BACK TO TETONIA

Useful Quotes for Documenting Period Food and Equipment

          
          The following are a number of quotes mostly from primary sources which give some clues as to the material possessions of the Mountain Man, Traders and other folks living in the west at the time. There are many more out there. It can be an interesting and rewarding pursuit to copy down pertinent quotes as you come across them while reading. Happy hunting.

Food 

  "With the exception of scant supplies of salt, flour, tea and coffee, the trapper, like the Indian, lived wholly off the country.  His favorite meat, day in and day out, was the buffalo, and trappers who had once formed a liking for buffalo humps, ribs, marrow, and steaks were never content with other kinds of meat for any length of time. The craving, in fact, was so pronounced that one wonders if there was not a definite physiological reason for it.
    When a hunter killed a buffalo, he often cut the animal's throat and drank the thick, red blood, a draught that reportedly had the taste of warm milk.  The heavy layer of fat that ran from the buffalo's shoulder along the backbone was stripped off, dipped in hot grease, and then smoked.  It was eaten with lean or dried meat.   
Deer, elk, antelope, and bear were also favorite food animals with the mountain men.  Beaver tail was a great delicacy, but the rest of the beaver was eaten only when other meat was scarce.  According to many reports, a true mountain man preferred lynx meat to any other delicacy.  French dumplings, a very special treat, were made of minced meat rolled in balls of dough and fried in buffalo marrow.
Thomas Jefferson Farnham, whose writings on the West attained wide popularity in the early forties, made his reader hunger conscious with the following vivid account of a trapper's feast on buffalo:   
The marrow bones were undergoing a severe flagellation; the blows of the old hunter's hatchet were cracking them in pieces, and laying bare the rolls of "trapper's butter" within them.  A pound of marrow was thus extracted, and put into a gallon of water heated nearly to the boiling point.  The blood which he had dipped from the cavity of the buffalo was then stirred in till the mass became of the consistency of rice soup.  A little salt and black pepper finished the preparation.  It was a fine dish; too rich, perhaps for some of my esteemed acquaintances, whose digestive organs partake of the general laziness of their habits; but to us who had so long desired a healthful portion of bodily exercise in that quarter, it was the very marrow and life-blood ... of whatsoever is good and wholesome for famished carniverous animals like ourselves.  It was excellent, most excellent, It was better than our father's foaming ale.  For a while it loosed our tongues and warmed our hearts toward one another, it had the additional effect of Aaron's oil: it made our faces to shine with grease and gladness.  But the remembrance of the palate pleasures of the next course, will not allow me to dwell longer upon this.  The crowning delight was yet in store for us.  While enjoying, the said soup, we believed the bumper of our pleasures to be sparkling, to the brim; and if our excellent old trapper had not been there, we  never should have desired more.  But how true is that philosophy which teaches, that to be capable of happiness, we must be conscious of wants! Our friend Kelly was in this a practical as well as theoretical Epicurean.  " No giving up the beaver so," said he; "another bait and we will sleep." Saying this, he seized the intestines of the buffalo, which had been properly cleaned for the purpose, turned them inside out, and as he proceeded stuffed them with strips of well salted and peppered tenderloin.  Our "boudies" thus made, were stuck upon sticks before the fire, and roasted till they were thoroughly cooked and browned, The sticks were then taken from their roasting position and stuck in position for eating.  That is to say, each of us with as fine an appetite as ever blessed a New-England boy at his grandsire's Thanksgiving Dinner, seized a stick spit, stuck it in the earth near our couches, and sitting upon our haunches ate our last course-the dessert of our mountain host's entertainment, These wilderness sausages would have gratified the appetite of those who had been deprived of meat a less time than we had been.  The envelopes preserve the juices of the meat with which while cooking the adhering fat, turned within, mingles and forms a gravy of the finest flavor, Such is a feast in the mountains."
"This Reckless Breed of Men" by Robert  Clelland

    "He had been quietly masticating the last mouthful of his portion, the stringiness of which required more than usual dental exertion, when the novelty of the flavour struck him as something singular. Suddenly his jaws ceased their work, he thought a moment, took the morsel from his mouth, looked at it intently, and dashed it into the fire.
    "Man-meat, by G--!" he cried out; and at the words every jaw stopped work: the trappers looked at the meat and each other.
    " I'm dog-gone if it ain't!" cried old Walker, looking at his piece"and white meat at that, wagh!" (and report said it was not the first time he had tasted such viands)."
          "Life in the Far West" by Frederick Ruxton

