easy enough one piece side seam patterns and center seam patterns on line. Moose hide will out last deer and elk, maybe not so on bison, but longer than beef hide. If you cant find an easy enough real pattern PM and I will send you one.

Liken it to wearing shoes based upon what townies wore in that time period to buying a brand new pair of leather soled cowboy boots and taking off into the wilds of Tenn, or the ohio valley. After you twisted your ankle a couple dozen times and the wet/dry wet/dry wet/dry wet/dry conditions have caused the leather to break down rather quickly, and the slick as goose snot soles have caused you to slide down the side of every grassy hill you have tried to climb, you'd be ready to go barefoot rather than suffer thru that nonscense any longer.

Edited by Micanopy on 12-12-10 09:17 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
Spence10 
Cannon
Posts: 6215
12-12-10 10:01 PM - Post#927660    

    In response to Little Buffalo

  • Onojutta Said:
Maybe I am just spoiled by my modern Danner Pronghorns, but I still don't have a solution to my problem of hunting in 18th century footwear.


I've tried many different types of HC footwear over quite a few years, and I've concluded that if you go strictly HC you won't find a solution. Most all of them leave you with wet feet, cold feet or both. For me it came down to deciding I could tolerate that in most situations, sort of an 18th-century mind set, I guess. Not for everyone.

Spence

 
Muskeg Stomper 
50 Cal.
Posts: 1044
Muskeg Stomper
12-12-10 10:56 PM - Post#927689    

    In response to Spence10

Fugawee is now making a pair of reproduction colonial shoes called the Lexington.
"The left/right Concord And Lexington is unlined and made of a heavier leather than the Franklin.The Lexington is 5/8 of an inch deeper then the regular Concord. The Lexington only comes in smooth at this time. This shoe is to afford the more mature reenactors space to place orthotics inserts or Inner soles without compromising fit. Thus giving more time to walk about, instead of sitting with aching feet wishing you could go visiting."
When I'm in the market for a new pair of buckle shoes, this is the route that I'm going to take.

For hunting or trekking, consider these.
Fugawee Hi-Low Trekkers
Yes they are still a little slick but you can always go to the shoe department at Walmart and buy those little tack-on rubber heel plates and stick on traction pads that they make for women's high heels. They work wonders for adding traction and nobody can usually see the difference

 
bull3540 
54 Cal.
Posts: 1943
bull3540
12-12-10 11:59 PM - Post#927700    

    In response to Little Buffalo

Well, one solution would be the wear something that fits and works well for the task at hand even it it means covering your feet in something that is only loosly based on historical designs and find some way to cover them up or hide as much as you can, thus my suggestion for leggings. If it was going to be a 4 day hunt in the snow then I doubt anyone could see what you were wearing on your feet but might be able to hear it in your voice, like when you brag that your feet don't have frostbite. As noted, the Hi-Low Trekers have impressed many people, or you can always make some mocs for yourself. If you need a source of moose hide let me know and I'll give you some links to check out, plus I am sure plans for making yourself a pair would show up pretty quick too.
I've seen folks modify those suede Minitonka brand mocs into useable and period correct items (at a distance)

 
J.D. 
69 Cal.
Posts: 3196
12-13-10 06:52 PM - Post#928079    

    In response to bull3540

http://southernindiandept.org/mocpattern.htm

 
Little Buffalo 
45 Cal.
Posts: 703
Little Buffalo
12-14-10 07:11 PM - Post#928511    

    In response to J.D.

Everytime I read of or see a picture of what most have described as HC footwear from the 18th century, my immediate reaction is that surely there had to be better footwear available then. After all, those people needed to survive on the frontier, not just recreate as we do. Like many things in life, often I find that the old timers of yesteryear had a better (and simpler) solution to many problems that modern technology claims to solve.

But, perhaps the greatest insight here is that as someone mentioned, when the longhunters and Indians could hunt year round, survival on the frontier meant you had all your meat for the winter skinned and salted long before many of us even purchase our hunting licenses, and so there wasn't need for boots that kept the feet warm and dry at 20 degrees F.

Edited by Onojutta on 12-14-10 07:13 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
Muskeg Stomper 
50 Cal.
Posts: 1044
Muskeg Stomper
12-14-10 11:15 PM - Post#928610    

    In response to Little Buffalo

  • Quote:
so there wasn't need for boots that kept the feet warm and dry at 20 degrees F.


I doubt it. There are plenty of examples of native mocassins that will keep your feet warm at those temperatures and the French in Canada were smart enough to adopt similar footwear. The English settlers along the coast line were either not that smart or we just haven't found documented examples. Folks who had to operate in the cold of winter generaly stayed close to home and those that didn't adopted native footwear or suffered terribly.

 
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