Christmas at FORT LOUDOUN

AM nearly prepared to make for old Fort Loudoun for the final time this year. I will be eating, drinking and making merry for the Christmastide with my old mates there. I have prepared the gift for the fellow whose name I was giv'n, and am quite pleased with the outcome of it on the whole. I shall keep his name a secret until after the festivities, should he read it in my journal here.

Part of the gift-giving tradition is to pen a ribald poem to accompany the gift. I have written a good deal of the thing, which I have entitled:

Wherein the story is told of young _____________,
and we discover that the Doctor can not write poetry."

Much to my dismay, I have been nary able to find a word that rhymes suitably with 'Loudoun'.

The weather has been beastly cold at night, and I am much afeard that I will freeze to death in the barracks unless they have taken some measures since my last visit. Otherwise, my two heavy woolen blankets, one red, one smoke gray, may not be equal to the task. I shall take my heavy gray woolen overshirt and black cloak just in case.

I am looking very much forward to seeing the boys at Loudoun again.

Toskegee, the nearby indian village, in the winter.

Yesterday, I used the experimental batch of ink that I brewed at Fort Boonesborough at the beginning of this present month. I used a concoction of walnuts and fine Kentuckee Tobacco. In the writing, it makes the most lovely yellow-brown, and the smell is most pleasing as well. My last batch of ink, made solely from walnuts, always had a smell that brought to mind damp earth.

I used the ink to pen the old alchemical symbols and their meanings as well as monies and what things are worth.


HIS morning the postman brought a package from Kentuckee from the Bible binder with my newly bound Medical text. It is even more beautiful than I imagined it could be! The detailing is marvelous and the leather he used is soft and lovely. I look forward to being able to carry it in the field again!

I would highly recommend the goode Bible-man's work to anyone looking for a quality Bible or Journal.

I have of late received a letter from one of the fine fellows from the Sea Rats Atlantic, offering me well wishes regarding my recent letter of intent. They are a fantastic looking lot of seamen, whom I first encounter'd briefly at Fort Niagara this summer last.


HE weather has turned cold in the mornings, and the tree outside has shed its leaves. It seems quite some time since I last made post in my journal.

There has been little activity here upon ye frontier, as it would seem that the local natives have retired in preparation of winter.

My activities have turned to the writing of letters to send to friends at Christmas-time. I have a goodly number of them ready to be sent, and am all-a-gog to find someone willing to carry them out of this region on my behalf.

I am quite pleased and encouraged by the responses to my recent letter of intent. I feel it bodes well for the coming year. I am likewise pleased by the rebinding of my tattered copy of "Plain Concise Practical Remarks on the Treatment of Wounds and Fractures". It will be fit to carry on my person.

Books REbound (Updated)

Last evening, the girls and I met with The Bible Binder and his good wife Polly for supper. The Bible Binder, has agreed to bind up two of the books from my collection.

The smaller being Plain Concise Practical Remarks on the Treatment of Wounds and Fractures by Doctor John Jones, and the greater volume being a copy of the 1725 edition of The Practical Surveyor by mr. Samuel Wyld.

It will be fantastic to be able to carry these with me in the field once they bear their more appropriate covers. In the meantime, enjoy these images of their progress, if you please.

The books in question, surrounded by some of the tools of the book binder's trade.

The Treatment of Wounds and Fractures sans its old cover!

Treatment of Wounds and Fractures in the book press, where it will stay all night.

The latest image from the Bible Binder who wrote: "I got up this morning, took your book out of the book press, and wire brushed the rib cords on the inside of the book. Photo shows after the cords have been wire brushed. Next I glued the fanned out rib cords and put them back in another book press...

After it dries for several hours I can begin to put the leather on. I may be able to do that tonight or tomorrow. I will not be able to start the paper back until after Wed. My paper cutter is out to be sharpened. I have to cut boards for that book. I used your hard back book's own boards."

"Here is the next step." he continues, "The leather is glued to the spine. The strings tied on both sides of the cords help the leather take the form around the cords. The glue will need to dry for several hours. Next the leather will be glued to the from and back boards, then mitered, and glued on the inside of the back boards. After that I will do some tooling on the leather on the spine and front cover. After that I will apply new end paper."

The volume in question with the leather on the cover.

My friend the Bible Man says, "I am finished with this book all but the end papers. I am going to put some thick end papers in the front and back."

You can see ALL of the images of the steps involved in the Bible Binder's journal...


I have posted this about, but wanted to also publish it here for you fair readers...

My dear friends,

I write today you to tell you of my intentions for this coming year so as to spare you any confusion or frustration when next you encounter me. If you have perused my journal of late, you may have discover'd my intention to remain 'in character' during my travels for the coming year.

There is no doubt in my mind that this could be difficult for me, but also for those around me; and I do not wish to alienate any of my friends or compatriots. Things will not be much different, I imagine, then they have been in the past... you've all met the Doctor during YOUR travels, and know the agreeable sort of fellow he can be.

