Shelbyville Daily Union

Local News

April 13, 2007

Frontiersmen To Depict Pre-1840s Life

If you are interested in taking a trip back in time, maybe to the pre-1840's when Buckskinners, Colonialists, Eastern Mountain Men and Western Fur Trappers made their way through Illinois, you might want to check out the Prairieland Frontiersmen Spring Rendezvous in Sullivan, April 27-29.

Men, women and children in period costume of their choice, will participate in the event and the public is invited to attend. "People who don't want to camp can just come during the day and walk through," said Steve Wood, secretary of the Prairieland Frontiersmen Club.

Alan Deters, one of the board members, said, "This is our big event, our yearly Spring Rendezvous and Camp and Shoot. We set up period-style tents, usually made of canvas, and we try to stay as authentic to the period as possible."

Deters said that they ask their primitive campers to keep modern items like coolers under a tarp to preserve the feel of the era.

There will be traders there who will have merchandise for sale underneath a trade tent. These will be hand-crafted items of that period handcrafted that must reflect the era. "No flea market junk," said Wood.

Wood noted, "Illinois was a jumping off point for the western fur trade so we had quite a mixture of clothing, hunting and camping styles. Some of our members use Tepees and are into the western fur trapper period. I used to do that myself."

"Our time period is around the French and Indian War to the era of the eastern mountain man days. Most people are there from Friday noon to Sunday noon. There will be some picking and grinning at night, with bagpipes and other traditional music. There is something going on all the time," said Wood.

Deters also said that activities are open for those who just want to take in the sights and have some fun. "If you want to camp in the primitive camping area, you need to be in period dress. But we are not juried (judged by clothing, etc.) and some aspects may not be totally authentic, but we are pretty close."

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