Editorial Note: This is an assortment of references that didn't seem to fit anywhere else

Hunting Bags from the Virginia Gazette

August 16, 1776. Supplement.
    RUN away from the subscriber living on the levels of Green brier, two convict servant men. One named WILLIAM ROW, 18 or 19 years old, about 5 feet 8 inches high, of a fair complexion, has dark hair, is an artful fellow, and may forge a pass, as he writes a tolerable good hand; had on, when he went away, shirt, drawers, and leggins, of coarse country linen, and took with him a coat and waistcoat of cotton and linen almost white, also a smooth bore gun of the best sort, double breached, which had part of the stock broke off before, a shot bag and powder horn, very much carved, the strap of the powder horn made of striped girting, and the shot bag of blue plush. The other named ISAAC SINGER, 5 feet 4 or 5 inches high, about 25 years old, thin visaged, small made, of a dark complexion, and has very thin whitish hair; had on, when he went away, old leather breeches, a coarse shirt, brown leggins, and old shoes. They are both Englishmen, and took with them a fur hat, besides other things too tedious to mention. Whoever apprehends the said servants, and secures them so as they may be had again, shall have 40s. reward for each, if taken in the county; if out thereof 4 l. for each, paid by ARCHER MATTHEWS.

June 30, 1775. Supplement
    FINCASTLE, May 21, 1775. RUN away from the subscriber, living on Neck creek, near Mr.Thopson's mill, an Irish servant man named THOMAS BENSON, about 5 feet 9 inches high, wears his own long black hair tied, and has lost the half of his left hand little finger; had on a home made flax linen shirt, a pair of tow linen trousers, and carried with him a blue home made cloth coat, a red and yellow silk and cotton waistcoat, buckskin breeches, a rackoon hat, a brass mounted long smooth-bore gun, marked on the side-plate MM 1769, and on the barrel W. MORGAN, a shot-bag and powder-horn, a canister with 2 lbs. of powder, a falling axe, a pocket compass, &c. &c. He likewise stole his indentures, and, being a very good scholar, it is probable he may make an assignment on them. He is supposed to be with Samuel Ingram's servant man, as they both went off about the same time. Whoever secures the said servant, so that I get him again, shall have 5 l. reward, and, if out of the county, reasonable charges, paid by NATHANIEL MORGAN.

Tattoos From the Virginia Gazette

From October 28 to November 4, 1737.
He is mark'd on the middle of his Breast, with the Picture of a Woman and several Children before her; on one Arm, a Crucifix, on the other, the Jerusalem Arms.
From March 4 to March 11, 1736 [1737]. mark'd on the near Shoulder with a heart.
From September 9 to September 16 1737. mark'd with the Letter W. on one of his Hands. , mark'd I.B.
Nansemond, July, 14, 1737. mark'd on the Inside of her Right Arm, with Gun-powder, W.T. and the Date of the Year underneath.
From June 2 to June 9, 1738. is suppos'd to have the Figure of our Saviour mark'd with Gunpowder on one of his Arms. Virginia Gazette
From October 27 to November 3, 1738. and hath a Crucifix, and the Letters D M mark'd with Gun Powder on his Arm.
From November 10 to November 17, 1738.
He has Letters on one of his Hands mark'd with Gun-powder, and on one of his Arms a darted Heart, and on the other Arm this Name, MARY ROBERTS.
From November 2 to November 9, 1739. he is mark'd with Gunpowder on both his Hands with 4 Dots, and a Cross in the Middle;
From May 30 to June 6, 1745. he has his Name mark'd on one of his Arms in blue Letters;

On Making Shot

"The Gentleman's Recreation although published in 1686 was admittedly copied from and "extreamly antient recipie":

Let your Shot be well cast and round, without Tails hanging on, which in the Flight gathereth Wind and by Consequence Flieth not so far. As to the size it must be according to the Fowl or Birds you design to kill, but not too great, for then it flies thin and scattering; nor yet too small, for then it is of small force; for the Fowl will Fly away with it, as having neither strength nor weightto enter far to their prejudice.

