Author Topic: Appalachian Archer  (Read 7078 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Wooden Spring

  • Member
  • Posts: 437
Appalachian Archer
« on: November 19, 2015, 07:40:20 am »
In our research for 19th century American Archery, we came across this picture... It was titled "Old Appalachian Archer." The problem is that the picture didn't say anything about its origin, and nothing about the bow. I do know that it is an original, and not a reproduction. The style of photo (as apparent by its torn edges and color) is a Carte de visite that was invented in 1854, and quickly became very popular. Only given this picture and no context, it could be anywhere from 1850's-1880's.

Can anyone tell me anything about the bow from the picture? It appears to be a flatbow of maybe Cherokee design, but longer for a 28" draw? Maybe someone with more knowledge here can help me out. I'd like to be able to recreate this for our demonstrations.

The arrows are also very interesting. It appears that the tips are around 5 inches long, and look like spikes - not really hunting tips - tied on to the shaft by sinew.

Anyone have any ideas???
"Everything that moves shall be food for you..." Genesis 9:3

Offline PatM

  • Member
  • Posts: 6,718
Re: Appalachian Archer
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2015, 08:34:47 am »
Very likely a Cherokee influenced set-up. The longer spike tips were typical cornstalk shoot arrows.
 The 28" draw "rule" was unknown to these early archers.  ;) Even a shorter Cherokee style bow will handle a 28" draw but the cornstalk shoot bow would very likely be where their longer warbow style was utilized.

Offline Hrothgar

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,466
Re: Appalachian Archer
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2015, 08:37:13 am »
Interesting picture. Without knowing what state or part of the Appalachian mountains this is makes exact identification difficult. More info about the arrows might help. A lot of eastern and central states used hardwood splits. But if the band around the arrow tip is sinew rather than paint that would indicate a river cane or similar type shaft which places the location in the southern states. Can anyone see nodes on the shafts?

Thanks for sharing
" To be, or not to be"...decisions, decisions, decisions.

Offline Josh B

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,741
Re: Appalachian Archer
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2015, 08:46:12 am »
I think that's Pat B back before his beard reached full maturity!  Maybe he remembers what bow he was using in the picture. >:D   Just kidding Pat.    O:)   I would have to agree that it would be Cherokee influenced and for the same reasons mentioned.  Josh

Offline Wooden Spring

  • Member
  • Posts: 437
Re: Appalachian Archer
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2015, 08:52:54 am »
Awesome... Thanks for the replies! So I suppose the next step is to page through my TTB volumes for Cherokee bows.

I do wish there was more information about the picture, but when we found it, the only thing that they commented on was the horseshoe hung above the door - apparently his "luck ran out."

I'm thinking of taking this by the Foxfire Museum the next time I'm up in Clayton, GA and see if any of their folks can help with it.
"Everything that moves shall be food for you..." Genesis 9:3

Offline PatM

  • Member
  • Posts: 6,718
Re: Appalachian Archer
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2015, 09:01:48 am »
Remember the story of the Thompson brothers meeting the hermit? Guys like this probably weren't uncommon.

Offline Wooden Spring

  • Member
  • Posts: 437
Re: Appalachian Archer
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2015, 09:06:42 am »
Remember the story of the Thompson brothers meeting the hermit? Guys like this probably weren't uncommon.

Quite true. Look at his feet - he's wearing military brogans, so he's likely a veteran. When Maurice Thompson went home after the war, his community wouldn't permit confederate veterans to own firearms for fear of an uprising, so being proficient with a bow was one of the ways that he was able to put food on the table.

The Foxfire Museum also has photos of an Appalachian Crossbow, made in the late 1800's to early 1900's by a man likely like the one in the picture who needed to hunt, but had no money for a firearm.
"Everything that moves shall be food for you..." Genesis 9:3

Offline Chief RID

  • Member
  • Posts: 684
Re: Appalachian Archer
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2015, 09:52:52 am »
TB may be a good source. All Herrin had at least one or two articles on corn stalk shooting. the Cherokee connection should be a good place to start. I sure love the pic and I do not recall seeing it before. Dating it by the type of photography surely puts it much earlier than I would have thought. 

Offline PatM

  • Member
  • Posts: 6,718
Re: Appalachian Archer
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2015, 10:12:44 am »
Interesting picture. Without knowing what state or part of the Appalachian mountains this is makes exact identification difficult. More info about the arrows might help. A lot of eastern and central states used hardwood splits. But if the band around the arrow tip is sinew rather than paint that would indicate a river cane or similar type shaft which places the location in the southern states. Can anyone see nodes on the shafts?

Thanks for sharing
River Cane grows much farther North than the Southern States.

Offline Knoll

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,013
  • Mikey
Re: Appalachian Archer
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2015, 10:38:15 am »
Saw the pic posted on one of fb's trad archery groups. Good to see that you're trying to unravel its history.
... alone in distant woods or fields, in unpretending sproutlands or pastures tracked by rabbits, even in a bleak and, to most, cheerless day .... .  I suppose that this value, in my case, is equivalent to what others get by churchgoing & prayer.  Hank Thoreau, 1857

Online GlisGlis

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,237
Re: Appalachian Archer
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2015, 11:27:49 am »
very nice picture
the more I see the more I like it

Offline Wooden Spring

  • Member
  • Posts: 437
Re: Appalachian Archer
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2015, 11:33:02 am »
Saw the pic posted on one of fb's trad archery groups. Good to see that you're trying to unravel its history.

Did anyone there have any clues?
"Everything that moves shall be food for you..." Genesis 9:3

Offline Pat B

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • Posts: 35,982
Re: Appalachian Archer
« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2015, 12:33:15 pm »
Not me! I've never shot cornstalk.   ;D
Make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes!    Pat Brennan  Brevard, NC

Offline jimmy

  • Member
  • Posts: 185
Re: Appalachian Archer
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2015, 12:35:27 pm »
That is a verycool and rare photo.  Not many archery related photos around of this age, unless they're old photos of indians.  I would have loved to know that guy.

Offline Knoll

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,013
  • Mikey
Re: Appalachian Archer
« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2015, 01:23:54 pm »
Saw the pic posted on one of fb's trad archery groups. Good to see that you're trying to unravel its history.

Did anyone there have any clues?

Nope, posted just for the "cool" factor.
... alone in distant woods or fields, in unpretending sproutlands or pastures tracked by rabbits, even in a bleak and, to most, cheerless day .... .  I suppose that this value, in my case, is equivalent to what others get by churchgoing & prayer.  Hank Thoreau, 1857