Posts Tagged With: leather goods

DECATUR’S KEKIONGAN FESTIVAL

We saw signs around town for a Kekiongan Festival. What the heck is that, we wondered?  Local Indians named the nearby river Kekiongan. The Indians also taught early settlers how to live in this land. Many of them wouldn’t have made it without their help.  The festival is an authentic encampment requiring participants to re-enact life as it was before 1800.

A fun agenda along with the local scouts, rotary and so on selling stuff to make money for their own specific causes. The authentic appearance of the encampment is kept by keeping it in a woodsy setting on the grass away from all the modern trappings of the sellers, and entertainment, and food of the rest of the participants.

Thus you see all white canvas tents for shelter. Cooking on open fires. Pots of cast iron and wooden spoons and stir sticks.

This man is a hunter and he sells animal hides he has tanned. It was a bit disconcerting to see so many dead animals about the place, (at many of the tents) but, the reality is that people had to hunt to eat in the 1700’s.

Water buckets were copper or canvas covered leather. A feed bucket or “dry” bucket , was simply made of canvas.

People lived simpler lives. Everyday goods were difficult to make, such as clothing, bedding, and shoes. Horsehair with cotton fibers for some crude clothing. Others of refined cotton. During the day I met a Circuit Rider Preacher and his wife; a musket shooter, knife and utensil makers, weavers, soap makers and people producing leather goods, traps, and so on.  All spikes holding the tents in the ground were made by a blacksmith. (He was not on site.)

These two gents deal in charms and talismans, hatchets with hardwood handles,and what appears to be scalps hanging from their tent pole. I didn’t get to talk to them.
I watched the bowmen shoot with their handmade bows and arrows and leather quivers.

Women shoot and hunt too when necessary.

The most interesting to me was  women’s work, clothing, sewing, household frugality and clever use of materials.

Joyce Johnson demonstrates how women would use little packets of wood shavings to soak up sweat and help prevent stain and odor on their dresses.

She is married, thus her “pretty” pocket from her underskirt is kept under her top skirt. If she was single, she would let it hang out.

Silk was used to decorate hats and clothing. Modest you might be required to be, but you could still show off a bit by scrunching your silk into designs . Using a lot of silk subtlely told you were wealthier than someone else.

A black locust thorn is threaded for a needle. It is capable of sewing on leather.

Tea traveled everywhere in dry pressed cakes. It had to be stamped, according to the stamp act, that taxes were paid on it. A person just shaved off pieces into their pot to make tea.

Buttons were made from copper,shells,antler,bone,tufted linen and thread. Yes, thread. She showed me how to make a thread button. And if thread was scarce, you could use bits of worn fabric and pull threads from it. Ohhh, as fascinating as I found it, I’m glad I didn’t live in those days. I do appreciate my washing machine and deodorant. We won’t even talk about female problems. Arrrggh.  I learned a great deal from Joyce. She has a website at http://wkjohnson@mchsi.com.
For more pictures click my link below:
http://picasaweb.google.com/1579penn/82810KekionganFestivalDecatur#

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