     "And now the ecstasy of the chase over, there was a different ecstasy to come, for buffalo meat was the greatest of foods. Butchering for meat was done thus: The carcass was propped on the belly, with the knees bent or with the legs stretched out.  The tongue was taken first-and was always taken as a trophy, as proof of the kill, even when a tough old bull quite unfit for eating had been killed.  Then the butcher made an incision along the spine and cut away the skin down one side, using it as a table for his meats.  What cuts he took depended on how plentiful the buffalo were.  He always took the "boss" a small hump on the back o the neck, the hump itself, and the "hump ribs" which were the prolongations of vertebrae that supported it; then the 'fleece" which was the flesh between the spine and the ribs, and the three-inch layer of fat that covered it, the "side ribs" and the lower "belly fat" that was considered one of the greatest delicacies.  He would probably take the liver too and such portions of the intestines as his tastes suggested.  Then he would butcher out a thigh bone and use it to crack such other bones as might provide the best marrow.  Francis Chardon, a celebrated factor of the American Fur Company, listed as specially choice "the nuts"the earliest Rocky Mountain oysters, therefore.  But when buffalo were scarce all the meat was eaten.  Nor are the books right when they reproach white hunters alone for reckless waste of meat, for the Indians were just as wasteful when it was plentiful and took only the cuts they liked most.
    (There were special, empirical skills even in butchering.  "Ti-ya!" exclaims Old Bill Williams in Ruxton's "Life in the Far West" "do 'ee hyar, now, you darned greenhorn, do 'ee spile fat cow like that whar you was raised? Them doin's won't shine in this crowd, boy, do ' ee hyar, darn you? What! butcher meat across the grain! why whar'll the blood be goin' to, you precious Spaniard? (More likely, you damned greaser.) Down the grain, I say, and let your flaps be long or out the juice'll run slick-do'ee hyar now?") -
    There were few delicate feeders in the mountains.  The Indians preferred their meat high and kept the surplus till it began to rot. The river tribes liked the green, putrid flesh of buffalo drowned while crossing the ice and hauled ashore weeks later, "so ripe, so tender, that very little boiling is required." They ate the kidneys raw, but the delight of an Indian gourmet was to eat his way down a ten foot length of raw, warm, perhaps still quivering gut in one snapshot by an appalled white the gourmet squeezes out the  contents just ahead of his teeth.  Guts of boudins were delicious to the white palate too, but thev were first lightly seared above the fire, "I once saw two Canadians," Ruxton savs,"commence at either end of such a  coil of grease, the mass lying between them on a dirty apishemore (saddle pad) like the coil of a huge snake.  As yard after yard glided glibly down their throats, and the serpent on the saddle-cloth was dwindling from an anaconda to a moderate-sized rattlesnake, it became a great point with each of the feasters to hurry his operation, so as to gain a march upon his neighbor and improve the opportunity by swallowing more than his just proportion; each at the same time exhorting the other, whatever he did, to feed fair and every now and then, overcome by the unblushing attempts of his partner to bolt a vigorous mouthful- would suddenly jerk -back his head, drawing out at the same moment, by the retreating motion several yards of boudin from his neighbor's stomach (for the greasy viand required no mastication and was bolted whole) and, snapping up the ravished ,portions, greedily swallowed them." The white man would eat the liver raw as soon as it was taken; he seasoned it with the gall or sometimes with gunpowder, But the feast was still to come.
    "Meat's meat," the trapper said, and he ate what meat was at hand, from his own moccasins, parfleche, and lariats, in "starvin' times," on through the wide variety of mountain game, of which some tidbits were memorable to gastronomes-boiled beaver tail, "panther," and as an acquired taste young Oglala puppy.  But when coming out from the States you shot your first fat cow, or when after finding no buffalo for some weeks you reached them at last, you touched the very summit of delight.  Nor can there be any doubt that buffalo meat, an indescribably rich, tender, fiberless, and gamey beef, was the greatest meat man has ever fed on.  The mountain man boiled some cuts, notably the hump, and seared or saut'eed others, but mostly he cooked them by slow roast, skewered on his ramrod or on a stick. Every man to his   own fire (unless messes, each with its own cook, had been appointed) and no man with more tableware than his beltknife--gravy, juices, and blood running down his face, forearms, and shirt.  He wolfed the meat and never reached repletion.  Eight pounds a day was standard ration for Hudson's Bay Company employees, but when meat was plentiful a man might eat eight pounds for dinner, then wake a few hours later, build up the fire, and eat as much more. All chroniclers agree that no stomach rebelled and no appetite ever palled.  Moreover, to the greases that stained the mountaineer's Garments were added the marrow scooped from bones and the melted fat that was gulped bv the pint.  Kidney  fat could be drunk without limit; one was more mode.-ate with the tastier but oily belly fat, which might be automatically regurgitated if taken in quantity, although such a rejection interrupted no one's goumandizing very long.
          There will be occasion farther on to describe Indian methods of hunting the buffalo, the making of dried meat and pemmican, and the additional uses the buffalo served.  It seems proper to point out here that buffalo meat was a complete diet.  The Indians who lived along the Missouri cultivated corn and squashes and their immediate neighbors sometimes got their produce in trade; those who lived near the Continental Divide and on the inner edge of the Great Basin regularly ate a variety of roots; all tribes knew many edible plants on which to fall back in starving times, But most of the Plains tribes lived exclusively on meat, and so except for two or three weeks a year did the mountain men.  At rendezvous and at the beginning of the trip West there would be coffee, sugar, hardtack, and bacon, usually nothing more and these in sternly limited quantities.  For the rest there was only meat and this meant primarily buffalo meat, fresh, dried, or made into pemmican.  No hardier people ever lived. There was no scurvy; in fact, nothing is rarer in the  literature than mention of a sick trapper.  Almost daily immersion in the glacial water of mountain streams eventually stiffened their joints, but otherwise a trapper sick enough to be mentioned has a hangover or "the venereals," which he got from a squaw who had got them from one  of his predecessors.  One illness was attributed to the diet: greenhorns making their first acquaintance with buffalo were supposed to get dysentery.  Larpenteur speaks of "mal de vache," others mention the same phenomenon, and there is some modern evidence that a shift to a meat diet may temporarily produce it. The chances are, however, that the facts which Larpenteur noted should be explained with a reference to another shi which occurred at about the same stage of the western journey. The travelers were now frequently drinking alkali-impregnated water, which is to say more or less concentrated solutions of Epsom or Glauber's salts, or of both.
    This, then, is the mountain epicure's moment of climax. Hump and boss boil in a kettle, cracked marrow bones sizzle by the fire, there are as many ribs to roast as a man may want. Crosslegged on the ground, using only their Green River knives, the trappers eat their way through sit or ten pounds of fat cow.  Wellbeing overspreads them; fat cow is an intoxicant only less persuasive than the alcohol which they will not taste again till the next rendevous-unless the partisan has brought a couple of curved tin kegs for Indian customers and on some noteworthy occasion can be induced to broach one."
          "Across the Wide Missouri" by Bernard DeVoto

