School of the Longhunter

Mad Anne Bailey

This year, for the first time, I attended the annual School of the Longhunter at Prickett’s Fort,  (April 3-4) accompanied by my wife, Linda. The School is pretty much a symposium on 18th Century frontier life and covers a variety of subjects and activities. For example, the program started with an in-depth discussion of tumplines by material archeologist, Mike Galban. Before the weekend, I didn’t even know what a tumpline was. (A strap attached at both ends to a sack, backpack, or other luggage and used to carry the object by placing the strap over the top of the head. Wikipedia) After the session, I not only knew what they were, but could appreciate that they were often amazing pieces of art as well as utilitarian devices. This guy really knew his stuff! There were also sessions on history (Military Campaigns on the Frontier) and interesting persons of the period (Simon Girty.) One of the most fascinating presentations was a first-person performance on Saturday by Suzanne Larner as Mad Anne Bailey. The performance was riveting and a few tears were even shed in the crowd by the end of the hour. Later in the  afternoon, the  militia drilled and participated in ‘games’ such as tomahawk throwing. Mark Baker, a renowned authority on Longhunters,  gave a couple of presentations, including his reminiscences of teaching Daniel Day-Lewis how to load a flintlock on the run for “The Last of the Mohicans” and likewise Mel Gibson for “The Patriot.” There were some period sutlers at the event and this afforded me the opportunity to pick up some items for the 18th Century impression that I am starting. There were  various activities scheduled for after hours, but since we lived only 20 minutes away and really didn’t know anyone who was camping at the fort, we passed on those. Nevertheless, the School made for a

lively and interesting two days and we will probably be back next year!

ContinentalsMilitia training  IMG_0079Tomahawk competition IMG_0076 IMG_0086


2 responses to “School of the Longhunter”

  1. Gale Kane Avatar
    Gale Kane

    I am doing research for a paper about a WV longhunter. I find that he bought 5 yds linen at Mathews Trading Post. I presume it was for a new shirt. It occurs to me that I might estimate the size of the man with this information. Can you refer me to someone experienced in making this style of garment who might be able to discuss this idea with me?

  2. Jim Barnes Avatar
    Jim Barnes

    You might check with these folks, as they sell such garments:


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