I want to ask that you all help me to do this by not trying to 'snap me out of it' by mentioning a bunch of modern stuff to me whilst at an event. I believe that enough of you have my email address and are friends with me on various forums, message boards and social networking sites... that any out of character conversation can safely take place there at any time.

I tell you now that if you attempt to talk to the Doctor about movies, internet, cellphones and the like, he will be terribly confused.

I daresay I will go one step further and challenge YOU to give your interpretation and character some thought this winter. It's no fun if I don't have a few of you to play along!

Special thanks to everyone that has encouraged me (verbally & otherwise) to do this over the last few months, I look forward to the additional research that I need to do over the fall and winter to get me where I need to be... and the Doctor looks forward to meeting you in the year to come. This has the potential to be a really fantastic learning experience!

Allow me to present my compliments to you and yours; and if, in any of your affairs, I can render you any acceptable service, I beg you will use that freedom with which I wish you to command, my friends,

Yr Humble & Most Obt Svt,
The Doctor


So next up, it was time for me to really take a good hard look at what the public saw when they looked at me. I've always been very visual, it's the nature of my 21st century occupation... so I always like to examine pictures of myself after events so I can see what the public saw, so that I can try to improve on it. You know, like when a football team reviews game film.

What follows is a (very humbling) series of images from past events that will illustrate the evolution of the early Schoolmaster into the present Doctor.

Oh sweet mother! I cringe when I see this poor fellow, thankfully, there aren't many pictures of him floating around. This image is of me as the 'Schoolmaster' at an event in 2003 or 2004. Horrible white cotton shirt, frilly polyester neck stock, buff colored linen waistcoat with poured pewter buttons and a pair of buff colored linen breeches. I am also wearing quite possibly the WORST looking tricorn ever. I also have an unfashionable beard for the period.

Sometime later, 2004-2005 you can see, the same buff colored breeches (which looked filthy ALL the time), same buff linen waistcoat and another in a string of horrible white cotton shirts. I'd also grown my hair out in an attempt to look more 'period'. In other pictures from this event/period, you can see that I was wearing my garters on the outside of my breeches at the knees.

Please make note, I have on a modern ring on my right hand, as well as my modern glasses. Ugh!

Improvements? Sure! I ditched that wretched hat from before. I hated that OLD hat so much I almost completely refused to wear a hat of any sort for a long time.

This as taken in May of 2007 as I went to lend aid to a wounded fellow. I was still wearing stockings and shoes at this point, but as you can see here, one of the shoes had gotten sucked off my feet as I ran through a puddle. I knew right then it was time to ditch the shoes for boots.

Improvements? No more cotton shirt, the one above is a natural colored linen shirt. This is that same buff colored linen waistcoat that I started out in... but I'd dyed it in walnuts along with the original buff breeches to make them dark. It looked great and hid all the stains from projects past. I'd also replaced the pewter buttons on the waistcoat with black leather buttons (not visible in this picture). Pictured above is actually a NEW pair of breeches made for me that are a greenish color.

Still sporting sideburns, modern (shorter) hair and NO hat at this point. I have on period repro specs here, but they didn't do me much good given that the lenses are SO small.

I really turned a corner (in my opinion) when I purchased my wig. I was never really content with my 18th century appearance before... I just always felt like a guy with a modern haircut with funny clothes on. The minute I got my wig out of its box, it just clicked. I took one look in the mirror, and thought, "There's the 18th century guy I've been looking for".

I know it sounds silly, but it really does make a huge difference in your appearance, it even made me like wearing my hat again. So much so, I bought a new one and fixed it up into a tricorn myself!

Ugh, looking at pictures of yourself can be embarrassing... but it's a great way to really analyze what the public sees, and what you want to improve about your clothing, hair, etc.

To be continued...


Special thanks once again to Doc Muzzy for making and posting this. And also thanks to mr. Goodwin, AKA 'Pit', who sat still for the surgery.


How I created my first person interpretation

I'm not saying this is what YOU must do in order to create your first person interpretation... it's simply what I have done to get where I am.

I haven't always been the Doctor you know... when I started down this road I was the Schoolmaster. I couldn't hunt, fish, carpenter, blacksmith, shoot, soldier, farm, sew or birth babies... which made me worse than useless on the frontier. Schoolmaster seemed like a natural fit at the time.

I was giving a tour at Mansker's Station to two nice women from Scotland. They were very into me being in first person, and were playing along nicely... when they asked the question that really set me on this course...

"Where are you from?" They asked in their thick Scottish accents.

"Well," I replied in my normal southern accent, "I'm from England."

"You don't sound like you're from England." they smiled.

And they were absolutely correct, I DIDN'T sound like I was from England at all.