" among the delicacies set before us, was...the fruit of prickly pears (cacti) boiled in water some 10 or 12 hours...     compressed through a thickcioth Into the fluid in which it had been boiled ... The immense quantities ... at the proper season, render the above an entertainment not uncommon                                                       
"Rocky Mountain Life" by Rufus B. Sage     Page 19

    The flesh of these animals (Prairie Dog) is tender and quite palatable, and their oil superior in fineness ... to that of any other known animals; it is highly valued as a medicine in certain cases."
IBID                                                 Page 150

    "The agreeable odor exhaled from the drippings of the frying flesh, contained in the pan, invited the taste ... Catching up the vessel a testing sip made way for the whole of its contents, at a single drought,-full six gills! (24ounces) Strange as it may seem.  I did not experience the least unpleasant feeling as the result of my extraordinary potation.  The stomach never rebels against buffalo fat... "
IBID                                                  Page 69

"We rise in the morning with the sun, stir up our fires, and roast our breakfast, eating usually from one to two pounds of meat at a morning meal.  At ten o'clock we lunch, dine at two, sup at five, and lunch at eight, and during the night-watch commonly provide ourselves with two or three "hump-ribs" and a marrow bone..."
    "Across the Rockies to the Columbia" by John Kirk Townsend Pace 106

    "This evening, we purchased a large bag of Indian meal, of which we made a kettle of mush, and mixed with it a considerable quantity of horse tallow and salt.  This was, I think, one of the best meals I ever made, We all are heartily of it and pronounced it princely food."
IBID                                                    Page 170

    "I was surprised to find Mr. N (Nutell) and Captain T.  picking the last bones of a bird which they had cooked ... it was an unfortunate owl which I had killed in the morning..."
IBID                                                 Page 167

    "...an abundance of dry buffalo beef, and some bags of coarse oventoasted loaves, a kind of hard bread, much used by Mexican travellers.  "
"Commerce of the Prairies" by Josiah Gregg           Page 65-67
                                                                                                  

 
  "That night parched coffee gave out...we  selected two flat stones ... which we placed on the fire till heated; then one was taken off, the coffee poured on, and stirred with a stick.  The stones switched alternately as they became cool.  When the coffee was sufficiently burned, a piece of skin was laid on the ground, and a clean stone,...rested on the knee of the grinder... a smaller stone, held in hand, reduced the grains between it ... to a powder by rotary  motion.
"Wah-to-Yah and the Taos Trail" by Lewis Garrard   Page    285

    "I galloped up to our party again, with a piece of mess pork, for which I gave one dollar"
IBID                                                  Page    235

"...for at the Fort (Bents) we purchased pepper, pepper sauce and other rarities"
IBID                                                  Page    249

    "Usually the beaver were skinned at the place where they were trapped, and only the pelt, castor glands, and tail were taken.  The tail was considered a delicacy, but only when meat was extremely scarce would the trappers eat any other part of the body
"Broken Hand" by Leroy Hafen     Page 28

