Thursday, September 28, 2023

River of Time 2023: New Location in Saginaw, Michigan

Morning has broken...
The first dawn of Autumn.

So,  I awakened about six of the clock in the morning of September 23.  Due to the fact that this was the first dawn of Fall - and being that it was now late September,  it was still dark - the sun does not begin to show at this time of the year until closer to seven.  But here I was,  up-and-at-'em,  and excited to make the nearly two-hour trek to Saginaw,  Michigan for the wonderful River of Time reenactment.  However,  as I was in my back room gathering up a few 1700s items to wear at the event,  such as my buckle shoes and my cocked  (tricorn)  hat,  I noticed a few apples we picked the previous Sunday a-sitting separate on our table,  right in front of the crate,  which was also filled with apples,  and,  with that,  a picture popped into my head.  So I lit a candle and surrounded it with the fresh-picked apples.
Yep---it was a good way to get me mentally ready to travel back in time---I,  myself  (along with Larissa & Jackie),  would be dressed to about the year 1775.  
It was going to be a great day...


Michigan knows how to celebrate history.
Michigan knows how to celebrate fall.
Put the two subjects together and you have the River of Time historical timeline event.  And the day we took part was the first day of autumn;  the sun was out,  the sky was blue,  it was beautiful,  the temps were,  too...
Three of  us who are part of the core cabin group were there at River of Time together:  myself,  Jackie,  & Larissa,  and,  per normal for us,  we had such fun together,  with lots of laughs and good conversation.  
We spent most of our time roaming the complex of Johnson's Pumpkin Farm,  enjoying seeing the different eras in time.
If you are unfamiliar with fall in Michigan,  we do it right and we do it up big.  We celebrate the fall here by going to cider mills,  pumpkin farms,  and apple picking orchards,  purchasing cider,  doughnuts,  pies,  fruits,  vegetables,  pure maple syrup,  and even traditional craft items,  usually homemade and oftentimes totally unique / one-of-a-kind.  Let me tell you,  the cider mills are packed every weekend from Labor Day through early November - thousands of visitors and patrons visit these places each weekend;  it's a wonderful tradition of which my family and I also partake.  Johnson's Pumpkin Farm is one such place,  only this year they have welcomed us reenactors:

"Your favorite mid-Michigan reenactment event has moved to the farm!  Take a step back in time at Johnson’s.  Speak with in-character reenactors to learn about the history of our country.  Period music will entertain and the ever popular root beer will be flowing!" 

Over the past few years I have participated in a number of timeline events,  including last year's River of Time  (while it was still in Bay City)  as well as a more recent one in Monroe this past July;  this sort of reenactment seems to be growing in popularity.  But if you look at the schedule of events,  even the least fan of history can find something of interest:
There is so much to see - a travel through time.
And there,  at noon on Saturday,  I,  as Paul Revere,  was part of the schedule of events,  sharing time and the stage with Ben Franklin.
I am honored.
But Ben & I did not share the stage together. 
We,  instead,  spoke of our accomplishments separately.
Since Ben Franklin had much more to speak about,  for his life is more well-known,  it was decided I would go on first,  as a sort of opener,  so at high noon,  I began my story,  and I am very pleased to say I had a wonderful good-sized audience at hand to hear of my most-famous midnight ride.
This early patriot I was portraying did more than most people realize - too many still believe the myths and rumors and,  in more recent times,  condemnations,  without taking the time to search for themselves for the truth  (isn't that the way it is these days?  I call them Facebook University grads lol) - and I like to believe Mr.  Revere himself  is happy with what I'm doing.
It is an honor for me to portray my childhood hero,  Paul Revere.  
I also work on de-Longfellow-izing him,  that is,  pointing out that the Poem written in his honor,  Paul Revere's Ride,  was far from the truth:
As is stated on the Paul Revere Heritage Project website,  “(Longfellow)  meant to retell the story taking the liberty to dramatize Revere’s individuality,  patriotism and the fight for independence.  Longfellow created a national icon from a local folk hero hardly known outside Massachusetts.  He also dramatized Revere’s ride creating a national myth.
During  (the last half)  of the nineteenth century Longfellow’s poem was considered a historical account and evidence of what happened the night of April 18,  1775 and many textbooks were written based on Longfellow’s poem.  During the 20th century,  textbook writers and historians tried to portray a more objective account of the facts.  They argued about the inaccuracies of the poet’s account and what were the real events,  they tried to demythologize the poem. 
Nevertheless,  Longfellow's poem has become so successful and ingrained in every American mind that readers no longer remember it as a poem but as a national legend.  It is a reminder of the patriotism that led to independence and a part of the American culture."
Patriotism is a wonderful thing,  so I can appreciate that.  Even with his human faults,  however,  Paul Revere,  in my opinion,  was a great man who did wonderful things and deservedly belongs in a good place in American History,  to be sure.
I enjoy speaking to audiences of all ages,  but I must admit I like when I can grab the attention of the younger kids - elementary and middle school - for if I can light a spark in them for history,  they'll hopefully remember it for life,  just as my love of history through my old history books as a pre-teen has clung to me.
To read a more concise piece on Revere that covers the truth of  what happened on the night of  April 18th,  1775,  please click HERE.
One of the things I really got a kick out of  was when people would ask to have a photograph taken with me,  for it's not everyday one can meet Paul Revere.  
It truly is an honor.

