|A Poorly Researched Impression of one of Morgans Hunters|
"They used what was available"
You've probably heard this said before. A very true statement that is used to justify the weirdest fantasy impressions ever, like the one pictured above. Yes that's me back when I based my impression on nothing more than what other people around me were doing and what I read in a Pilgrims Journey (with all due respect to Mr. Baker, but the research has come a long way since then.)
The beauty of it is..... WE KNOW WHAT THEY HAD AVAILABLE!!! Ledgers, journals, inventories, period artwork, and existing artifacts paint a pretty clear picture leaving little to guess on. Modern publications, google, and facebook groups leave this info literally seconds away from any person in the developed world.
|A Well Researched Impression of one of Morgans Hunters|
Following that line of thought lets expand on a specific portrayal and what it's based on and in - Morgan's hunters. Dudes on the farthest reach of the frontier in the late 1760's hunting full time for a living. The men employed (usually on a monthly salary) by the trading firm of Baynton, Warton and Morgan to supply meat to the soldiers in the Illinois country and through out the Ohio river valley region. It'd be an easy portrayal to base in all sorts of conjecture and weird material culture, but thankfully they used what was available and we know what they commonly purchased.
May 4, 1768 Edward Ashton purchased "1 pr leggings"
April 20, 1768 Samuel Black purchased "1 pr leggings"
July 26, 1768 Jacob Drinnen purchased "1 pair leggings"
August 4, 1768 Jacob Drinnen purchased "1 pr red stroud leggings"
April 21, 1768 John Higgins purchased "1 pr leggings"
(there is a TON more but hopefully you get the idea. Premade wool leggings were commonly used by these guys)
Breach clouts -
April 20, 1768 John Higgins purchased "1 breech clout"
April 20, 1768 Samuel Black purchased "1 breech clout"
April 21 1768 Michael Caple purchased "1 breech clout"
(and on and on and on. Breach clouts = common. These too were I'm 99.9% sure wool. most likely stroud)
Check shirts -
April 21, 1768 Valentine Schope purchased "1 check shirt"
April 21, 1768 John Higgins purchased "1 check shirt"
July 16, 1767 Simon Girty purchased "3 yds of check" "thread" and "making of a shirt"
July 26, 1768 Jacob Drinnen purchased "1 check shirt"
(once again, on and on. check shirts = common. A note on check, this should be window pane check, not the big squares of blue and white as is often seen and far more appropriate for curtains than shirts)
Too much to even start. Basically 98% of the hunters working for Morgan were heavy heavy drinkers and enjoyed booze every night, most commonly rum.
Combs. Shoes. Hunting frocks (!!!!! What What??!! Hunting frocks in the 60's and not split open smocks????!!! Heresy I know.) Deer hides (for moccs is my theory). Knives (TRADE KNIVES, not woodberry knives). Tom hawks. Pipe tom hawks. Soap. Chocolate. Match coats. Garters (including "garters of an Indian". Sorry to the quill workers out there, but these were finger woven, not quilled). Hat lace. More rum. Rifles. Blanket coats. And more rum. = all common.
So yeah. They used what was available. As should we who choose to portray them. The chore for us is just figuring out what that was and it really isn't too hard.