Now forasmuch as Shot can't be hadin all places answerable to your desired size, and for that the making is so easie and cheap, it will be convenient to lay down some directions for the making of the same."

Being provided with Lead (let it be old or new it matters not), Melt it down in an Iron Vessel, keeping it always stirring with an Iron Ladle, which should have a lip or Notch in the Brim for the better convenience pouring it out, and be sure to take off all Dross and Filth that swims to the top: And when it it so hotthat it appears of a Greenish colour, strewn apon it as mcuh of the Powder of Auripigmentum [yellow arsenic] as will lye upon a Shilling )provided there be about ten or twelve pounds of Lead), and then stir the lead well and the Auripigmentum will flame; then take out a little of the Lead in the Ladle for an essay, and cause it to drop a little into a Glass of Water , and if the Drops prove round and without Tails, there is enough Auripigmentum in it, and the temper of the heat is as it ought to be; but it the Drops not be round and with Tails, then add more of the said Auripigmentum, and augment the heat unitl it be well.

Then take a Copper or Brass Plate of about the size of a Trencher, or bigger or lesser as you think fit, with a Concavity in the middle, about three or four Inches in Diameter, wherein must be made fourty or fifty holes of several sizes, to what you would have your Shot to be; this concave bottom should be thin, but the Brim thick, the better to retain the heat. This Plate should be placed on two Bars or over an Iron Frame, over a Tub or Pail of Fair Water, about four inches from the Water. Then with your Ladle take off your Lead and pour it gently on the Plate, on which should be burning Coals to keep it hot, for the Lead will find its passage through the Coals and into the Water, and fall in round Drops; when the Coals are out or dead, put on more, and so continue pouring the Lead until you have finished what you intend. If the Lead stop the Plate, and yet is not too cool, give the plate a little knock and it will drop again.

Your chief care is that the Lead be in good Condition, as not too cold, or too hot, for if too hot it will drop cracky, and if too cold it will stop the holes; therefore as near as you can observe the temper of the heat, and you will have a good round Shot witout Tails."

Rifles in the F & I War

In the papers of Bouquet there is an indenture drawn May 6th 1758, by means of which he drew 16 rifles from the Ordnance store in NY. Upon the storekeeper's return of arms under his charge in 1762, there is no mention of the rifles so they apparently were never returned. These are believed to have been either English-made or Liege-made rifles after a German pattern (ie, short barrel, step-wrist or bellied stocks, wood boxes etc.). There is at least one in the Tower collection and there is one in a private collection in this country - of course they may or may not be "the" above 16 rifles, however they are English-made rifles which look remarkably like a German rifle w/ the exception of English locks made ca. 1740s-50s. All brass furnishings. Also in Bouquet's papers is a note to Forbes dated June 1758 mentioning that "A large part of the provincials are armed with grooved rifles and have their molds. Lead in bars will suit them better than bullets-likewise the indians-but they also need fine powder FF"

In 1754, Sir John St. Clair who was Quartermaster of an expedition leaving Britain for America following the outbreak of the war, petitioned the Ordnance store in the Tower for "...a Dozen Rifled Barrel Carbines."

More on Guns

Sept 13, 1739
"Run away on the 6th Inst.from Thomas Rees, of Heydelburg Township, Lancaster County...Took with him a smooth Rifle Gun..."

October 25, 1759
"Borrowed or stolen...a certain Gun, stocked with wild red Cherry Tree, about four Feet long in the Barrel, near one Foot next the Breach square, and the othe Parts of the Barrel filed round, and near the said square Part the Gun is brazed, and the Brass appears on the Barrel, and on the Side Plate marked thus IH with an Iron Sight behind after the Rifle Form, and a raised Silver Sight before, pretty long, and neatly finished off, as is the whole gun...

