Corps of Rediscovery

Trappers' Camp
and Blanket Traders

at the Ramona Country Fair

The Corps of Rediscovery set up camp at the Ramona Rodeo Grounds. Visitors were treated to a glimpse of history at a trapper's camp, and they tapped their feet to authentic music of the period (when they could hear it — we were at the disharmonic convergence of three rock bands).

Visitors also heard the tales of Jedediah Smith, Kit Carson, Jim Beckworth, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau (Sacagawea's son), James O. Pattie, Ewing Young, Peg Leg Smith and mountain men who blazed the trail to California.

A write-up appeared in the Ramona Sentinel Magazine. See below for a reprint.

Ramona Camp - Corps of Rediscovery Corps of Rediscovery's trapper's camp at the Ramona Country Fair. Visitors were treated to a glimpse of history, learned about the role of mountain men in settling California, and they tapped their feet to authentic music of the period.
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Blanket traders Choker Frank, Ana, Bead Woman and Travis huddled in the shade as the mercury approached 100°.
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test Trailblazers: Mountain Men in California. Jedediah Smith was the first American to reach California by an overland route in 1826. Other mountain men followed, blazing trails through the Sierra Nevada Mountains and north into Oregon, including Joseph Walker, Old Bill Williams, Kit Carson, Jim Beckwourth, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau (Sacagawea's son), James O. Pattie and Ewing Young.
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Hatman's hats and bags as well as guns and diamond-fly trapper's lodge.
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muzzleloaders Authentic and replica muzzleloading pistols, rifles and muskets from the Fur Trade Era. These include an authentic 1835 buffalo runner and an authentic 1800 flintlock trade gun made by Barnett (London). Replica guns include a flintlock long rifle, caplock long rifle and caplock pistol.

Question: What do you call a muzzleloader after it's been fired and not immediately reloaded?
Answer: A club.

That hat perched atop the display is known as a forager's cap, similar those used by the U.S. Army. The body of the hat expands to hold food the soldiers gather while foraging — fruit, nuts, etc.

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Trade goods and implements of the Fur Trade Era.
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Trade Goods

trade goods More trade goods and implements of the Fur Trade Era.
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Replica of the medical kit carried by Meriwether Lewis of the Corps of Discovery. That gruesome tool out front is a bone saw — doesn't hurt a bit! And that syringe was not used for injections; it was used for giving enemas.
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Lewis and Clark medical kit (replica)

artifacts Artifacts of the Fur Trade Era — differents styles of pipes, fire striker, wire fork and money.
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Ramona Sentinel Magazine - August '05

Mountain men encampment a first at Country Fair

Captain Strummer and Lt. Friar of the Corps of Rediscovery
Ramona Sentinel Magazine                        Photo: Timothy Jay Hall
Captain Strummer, left, and Lt. Friar of the Corps of Rediscovery prepare to entertain with music from the 1800s throughout Country Fair Days.   (click the pix to see a larger image)
Several members of the Corps of Rediscovery, a living history group re-enacting the time periods of 1750 to 1840, will be pitching their tents and selling their goods during this year's Ramona Country Fair.

This group of hand-picked members was recently invited to appear at the Museum of the American West (formerly Gene Autry Museum of Western Heritage) to help with the museum's new presentation on the American Fur Trade.

In the past seven years, only 15 men and women have been selected for this unique group. Each must possess knowledge of survival in the wilderness, history of the time, making clothing, speaking Indian sign language, throwing tomahawks and their ability to teach how fur trappers and colonials survived during those periods.

Several members have been certified by the San Diego Unified School District as Historical Experts and have given demonstrations and lectures for grades 4 through college on the fur trade and the Lewis and Clark Expedition. One of the highlights during presentations is the playing of authentic music from the time period. Using fiddle, banjo, mandolin, spoons/bones and guitar, visitors will enjoy music dating from the 18th and 19th century. These tunes have been carefully researched by these experts of the fur trade for authenticity.

This is the first year the Corps of Rediscovery, which has based its name on the Lewis and Clark Expedition's Corps of Discovery, will appear at the Country Fair. Items to be sold will include beaded work, fur hats and accessories, scrimshaw, and books.

Corps members plan to set up historical displays depicting items used to trade with the Indians as well as give demonstrations on starting fires with flint and steel and tomahawk throwing. Vintage flintlock rifles, muskets, pistols, and traps will also be on display.

This is an opportunity to learn about the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the American Fur Trade, and life on the frontier from one of the nation's premier living-history re-enacting groups.

Reprinted with permission. Home - Corps of Rediscovery
Corps of Rediscovery

Copyright © , Larry M Edwards