It was also my privilege to introduce the next speaker/presenter,  Benjamin Franklin.  
Bob Stark as Benjamin Franklin - yes,  he even looks like him!
Bob as Ben did not do the more conventional presentation;  instead he went into the audience and asked them if they had any questions.  Some asked about his inventions while others mentioned his role in the Declaration of Independence.  It was a bit more personable type of presentation.
Franklin was followed by Abby Stark  (who just so happens to be his daughter!),  with a very interesting speech and lesson on colonial tea.  Abby is new to public speaking in this manner and she did very well - she held a good audience while explaining the importance of tea in the colonies,  and,  of course,  of the Boston Tea Party,  which,  in this year of 2023,  is the 250th anniversary  (1773).
Of course,  Larissa,  Jackie,  and I remained to listen to Abby to help giver her some moral support.
She's only fairly recently began giving Colonial Tea Presentations - a timely and
fascinating topic for the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party.
More often she can be found helping her father at The Salty Lantern sutlery.
When the presentations had ended,  Larissa,  Jackie,  and I visited Ben Franklin's  (and Abby's)  Salty Lantern sutlery,  where Abby sells the type of tea that was dumped over-board by the Sons of Liberty on the night of December 16,  1773!
And patrons can purchase the same tea-types from that fateful night,  though on a much smaller scale,  for  the three tea ships in Boston Harbor contained 240 chests of Bohea, 
15 of Congou,  10 of Souchong  (all black teas),  60 of Singlo,  and 15 of Hyson 
(both green teas).

In fact,  Jackie did!
A taste of history~
Ben/Bob is a wood worker,  and he makes many period items that can work for reenactors and modern folk who have a penchant for tradition,  including wooden rope bunk beds.
So,  my companions,  along with Abby,  decided to try them out,  and had a little fun in the meantime:
"Time to wake up,  Wilhelmina!"

I have absolutely no idea what they were laughing at,  but just look at their faces!

We very much enjoyed roaming throughout the large encampment:
Revolutionary War was represented - - - 
here we have the 49th Regiment Of Foot~

And we hade some wonderful period music:
The Tittabawassee Valley Fife & Drum Corps played the familiar period music
as well as field music of the Revolutionary War era.

And then there was Larry Kula,  the Colonial Brewer:
Would you like a glass full?
Some beer a-brewin'

The introduction of hops resulted in a change in the definition of beer and ale.  By the 1500s beer had become a malt beverage with hops,  while ale was a malt beverage made without hops.  This distinction was maintained for about 200 years.  During this period fines were imposed for putting hops into ale.  Soon,  the preserving qualities of hops won out over the prejudice against its flavor.  During the 18th-century the distinctions between beer and ale became more vague.  The term ale is sometimes used to indicate a stronger drink,  but this usage is not consistent.

Just a ways away we visited with the Voyageurs,  most depicting life of the 18th century:
The Voyageurs always have a wonderful set up and display.

A blacksmith was on hand...

In the Voyageur camp~

In the Voyageur Camp

I have reenacted with the Lac Ste.  Claire Voyageurs,  but this group are
 the Great Lakes Voyageurs.

I always love it when Native Americans come out and participate.

The Civil War was represented as well.

A little intermingling of two different time periods:  Revolutionary War era
and the Civil War era.
But Butch was kind enough to give each of us a slice of freshly baked carrot cake!

More from the Civil War camps.
I was hoping to see a few more eras in between Civil War and World War Two,  but,  unfortunately,  no one depicting Span-Am,  WWI,  or even earlier,  such as War of 1812 were there.  And that's a shame,  for here is an opportunity to teach history to thousands of people.
Well,  there's always next year.  And I hope we see the periods I just mention,  as well as the citizens of the 1910s,  1920s,  and other known decades.
Maybe even a few Rosie the Riveters!

So now we jump up to the 1940s:
My own father fought in WWII,  so I do enjoy seeing all of the period's collectibles - items my father would have seen and known.  I often wonder what he would have thought of those who reenacted his war life?

At around three o'clock they had a WWII plane do a  "fly over,"  which was very cool to see.
I was able to get a couple of nice photos:
I do not know what kind of plane this was,  but the schedule said there would be a 
"WW2 Fly Over."