July 3, 1766
"WAS LOST, on the 8th or 9th of May last, on the great Road betwixt Harris Ferry and Shippensburgh, a German rifle Gun, about two Feet in the Barrel, large Bore, carved Stock, a white Metal Lion upon the Barrel, near the Lock, with a Scepter in his Paw, double Tricker, double Sight, the under Brass or Copper, and the upper Iron. Whoever delivers said Gun to the Subscriber...shall have TWO DOLLARS Reward..."

John Dodd, Gunsmith, in Meeting Street, has to sell a parcel of very neat rifle-barrel guns, from 3 to 4 feet in length; and continues to do all sorts of gun-work in the best manner, { South Carolina Gazette, 18 November 1756} These may be imported as the same person offers "Best Dutch rifles" in 1764. The barrel length of the above is interesting for that time period...

The following is from the estate of Joseph Massey from 1736 " two silver watches, a six times repeating gun, a chamberesd gun and a double barreled gun"

From the estate of Philip Le Fevre in 1766 " 9 new rifles, 5 rifling rods"  I wonder how long he had been making rifles...only 6 years? and I believe he was of French ancestry, I wonder if they were "Jaegers"?

Phillip LaFevre{1710-1761 or 1766},a French Hugenot was the son of Isaac Lafevre {1669-1756},who came to Penn.in 1708 finally settling in Lancaster County in 1712.Isaac came over with Maria Ferree a widow and her children from France after the Edict of Nantes in 1685.Isaac who married Maria's daughter,Catherine was a gunsmith along with his son Phillip La Fevre.Isaac's brother in law Phillip Ferree had a son Joel Ferree also a gunsmith and all three ; Isaac and Phillip Lafevre and Joel Ferree{1731-1801}are shown as gunsmiths in Paradise,Lancaster County,Penn.as working prior to 1760.

I have a reference in a letter from Capt. James Francis to Governor Glen, from the backcountry of South Carolina around Ninety-Six, dated April 14, 1752, in which Francis relates a botched attmpt to kill one Benjamin Burgess, a lowly trader, who was accused (apparently framed) of stealing deer hides from some Cherokees in debt to James Beamer:

"After BURGESS's escape the Negro Fellow instantly drove up two Horses that BURGESS then had (one of which was the Dutchman's that he
had escaped from Curry on), and packed them with all his Effects than at the Camp, viz., twenty-odd Deer Skins, about as much Beaver, a Rifle Gun, and in short, all his Accouterments whatsoever and brought them to Mr. VANN's..."

Virginia Gazette April 14, 1768.   Cumberland county, April 3, 1768. BROUGHT to my house the 15th of November, by a runaway Negro, a small chesnut sorrel mare, with a hanging mane and a long switch tail, and branded on the near buttock C, and on the off buttock thus . ' . All her feet are partly white and a blaze in her face. Also a gun with pewter poured in the barrel, and rifled. Posted, and appraised the mare to 2 l. 10 s. and the gun to 12/6. RALPH FLIPPIN.

Virginia Gazette AUGUSTA, Nov. 16, 1768. RUN away from the subscriber in Augusta, on the 1st of this instant, a convict servant man named THOMAS KERR, who had on when he went away a new felt hat, a light blue cloth coat, a purple coloured vest, a coarse shirt, old leather breeches, woollen stockings, a coarse pair of linen wrappers, new shoes, and a pair of large brass buckles; he took with him a woman's shift, one sheet, one coarse apron, and three deerskins in the hair; he is supposed to have taken with him a short rifle gun, and some ammunition. He is of a middle stature, and a fair or sandy complexion. hoever secures the said servant so that the owner may get him, shall have THREE POUNDS reward. JOHN BOTKIN