     "Mr.  Fitzpatrick (writes Fremont), who had often endured every extremity of want during the course of his mountain life, and knew well the value of provisions in this country, had watched over our stock with jealous vigilance, and there was an abundance of flour, rice, sugar and coffee in the camp; and again we fared luxuriously."
IBID                                                   Page 190

    "Never in his life was Jedediah Smith disposed to laze about a fort eating salt pork, or even hump-rib and beaver tail."
    "Jedediah Smith and the Opening of the West" by Dale Morgan      Page 45

    "The camp had been without meat since the morning of the fourth, and the ration  these two days was half a pint of flour per man, plus the only dog they had in camp."
IBID                                                     Page 264

    "...it is for this that I go for days without eating,  & am pretty well satisfied if I can gather a few roots, a few Snails, or, much better Satisfied if we can afford our selves a piece of Horse Flesh, or a fine Roasted Dog."
IBID                                                    Page  312

 
Clothing

"The elder of the company was a tall gaunt man, with a face browned by a twenty years exposure to the extreme climate of the mountains; his long black hair, as yet scarcely tinged with gray, hung almost to his shoulders, but his cheeks and chin were cleanly shaved, after the fashion of the mountain men.  His dress was the usual hunting-frock of buckskin, with long fringes down the seams, with pantaloons similarly ornamented, and mocassins of Indian make."
"Life in the Far West" - George Frederick Ruxton     Page 4

"Thus soliloquizing, Killbuck knocked the ashes from his pipe, and placed it in the gaily ornamented case which hung round his neck, drew his knife-bell a couple of holes, took his rifle, which he carefully covered with the folds of his Navajo blanket  ......
IBID                                   Page 1

"...Williams always rode ahead, his body bent over his saddle-horn, across which rested a long heavy rifle, his keen gray eyes peering from under the slouched brim of a flexible felt-hat, black and shining with grease.  His buckskin hunting-shirt, bedaubed until it had the appearance of polished leather, hung in folds over his bony carcass; his nether extremities being clothed in pantaloons of the same material ( with scattered fringes down the outside of the leg which ornaments, however, had been pretty well thinned to supply "whangs" for mending mocassins or pack-saddles), which, shrunk with wet, clung tightly to his long, spare,, sinewy legs.  His feet were thrust into a pair of Mexican stirrups, made of wood, and as big as coal-scuttles,. and iron spurs of incredible proportions, with tinkling drops attached to the rowels, were fastened to his heel, a bead-worked strap, four inches broad, securing them over the instep.  In the shoulder-belt which sustained his powder-horn and bullet- pouch, were fastened the various instruments essential to one pursuing his mode of life.  An awl, with dear-horn handle, and the point defended by a case of cherry-wood carved by his own hand, hung at the back of the belt, side by side with a worm for cleaning the rifle: and under this was a stout and quaint-looking bullet wood, the handles guarded by strips of buckskin to save his fingers from burning when  running balls, having for its companion a little bottle made from the point of an antelope's horn, scrapped transparent, which contained the "medicine" used in baiting the traps."
IBID                              Page 112-113

The two strangers approached.  One, a man of some fifty years of age, of middle height and stoutly built, was clad in a white shooting-jacket, of cut unknown in mountain tailoring, and a pair of trousers of the well-known material called "shephard's plaid"; a broad brimmed Panama shaded his face, which was ruddy with health and exercise; a belt round the waist supported a handsome bowie-knife, and a double-barreled fowling-piece was slung across his shoulder."
His companion was likewise dressed in a light shooting-jacket, of many pockets and dandy cut, rode on an English saddle and in boots, and was armed with a superb double rifle, glossy from the case, and bearing few marks of use or service.  He was a tall, fine-looking fellow of thirty, with light hair and complexion; a scrupulous beard and mustache; a wide-awake hat, with a short pipe stuck in the band, but not very black with smoke; an elaborate powder-horn over his  shoulder, with a Cairngorm in the butt as large as a plate; a blue handkerchief tied round his throat in a sailor's knot, and the collar of his shirt turned carefully over it. He had, moreover, a tolerabled idea of his very correct appearance, and wore Woodstock gloves."
IBID                                   Page 132

AMERICAN TRAPPERS IN TAOS    

" These, divested of their hunting-coats of buckskin, appear in their bran-new shirts of gaudy calico, and close fitting buckskin pantaloons, with long fringes down the outside seam from the hip to the ankle with mocassins, ornamented with bright beads and porcupine quills.  Each, round his waist, wears his mountain-belt and scalp-knife, ominous of the company he is in, and some have pistols sticking in their belt."
              IBID                                          Page 187