I was able to snatch a close up!

Richard is wearing 1940’s era French civilian clothing with a
WWI French infantry military side cap.

Desert Storm - early 1990s.

One particular stop we made was to visit long-time friend and long-time reenactor,  Will Eichler.
For years he has put together historical snippets on his You Tube channel,  Civil War Digital Digest.  As is noted on the web site:  "Civil War Digital Digest is your first stop for high quality videos on American Civil War era history and living history topics.  Avid living historians,  relaxed armchair generals,  and teachers will find resources that both educate and entertain."
For more information,  please check this link out:

But that's not all Mr.  Eichler is delving into when it comes to promoting history: 
Escape into history,  by way of the present and future.
So,  upon entering the tent I came across Will,  someone I've known dor a long time now,  and he explained this new venture of his: HistoryFix - another opportunity for those of us who love history - accurate history -  to literally watch and learn.
TaraLynn Lusko and Will Eichler
At River of Time,  Will was mainly promoting HistoryFix,  which was launched on June 14,  2022,  and,  well,  it worked,  for I ended up subscribing to the channel the next day!
As is written in his flyer:  "Tired of sifting through generic content on mainstream streaming platforms?
Yearning for a streaming service that caters specifically to your passion for history?
Whatever you enjoy:  American Civil War,  World Wars,  modern history,  or others - there's something for everyone to enjoy.
With History Fix you get access to an extensive and growing library of carefully curated movies,  series,  and documentaries - all dedicated to capturing the essence of various historical periods."
Will pointed out that,  "The point is we focus on people being able to enjoy a History where they are – whether movies or documentaries.  Whether online or on an app.  Whether first century or 21st century."
And isn't history what this is all about?

To be able to walk around and seeing all of this American History come to life right before your eyes - from Native Americans on up - is always exciting,  even for those not heavily into the subject,  and personally for me it was such an honor to play a part,  as Paul Revere.  Being stopped a few times by folks who enjoyed my presentation was an honor indeed.  
But it was great hanging out with a few of my  "besties" - - - 
The three amigos.
We had just a good time here at River of Time.
I am already looking forward to next year!

Being that this is a working farm,  there were also chickens,  cows,  and even an emu!
Larissa met Doug the Emu!
The emu is native to Australia,  where scientists believe it began roaming the Outback some 80 million years ago.  The birds were originally imported to the United States as breeding stock for zoos - emus were originally imported to the United States from 1930 to 1950 as exotic zoo stock,  but a 1960 exportation ban in Australia has since barred emus from crossing the border.  The expanding emu population in the United States are domestically bred.

And we also walked through the humungous patch of sunflowers: far as thee eye can see!
(From THIS site):
The story of sunflower is indeed amazing.  The wild sunflower is native to North America but commercialization of the plant took place in Russia.  It was only recently that the sunflower plant returned to North America to become a cultivated crop.  But it was the American Indian who first domesticated the plant into a single headed plant with a variety of seed colors including black,  white,  red,  and black/white striped.
Sunflower was a common crop among American Indian tribes throughout North America.  Evidence suggests that the plant was cultivated by American Indians in present-day Arizona and New Mexico about 3000 BC.  Some archaeologists suggest that sunflower may have been domesticated before corn.
My two friends,  here,  simply loved seeing so many!
Sunflower was used in many ways throughout the various American Indian tribes.  Seed was ground or pounded into flour for cakes,  mush,  or bread.  Some tribes mixed the meal with other vegetables such as beans,  squash,  and corn.  The seed was also cracked and eaten for a snack.  There are references of squeezing the oil from the seed and using the oil in making bread.
This exotic North American plant was taken to Europe by Spanish explorers some time around 1500.  The plant became widespread throughout present-day Western Europe mainly as an ornamental,  but some medicinal uses were developed.
Sunflower became very popular as a cultivated plant in the 18th century. 
The Russian Orthodox Church increased its popularity by forbidding most oil foods from being consumed during Lent.  However,  sunflower was not on the prohibited list and therefore gained in immediate popularity as a food.
By the early 19th century,  Russian farmers were growing over 2 million acres of sunflower.  During that time,  two specific types had been identified:  oil-type for oil production,  and a large variety for direct human consumption. 
By the late 19th century,  Russian sunflower seed found its way into the US.  By 1880,  seed companies were advertising the  'Mammoth Russian'  sunflower seed in catalogues.  This particular seed name was still being offered in the US in 1970,  nearly 100 years later.  A likely source of this seed movement to North America may have been Russian immigrants.
The native North American sunflower plant has finally come back home after a very circuitous route.  It is the Native Americans and the Russians who completed the early plant genetics,  and the North Americans who put the finishing touches on it in the form of hybridization.  Those early ancestors would quickly recognize their contributions to today's commercial sunflower if they were here.
You know,  there's always history to be found in what may be considered the most common thing,  including the sunflower.  I suppose that's the way my mind works...always looking at everything as a journey through the past.

