American Frontiersman

American Frontiersman

Summer 2021

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.

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United States
Athlon Media Group
USD 3.97
USD 9.97
4 Números

en este número

2 min.

ABOUT THE COVER: Artist Michael Haynes’ “George Drouillard” is the perfect way to start the summer 2021 “trailblazer” edition. Hired on as an interpretor in 1803, George Drouillard proved to be one of the most trusted and valuable members of the Lewis and Clark expedition. An excellent marksman, much of his time was spent hunting. He also seemed to have an uncanny knack for being involved in many of the more adventurous and significant moments of the trek. Lewis wrote of him: “A man of much merit... It was his fate also to have encountered, on various occasions, with either Captain Clark or myself, all of the most dangerous and trying scenes of the voyage, in which he uniformly acquited himself with honor.” Afterward, Drouillard became a trapper and was…

9 min.
the battle of warfield

Editor’s Note: The following is taken directly from the original handwritten account of the incident by William Neel Harman, grandson of Henry Harman.Spelling, grammar and original verbiage were left intact for authenticity. Paragraph breaks and authenticity. paragraph breaks and subheads were added for easier reading. Of ALL THE HEROIC FEATS or hand-to-hand death—grapple encounters with the Indians in the border warfare of this or any country—none surpass the superb achievement of Capt. Henry Harman and his sons at The Battle of Warfield on Tug River named in honor of that event. It occurred on the 12th of Nov, 1788. Capt. Harman with his sons George & Mathias (18 years old) and George Draper proceeded with thirty packhorses to Tug River to hunt bears and pack home the meat, and finding a…

7 min.
george drouillard hunter, interpreter & scout

NOWADAYS, THE AMERICAN FRONTIERSMAN IS highly romanticized and considered a hero of the highest order, a man who managed to spend his time prospecting, hunting or trapping when the wilderness was really wild. Many of us wish that we’d been born in that era, even picturing ourselves as that hearty soul who would have left everything he owned and made the dangerous trek out West to enjoy Mother Nature’s bounty before civilization overtook it. It’s likely that early mountain men, however, never really looked at themselves as heroes. They were just doing what their nature told them to do—heading for wide-open lands and reaping the rewards of the hard labor and difficult times they experienced out there. A first-class mountain man, hunter and trapper, George Drouillard was just such a hero. Young George Drouillard was…

7 min.
a blackpowder build

DESPITE WHAT YOU MAY HAVE HEARD OR READ ABOUT HIS CALLING, it’s clear that master gunsmith Ross Westgate doesn’t just build muzzle-loading blackpowder rifles. From raw materials including wood, iron and ivory, Westgate crafts a vestige of American history. He’s keenly aware of the longrifle’s place in our heritage and is giving life to a piece of art that has a rightful place in the venerated vestibule of “memorabilia Americana.” Westgate kind of backed into the flintlock building business. “I wanted a nice custom-built rifle,” he says, “But on working wages, I couldn’t really afford one.” So in about 2004 or so, Westgate went ahead and built his own blackpowder rifle, took it to a gun show in Reno, Nevada, and as he puts it, “It’s been Katie-at-the-door ever since.” You…

11 min.
smoothbore shootout

SMOOTHBORES were the workhorse guns on the colonial American frontier. For warfare and for hunting they dominated the American firearms scene for most of the eighteenth century. But, as the frontier moved to the open spaces of the Great Plains in the 19th century, big-bore rifles, with their ability to accurately hit big game at long distances, became the standard guns of frontiersmen. For a time, smoothbore muskets maintained their pre-eminence on the battlefield because they had much higher rates of fire than slower-loading muzzle-loading rifles. But in 1849, the invention of the rifled musket, firing a Minié ball, erased that advantage. The Minié ball was an undersized, hollow-based bullet. Because it was undersized, it could be loaded as quickly as a smoothbore musket ball, but, upon firing, the hollow base expanded…

7 min.
smoky mountain knife works

ON A BACKPACKING TRIP IN ALASKA, I found the broken base of a moose antler. It gathered dust until I thought it might provide part of the stack handle on a knife. I had some seasoned walnut for the rest of the handle, but I lacked the key ingredient of a blade, which led me to Smoky Mountain Knife Works. Smoky Mountain Knife Works is located just east of Knoxville, a few miles south of Interstate 40 on Highway 66 and a stone’s throw from the French Broad River in Sevierville, Tennessee. Sevierville is the gateway to vacation attractions in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, as well as Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The area has something for every taste including a Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum, helicopter rides, miniature golf,…