Would you find the hunting frock in the Ohio area

Discussion in 'Clothing' started by NW Territory Woodsman, Feb 3, 2019.

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  1. Feb 3, 2019 #1

    NW Territory Woodsman

    NW Territory Woodsman

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    How common would it be to find the hunting frock west of the Appalachian Mountains (1760-1780) mainly in the Ohio area?
     
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  2. Feb 3, 2019 #2

    Stophel

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    1760, probably not so much. 1780, sure.
     
  3. Feb 4, 2019 #3

    Loyalist Dave

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    Yes, an over-shirt, perhaps with a full opening, you might in 1760, but the shoulder caped "hunting frock" in Ohio would as Stophel wrote, be AWI or post AWI, from what we have found in records, so far. ;)

    LD
     
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  4. Feb 10, 2019 #4

    Sicilian Hunter

    Sicilian Hunter

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    Dave,
    Would the hunting shirts of the aforementioned period (1760-80) be called such or were they just referred to as over shirts?
    Would their color denote purpose ? For instance and work shirt left in the natural linen color or a hunting shirt dyed brown in walnut hull dye for hunting?
    Would an over shirt be made of the same weight linen as the later period hunting/rifleman's frock?

    The Sicilian
     
  5. Feb 10, 2019 #5

    Stophel

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    An over shirt is a frock. A loose, somewhat oversize shirt, of coarse material intended simply to cover your good clothes. Worn by farmers and laborers and workmen of all kinds. They may have normal cuffs or even open cuffs with no closure.

    Personally, I think the split front, plain shirt is very much a reenactorism, with no evidence to support it (at least none that I have seen). I do think, however, that the pullover hunting shirt DID exist, all the way back to the beginning, but as it stands, I would never be able to prove such a thing, so I would never try to say so authoritatively (I can easily prove them back to about 1817, but evidence before then is inconclusive). But I digress.

    Here's some info to get you started.
    http://www.oldetoolshop.com/trekking/library/huntingshirts.html
    http://www.oldetoolshop.com/trekking/library/shirtcolors.html

    Revolutionary War army issue hunting shirts would be natural color or white (more or less), with some exceptions for different units, which would specify certain colors. The backwoodsman could have whatever color he wanted... provided it was possible! Remember, dying linen is rather difficult, and most colors are not going to be ultra strong or dark, hence most are still described as white.

    While generally, "camouflage" was simply NOT a concern at the time, there ARE references (though very few) to hunting shirts being colored a "shade harmonizing with the forest hues". I remember reading of a British officer in the War of 1812 griping about the Kentuckians and Tennesseeans wearing dingy brown hunting shirts that made it hard for him to see them in the dry grass.

    https://web.archive.org/web/2011032...orps_of_Sappers_and_MIners/Hunting_Shirt.html
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
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  6. Feb 12, 2019 #6

    tenngun

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    The earliest shirts seem to have a belled upper sleeve fitted lower end, small capes and pretty scant fringe, we think.
    We have some good drawings and paintings that act as good resources. Later got more complex and the familiar fancier shirt came along.
    I have flirted with them a bit. I’m sure they had to be pretty individualized but how much. There was a paper written on them, I think called ‘A kind of armor’. You should be able to reference it via the forum as it was througha link on the forum I read it.
    I would think it reasonable the whites tramping around in-the Ohio had some sort of overshirt, split un split, caped double capped capes with extra fringed sewn oggghhhhh. So I whimp out and wear a working mans coat.
     
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  7. Feb 12, 2019 #7

    Stophel

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    Personally, I can't get the open fronts to stay closed, and the cape is a seriously irritating pain, and I find them genuinely utterly impractical.... they look cool, though.
     
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  8. Feb 12, 2019 #8

    tenngun

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    Early capes look pretty small in the paintings, almost more of a sailors collar then a cape. Later they got bigger. I wonder if they were buttoned or spot sewn in the back. On my great coat I have a stitch in the back and that stops it from being a pain in the hind end. Though the heavier wool is harder to blow around then a light linen one.
     
  9. Feb 20, 2019 at 2:18 PM #9

    Shot deer

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    That's what I was thinking.
     