A variety of historical flags...
After decades at a park in Bay City,  this year River of Time was moved to a new location,  and I,  for one,  loved it.  I loved the atmosphere of the cider mill and the literally thousands of people who came through,  most of which were not necessarily  "history people,"  but rather,  cider millers  who happened upon us.  Well,  sometimes these are the best types of visitors,  for there is an opportunity to teach that large portion of folks who,  oftentimes,  get their  (wrong)  information from Facebook memes,  uninformed friends who get their information from Facebook memes,  or from Hollywood movies.
I could not even imagine seeing history in this manner when I was in school.  This sort of living history was a part of the east coast,  but rarely here in Michigan back in the 1960s and 70s.  You see,  Living history timelines such as Bay City / Saginaw River of Time are such amazing events to see the past come to life - to see progression from over a few centuries - culminating to the modern visitor.  
"Reenactors have the best knowledge and abilities for our historical presentations,  and our volunteers are able to support our event with their hard work and dedication to event logistics.  Reenactors find our first-person impressionists and help put together the programs for our education tent in addition to doing their own reenacting."

Afterward,  Larissa,  Jackie,  and I went out to eat at one of the local restaurants.  And per usual for us,  we went while wearing our 18th century garb.  Well,  except for Larissa who,  due to a malfunctioning garment,  had to change back into her modern clothing,  so she was sort of the  "odd man out!"  lol~
We found,  only by chance,  a very nice place to dine called  "Saginaw Old Town Restaurant & Tavern."
A tavern!  Why...taverns were the pulse of 18th century urban life,  and their importance to the local community of that time cannot be overstated.  We colonials are very familiar with taverns!
This was a very good place to eat - good food,  fair prices,  and unique atmosphere!
Guess what else?
There was a room inside that was connected but separate from the rest of the restaurant,  which was where the hostess sat us,  and that extra room where we ate was once an old train caboose!
"Our restaurant is full of history!
We have been part of Old Town Saginaw for more than 40 years!
Part of our building is a train caboose —
and you will find train memorabilia and decor throughout."
Now,  we colonials have no idea what a caboose is,  but we certainly ate our delicious food inside one!
We seem to choose the kind of dining establishments that each of us are pleased with - so far we've had no strikes outs!
Yeah...this was a good day with,  God Willing,  many more to come.
River of Time has a future!

Until next time,  see you in time.

Besides my own images,  many thanks to the following for allowing me the use of their photos:
Larissa Fleishman
Larry Kula
Debbie Purdue
Richard Reaume


Thursday, September 21, 2023

The Spirit of Samuel Daggett Lives On: Making a Colonial Well Sweep

What's nice about having my own blog and not blog for money is I can freely write about anything I want and not be worried about so-called blog  "ratings."  For instance,  this is the second post in a row that has a Daggett connection.  I would hope that history folk would enjoy it because of what the posting is centered on---in this case,  the colonial well sweep and how they were made back in the day.  It just so happens that the only well sweep in this neck-of-the-woods is at the Daggett House inside the hallowed walls of historic Greenfield Village.  But not only do we get to check out the well sweep - we get to see one being made in the same manner as 18th century Samuel Daggett would have done.
And that's what this week's post - and history in of itself - is all about,  Charlie Brown!


I've been visiting the Daggett House inside Greenfield Village regularly since the early 1980s,  and aside from the earliest days of its move there - the late 1970s and 1980s - more often than not the house as it sits inside the Village was run by women presenters.  Now,  there is nothing wrong with that,  mind you,  for I learned a lot of how a colonial house was run and what the family would have experienced inside the home.  But,  aside from soldiering or politicians or even a bit of  firewood-chopping,  we tend to forget the 18th century male side of daily life.  Well,  now that we have Roy & Chuck working at the Daggett House,  the two have been making their way into a more much needed prominent representation of the colonial man.  And this past summer,  for the first time,  the two men were scheduled to work at the home together,  and it was for this reason they were able to also work together to complete a historically accurate project:  making a new well-sweep...and making new firepit poles.
And even making new saw horses!
I spent much of my time there documenting this,  all the while imagining Samuel Daggett himself looking down upon these two with pride.
For this historian,  it was a great summer!
So that's where I would like to begin this journey - in early June 2023 - to watch history come to life.
If I had the money  (and I was younger),  I would replicate this house
to have for my own.
It's here at Greenfield Village - specifically at the Daggett House - where I spent most of my summer Thursdays 2023 documenting two men of history,  Roy & Chuck,  accomplish a task that not only needed to be done,  but was done in a period-correct manner.  You see,  Samuel Daggett,  the builder and original owner of the house,  was a housewright,  a farmer,  a repairman...a jack-of-all-trades.  He had to be,  as most other farmers of  the 18th century were,  for if anything broke,  he could not always depend on others to have it repaired.  Nor could he look it up on YouTube or in his Time-Life repair books  (lol).  He had to know how to do it himself...or he learned,  oftentimes through trial and error.  But Samuel was a right-smart man,  and I'd be willing to bet there weren't many errors in his trials.

