Post by Chuck Burrows on Jul 7, 2010 13:51:51 GMT -7
Like Lloyd I started with side seams (40+ years ago), but unlike him I stayed with them since all of the written documentation makes reference to them rather than the pucker toes and most of the western tribes they came into contact with used side seams - plus for me side seams are easier and faster to make. Pucker toes, generally consider to be a Great Lakes Metis style - lots of whom were in the RMFT, are documented albeit the main resource is Miller which is circa 1837. Added on soles are also noted in the references and some at least seem to allude to using rawhide for the added on soles. Eastern side seams are IMO also correct - especially for the early days (1807-1812 era that bloody war in 1812 had a drastic effect - put a pretty good stop on American trappers going to the upper Missouri country) and at least for such folks as the Delaware/Shawnee they were used into the 1840's - the image of the Delaware scout/trapper Black Beaver circa 1849 shows him wearing eastern leggings and center seam mocs.
Which reminds me I need to make me a couple of new pairs - I wear mocs for just about everthing but going to town these days.
Post by Cap't Bridger on Jul 7, 2010 17:15:02 GMT -7
Side seams ....how in the world do you do the 'top' without a seam down the foot ? Just mold it over and sew it ? If so, looks like there'd have to be some 'side' puckers to take up the distance difference ?
I'm mega confused and the more I look at the image of Lloyd's, the more my brain is stumped at how you build that style.
A good rule of thumb to remember about historical clothing is "Regionality", meaning what area were these guys living in predominately. For instance, take those "wolf eared" caps everybody's interested in now, those things were definetly a RM style of headwear....you really don't see them in the SW, or upper Missouri. Footwear is the same, they made what they knew how to make, and traded for the rest, so where they were, had a lot to do with what they were able to appropriate, as far as footwear style.
Miller's paintings are a good representation of the ROCKY MOUNTAIN period of the mid 1830s, but also keep in mind these guys were at Rendezvous, and/or brigade status and had many mixed blood or native women traveling with them and they more than likely were makin moccs for the men for sale or barter.
Another thing you have to remember about Miller's work is that the main works he did in the field are the ones to use, NOT the studio works he did later.....he was an artist, and not above artistic license, as opposed to Bodmer who was hired as an ethnographic artist.
Buckshot here, AKA Dave Scott in other circles. One thing, a lot of guys today use a side seam style with high flaps tied tight because it is better at keeping out dirt, etc however you'll notice from the map that a lot of the side seams had the short flaps that just barely cover the ankles. And I politely disagree to a degree on the pucker toe. True Miller shows it but so do some other artists. The trouble for me at least with the pucker toe is that it takes a lot longer to make them. You also have to get the measurements just right or they won't fit correctly whereas you can be off on the side seams and the side seams will still fit. By the 1870's the Sioux were making sort of a two piece side seam- at least that sort of describes it, the sole is rawhide and the top tanned leather. They have a more rounded look than the side seams. Hanson at the MFT says it is an 1870's pattern in the northern area but I have never seen much said on the subject. It seems they would last a lot longer however there are several passages from the diaries of the time that indicate soft soled moccasins were usually worn althought not always; for example, a Taos group of trappers heading up to the Green River got snow bound and boiled their supply of rawhide soles for their moccasins to make a gooey soup. And, if your persona is Black Beaver or a Delaware then maybe a plain center seam. I've seen Cree (but from Quebec) dated 1812 that have the really big puck or toe on top like the kind of moccasin sold at roadside tourist shops. BTW Thanks for the great site Chuck. This is just what was needed. Really great!
I thin the reason you see a lot of those pucker toe moccs in the miller paintings is they more'n like ly had a LARGE contingent of great lakes French mixed bloods traveling with their brigade, so therefore THAT was the mocc of choice for them.
So if we see a lot of trappers wearin those, because Miller and others painted them means those groups probably had a steady supply of them. It doesn't mean they were the ONLY foot wear choice around.....far from it. I'm sure there was a mixed bag of footwear, depending on where and whom the trappers traded with, or if they picked up a mountain bride somewhere, she'd be makin the type a moccs she knew how to make. It's jkust one of those really mundane things that they didn't write about too much...."i pulled on my center seams" or My pucker toe moccs were worn clean out"
Dang those guys, what were they thinkin, they oughtta knew somebody was gonna want detailed ,documented historical sources in a hundred years or so! ;D
I agree with you about the large contingent of Great Lakes Metis in the fur trade. But I always thought it odd that Ruxton commented in the 1840's that the Arapaho thought his Ojibway-styled mocs were odd. If they were as common as their frequency in period artwork suggests, you would have thought they would have seen plenty of similar mocs.