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  10. Feb 20, 2019 at 3:41 PM #10

    BillinOregon

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    I am sorry that the caped, open-before hunting frock may be a mere reenactorism, as I find it an exceedingly attractive piece of clothing that does indeed "look cool." I have wanted one for years. I made a pullover frock of wool some years ago and hated the thing. Gave it to Goodwill. Ah, well, we must live by the truth of the record if we choose accuracy over "looks cool."
     
  11. Feb 20, 2019 at 3:55 PM #11

    Loyalist Dave

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    All excellent questions. Folks have been asking them for years....
    The earliest reference is 1759 in an inventory of a dead fellow, and it's listed as a "hunting shirt". It's also interesting to note that the owner seems to have used it while serving in the F&I, making it the first documented military use of the hunting shirt as well AND....it appears that the owner was enlisted as a Ranger in VA, so it's the first documented use of a hunting shirt by a member of a "ranging company".
    This also makes it interesting to note....the inventory listed it as a hunting shirt, not a ranger or ranging shirt, so it was not first used as a military garment by rangers. The fellow also had four normal shirts, and his hunting shirt was valued in the inventory as worth a full shilling more than the others (a shilling back then was a big difference for the cost of a shirt)...NO idea why it cost more....no description given.
    Eight years later in 1768 the first listing of a "hunting shirt" was in a description of an indentured servant in VA, who fled. In 1771 the first printed references (four of them) to a "hunting shirt" appeared for runaways from the Lancaster area.
    So colors are unknown prior to the AWI. We know that by the AWI the hunting shirt had spread, but how far it spread (if it did at all) from the areas west of the Blue Ridge Mountains in VA, is not known. We also know from artwork that the cape was part of the shirts in the AWI, and that colors went from natural linen (which would whiten with exposure) to died shirts of all sorts of colors, and even with contrasting cuffs and collars. (Some regiments had purple hunting shirts. :confused:)

    For another example:

    October 18, 1770.
    RUN away from the subscriber living in Augusta, near Stanton, a convict servant man named JOHN CEATON, an Englishman, about 5 feet 5 inches high; had on when he went away, a white hunting shirt with striped wristbands,

    May 26, 1775.
    RUN away from the subscriber, in Augusta county,... had on, when he went away..., a brown hunting shirt,

    Head Quarters, WILLIAMSBURG, April 19, 1776.
    DESERTED from the Halifax regular Company ….
    JOSEPH MITCHELL BLAIR, ..., He carried with him a dark coloured new Hunting Shirt.
    JAMES TROOP, ..., He carried with him a dark coloured Hunting Shirt.
    WILLIAM HILL, He had with him a striped Virginia Cloth Hunting Shirt, which he has dyed almost black,

    June 7, 1776 ....
    RUN away from the subscriber, near Staunton, in Augusta,...,had on, when he went away, a white hunting shirt

    September 6, 1776.
    DESERTED from the College camp..., had on a brown hunting shirt fringed,

    DEEP SPRING camp, Sept. 17, 1776.
    DESERTED last night from my company of riflemen, …, JOSIAH JONES, he carried away with him a hunting shirt trimmed with red,
    DAVID BARNETT, …, he carried with him a hunting shirt trimmed with red,

    “It is Expected that each Capt. will with all Expedition Provide Legins for his men & hunting shirts Dy’d of a purple Coulour…” (Orderly Book of the 2d Virginia Regiment, October 27, 1775)

    Sources: Maryland Archives Online, The Va Gazette, The Pennsylvania Gazette, 2nd Va Orderly Book, and “kind of armour, being peculiar to America”: The American Hunting Shirt. by Neal Thomas Hurst, College of William and Mary, Undergraduate Honors Thesis 2013

    Note that both servants who ran as well as soldiers were clad in the garment. Note not only colors but also stripes.

    As for the material, Osnabrug, or linen of thick enough material to protect the "small clothes" i.e. the waistcoat and shirt, and perhaps even a coat worn beneath, if some of the descriptions are read that way. Mr. Hurst in his thesis, contends that the shirt originated in the Virginia colony during the F&I, prior to being spread elsewhere. This is in part to a lack of references to it elsewhere, prior to or contemporary with the 1759 reference.

    LD
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2019 at 4:05 PM
  12. Feb 20, 2019 at 8:36 PM #12

    Sicilian Hunter

    Sicilian Hunter

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    Da
    DaeDave
    Dave,
    Appreciate all of that info and more importantly, the references!!
    Thanks for putting that all together
     

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