"The well-sweep creaked in the breeze,  and a whiff of  the smoke of the kitchen fire,  pouring out of the chimney,  blew up the stairway..."  (from the book A Day In A Colonial Home by Della R.  Prescott).  
You may have noticed,  upon visiting the Daggett House this year,  that the well sweep has been missing.
I most certainly did!
The Daggett well sweep  (on the right)
What is a well-sweep?
A well sweep is an ingenious device used to bring water up from a well.  
The only materials needed to construct such a device were wooden poles,  usually obtained locally from the forest,  and oftentimes a heavy weight of stone or clay.  And then to build one,  one should have a vertical post,  often with a Y notch at the top,  mounted by the well.  The post held a horizontal pole,  or  "sweep,"  which was heavier at one end and rested on the ground,  with an attached bucket or pail placed at the other end.  A person would pull the thin pole and bucket down into the well and fill it with water,  and the sweep’s weight of stone or clay would then lift the bucket up.  
The Daggett Well.
As historian/author Eric Sloane described it:
One of the vanished pieces of farmyard equipment is the well sweep.  
The object of a well sweep was to let the sweep lift a full bucket by its own counterweight;  the bucket,  therefore,  had to be small and the sweep itself enormous.  The average sweep was either a long,  heavy pole or,  preferably,  a whole length of tree,  often over forty feet long;  the bucket usually held two gallons or less.  Instead of a rope,  a drop-pole  held the bucket,  and with it you  "pulled the bucket"  into the well by lowering the drop-pole hand over hand.  
Eric Sloane,  historian  (from his book  "Seasons of America Past")
Well sweeps,  largely used in colonial America and on the frontier in a time before the more well-known  "wishing well"  style wells became popular,  are rare items to be found these days,  and,  according to Early American Life Magazine  (June 2018 issue),  few survive today,  so we are very lucky to have one - replications count! -  within our midst at Greenfield Village.  The fact that there was such a mostly forgotten object of historical significance over at the Daggett house says much,  and for that I give Greenfield Village a lot of credit. 
The Daggett well sweep sat right outside the back buttery/kitchen door near the garden path.  But it had been missing for a while due to its age and weather affects – wood can only last so long in such conditions.  And,  to top it off,  it was broken accidently.  So Chuck & Roy,  who've been separately presenting at the Daggett House for years,  spent the summer Thursdays of 2023 together rebuilding it.  These two men actually rarely worked together previously except on special occasions,  but this summer was different,  which was,  as I would say,  good for history.
And here we,  as visitors,  were able to watch as the two Daggett representatives built a new one,  as seen in the pictures herein!
It’s this sort of thing that excites me most of all!
Everyday history coming to life!

This story begins in 2022 when I noticed that the Daggett well sweep was nowhere to be found.  I was told of it being knocked over due to the wood in the ground rotting.  It was at that point when I had learned that our two resident Daggett men,  Roy & Chuck,  planned to rebuild it using only period-appropriate methods and technology as would have been used 250 years ago,  in Samuel Daggett's time. 
But they did not only build a well sweep,  they also built a couple of saw horses and new firepit poles & stands as well.  It was like watching my favorite historical farm TV series or reading my Eric Sloane books,  but only having everything done live right before my eyes!  It was enjoyable historically to watch the way the work was done and how the tools were used in the past.  I was never taught how to work with wood so watching and photographing helps me.  Sometimes at reenactments some of the masters of these crafts will allow me to help,  which I greatly appreciate.  But over at Daggett they could not allow me,  a visitor,  to work with the tools for building the well sweep.  I suppose it's understandable,  considering they used axes,  saws,  and the like - insurance companies would not allow for such a thing!
So,  for most Thursdays in the summer of  '23 I enjoyed spending time watching and documenting and learning.
My first day out to watch I caught Chuck using a draw knife to shave the bark off of this pine log. 
There were plenty of pine logs that needed to be shaved,  for they were not only building a well sweep but a couple of saw horses,  and firepit poles.
Here is a close up of the  "draw-knife, "  called that because you drew the blade toward you as the tool stripped the bark from the log.
From Roy:  "The parts for the well-sweep can be found in
the forest.  I have been blessed with a ten acre forest in
northern Michigan.  I’m planning on going up there with
some hand tools to harvest everything I need.  Chuck and I
are planning to build a shave horse,  and with that we’re planning
to build a spring pole lathe,  a couple saw horses,  and
several other types of tools made from green wood.
As Eric Sloane wrote in his book,  "A Museum of Early American Tools":
But only with the emergence of the snitzelbank,  or shaving horse,  which made it simpler to hold the article being shaved,  did the draw-knife become a most favored tool.
The draw-knife was used to taper the sides of shingles,  to rough-size the edges of floor boards and rough-trim paneling before planing them,  to fashion axe,  rake,  and other tool handles,  and to make stool legs,  ox yokes,  pump handles,  and wheel spokes.  It is easy to see why the draw-knife was so popular!
Roy's turn to use the draw-knife.