I also think its interesting how people tend to stick with things they are comfortable with even when exposed to other cultures and other resources. Chuck mentioned the Audubon painting the Delaware trapper/guide Black Beaver. If I recall correctly, Black Beaver married into the Kiowa and lived with them for a time. In the painting he is still wearing what appear to be Delaware-styled center-seam mocs. He is also wearing an indigo shirt with a jabot (ruffled collar). These were common fashion among the Delaware and Shawnee, but I'm not sure how widely such shirts were traded in the West. The one thing he has apparently picked up is the center-seam leggings with big flaps, which a Native American friend from OK once told me are a distinct Kiowa style.
The take home of all that is that people tend to stick with what they are used to and only pick up new things occasionally. The vast majority of western trappers were French Metis or displaced eastern Indians and that likely drove a fair bit of their fashion. This likely spilled over to the white guys who often grew up around those same people on the frontier or maybe traded with their wives on the trail for moccasins, leggings, a coat, etc. However, that really doesn't say that no one wore side-seams. A lot of those guys married into tribes in the West and some of them like me, might have liked the simplicity and fit of the side-seam mocs, but still asked their native wives to replicate their eastern pantaloons in buckskin.
At the Lewis & Clark Interp Center (Washburn, ND) a couple of years ago, they had an exhibit of Prince Maximillian's rifle and gear---original stuff from the family back in Germany. Among the items was a pair of Mandan or Hidatsa moccs---typical Northern Plains side seams, but the back seam was left unsewn. It's believed that these were an example of the type of moccs that were made up for trade---by leaving the rear seam unsewn, they could be fit to the foot of the new owner, sort of a 'one size fits most' approach.
If photobucket was more friendly to my horridly slow dial-up, I could post photos. Could I email them to some one to post for me?
There's a thin line between having a hobby or having a mental illness. I am unsure as to which side of that line I fall.
It ain't what you don't know that gets you in trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.
I think people most definitely keep & use what's most familiar to them.
If you get a chance check out the ledger book on Cheyenne Dog men, they have quite a few drawings in there depicting Shawnee & Delaware scouts for the army (drawings were produced between 1862-75), for the most part the Shawnee/Delaware are dressed not to dis-similar from their Kentucky counterparts.
They have center seam moccs with long flaps, similar shirt types, and bags and horn combos made from selvedge, and are usually armed with rifles.
Rod- I think you may have a point there. When I was doing all my heavy duty moccasin research a year or two ago I was talking to a guy on the Blackfoot Indian Reservation about forming the toe on a puckered toe. A lot of the paintings- Miller, Rainey (sic?) Eastman, Etc show this style but it is hard to tell if there is or is not a center seam in front of the toe/ vamp. In any event I got to wondering if you wet the leather and put it on a form- could you have a "regular" pucker toe style like Tandy sells but with a very small vamp and stretch out all the wrinkles. This is because not many wrinkles are show in the paintings. Well In any event I thought if this was done then a wood last had to be used. To make a long story longer... ;D...This guy on the Blackfoot Reservation told me a wood form was occasionally used, cedar, but just the toe area was formed. He said the backs were not sewn and that they were later sewn to match one's foot. Whether any of this is Pre-1840 he had no idea so it is all sort of useless information- just something to think about. He said grease and ashes were used to darken moccasins. For all I know the guy might have just been pulling my leg. In any event I tried it out as part of my research. For me at least I could not use the "Tandy" style with a small vamp and get out the wrinkles. The only way I could make something like you see in the paintings was to have a center seam in front of the vamp. On the Center seam- vamp. I think one reason they are not more popular is that I at least found it very difficult to get a good fit. If the cutting is off only 1/8" then the toe is wrong, you have "elf shoes" or the toe is bent under the foot, or some other problem. I think Ruxton was stationed on the Northern Plains in Canada pre-1840, before he when to Mexico and the US Rockies; and, the Northern Plains was more Metis country than the Southwest. Maybe the center seam/pucker toe was sort of a mark of a highly skilled maker and it could have been a "show off" style worn at Rendezvous, etc and that's what the various painters saw. When we read that on the way out to the mountains the Caravan traded for moccasins with various tribes- it seems almost certain that many/most had to be side seams I suppose your persona has a lot to do with what style you would want to adopt. I've made both and it is fair to say I've never made side seams that didn't come out OK.