" Also they had artifacts to sell, especially moccasins and buckskins. The mountain man would likely outfit himself with expensive heavy shirts, breeches, and capotes of wool, but these would not last long in  his business and he needed buckskin breeches and leggings to fall back on.  He comes down in our iconography clad in this buckskin uniform, a native American costume always handsome in dry weather ( though black where pageantry makes it tan ) whose fringe  and natural folds especially recommend it to sculptors.  But the uniform signified that he had ripped his store clothes to pieces, for buckskins, though tough and so ideal for brush country, were uncomfortable.  The best smoked of them would turn rain for a good  many hours ( a Mackinaw blanket was as waterproof as a Navaho rug ), but in the end even the best would get watersoaked and clammy, shrink painfully, and hang baggily when they dried."
"Across the Wide Missouri" Bernard DeVoto

"...his personal dress is a flannel or cotton shirt (if he is fortunate  enough to obtain one) If not, antelope skin answers the purpose of over and undershirt, a pair of leather breeches with blanket or smoked buffalo skin leggins.  A coat made of blanket or buffalo robe, a hat or cap of wool, buffalo or other skins, with his long hair falling loosely over his shoulders completes his uniform."
"Journal of a Trapper" written in 1846 by Osborne Rassell

made of prepared skins, though most of the "The clothing of the hunters themselves is generally m wear blanket "capotes" and calico shirts."
"Life in the Rocky Mountains" by Warren Ferris

"Red shirts (flannel) appear in other descriptions as well as paintings of the era.  Flopped hats were the most common form of  headgear, but so were bandanas and various fur caps.  The familiar  caps of fur with a leather visor often seen today is nowhere to be found in the period, either in descriptions of eyewitness sketches."
The Buckskin-Clad Mountain Man Fact or Fiction? by Richard B. Lacrosse Jr.

"...is his ludicrous apology for pantaloons. This is generally made of deer or buffalo skin, similar to our present fashion, except the legs, which are left unsewed from the thigh downwards a loose pair of cotton drawers, cut and made in like manner, and worn beneath....the next thing that meets the gaze, is his black, slouching, broad-brimmed hat, (sombrero) ...next.a coarse parti-colored blanket ( charape ) ... securely girted .. by a waistband of leather..with heavy spurs attached to their heels (bearing gaffs an inch and a half in length.."
"Rocky Mountain Life" by Rufus B. Sage   Pace 40
                                                  
"The shirts of his jeans coat"
  IBID                            Page 82

"the hunter, turbaned with a red handkerchief"
IBID                           Page  56

"He accompanied us to a store in the town, and selected a number of articles for us, among which were several pairs of leathern pantaloons, enormous overcoats, made of green blankets, and white wool hats, with round crowns, fitting tightly to the head, brims five inches wide, and almost hard enough to resist a rifle ball"
"Across the Rockies to the Columbia" by John Kirk Townsend       Page 11-12

"Such things as spare waist coats, shaving boxes, soap and stockings.....in fact the whole appearance of our party is sufficiently primitive; many of the men dressed entirely in deer skin...the old trappers and hunters wear their hair flowing on their shoulders, and their large grizzled beards would scarcely disgrace the bedouin of the desert."
IBID                                  Page 66

"...our large blanket capeans..."
IBID                                   Page 72

"On my neck was a black silk handkerchief..."
"Wah-to-Yah and the Taos Trail" by Lewis Garrard                     Page 36

"...... par fleche ... moccasin soles is the principle use.."
IBID                                                                  Page 52-53

"Some Mexican-Indian (Pimo) moccasins, that 1 have worn, are long toed with a sole of
par fleche lapping, over on top of the foot..."
IBID                                                                 Page 96

"...a Mexican, mounted of a strong iron grey horse, He wore, in lieu of a hat, a handkerchief bound over his head..."
IBID                                                                  Page 120

"A long-browned rifle rested on his shoulder ... his long black, uncombed hair hung in strings from beneath his greasy wool hat ... on his feet were thick moccasins, and to judge from the cut, of his own fashioning.  His pantaloons, of grey cassinet, were threadbare and rudely patched with buckskin.  Instead of a coat, a blanket was thrown over the shoulder and fastened, at the waist, by a black leather belt, in which was thrust a brass-studded leather sheath, sustaining a "Green River" of no small pretensions as to length..."
IBID                                                            Page 121

"The spurs are generally  iron, though silver spurs are very frequent. The shanks of the vacquero spurs are three to five inches long, with rowels sometimes six inches in diameter."
IBID                                                           Page 150

"...that myself and several others had not changed hickory shirts since leaving Bents fort- forty-one or two days."
IBID                                                   Page 154

"The women ... do not wear bonnet.;, using instead the rebozo or mantilla-a scarf of cotton or silk, five to six feet in length by two or more in width  ... A shirt is worn a trifle shorter than the present States fashion ... the figures above the waist, is invested with a chemise, with short arms ... were too low-necked ... The men, generally speaking, wear pantaloons open on the outside seam of the leg and lined with buttons to fasten at pleasure; while underneath, a pair of                white drawers is disclosed to view - a funny colored shirt and vest, and an oblong blanket (of Mexican or Navajo Indian manufacture...) with a hole in the center for the head.  A tall, peaked, oil cloth-covered hat of straw or brown wool and yellow zapotes-shoes- complete the costume."
IBID                                                  Page 174-175