That same log a short time later.
Due to his log book,  we know that Samuel Daggett worked with wood often and could be found building or repairing things,  including framing other houses,  repairing spinning wheels,  and even building coffins.
As you can see by the amount of logs here,  there was plenty of man-power
that went into this job.
It was fascinating to watch.

Chuck & Roy did  "draw"  visitors of the Village who happened upon the Daggett House, interested in their project.

These two men have taken to heart the chores and
work of  Sam Daggett.  With the ladies inside preparing and
cooking the meals,  as Mrs.  Daggett and the Daggett daughters
would have,  and all presenters helping in the kitchen garden
as needed,  this is probably the most everyday life  activity
I've seen occurring in and around this,  my favorite house of history.

Here is the  "Y"  from the previous well sweep.
It is too old and too rotted to re-use,  so they are 
looking to either find another  "Y"  or replicate it somehow.

Toward the end of June I came a-visiting wearing my period clothing.  My daughter wanted to spend time with me,  and so she suggested Greenfield Village,  where she and I often used to visit together when she was young.  She many times would dress period with me,  though not this time.   But I was so glad she joined me,   and she snapped a nice picture of me with Roy and Chuck.  I was asked if we wanted to do a posed picture of me helping them.  I said  "no,"  for I would like to actually help rather than being a poser.  So I was more like a visiting neighbor,  I suppose.
Do you like how our waistcoats match?
Must have had a lot of madder root the previous fall to make orange dye.
Ah!   One of the two saw-horses is complete!
Now to make sure the well sweep wood is going to last,  and to do that they must remove the moisture from the logs. 
Roy starts the fire in the pit - - - 

This is done by singeing the portion of the log that will go into the ground enough
for the sap to be burned out.  The wood will last much longer than unsinged wood.

I never knew about this.  It seems no matter how often I visit this place,  
I always learn something new.

This is the sort of history I love to see.
I've often thought how great it would be to get hired on to work at the Village
and to be scheduled at Daggett with these two guys. 
Alas,  this will not happen. 
But that's okay,  for I get to visit as often as I like,  oftentimes  "dressed". 
And,  hopefully,  actually doing  will happen someday for me.
Perhaps at one of my frontier cabin experiences.

The work continued into July~
Roy was told by a tool historian friend of management that the replicated 18th century saw he was using was not quite historically accurate to the Daggett period,  so he corrected that mistake by removing the metal band that held the separate pieces of wood on each side together and replaced it with twine.  
Roy was told by a tool historian that his saw was not quite historically accurate,  so he corrected that mistake by removing the metal bar that held the separate pieces of wood together and replacing it with twine.
And then,  by also including a smaller piece of wood that the twine was tied to,  he could tighten or loosen the saw as needed as the piece of wood was wrapped  (or twisted)  around.  In this way he could spin/turn it,  twisting the twine to be very taut  (how’s that for an alliteration?),  thus securing the two sides together tightly enough,  as the more modern metal holder once did.  
He also had a smaller piece of wood that the string wound
around and the tied to it so when it was spun it twisted
the twine very taut. 
Done and done!
Now the saw can be seen and used,  and its  (his)story can
be told as part of the story of Samuel Daggett. 
It's these little things that make a difference,  at least for me personally,  for it helps me to know that what I am witnessing is history in all of its details. 
And here you can see the stick that keeps it taut.

A page from the book  "A Museum of Early American Tools
written by noted historian Eric Sloane.
This is very similar to what Roy did to his saw.
I was so impressed with this,  and saw how simple it was to convert,  I did the same to my own period saw:

Roy continued making tools needed for the job:
Here he is making a wooden wedge.

More often than not,  colonials had to make their own
tools to allow them to make items needed,  so
patience really was a virtue.

Long about late July or early August,  the Daggett  "family"  lost one of their own when one of the indoor presenters went away to college,  so Chuck was scheduled to help inside to present when visitors strolled in.
Ruth & Chuck.

This left Roy to finish the wood-working project solo,  for the most part.
Here are the logs that were singed/burnt,  awaiting for a few more pieces. 