On my way home that afternoon, I began to toy with an English accent, which, thanks to my mother and her acting ability, wasn't too terribly difficult. She had coached me in high school when I was in a play in which I had to use and accent for my character. I was dreadful as an actor, having to remember lines that didn't mean anything to me... well that's a story for another time... where was I? Oh yes-

On top of that, I like to watch alot of BBC programs, so I've heard it plenty. So I began speaking aloud in the car while I drove, in my English accent. I talked to other motorists, I talked to myself, I repeated lines from my favorite BBC programs, I repeated parts of the Mansker's tour I usually gave... all in the accent. I did this for about three weeks. Lots of alone time on the morning and afternoon drives and no cell phone!

Then I started getting brave, and began using it on the phone to tele-marketers, and while ordering things at the drive-thru window... you know, on complete strangers... just for the practice.

Then came the day that I felt brave enough to actually use it on the public during tours. What a strange and glorious feeling! I discovered things about using the accent, like that I could say virtually ANYTHING to the public and they found it fascinating...

My early 'Schoolmaster' interpretation turned into 18th century baby-sitting, so my attentions turned toward the fellow who was at that time the fort Doctor. He was portraying Doctor Thomas Walker. I would act as his surgeon's mate when he did his faux surgeries, and I was instantly inthralled with it.

As is oft wont to happen, our Dr. Walker was insulted and treated shabbily and left the 18th century for more the pleasant environs of WWII, and sold his medical gear to the site. No one really knew much about the instruments besides me, so I was approached about becoming the new fort Doctor.

After a little additional research and reading, I took it on with great gusto!

I read alot of period books, and watched alot of historical TV shows and movies from which I have managed to pick up a manner of speech that the public takes as correct for someone of the period. My motto for 18th century speech is, "Why say it in four or five words when you can stretch it out into two or three sentences?"

Give some thought as to where your character came from. Ask yourself, what is my country and town of origin? What do people from there sound like? How long have I been in the colonies and how would that effect my accent?

And most of all, once you arrive at an accent, study it on audio and video, copy it, practice it, and then practice it some more! Your goal ought to be to make it sound as authentic as you can make it...

Now, go practice, and I'll post more later! be continued

Schoenbrunn Village slides


warning to you gentle reader, the journal entry that follows is written entirely in an 'out-of-character' manner that may be found troubling by those with weak constitutions or who are easily confused by such things. If you fall into these categories I will urge you to read no further...

So my busiest season draws to a close and it gives me pause to do what I usually do about this time every year... reexamine my online journal and my interpretation as 'The Doctor'. I've had some fantastic adventures this year and traveled far and wide. I've logged alot of miles and worn out the tires on the TARDIS (the name the girls and I have affectionately given to our blue Chevy Uplander).

The Two Doctors

We traveled to Fort Niagara and met the good Doctor Clift and young John, the injury-prone grenadier. We befriended Capt. Jack and Sgt. McBee and traveled to Schoenbrunn Village. We even visited new places for the first time like Fort Boonesborough & Blue Licks. We've had al sorts of fantastic adventures!

That being said, it's time for a change...

No real changes to the journal here... I've got it right about where I want it for now, but my interpretation needs a little something.

My pet peeve at events that I attend are reenactors who talk about modern, 21st century stuff right in front of the public. This really spoils the 'time travel' effect that I believe that we should strive to achieve at living history events.

I've heard and seen a little bit of everything as far as this 'spoilage' goes, from reenactors eating and drinking out of styrofoam cups and bowls (totally guilty), talking about internet, websites, cel phones (slightly less guilty) to having modern items strewn about their camps.

As noted above, I am guilty of some or all of these things in varying degrees. I find it irksome in others, but I am harder on myself about it than anything. That being said, I have decided that it's time to take 'the Doctor' to the next level.

Therefore, I have decided that in the coming year I will attempt to:

-Make sure I always have appropriate vessels in which to take my meals. I've been kind of lax on this in the recent past... and I think that this will be the easiest thing on my list to remedy. I own correct vessels, I just hate to carry them. :) The sight of a guy with his cup tied to his belt just seems so "Ren-Fair" to me, perhaps I can come up with a more creative solution.

-Eliminate modern paper money and my modern wallet in favor of more 'correct looking' gold dollars in a drawstring pouch. I saw Doc Muzzy with a similar pouch full of gold dollars and quarters, and it looks fantastic! I always hate buying things at events and pulling out modern paper dollars...

-And finally, the toughest of them all... I would like to try to stay in character as the Doctor 24/7 at events for the benefit of the public and other reenactors. There are SO many little simple things that I can do to kick this off that I don't already do... like bowing to people, that's easy, but a hard habit to get into. I have no doubt that this will take lots of time and patience on MY part, and will be very difficult.

My thinking here is this, I've done (and continue to do) all this research... I've invested all this money in clothes and gear, why not take it a step further? Heck, I'm so close to being there anyway...
My main concern is that I don't want to disorient or put off the public (or other reenactors for that matter) who don't get what I'm doing. I understand that not all public (or reenactors) dig the first person thing.

I would love to hear YOUR comments and suggestions, let me know what YOU think!