Monday, December 26, 2016

A Warmer Van Campen Day

This is a post that I started in October, but the end of the year was so hectic that I couldn't finish it up.  Therefore, with apologies
for being late, Here it is...

Last October we had snow flakes at the Van Campen Inn.  This year the weather, although cool, was seasonable and far more pleasant.  I brought our junior members along, and once again they did a nice job showing off colonial toys and fire starting.

The Colonial Musketeers Senior Corps was in attendance, providing fife & drum music for the steady stream of visitors.  The Walpack Historical Society also had a number of other artisans, demonstrating skills from blade smithing to cider-making and corn-grinding, as well as spinning/ weaving and chair caning inside the Van Campen house.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Join us tomorrow in Belvidere

Historic Farmstead Open House November 5, 2016 - 10AM - 4PM

Come and Celebrate the Harvest

- Live Demonstrations
- Open Hearth Cooking in the Summer Kitchen
- War Re-Enactors
- Admission is Free!
- Listed in the National Register of Historic Places
- Recognized by The Scenic, Wild Delaware River Geotourism Program

Visit us online at

Our mailing address is:
Historic Preservation Commission of Harmony Township

Thursday, October 13, 2016

A Few Pictures from Quiet Valley

Last weekend at Quiet Valley's Harvest Festival, the Frontier Guard put up our usual display of  French & Indian War-era items, depicting aspects of the material culture of both New Jersey soldiers and settlers, as well as items from the Indian inhabitants of the Eastern Woodlands, such as the Lenape and the Iroquois.

We had a steady stream of visitors throughout the day.  I have only a few photographs, taken at one of the few points in the day when we were not actively engaged talking to the public and demonstrating our items.

Quiet Valley is always notable for very nice displays of eighteenth and nineteenth century material culture, and this fall was no exception.  There were samples of delicious scrapple and sausage, made from pigs raised on the farm, demonstrations of linen production from flax - I picked up a bundle of waste tow and boon to use in starting fires - hat-making from rye straw, dyeing using natural vegetable dyes, and many other demonstrations of local history and farm life in centuries past.  Oh, yes, there was food galore - and very good food, too: sausage, Welsh cakes, pies, barbecued beef, and a host of other food. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Van Campen Inn this Sunday

This Sunday the Frontier Guard will be at the Van Campen Inn on Old Mine Road near Walpack, part of Walpack Day.  Come join us as we celebrate history -along with other presentations - at the site of our Headquarters Fort during the French and Indian War.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Trailside Museum on Sunday

Join the Frontier Guard at the Trailside Museum in Mountainside on Sunday!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Coinage of Colonial America

 A 1745 British silver shilling, with a bust of George II and the stamp "LIMA" (Peru) under the bust.  Why would a British coin have a Spanish possession stamped on it? Keep reading to find out...

The reverse of the coin, with the crown-and-roses design of possessions England claimed - England, Scotland, Ireland, and France (yes, English monarchs claimed to rule France until 1801).

Coinage was scarce in colonial America.  Many colonies in the seventeenth century even accepted quahog wampum as currency, at a rate as high as 2 to the pence for the lustrous purple ones in the early 17th century.  This practice died out by the 18th century, however, as copper coinage and paper currency became more widespread.  Hard money remained scarce, nonetheless, and the value of colonial paper issues fluctuated with a colony's solvency and the distance from the place of issue.

Coins of several European countries circulated throughout the colonies as well - British, French, Spanish, and Dutch in particular.  Values were fixed by colonial legislatures, often at different rates, but the real value was generally based on weight and purity of the metal and was subject to negotiation between buyer and seller.

The University of Notre Dame has a great website for colonial coinage and currency, for those who are interested, with overviews and illustrations of coins and currency from most colonies, as well as European coins that circulated.

See: Colonial Currency at Notre Dame
See: The Coins of Colonial and Early America at Notre Dame

Oh, and why is the silver shilling marked "LIMA"?  In 1743, at the height of the War of the Austrtian Succession, or King George's War, as it was known in the American Colonies, a British fleet under Admiral Anson captured the entire Spanish treasure fleet from New Spain and Peru.  Much of the British silver coinage of 1745 and 1746 was minted using this silver, and to mark its origin, and probably as an "in your face" taunt, the British Crown had these coins stamped "LIMA" in commemoration.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Roasting Ears of Corn, Anyone?

The Frontier Guard's next event is the Roasting Ears of Corn Festival at the Museum of Indian Culture in Allentown, PA, August 20 & 21.

