A popular tool in the days of the 18th century North American frontier was the “fire striker, or “strike-a-lite,” or “fire steel” or, well there are a number of names for these things. The purpose is obviously to start a fire. The design is simple: a piece of carbon steel, which is struck against a piece of flint, chert, or similar rock, thus making sparks, which would then fall onto some sort of tinder, thus creating fire.
Most trade axes found on French influenced archaeological sites were manufactured in France. The sites where trade axes were found coincides exactly with the areas where French influence was felt : Saint-Lawrence valley, the Richelieu and the Lac Champlain region, the Great-Lakes region, south of the Mississippi, etc. In isolated cases, a few French style axes have been found on the east coast of the United States. Some east coast areas must have had provisional, or secondary, trade routes for the French trade goods.
The French folding knife, a.k.a., “clasp knife” imported into the North American Fur Trade was one of the earliest known type of knife to be introduced to the New World – dating back to the 1600’s, possibly earlier. These blades have been recovered from French influenced sites throughout the territory of New France, which extended from Louisiana to Canada.
I stumbled upon some interesting entries in the personal papers of Thomas Jefferson. In his 1772 Memorandum Book, he discusses the real estate ventures of then Colonial, later General, Andrew Lewis’ claims throughout the Greenbrier Valley. And in these paragraphs, he mentions James Burnsides (Byrnside), four separate times, and calls him “obnoxious,” among other things.
This is yet another Biscayne Axe, a metal detecting ground find relic. They aren’t necessarily exciting or unusual, since they all look mostly the same. But they’re the real deal – no doubt about it, if that’s what you’re looking for. This was found in Addison, Vermont. These early 17th and 18th century axes seem to be found more often in Canada than in the U.S.A., but this was was found in the U.S.A. technically.
Another epic, at least to me, document find during this period of near-apoloclypse. The scavenging must go on. This is a 1768 deed from Anthony Van Schaick, his wife, Christina Van Schaick, and what seems to me to be Anthony’s elderly father, Goosen Van Schaick, for a whole lot of land in the area of upstate New York known as the “Half Moon” which was deeded to the Van Schaick family in the 17th century. It’s roughly located in the area known as the “Sprouts of the Mohawk River.” This is where the Mohawk goes over a large falls, and sprouts into separate channels, going around several islands, at the confluence with the Hudson River.
It’s important for us – especially Kentuckians – to remember that Daniel Boone moved to (what is now) West Virginia in the later part of the 18th century, I believe around 1788, from Kentucky, staying there until around 1797, at which point he reluctantly returned to Kentucky, before remembering why he didn’t like Kentucky anymore. And then he moved to Missouri around 1799. West Virginia gets no credit for its period of Boone residence. In the words of Rodney Dangerfield, “we get no respect – no respect at all.”