A DESCRIPTION OF A MEXICAN VAQUERO

"...a peculiar riding costume ... consists of a sombrero a peculiarly shaped low crowned hat with wide brim, covered with oil-cloth and surmounted with a band of tinsel cord nearly an inch in diameter; a chaqueta or jacket of cloth gaudily embroidered with braid and fancy barrel buttons; a curously shaped article called caizoneras, intended for pantaloons, with the outer part of the legs open from hip to ankle-the borders set with tinkling filigree buttons, and the whole fantastically  trimmed with tinsel lace and cords of the same materials ... the nether garment is supported by a rich sash which is drawn very tightly around the body ... Then there are the botas which somewhat resemble the leggins worn by the bandits of Italy, and are made of embossed leather, embroidered with fancy silk and tinsel thread and bound around the knee with curiously tasselled garters. The sarape saltillero (a fancy blanket) completes the picture."
"Commerce of the Prairies" by Josiah Gregg             Page 149
            

  "The most "fashionable" prairie dress is the fustion frock of the city-bred merchant furnished with a multitude of pockets capable of accommodating a variety of "extra tackling".  Then there is the back woodsman with his linsey or leather hunting shirt-the farmer with his blue jean coat.  The wagoner with his flannel-sleeve vest..."
              IBID                                                    Page 33

... similar modes of costume and equipage, but of coarser material, are used by the lower classes.  Nor are they restricted among these to the riding-dress, but are generally worn as ordinary apparel.  Common velveteens, fustions, blue drilling. and similar stuff are very much in fashion..."
IBID                                           Page 151                                                                  

"The ladies, however, never wear either hat,    cap or bonnet, except  for riding; but in lieu of it ..... the rebozo (or scarf) or a large shawl, is drawn over the head.  The rebozo is for the most fashionable; it is  seven or eight feet in length by nearly a yard wide, and is made of  diverse stuffs-silk, linen or cotton, and usually variegated and  fioured in the warp by symmetrically disposed threads waved in the dying,
IBID                                              Page 151-152

"The ordinary apparel of the female peasantry and the rancheras, is the enagus or petticoat of home-made flannel; or ... of coarse blue or scarlet cloth, connected to a wide list of some contrasting-colored stuff, bound around the waist over a loose white chemise, which is                the only covering for the body, eccept the Rebozo."
IBID                                                   Page 152
                                                               

"Them's great briches of yourn" broke in he abruptly, after eyeing  my fringed buckskins for some moments, "Whord' they riginated- Santy Fee?  Beats linsey-woolsey all holler..."
IBID                                                  Page 192

"What with the blood drippings of one sort and another, and a aood substantial coat of grease, the color of a mountain man's buckskins  was a far cry from the delicate beige-brown of the moving picture. They were black.  Dirty black, greasy black, shiny black, bloody black,               stinky black.  Black."
"A Majority of Scoundrels" by Don Berry                Page 312

"We remember to have seen them with their band ... Their long cavalcade stretched in single ftle for nearly half a mile.  Sublette still wore his arm in a sling.  The mountaineers in their rude hunting dresses, armed with rifles and roughly mounted, and leading their  pack-horses down a hill of the forest, looked like banditti returning with plunder."                                       
IBID                                                        Page 312

A DESCRIPTION OF A CALIFORNIO

" The men wore garments of many colors, consisting of blue  velveteen breeches and jacket, the jacket having a scarlet collar and cuffs, and the breeches being open at the knee to display the      stocking of white, Beneath these were displayed high buskins made of deer skin, fringed down the outside of the ankle, and laced with a cord and tassels.  On the head was worn a broad brimmed sombrero; and over the shoulders the jaunty Mexican sarape.  When they rode,  the Califonians wore enormous spurs, fastened on by jingling chains. Their saddles were so shaped that it was difficult to dislodge the rider, being high before and behind; and the indispensable lasso hung coiled from the pommel.  Their stirrups were of wood, broad on the bottom, with a guard of leather that protected the fancy baskin of the horseman from injury.  Thus accoutred, and mounted on a wild horse, the Californian was a suitable comrade, in appearance, at least, or the buckskin clad trapper, with his high beaver-skin ca , his gay  scarf, and moccasins, and profusion of arms. The dress of the women was a gown of gaudy calico or silk, and a bright colored shawl, which served for mantilla and bonnet together."              
"River of the West-The Adventures of Joe Meek" by Francis Ford Victor