This is a big event with scores of tribal dancers, dozens of vendors, and a multitude of displays.  For more details, see the website at Museum of Indian Culture.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Muster Roll of the NJ Provincial Frontier Guard, 1757

Here is a copy of the muster roll of the Frontier Guard for one month during the  French & Indian War.  This is a valuable snapshot of the unit's membership, but on the other hand, as men enlisted for a month at a time, the roster most likely changed considerably, so what you see here may or may not reflect the membership in other months:

Muster Roll of the Provincial Forces Commanded by Capt. Richard Gardiner on the Frontiers of New Jersey from the 8th of June to the 20th day of July 1757

Gardiner, Richard (Captain)        .     
Wood, John (Lieutenant)      
Rickey, John (Lieutenant)      
Stull, John (Lieutenant)      
Butler, Samuel (Sergeant)       
Barton, Joseph (Sgt/Crp?)     
Chamberlain, Benjamin (Sgt/Crp?)    
Cole, Henry (Sgt/Crp?)       
Cooper, Henry (Sgt/Crp?)        
Freeman, Gilman (Sgt/Crp?)       
Haddon, James (Sgt/Crp?)  also sp. (Haddin/Headen) 
Hysom, Thomas (Sgt/Crp?)        
Ludlum, Creed (Sgt/Crp?)        
Malone, Richard (Sgt/Crp?)      
Munson, John (Sgt/Crp?)      
Pierce, Lewis (Sgt/Crp?)        
Riggs, Reuben (Sgt/Crp?)     
Terratt, Daniel (Sgt/Crp?)        
Vroom, Jacob (Sgt/Crp?)        
Abbot (Abbit/Abbet), James              
Adams, Alexander        
Avery, Alexander     
Benham, Absalom  
Bennett, Henry        
Bonum, Hezekiah        
Brink, Nicholas      
Brooks, Isaac       
Brown, Daniel      
Bruse, Alexander 
Bush, Anthony       
Chambers, Samuel    
Chestney (Chesnut/Chester) , Joseph      
Clark, James        
Cole, Abraham     
Colt, Abraham        
Cooper, Constant       
Davis, Daniel        
Davis, James       
Davis, John       
Decker, Hermanus (var)        .        .
Depuy, Daniel        .        .
Devoir (Devoor), Jacob        .        .
Devoir (Devoor), John        .        .
Doty, John 
Doty, Micajah     
Erwin, Luke      
Everfelt, Martin     
Falore, Philip       
Ferguson, Thomas   
Fish, Nath'l      
FitzWater (Fitchwater), Wm   
Grimes, Adam        .        .
Hailstiles (Hailstril), Peter        .        .
Hair, Philip        .        .
Hanson (Hansen), Henry (Hans)        .        .
Holloway, Elkanah       
Hopkins, Ephraim      
Hughes, Thomas        .        .
Hull, John        
Johnston (Johnson), Wm        .
Johnston, Edward      
Johnston, James       
Kennedy (Kannady), Charles   
Killam (Killham), Gilbert  
Mahurin, Othniel (Otho)        .
Man (Mann), George      
Marshall, Peter        
McLaughlin, Patrick        .        .
McNeil, James       
Mead, Stephen        .        .
Middah (Medah, Meddah), Ephraim        .        .
Middah (Medah, Meddah), Peter        .        .
Miller, Christeon        .        .
Miller, Wm     
Mordan, George        .        .
Morden (Mordan), Ralph     
More, George        .        .
Myres (Miers), Bastian (Boston)  
Nearpass (Norpus), Jacob      
Nightingale, Wm        .        .
Oppie (Oppy, Oppoy), Edward     
Pennington (Penneton), Jonathan        
Pew, Hugh        .        .
Pool, William        M        
Preston (Prester), John        .        .
Quick, Thomas        .        .
Quick, Thomas Jr.        .        .
Randole, Edward        .        .
Ray (Rhea), Moses        .        .
Rosacrans, Daniel        .        .
Rosacrans, Jacob        .        .
Sergeant, David   
Shick (Shack/Sheik), Adam      
Skinner, Daniel        
Skinner, Timothy      
Smith, Abraham      
Smith, Benj'n       
Smith, Henry    
Smith, John      
Smith, Peter       
Smith, Thomas    
Stonehover, Cornelius    
Swartwout (Swartout), Jacob       
Swartwout (Swartwart), Benj'n        .        .
Tack, Isaac       
Taylor, James     
Vanclief (Vancleaf/Van Cleff), John     .
Vangarder (Van Gordon), John        .        .
Vantyle (Vantuyle), Walter       
Vantyle, Hermanus (Herman) 
Walton, William (2)    
Ward, Hermanus (var)     
Wart, Henry
WestBrook, Abraham   
Westcoat (Weascoat), Jonathan 
Whitehead, Isaac        .        .
Wintermute (Windemoot), Leonard  
Wood, David        M        .
Wood, Jacob        .        .
Young, Angle (Angel)        H        "d. Sept. 7"

Beaded Choker

A fellow reenactor asked if I could make him a beaded choker necklace for his impression, so here is the result.  It's about 12" of #6 glass pony beads tacked onto a deerskin backing.  I'm happy with how it came out, so I thought I'd show it off...