Roy working out plans...
This man is,  in my opinion,  Samuel Daggett incarnate.  The women of Daggett have brought the inside of the house to life as Anna Daggett & her daughters would have by preparing food,  cooking over the hearth,  spinning,  dyeing wool,  and other tasks more suitable for the colonial woman,  and now Roy and Chuck have brought the colonial man to life as well with their outdoor wood-working chores.  Sure,  they brewed beer,  processed flax,  chopped wood,  and have done other jobs of the sort,  but,  as noted earlier,  Samuel Daggett,  as many men of his time,  worked with wood.  And over the past few years - mostly since covid - we visitors now get to see that happen as well.
I enjoy immensely seeing these smaller details of the past being brought back to life.
Once again,  Roy wrote to explain:  
"We are splitting a log with wedges." 

He uses both metal and wood wedges.
Back around 30 or 40 years ago,  the blacksmith who worked directly
across the street from the Daggett House here at Greenfield Village, 
would have made any metal parts needed,  but with there no longer
being any smithy's working the forge,  and hasn't been for years, 
Roy has to search elsewhere for the metal items needed.

Since he has not found the correct style of a  "Y",  Roy has to
make his own type of fulcrum on which the sweep will rest. 
That's where these two pieces of split wood will come in handy.

Once he had his makeshift  "Y",  it was time to
flatten and smooth a shaved end to fit.

"We are using flax oil to waterproof the logs."

Tool Box Break!
Chuck found this recently,  and since it does fit the era of the Daggett House,  he donated it.  Kinda cool that it came with the carved sailing ship...and the capitol  "D"  at the bottom right corner!
"D"  for Daggett,  mayhaps?

As I mentioned before,  Chuck and Roy could not find the correct size  "Y"  branch for the top/fulcrum of the well-sweep,  so they are making something that will work.
18th century ingenuity!

Twisting the twine to hold one half of the makeshift  "Y"  to make sure the holes
that will be drilled will be lined up.   

Roy uses the auger once the half is good and taught.

Two of twelve holes drilled with the auger.

As you can see,  the other side of the fulcrum is matched with its twin.

Using a hand drill to drill a hole into the long sweep
There is a short anecdote to tell here:
Roy had the temptation of using an electric/battery-operated drill,  for using an auger was trying and somewhat cumbersome.  Then he told me he thought of how disappointed I would be if he used any modern tools  (lolol).  I said that I most certainly would have been disappointed,  especially knowing how far he had come in making this the way Sam Daggett did!  I told him I'm like Jiminy Cricket...a sort of  "conscience of history."
So----he did it all the right  way!
And now to fit the iron rods to hold
the two pieces of the sweep together.

I also enjoy watching the indoor activities,  for a colonial family worked as a well-oiled machine,  and if either of the jobs from indoors or outdoors did not work together and did not get done,  it could mean disaster for the family.
So Ruth spent her time preparing the main meal of the day,  and worked in the
kitchen garden as needed to replenish any of the necessities as needed.
That's what she did - no Krogers to run to,  but her kitchen garden instead.

I had not seen this before:  roasting a chicken on the rack.

Ruth let the men know that it was time to eat.

Enjoying a repast of 18th century New England fare.
As I mentioned earlier,  in order for a colonial family to be successful, 
they had to work together: 
the colonial thought process was that God called men and women to perform particular 
tasks or work in this life;  the women were invariably called to be housewives and mothers,  cooks,  and even to do doctoring,  and men were called to specific work as farmers,  carpenters,  builders,  store owners,  coopers,  and so on.  To understand this time,  one must view their world through 18th century eyes - for there is no room for 21st century thinking in an 18th century world.  
The system was highly efficient,  from husband & wife down through the children.  Family,  household production,  and education for life were synonymous.  One missing link,  though,  could throw a wrench into the entire operation.
All jobs were just as important as the other,  whether men's work or women's.

And back to work on another Thursday.
Roy fit the wooden dowels - nails - into the holes.

Unfortunately,  they were a bit too wide so he had to
trim them a bit to fit.

This is how the first one looked all the way through.

Now to pound in the rest.

Also,  to tie it all together so when it rained the wood would swell and the dowels
would fit even tighter inside the holes.

Now we're getting closer...time to dig the post hole near the well.

The old post broken off from the previous well-sweep was still in the ground. 
We noticed it was not singed,  which was why it rotted away and broke the way it did.

That looks to be about two & a half feet down.
Ready for the main 
well sweep post.
It may sound silly,  but all summer long we've been building up to this moment.  For me it was quite exciting  (yeah...I'm such a history nerd!)~
Into the hole...

The old  "Y"  that is too rotted anymore for use leans against
the fence while Roy stands next to the new one just put into the hole.
There are just a few small steps to take before it
can be considered complete.

