Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Expediton Natchez!

Brian and John - masters of the cabin!
Photo courtesy of Amy Briggs
Hey folks...been a long time, eh? We have been remiss in keeping up to date in our posts...matter of fact its been over a year since the last one! Egads!  We shall endeavor to do better!
On April 20th, REGAL participated in an event marking the last leg of "Expedition Natchez" - a bicentennial commemoration of Andrew Jackson's march back to Tennessee in 1813. This event was a week-long venture organized by the 7th US Infantry Living History Association and the Natchez Trace Parkway Association.  We were asked to meet some of the returning soldiers at the Meriwether Lewis Site on the Natchez Trace.  The Parkway Association graciously allowed us to "set-up" rooms in the footprint of the original Grinder's cabin - the place where Lewis met his tragic end.  Being history nerds this was more than awesome...the statement was oft made that "we're    sitting/standing/talking/existing in the exact place where  Meriwether Lewis died!

Meriwether Lewis by Charles Wilson Peale - 180

Since today and 200 years ago Grinder's Stand was a backwoods stop on the Trace we asked that our group members do a bit of research and try to put together a look that would have been at home on the Tennessee frontier in 1813.  We set a few guidelines to help folks get started and were awed by the diligent efforts of our group to be historically accurate.  Amy Briggs impressed us all with a newly made work dress based on  Past Patterns - Lewis & Clark Era: Empire Gown and she even made her own shoes!  Experimental fashion archaeology in action!  Amy experimented several times with patterns and techniques until she came out with a wearable pair of slippers.  John Polny worked tirelessly trying to put together a "correct" look on a shoestring budget and even went so far as to shave off his trusty beard! Not to mention he braved fabric buying for his beloved in order for her to have a proper frock.  Norah Glickstein, lace-maker extraordinaire hauled her bobbins out and worked while the rest of us stuffed our faces with her homemade bread.                

Norah works her fingers to the bone!
Photo courtesy of Amy Briggs

Wowing everyone with her amazing sewing skills, Mrs. Linda Gray wore an early 19th Century short gown based on the pattern from Genesee Country Village. This pattern is fairly new as it is based on an extant example from the Susan Greene collection, which was recently acquired by GCV.  If you haven't heard of the Susan Greene Collection...then click here to get an idea of the awesomeness! I have the GCV pattern too...unfortunately, I didn't get mine finished in time, but so far it has gone together very well and it's really quite easy.  Linda said she did have a bit of trouble fitting across the shoulders and under the arms, but added some gussets and it fit fine.
We had a great time at Grinder's Stand and enjoyed perfect Spring weather and fantastic company.  By the way, if you haven't caught the small exhibit at the Meriwether Lewis site you really should!  It's very well done and combined with a hike on the surrounding trails and a drive on the Trace makes for a perfect day...add 1813 work wear, great company and hanging out in the footprint of the                                                                      Grinder's cabin and you have an ABSOLUTELY                                                                       PERFECT day!
Jim and Linda Gray looking historically awesome!
Photo courtesy of Amy Briggs
Brian and Neale check out the exhibit at the Meriwether Lewis site
Photo courtesy of Tonya Staggs
Thanks to the Natchez Trace Association and the 7th US Infantry Living History Association for inviting us and to REGAL members for being awesome! Stay tuned for more info on our next local War of 1812 event in'll be in September, so there's plenty of time to get your work-wear civilian kit together and remember we are always here to help at or visit the REGAL Facebook page.