Smoke Signals

May/Jun 2012


Staff Writer




















A problem found with many of the reproduction items whatever its referred to today is. The information (documented research) in most part is 5th hand or earlier. As we all know from personal experience, the more times the story is told it changes in character. We have found as an example some folks claiming documented records for their wares; they got their information from someone that heard that information from another and so on - that's not documented proof - "that's hear say".  You have to use common sense when doing your research not just one or two sources, that's how bad information gets worst.

Go to the sources that have good solid information; museums (not all of them are correct either - remember the family that donated the article had a story too). Look at the historical sites with museums, private collections and always a good place are several of the antique auction houses, a few found on the Internet. Always work all the angles in your research and you'll gather more information on all your items, knowing them to be correct for the desired period in time. 

I always remember an old saying that my father would tell me when going to "Antique Gun or Collector Shows". "When looking at an item - no matter what it is, the merchant will tell you whatever it takes to make the sale." Then Dad would clear his throat and then comment "You never hear a huckster yell rotten fish". Keep that one in the back of your gray matter folks, it will save you a lot of money.

I have preached "documented research" since the 1980s in our period muzzle loading store "Buckhorn Rendezvous" - later our period food business "Clark & Sons Mercantile", and as well with-in the groups involved with when on the ground. It seems my preaching went unheard for 20 some years. I started supplying writers like Mark Baker, John Curry, Wes Houser and a few others with correct edibles - pushing documentation on what was available. They jumped on the idea which was  funny to a few of us as we had been doing it for 30 years or more. 

Several groups like the American Mountain Men for one have pushed the idea using it for advancement within their group and as time passes you'll find the same thing happening with the North American Frontiersmen. This is not hard-core folks, this is doing things correctly and getting closer to what our forefathers experienced on a daily routine.

I have provided a few merchants/suppliers that take "documented research" serious in what they offer, kind of refreshing to know someone is paying attention and addressing what we as living history folks really want. The bottom line is start out correctly (it may cost a little more) but it will save you money down the road when you switch to this ideas and now have all the items purchased that you first got and aren't correct. One area - some traders are selling "tin corn boilers" that are American Civil War era as being correct for F&I War or Rev. War - wrong size, handle arrangement and so on... They didn't do the "research" - "documented research" and you got the wrong thing, who's fault is it? The trader trying to survive, or you for not doing your research!

Read on guys and gals....

 Good Luck, and enjoy yourself with your quest.







Longhunter Leather Company

One of our members, Bob Browder of "Longhunter Leather Company" deals in hunting pouches, haversacks, canteens, etc., all top of the line merchandise. His ad reads: "Extensive selection of Heirloom Quality wares for the discriminating individual's personal equipage. Bark tanned hunting pouches, haversacks, leather canteens & accouterments for your personal needs." 

His website is at:  The reason to mention Mr. Browder is on the front page of his on-line catalog or "home" as Bob likes to refer to his site is an excellent research tool. Look at his "Original Pouches" page by "clicking" on the name.


To See These Original Hunting Pouches 1730 -1830 and Today's Value

See our information on original hunting pouches of a 100 year span in history, auctioned at several of the Eastern Auction Houses dealing in antique firearms and accessories. Time frames as well as estimated value and realized selling prices are shown. The interesting part is the sizes and shapes really donít change as much as one would think in a century time period. 

This is interesting documented research at its finest.

While your on Longhunter Leather's website, take a look at a new line Bob has just started for the "Workingman/Woodsrunner" - yes read it again.

I said the "Workingman/Woodsrunner". I like the opening statement:

Workingman/Woodsrunner's Hunting Pouches:

It has been said "the hunting pouch was the quintessential accoutrement of the frontiersman", but not only the frontiersman used these pouches - the workingman and the woodsrunner had them and their rifle at hand where ever they went. In the settling of this land you read about the frontiersman, traveler and the explorer moving about on uncharted ground. Let's not forget the workingmen and woodsrunner's, those that worked in the woods and forests fulfilling the needs of their and near by settlements in the matter of lumber, foraged vegetables, and game meat. These hardy individuals were the first line of defense against those of an unfriendly nature as well as the village or home warning system in case of emergencies."

* If you do your homework (research) you'll find there were more workingmen and woodsrunner's by a large percentage than those that ran the edges of an unsettled land.

We'll watch Longhunter Leather Company as Mr. Browder adds to this line with equipage  this hardy individual used in his daily life style as a "Workingman/Woodsrunner" in the 18th and 19th century. Bob says he'll will have information about each item as it becomes available in this new line.  Fun stuff folks, check back by checking his website.

Documented research pieces.


Don't get me wrong this isn't a "plug" for "Longhunter Leather Company" I'm just using him as example as well as several others that do their research and have the documented paperwork to back it up.


Another is "The Sutler of Mt. Misery" Mr. Gedney Godwin who handles about anything one could think of from Military to Civilian supplies. His opening statement reads:
The Sutler of Mt. Misery
Whose establishment is against Bass on Welsh Road, at the Valley Forge, in Pennsylvania Province, Wishes to announce that he is importing a complete line of items useful to the military man; such as muskets, bayonets, leather goods, uniforms, cocked hats, diverse sorts of brazen sundries, &c., all done in the neatest manner. Those gentlemen who will favor him with their custom, may depend on their work being dispatched and their favors gratefully acknowledged, by their most humble servant. ~ G. Gedney Godwin

I have dealt with Mr. Godwin for years, top of the line products and always a knowledgeable staff to help you with your questions.  All documented research pieces.

His website is at: 


Another great source and NAF member is Peter Goebel of "Goose Bay Workshops" who not only supplies us the reenactment community but takes care of Hollywood film studio's needs as well.
Goose Bay Workshops LLC
Goose Bay Workshops LLC is a family run business, created in 1985 by Peter and Debra Goebel. Peter, a journeyman coppersmith, makes every copper, tin and brass piece by hand. Both Peter & Debra research all the historic items, and both design all the folk art and modern pieces. The business began with period lighting, but has since expanded to include cookware, writing implements, and so much more!  Thank you Peter Goebel

Hollywood used their work in "The Patriot", "The Far Side Of The World", "The Muppets Treasure Island", "The War That Made America", "The Other Boylen Girl", "The Virginia Company - Jamestown, 1607", HBO's series "John Adams", "National Treasure 2" and "Colonial House"? Look for their work in the new "Alice In Wonderland" by Tim Burton, and "Pirates of The Caribbean" 4! The list just go on and on for Goose Bay Workshops. 

All documented research pieces.

His website is at:


We hope this will enlighten you on doing your research and being sure its been documented for accuracy and the time period you are interested in. Remember my father's old reminder "You never hear a huckster yell rotten fish".  Enjoy yourself folks.




Historical documentation is undertaken to make a detailed record of the significance of a property for research and interpretive purposes and for conservation of information in cases of threatened property destruction. Documentation must have defined objectives so that proposed work may be assessed to determine whether the resulting documentation will meet needs identified in the items in question.


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