Frontier Life

"Their former condition had been so unfavorable that they could be attracted to the deprivations and hardships of frontier existence. Most lacked furniture, utensils, tools, livestock. They were animated by no more than a hope of proving able to win a bare subsistence from raw new land. A large portion of them were recently arrived european immigrants. Another considerable portion were ex redemptioners, ex convicts, fugitives from justice, frunaway bond servants, and non descipt drifting men whose only common quality was their having failed in every former undertaking... coined backcountry people. They were popularily and most unsympathetically classified as preculiary ignorant, improvident, and insensate else they would have never have subjected themselves to the peculiar handicaps and hazards of the frontier. "(forth to the Wilderness, dale van every, p. 196)

"It is a very rare circumstance to meet with such people amongst the first settlers on the frontiers; in general they are men of a morose and savage disposition, and the very outcasts of society, who bury themselves in the woods, as if desirous to shun the face of their fellow creatures; there they build a rude habitation, and clear perhaps three or four acres of land, just as much as they find sufficient to provide their families with corn: for the greater part of their food they depend on their rifle guns. These people, as the settlements advance, are succeeded in general by a second set of men, less savage than the first, who clear more land, and do not depend so much upon hunting as upon agriculture for their subsistence. A third set succeed these in turn, who build good houses, and bring the land into a more improved state. The first settlers, as soon as they have disposed of their miserable dwellings to advantage; immediately penetrate farther back into the woods, in order to gain a place of abode suited to their rude mode of life. These are the lawless people who encroach, as I have before mentioned, on the Indian Territory, and are the occasion of the bitter animosities between the whites and the Indians. The second settlers, likewise, when displaced, seek for similar places to those that they have left were when they first took them. I found, as I proceeded through this part of the country, that there was scarcely a man who had not changed his place of abode seven or eight different times."(326)issac welds journal

Samuel Kercheval in his History of the Valley of Virginia further elaborates on this…The dress of the Early Settlers was of the plainest material, generally of their own manufacture; and if a modern “Belle” of “Beau” were now to witness the extreme plainness and simplicity of their fashions, the one would be almost thrown into hysterics, and the other frightened at the odd and grotesque appearance of their progenitors. (150)

Francis Bailey...on frontier dress..their dress"...is also correspondent to the furniture in their houses: being clothed in the lightest manner possible, and everyone in the manner which pleases him best, there is not in these new countries that strange prosperity to ridicule everyone who deviates from the forms which a more established society may have prescribed itself. "(170)


A Canadian named Philip Bruner, who lived in the Illinois Territory, described shoe packs as “a kind of moccasin, made of undressed, unfinished leather… tanned with oak bark until the hair would rub off.” The soles were sewed with whangs. (Draper 20 S 217)

Thomas Walker on his expedition through the Cumberland Gap in 1750 stopped at a cave on the Rock Castle, spending 4 days and made moccasins. They “dressed an elk skin to make Indian shoes- most of ours being quite worn out.” They employed some very tools after they lost their awls. They used “the shank of an old fishing hook, the other people made two of Horse shoe Nailes …” (Walkers Diary)

Daniel Trabue in the late 18th century in Kentucky made buffalo hide socks. “We made socks to go over our shews with buffelo skins putting the wool inside…” (Young, 34) He also said that they sore up to 3 pairs in real rough weather. Joseph Doddridge claimed that a “pair of moccasins served the feet much better than shoes. These were made of Dressed Deer skin,” and that mending them was the chore of almost every evening. (91)

JFD Smyth noted that “On their feet they sometimes wear pumps of their own manufacture, but generally Indian Moccosons, of their own construction also, which are made of strong elks leather or buck’s skin, dressed as soft for as gloves or breeches, drawn together in regular plaits over the toe, and lacing from thence round to the fore part of the middle of the ancle, without a seam in them, yet fitting close to the feet, and are indeed perfectly easy and pliant.” (181)

Colonel Henry Bouquet's Journal, Univ. of Mich, Ann Arbor, MI Dated "Fort Pitt, the 30 of Nov. 1764 - List of necessaries furnished to the captives of Pennsilvania - #18, Joseph Studebaker, 1 shirt, 1 shoe pack."

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