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Handmade shoes

The week before the Gunmakers' Fair, I stopped in at Dixon's (my wife is very understanding), and I found a pair of shoes in my size made by Greg Geiger.  In a coincidence, I had just run across a copy of  The Book of Buckskinning: Volume 3 in a second-hand store, and in the 1984 book, there was an article on footwear by Greg Geiger.  

These are great shoes!  I have wide feet, and these shoes are built wide enough for my EEE or EEEE feet.  The price was also a surprise - less than a pair of  Fugawees.  


I have yet to grease these up, install buckles, and wear them, but I am looking forward to doing so.

By the way, red heels were a fashion started by Louis XIV of France, and during the eighteenth century, any man who wanted to look like he could appear at court - as opposed to before a court - painted his shoe heels red (nothing like royalty to set fashion trends).

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Finished Horn

Here it is with a beaded horn strap and stand...

I entered it at Dixon's Gunmakers' Fair.  It didn't win any ribbons,but it got a lot of nice comments and constructive critiques from the judges.


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Just About Done....

The horn is just about done; all I have to do now is put in a staple on the plug.

I didn't have a lathe available to turn a plug, so I went with a slightly domed plug.

The scrimshaw came out decently well. I'm a relative novice at scrimshaw, so I'm sure I made a number of mistakes, but on the whole, I'm fairly happy with the look.

I had a great acorn spout plug that my friend Gus Tabor made for me, but I wanted everything about this horn to be mine, so I filed myself a crown-shaped plug to echo the crown on the coat of arms.

Comments and honest critiques are welcome.  Let me know the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Easton Heritage Day 2016

On July 10, the Frontier Guard returned to Easton, PA, site of the 1758 treaty that established peace with the Lenape under Teedyuskung.  As usual, we had a large display, right in the center of Founder's Square.

Our junior members also set up a full display of children's toys and games. 

Liz also joined us, looking lovely, as usual.

There was a large crowd at the event, and many different reenacting groups, representing a broad spectrum of American history. Town criers read the Declaration of Independence- from 20 years after our time period- and there were crafters, historical tradesmen, and vendors galore.  It was a long day, but rewarding.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Easton Heritage Day July 10th

Come join us - and a large throng of other reenactors, crafters, and history-related displays and pageants, at Easton's Heritage Day Celebration on July 10, 2016:

This is a big event, and the weather is supposed to be near-perfect.  The festivities kick off around 10:00AM and run until evening, with a concert and fireworks.

While the event commemorates the first reading of the Declaration of Independence in Easton in 1776, for the purposes of the Frontier Guard, Easton was significantly the site of the Treaty of Easton, 1758, which by and large brought peace between the Lenape and the British colonists in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  The original treaty is on display in the Sigal Museum, which will be open during Heritage Day.  Don't miss it.

Colonial PA Plantation F&I Skirmish 2016

Once again my children and I participated in the F&I skirmish at the Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation, a working 18th century farm located in Ridley Creek State Park in Delaware County, PA, on the last Saturday in June.  Last year's skirmish had to be cancelled due to a storm, so it was a great deal of fun to be back, meet fellow reenactors, and interact with the public.
The setting is beautiful, with a substantial stone house, gardens, and outbuildings.

There was a larger contingent of Lenape warriors than in past years, and it was easy to see why these foes caused panic across the Pennsylvania and New Jersey frontiers.

The Regiment de la Rienne, our French adversaries (in white uniform), were fewer in number this year, but their elán was undiminished.

The skirmishes themselves - there were two that afternoon - were a lot of fun to put on.  The French and Lenape decisively won the first, sacking the homestead, carrying off the children as captives, and ambushing the colonials who attempted a rescue.  The second skirmish ended far better for the colonial militia, as we were able to prevent the attackers from seizing the farm or murdering the inhabitants.

There was a larger contingent of New Jersey troops there, including one from the Jersey Blues, Col. Peter Schuyler's ill-fated regiment.

Before the event, we took some photos at the house where I grew up, a Swedish-style mill house built originally between 1720 and 1730, with numerous additions and renovations over the years.

All in all, it was a great event, one we hope to repeat in future years.  The Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation runs a large number of eighteenth century events on weekends through the spring, summer, and fall.  Pay them a visit if you're in Southeast Pennsylvania.