"Sometimes after trapping all day, the tired and soaked trapper lies down in his blankets at night, still wet. But by-and-by he is awakened by the pinching of his moccasins, and is obliged to rise and seek the water again to relieve himself of the pain. For the same reason, when spring comes, the trapper is forced to cut off the lower half of his buckskin breeches and piece them down with blanket leggins, which he wears all through the trapping season."
   IBID      Page 55

... Sadler, an old acquaintance, with as big a heart as any man in the mountains, attired in a costume claiming originality with the Indians, Mexicans and himself."
"Wah-to-Yah and the Taos Trail" by Lewis Garrard                  Page 202
    

Camp Gear and Miscellaneous       

          "Here the trappers erected skin lodges or rough log cabins and "holed up" for the winter."The winter-camp of a hunter of the Rocky Mountains would doubtless prove an object of interest to the unsophisticated," wrote Sage.  "It is usually located in some spot sheltered by hills or rocks, for the double purpose of securing the full warmth of the sun's rays, and  screening it from the notice of strolling Indians that may happen in its vicinity.  Within a convenient proximity to it stands some grove, from which an abundance of dry fuel is procurable when needed; and equally close the ripplings of a watercourse salute the ear with their music. His shantee faces a huge fire, and is formed of skins carefully extended over an arched frame-work of slender poles, which are bent in the form of a semicircle and kept to their places by inserting their extremities in the ground.  Near this is his "graining block," planted aslope, for the ease of the operative in preparing his skins for the finishing process in the art of dressing; and not far removed is a stout frame contrived from four pieces of timber, so tied together as to leave a square of sufficient dimensions for the required     purpose, in which, perchance, a skin is stretched to its fullest extension, and the hardy mountaineer is busily engaged in rubbing it with a rough stone or "scraper" to fit it for the manufacture or    clothing.  The dirt floors of the skin lodges, such as Sage describes were covered with reeds, dried grass, or small evergreen boughs, and on these the trappers spread their fur robes and heavy woolen blankets..   The larger pieces of baggage were then placed inside the lodge, close against the walls to help exclude the wind and cold."
"This Reckless Breed of Men"  by Robert Clelland              Page 33-34

              "His next visit ,was to a smith's store, which smith was black by trade and black by nature, for he was a nigger, and, moreover celebrated as being  the best maker of beaver-traps in St. Louis, of whom he purchased six new traps, paying for the same twenty dollars-procuring, at the same time, an old trapsack, made of stout buffalo skin, in which to carry them.   
"Life in the Far West" by Frederick Ruxton    Page 55

"A single buffalo robe folded double and spread upon the ground, with a rock, or knoll, or some like substitute for a pillow, furnishes  the sole base-work upon which the sleeper reclines, and, contentedly enjoys his rest."
"Rocky Mountain Life" by Rufus B. Sage                    Page 37
                                     
"Facilities for carrying water were small and few.  After a hard march they made a dry camp, and on the following day continued  the journey, the men and animals suffering greatly  from exhaustion and thirst."
"Broken Hand" by Leroy R. Hafen                            Page 24

"...camp whare we pitched a tent the onley one we had--"
IBID                                                      Page 27

"They are all priced and set down at what I believe they cost me except the spy class which would be worth here about fifteen dollars, but in the Indian country I could at any time get a good horse or forty dollars for it."
IBID                                                      Page 184

"...the American camp consisted of twenty-five tents, perhaps a hundred trappers..
"Jedediah Smith and the Opening of the West" by Dale Morgan   Page 180
                                                                        
"A trappers equipment in such cases is generally one animal upon which is placed one or two Epishemores a riding saddle and bridle a sack containing six Beaver traps, a blanket with an extra pair of moccasins, his powder horn and bullet pouch with a belt to which is attached a butcher knife , a small wooden box containing bait for Beaver, a tobacco sack with a pipe and implements for making fire with sometimes a hatchet fastened to the pommel of his saddle..."
"Journal of a Trapper" by Osbourne Russell   Page 82

"This was a severe cold night but I was comfortably situated with one Blanket and two Epishemores and plenty of dry wood to make a fire
IBID                                                     Page 94

"The men of the party, to the numbers of about fifty, are encamped on the banks of the river, and their tents whiten the plain for the distance of half a mile . ..... The beautiful white tents..."
"Across the Rockies to the Columbia" by John Kirk Townsend"    Page 84
               

"They are all frequently taken with the hook, and, the trout particularly, afford excellent sport to the lovers of angling."
  IBID      Page 84

"...except for the scanty supply they carried in their canteens."
  "Commerce of the Prairies" by Josiah Gregg              Page 14

"...kitchen and table ware' of the traders usually consists of a skillet, a frying-pan, a sheet-iron camp kettle, a coffeepot and each man with his tin cup and a butchers knife."
IBID             Page 39

