A custom fur-felt hat, hunting knife and sheath, shot pouch made with groundhog, deer and cow hide, and a powder horn complete the Saga of the Longknife ensemble.
person bent of mischief doesn’t get hold of it when you’re distracted. You can’t be as trusting of people you meet now that we are at war, not even of our own slaves. I’m not saying this will happen with Joshua, Phillip and Will, but slaves have revolted and murdered their masters in times more certain and peaceful than ours. Keep that tomahawk in your belt and don’t pull it out lest you mean to use it. And if you have to use it, hit them as hard as you can and keep hitting them so that if you don’t kill them outright, they’ll know you’re full of fight and no easy target.” THAT SEPTEMBER AND October, Wilbur’s father taught him how to shoot, cast lead balls from the mold with the recovered projectiles, maintain the rifle’s barrel, lock and stock with judicious cleaning after firing, and how to keep it always ready and reliable outdoors so it would fire when he needed it. From Joshua, the slave entrusted to operate their distillery and the smoke30
American Shooting Journal // July 2019
house, Wilbur got some scraps of groundhog, deer and cowhide left over from those tanned at Father’s direction for use by the family or the slaves. With these pieces, and some direction from Joshua, he cut and sewed himself a shot pouch of his own, which his father dubbed “the Bag-Of-The-ThreeBeasts.” When Wilbur countered with, “I already named it the Hunting-BagOf-The-Boy-Without-A-Shilling,” his father let loose one of his familiar peals of laughter. Joshua had a mind for making and fixing things, and Father had him fashion a small powder horn for Wilbur that wouldn’t weigh the boy down like a ship-of-the-line’s anchor. In the colonies, and especially the backcountry, rifles were of large caliber and a resupply of powder often uncertain. For a peaceful mind, a man wanted a big horn to hold 2 pounds or more of gunpowder. Never having made a powder horn prior, Joshua accidentally drilled the spout too deep and punctured the side
of the cow horn. Father was not angry with him. It was a common failing and worth correcting in light of the fine carving work Joshua had already done on the spout neck. Joshua nipped a small piece of brass from his shoe buckle with a chisel and hammered it flat to patch the hole. Then, to distract from his error, he engraved the body of the horn with unexpected artistic skill, using the tip of a carving knife. Wilbur thought it distinctive, like his hunting bag, and was delighted to have it. As Wilbur approached the low log huts where the slaves lived, he half expected Joshua to be there splitting wood, but he was not. Phillip told him that Master Bowling had given Joshua leave to visit his wife Annie on their neighbor’s farm. It had been his father’s intention to buy Annie last summer, but the frugality imposed by war delayed those plans, much to Joshua’s disappointment. When the comforting and familiar sight of their two-room log house came into view, smoke drifting up