Guest Writer

   Smoke Signals

                   Sep./Oct. '10


This is a little late for the North American Frontiersmen, but appropriate for acquiring accurate information of life styles, clothing and wares used for the period. 

This would be the case when your working on your persona and how you would like to appear and have the correct items in your equipment carried. This is not that hard a job to gather such information, look at pictures of the time period you like and are interested in. Start a "want-list" showing reference to pictures as well as article read of interest. By doing this a week or so into the research you'll have notes as to where you got the information as well as building a cross-reference for getting to what really appeals to your mind set.

Believe me we have all been in the same situation when first getting started.

  • Then there's Buck, he has changed time periods, clothing, weapons and wares as much as anyone. Probably more than most with having been in the business dealing with such goods and seeing the latest things available (meaning in his case usually costly $$$) most wouldn't or couldn't spend the funds to purchase some of his wares. That's a private slap on the head. Hehehehe

Please continue on with viewing these old photos and you will see what I'm rambling on about, pay attention to the detail of the clothing, the items being used and there where-a-bouts. A good practice lesson for all the will take the time to study.  For the fun of it - make a list as to your findings.


Rare original, 1890's, Large Format, Albumen Card Mount Photograph of a campsite in the Black Hills of South Dakota with 4 young men (possibly prospectors). This outstanding original card mount photo measures approx. 9 1/2" x 7 3/4" and is mounted on its original card mount (overall size is 12" x 10"). 


The image pictures four young men and their campsite. A pencil identification on the reverse reads "Black Hills 1895". There is no other identification on the photograph (no photographer's mark is present) but the Image came to us with 3 other South Dakota Card Mount Photographs and we believe that the identification is accurate.


The Photograph itself is clean and crisp and exhibits sharp focus, strong contrast and rich tonality. The card mount has some light soiling, a chip at the upper right hand corner and a bit of edge wear. 



In the Image we see the men's tent, their buckboard and various food containers and implements including a shovel, axe and cookware. One of the men appears to be reading a pamphlet and another holds a large "Bowie" type knife.

In the first image what did you find?

wagon, wedge tent, pots, pans, can goods, are all pretty easy to see.

In the second image ?

late 1800's clothing (according to written information 1895), neck ties, Eastern style hat as well as working styles worn, suspenders, long sleeves, demin and canvas pants, all clean shaven with short hair.

In the third image ?

the young man standing has on long under wear, the gentleman sitting has on low cut shoes, they are selling crackers. The use of a towel, reading material, a bottle of ketchup, other food containers. You should be getting the idea by now as your list grows off of a few photos.

In the fourth image ?

the last photo shows one using a bowie knife, the caption mentions a shovel (its leaning against the buckboard - image 2 and 3) and an axe?

Buck had asked me if I would provide him with an article to get some folks thinking. Now what the heck kind of a thing is that to ask an old friend, putting me on the spot.   And believe if I didn't give it a shot you would read about it in the Editor's column. He loves nothing better than "burning an old friend" be aware Mr. Cunningham.

                                              I remain, Yr Svt.

Elmer Pope

I'm the original Elmer (damnit).


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updated  09/10/2010   

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