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Culture & Literature
American Frontiersman

American Frontiersman

#254

The quintessential frontiersmen were those imbued with the new “American Spirit” who pushed the envelope, and the frontier, from one ocean to the other as they brought to its finest form, what we call the art and science of frontiersmanship. This spirit is alive and well 200 years into our nation’s history as our master practitioners offer timely and timeless articles on wilderness, survival, the land and the techniques that have been honed through generations.

Country:
United States
Language:
English
Publisher:
Athlon Media Group
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4 Issues

in this issue

3 min.
spring into action

Soon the woods will come alive with the sounds of wild turkeys gobbling their fool heads off looking for hens. With hunting seasons on the horizon, we thought it’d be perfect to feature a timeless piece of art by David Wright for our spring issue of American Frontiersman . Wright’s “The Turkey Hunter” was inspired by the taking of his very first gobbler in the early 1980s while fielding a French-style 24 gauge that he built. Wright dedicated the painting to AF contributor J. Wayne Fears, who Wright says was responsible for introducing him to the heart-pounding sport of turkey chasing. No question, hunting spring and fall birds is one of America’s most thrilling hunting adventures, which calls for excellent woodsmanship, marksmanship and the ability to talk the wild birds’…

7 min.
joseph greer’s mission

FOR the past 12 days, the rawboned and unusually tall (well over 6’6”) 26-year-old frontiersman had spent much of his time in the saddle riding more than 100 miles in snow and rain across the Appalachian wilderness. He was a volunteer in what was known as the Overmountain Army, a force made up of longhunters, trappers, Indian traders and settlers from the frontier on the west side of the Appalachian Mountains. Unpaid and untrained as soldiers, the only meager rations they had were what they had in their packs or could forage from the wilderness as they made the forced march. They were skilled woodsmen and experienced Indian fighters, however, and they were angry that the British commander, Major Patrick Ferguson, had threatened to “come over the mountains and lay waste…

1 min.
tennessee volunteer park

The cabin of Joseph Greer has been carefully taken down and is being restored on a new historic park, Camp Blount Historic Site, in Fayetteville, Tennessee. The historic site where the King’s Mountain Messenger legacy will live on is on land adjacent to the Elk River, where Andrew Jackson mustered Tennessee volunteers for the Creek Indian campaign and for the War of 1812. The Greer cabin, complete with his story and a larger-than-life bronze statue of a Tennessee volunteer, will be two of the first monuments placed in the park. It is fitting that the Joseph Greer Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolutionary War is one of the sponsoring groups of this park. It will allow the King’s Mountain Messenger story to live on in future generations.…

7 min.
busting blade myths

If you spend any time going to a big rendezvous these days, you’ll inevitably come across participants wearing large, man-killing Bowie knives that they’ll call “fighting knives.” But I’m not so sure mountain men historically wore knives primarily for fighting in the early West, as period records indicate that tactical or fighting knives weren’t wanted or needed on the frontier. These records show that the knives most commonly used and traded in the early West were in fact factory-made knives from Sheffield, England. Let’s Get Real Sheffield had been a cutlery manufacturing hub since the Middle Ages. In fact, Chaucer, writing in the 1300s, mentions his characters carrying Sheffield knives. By the 1820s, Sheffield cutlers had become masters of mass production. Knives could be made so cheaply that, even after transportation costs…

8 min.
mimicking nessmuk: part ii

IN the last issue of American Frontiersman, I detailed what it’d take to recreate the outfit and camping gear favored by famed outdoorsman George Washington Sears, who was more commonly known as Nessmuk. This time, we’re going to go a little further. Nessmuk utilized three primary cutting tools: an axe, a skinning knife and a pocketknife. Today, most bushcrafters refer to this setup as the “Nessmuk Trio.” A lot of ink has been spilled about Nessmuk’s trio of cutting tools in the 136 years since his book Woodcraft and Camping came out. Even today, on the many bushcraft forums on the internet, people argue about the applicability of this setup for modern tasks. Three Handy Blades First off, Nessmuk only provided a drawing of his setup. There are no measurements or guidelines. However,…

7 min.
the klondike five

The Klondike gold rush brought nearly 100,000 men and women into some of the harshest country in the world. Alaska in the late 1890s was the greatest of the great frontiers, and those living in the rugged, vast wilderness were true mountain men, scraping out a livelihood hunting, fishing, trapping and trying to stay alive. The first reports of Klondike gold reaching Seattle and San Francisco in 1897 started a stampede of men and women on the long, hard trek to Skagway, Alaska, and other port towns that yielded access, albeit treacherous, to the profitable gold fields. Ironically, the promise of becoming rich drew many who had never even spent a night without a roof over their heads. Most were ill-suited to brave the wilds, and many perished without a penny…