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Kentuckian, Missourian on a 'rendezvous' with history.

"We pull in, set up camp, and get into our pre-1840s clothing. Then we do one fun thing after another--skillet-throwing competitions, fire-starting contests, shooting events with black powder guns.

"I trade my Indian beadwork for things I need," explains Kentucky teacher Diane Chambers, "meet up with old friends, eat high on the hog, and camp on the banks of a mountain stream."

Welcome to a Buckskin Rendezvous: a re-creation of the early nineteenth-century efforts of American traders to bring their wares to the "mountain man.

Chambers and thousands of other history buffs rendezvous every summer in spots across the country to duplicate life in pre-1840s America. Their purpose: to keep history alive ... and authentic.

"It's like a town that all of a sudden springs up out of nowhere," says Missouri teacher Ed Wilde, another Rendezvous aficionado. Participants--over 3,000 at one gathering in Montana (the setting for these photographs) last summer--sleep in white canvas teepees, lean-tos, and Revolutionary War tents.

They dress only in period clothes, cook only in period pots and pans, illuminate only by fire or candlelight. In free time, each indulges his or her own historical hobby.


For Chambers, that's Indian headwork. She's become expert at researching and replicating pre-1840s beaded items--clothing, cradleboards. bow and quiver cases.

Wilde's a trader (and seller) of items he and his wife produce. She's a weaver, he's a leather craftsman, and they're both historical specialists. "We primarily study the period around 1812," he explains.


Wilde's a stickler for things that are historically and geographically correct. Right now he's looking for time-correct songs to play on his dulcimer.

Did you know that "Froggy Went A-Courtin'" dates back to 1580. but "Scarborough Fair" was new in 1810?

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Title Annotation:People; Buckskin Rendezvous
Publication:NEA Today
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1U6KY
Date:Feb 1, 1992
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