The  "sweep"  fits into the makeshift  "Y"~the fulcrum.

Roy measured the distance of the  "sweep"  to the well to make sure it could
be easily dipped to gather water.  It was not set in the fulcrum permanently
at this point - just a trial.

However,  the new firepit side poles are in!

On the second-to-last Thursday of summer - September 14 - meteorological fall was already upon us,  and nighttime lows were falling between the upper 40s and low 50s,  and daytime highs were reaching the mid-to-upper 60s and into the 70s.
Very pleasant weather.
And,  yes,  leaves had begun to change and some were even beginning to fall.
So it was on this mid-September day that Roy was ready to complete this project that,  had he worked more days with more hours - or had he actually been living in the 1760s - it would have easily been completed within a two-day period.  But he is a historic presenter,  therefore it was a chore that was made to last all summer long,  giving him,  at best,  a few interrupted  hours a week to work the task.
It just so happened that on this particular day I was there,  in my period clothing,  along with my living history friend,  Norm.
The main post is firmly in the ground.
Moods were high and happy on this perfect late-summer day.
In this shot we see Norm & Roy  (and Melissa in the doorway).
There were a few small things yet to be done before setting the sweep into the fulcrum of the main post.  Lucky for me I was able to finally lend a small hand - no tools or lifting or anything of the sort----just holding items still so Roy could more easily complete the job at hand.
I held the sweep while Roy fit in a metal U-bracket.

Then it was carried over to the pole set next to the well.

Roy,  using the auger,  drilled a little larger hole for the pegs to fit.

As Roy lifted the sweep to the fulcrum,  I held a makeshift metal axle
to help align the holes.

Once set it was time for the bucket.
The larger well sweep water bucket was being used elsewhere, 
so Roy tied the smaller one,  just to make sure this simple machine
would work as planned.  The larger one would soon be
where it belonged.

The ladies of the house got a kick out of watching the men.
That's Kirsten in the top photo and Melissa in the bottom picture.

This looking-through-the-window  kind of image is my favorite of all,  for seeing the
men gathered together after a completed job has a very naturalness about it.
One can imagine this scene being seen had we actually been in 1765/1770.

I like that Roy and I took a picture together of the completed task.
Aside from keeping a few pieces still while Roy drilled,  etc.,  I did not do any actual work here.  However,  I did take the photos seen in this week's posting over the course of about 14 weeks - from early June through mid September.  So that was my part in this job,  in a way,  so I suppose being in such a picture is okay  (lol).
And in the photo below we have...
...Roy & Chuck!~

However,  the work was still not complete;  the poles for the firepit needed to be finished:
With the firepit poles in the ground,  the wooden top cross-bar needed to be fitted.

Compared to the well sweep,  this should be a breeze!

And it pretty much was!
No,  it isn't complete yet,  for it needs to be braced,  but it sure will be in time
to brew colonial beer and to dye wool this fall!

An amazing book~
I have had a ball visiting Roy  (and Chuck and Ruth and Veronica and then Melissa and Kirsten)  over the past three and a half months,  watching and learning and photographing and even helping  (a very little).  Along the way I brought people with me - my daughter Rosalia,  and my friends John,  Brian,  and Norm.  They all got nearly as excited as I did seeing ancient tools in action.  In fact,  I have actually purchased a few for myself in the case I may have an opportunity to use them during one of my own living history excursions.
During this project,  the name Eric Sloane continuously was brought up.
Who is Eric Sloane?
A very important daily life historian - I wrote a blog post about him HERE.
And this book shown on the left here that Sloane wrote was one in particular that was brought up quite often as well:
"This absorbing and profusely illustrated book describes in detail scores of early American tools and the wooden and metal artifacts made with them.  Informally and expressively written,  the text covers building tools and methods;  farm and kitchen implements;  and the tools of curriers,  wheelwrights,  coopers,  blacksmiths,  coachmakers,  loggers,  tanners,  and many other craftsmen of the pre-industrial age." 
I surprised Roy with a copy of this book on this last day.  He broke out into a grin and was very surprised,  telling me he has been wanting this book for quite a while.  I'm glad I could do this for him - he deserves it.  If anyone will learn and use it to its capacity,  Roy will,  for as I wrote earlier,  he has the spirit of Sam Daggett within him.
Oh!  He certainly does!  He is doing the man proud. 
By the way,  Roy did mention that when he does find a suitable  "Y"  branch,  he will replace the one he made.  And when that happens,  you can bet I'll post it right here.
Back to 18th century normal...

Until next time,  see you in time.

To read about the Daggett Family,  please click HERE
To read about the way the Daggetts lived,  please click HERE
To read the history of the Daggett House,  please click HERE
To read about life on a colonial farm,  please click HERE

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