"... outside the wagons, also, the travellers spread their beds which consist, for the most part, of buffalo rugs and blankets. Many content  themselves with a single Mackinaw,  but a pair constitutes the most regular pallet."
IBID                 Page 43             
            

"...a small sheet of iron or copper, called a coval..."
IBID                 Page 109

"...Two forked poles, which are generally driven upright into the ground, as far apart as occasion requires, with four feet or about, visible, A pole is then laid from one fork to the other, and other small ones, seven or eight feet in length, laid, the smaller ends on the cross pole, the butts resting on the ground.  On top of these are spread raw  hides of beef and the skins of game, and under the frame the soft ends of the pinyon and cedar branches are spread to the depth of a foot or moreOn top of that, deerskins are laid ... In front is the blazing pine fire, and at one side a small stick is driven in the ground, an inch or two of the branches remaining, on which the tin cups are
hung when not in use."
IBID                    Page 145
                                 

"....one dollar and a half per yard for course tow linen for tents...."
"Three Years Among the Indians and Mexicans" by Thomas James

ITEMS RECOVERED AFTER THE UMPQUA MASSACRE..
               "..3 horses, 2 mules, 7 steel traps, 1 copper covered kettle, 1 rifle, I rifle barrel, some beads, books, journals and other papers..."
"Jedediah Smith and the Opening of the West"    By  Dale Morgan

s horse, at the same time trying to put a cap on his gun..."
                "River of the West-The Adventures of Joe Meek" - Francis Fuller Victor

"As Pike had found during his trip up the Mississippi, rifles adequate for use in the eastern woodlands simply could not handle game of this size, especially at extended ranges. ..it was found that the rifles of small bore taking form 60 to 70 balls to the pound (.40 to.43 caliber) very frequently did not kill, although they might hit; while rifles taking from 30 to 40 to the pound (.49 to .54 caliber) seldom missed killing on the spot.."(Grizzle Bear)
            "Firearms of the American West 1803-1865"- Louis A. Garavaglia  and          Charles G.Worman       Page 54

"...in terms of supplying Pennsylvania-made rifles to the West during the fur-trade years, John Joseph Henry and his Bolton Gun Works of Nazareth soon overshadowed all other makers... In October  of that year(1825) William B. Astor wrote Henry we usually get 100 or 200 (rifles)  manufactured in the United States. The barrels of our Rifles are, from 3ft 8 inches, to 3ft 10,. and the calibre is in part of them 32(to the pound) while others carry a ball of 40 to the pound-the Locks are of the best strong roller kind; but not waterproof-The stocks are generally of our native Maple, or Sugar- tree, but we may wish part of them of Black Walnut.  The mounting including the Patchbox , is of Brass and well ornamented: and each Gun must have Wipers to screw-on to the thimble-rods, and a good  Ball mould.  The whole weight of the Rifle complete, is from 9 to 10 lbs...
            Another order sent to Henry in September of 1831, requested: 10 Rifles, sing. trig. bar(rels) 3ft. 4 (inches).  Cal. 32(to the pound) 5 inch locks, best quality, maple stock. chequered, steel mt. with covers, weight not less than10# nor more than 11#. 10 Rifle Barrel  3ft. 6 in. long cal. 23(to the pound) otherw. same as the above..."
                IBID       Page 35-36

"Despite the variance in some details of construction, however, the styles and dimensions of the plains rifle's major components had, by 1830, become relatively common. A representative Hawken of that  period would have a heavy octagon barrel, with a length from 38 in. to 40 in. and a caliber of .50 to .53, inletted into a stout full- length, stock of straight-grained stain-darkened maple, fitted with iron buttplate, trigger guard, and forestock cap.  If the rifle had a patchbox it too would be of iron, but by this time patchboxes were becoming less and less popular .... this 1830 Hawken very probably had double set trigcers, which had been popular on earlier Kentuckies and became a standard feature of Hawkens.  The lock, whether flint or percussion, commonly came from an independent lock supplier."
                IBID                                                            Page 41
          
 
"...in 1832 .... Nevertheless, flintlocks remained the choice of the  more conservative frontiersmen for another ten years of so .... there is a strong probability that the Hawken 'shop continued turning out Flintlocks well into the 1830s ... By the mid-1830s the advantages of
the percussion loct were becoming apparent to a respectable number of plains-rifle buyers, and probabilities are that at that time there were at least as many percussion arms coming out of the Hawken shop as flintlocks."
                IBID       Page 42-43

"...decorative inlays were rare indeed .... Double set trigaers and iron  mountings remained standard items. By the late 1830s most  Hawkens incorporated the percussion lock..."
               IBID            Page 45

"...one of the most important suppliers of muzzle-loading rifles to the West, was Henry E. Leman,..After working for other Pennsylvania smiths, Leman established his own concern in 1834. ... not until the mid-1830s, as percussion arms, did underhammers acquire a following amoung the gunmakers of New England."
              IBID               Page 46

BACK