Editorial Note:  One of the big discussions that makes the rounds from time to time is that of clothing colors on the frontier.  And there are 2 camps of thought, the color side and the "walnut" side.  Well here are some thoughts from both sides.

First this information was culled from the Pennsylvania Gazette concerning hunting shirt colors

White (14)
Dark Coloured (6)
Brown (4)
Gray (3)
Black (2)
Yellow (2)
Blackish Coloured
Cloth Coloured
Olive Coloured
Light Lye Colour
Brown with Red Cuffs & Collar

Other comments, mentioned once: dirty, fringed, white, much fringed

All the rest of the 64 references only said 'hunting shirt', no qualifiers. Some were obviously military, but most were given in the description of runaway servants.

Other references to colors...

Joseph hollingshead 1 blue stroud
 Another hunter: 3 yards of check for making of a shirt
Another hunter: 2 checked shirts
Another hunter: 1 check shirt 1 pair red leggings
Another hunter: 1 check shirt
Another hunter:1 check shirt white blanket coat
Yet another hunter: 1 white shirt
Same hunter another day: 1 ruffled shirt

"The cape was large, and sometimes handsomely fringed with a ravelled peice of cloth of a different color from that of the hunting shirt." (doddridge 140.)

How about Mark Bakers comment on imported dyes right below the account of rutherford, with a black shirt and white fringe. "...of logwood dye, one of the most popular imports to the american colonies by the 3rd quarter of the 18th century." (baker 163)

And on their heads flopped a hat of a reddish hue. (Smyth, 182)

Daniel Boone was known to wear a Scarlet Waistcoat with silver buttons engraved with his name, on occasion. (Draper 10 NN 101, 22 C 14) however this was on his way to or from (cant remember which ) the vA legislature in 1780.

"There whole dress is very singular, and not very materially different from that of the Indians; being a hunting shirt, somewhat resembling a waggoner’s frock, ornamented with a great many fringes, tied around the middle with a broad belt, much decorated also…Their hunting or rifle shirts, they have also died in variety of colors, some yellow, others red, some brown, and many wear them quite white (Smyth 179-180)

"Thus habited and accoutered with his rifle upon his shoulder, or in his hand, a back-woods man is completely equipped for visiting, courtship, travel, hunting or war."

Jacques Thimote De Monbruen, a French hunter out of Illinois, wore a blue cloth hunting shirt, leather leggings, and a scarlet waistcoat from his days in the French and Indian war.

John Shane's interview with Benjamin Allen, Allen revealed, he gave me blue hunting shirt, and new hat.

in 1774, Daniel Boone was seen near the Holston River in Virginia, wearing a buckskin hunting shirt Dyed Black. (quoted in Arnow 151)

George Christian saw Boone near Powell’s Valley, dressed in deerskin colored black, and his hair plaited and clubbed up.” (Draper, 3 B 106-107)

Daniel Boone was seen in 1791 by Thomas Rodgers. Boone was returning from a hunting trip he had taken into the Big Sandy area. He was wearing a linen hunting shirt and moccasins, the color of the leaves. (Draper 19 S 168)

Francis Bailey took a tour of the Country in the 1790’s. He noted we had each of us furnished ourselves with a proper dress for travelling the wilderness: it consisted of a pair of coarse brown overhauls, and a shirt of the same material. (Bailey 186)

In The American Frugal Housewife, Child attests that clothing was commonly dyed brown or Nankin, (a Yellow brown) because it would not ‘show soil as readily as white.’ (Quoted in Beyond Walnut Brown, p. 34)

"His clothing was colored in the ooze made from the bark of the chestnut oak; he would wear no other color, this shade harmonizing with the forest hues and rendering him less conspicuous to game and Indians. When scouting, his dress consisted only of the long hunting shirt, belted at the waist, open leggings, moccasins, and a brim less cap; or a handkerchief bound about his head. Thus dressed he was ever ready for the chase or the trail, or the Indian foe. "(McWorter 33)

Jesses very own brother opted for a hunting shirt of "eccentric" dress. "this shirt was of blue and trimmed in red, and with red fringe around the edge." James Smith in his Narrative, tells of how he dressed them [his men] uniformly in the Indian Manner, with breechclouts, leggings, mockesons, and green shrouds, which we wore in the same manner the Indians do, nearly as the highlanders wear there plaids. inplace of hats we wore, red hankerchiefs, and painted our faces red and black, like the indian warriors." (Smith, 121)

Famous Indian Fighter and Captain of the Spies, was described as wearing a French capa coat made of fine sky blue cloth. (Dann, 260).
1771: pa frontier, a "highwayman" was seen in a "white hunting shirt, a little bloody on the back part." (pa archives 1st series vol 4, p. 459)
Fort Pitt 1775, when 2 men in "white hunting shirts" fired on the Seneca leader

. . . but as they were going up a steep hollow the savages attackt our rear and center and killed and frightened away eight of the horses, but the villains were soon dispersed again. Then the Captain [William Patterson] ordered his men to march up, take post on a hill that was at hand pretty full of large timber & there he put the wounded men and the few horses that were saved in the center & placed his party all around them and gave them a strickt charge to lye flat on the ground and not to scatter and then there could be no danger of being hurt by the enemy nor of their shooting one another as they could easily know their own company by the white shirts...Mr. James Harris and some others of the assistants give great character to their captain. They say he behaved with the greatest courage and coolness and showed much skill and ingenuity in defeating the artful strategems of the Indians, and that he animated the men exceedingly by his halloos on every successful shot made on them in the front, singing the Indian war song almost the whole time. . ." "September 1758

I then had on my short-leggings, moccasins, and shirt. On top of the hill, I fell in with a man who had red leggings on" frontier militia
"a hunting shirt, made of linsey with a slight fringe border, color either blue, a pale yellow made from hickory bark, or a dingy brown obtained from black walnut."

KY  frontier summer/fall 1775. men "from the mountains and backwoods" "they are remarkably stout and hardy men, many of them exceeding 6 feet in height. they are  dressed in white frocks or hunting shirts, and round hats." Arms makers of maryland, p. 40)

Deserted frontier militia... 1770's
"Purple hunting shirt"
"Yellow hunting shirt, buckskin breeches"
"Dark hunting shirt"
"Blue broadcloth coat"
"Brown broadcloth coat"
"White hunting shirt. leather leggings"

John Joseph Henry, "His underdress, was covered by a deep as colored hunting shirt, leggings and moccasins."

Spencer Records wore a dark hunting shirt, and Bendinger once wore a green baize shirt.