Historical Interpreter Profile

CAROL JARBOE as Maggie Delaney - Indentured Servant

Carol gave a presentation at Fort Boonesborough as 'Maggie', the indentured servant of the good Parson John. Knowing Carol, and having seen her give bits of this presentation as well, she is a fantastic interpreter!

I remember when she had the iron collar made, how proud of it she was... like me with my leather buttons. Carol is one of those people that REALLY gets into it... she blackens teeth and wears special makeup to dirty her face and hands, and is one of the few people I know who can do a convincing accent.

Carol tackles one of the lesser covered aspects of the 18th Century, but one that was very important at the time... indentured servitude. She talks about how poverty, hunger and circumstance can make you do desperate things... and I think in our country's current economic climate, hers is a very valuable lesson.

You can watch a video of Carol in character giving her presentation here:

Maggie clip from Fort Boonesborough


Found some really interesting 18th century fashion studies on a site called 'The Hive Online'... my favorite bit is at the bottom where they take physical descriptions from runaway ads and make a picture of a interpreter in those same clothes. Well done!

They also published a list called:

10 Easy Things to Improve Your Battle Road Kit
...and a couple of less easy things
I'll reproduce the men's portion here... along with a picture of the Doctor and notes on each of their suggestions about what I have done (in red).

1. Use a neck cloth
I use a brown leather neck stock that I made myself, and occasionally will wear a plain black silk scarf as well.

2. Forget about those horizontally striped stockings - there's no documentation for them
Don't own any, but they are kind of fun! I do own a lovely pair of mustard colored stockings that I wear on special occasions.

3. Remove any medals or unit pins from your hat or coat
Don't have any medals or pins, I'm a very 'keep it plain' kind of guy. I even made my own tricorn out of a plain hat blank because I didn't like the look of any I'd ever purchased... they just never suited me.

4. Cover your buttons with fabric
I haven't done this... but I did replace the old pewter buttons on my waistcoat with black leather punched buttons. I sold the pewter ones to another interpreter and bought the leather ones at a fraction of what the pewter ones cost.

5. Save the haversack for military interpretations & use a market wallet or snap sack to carry your things. You can also put things in your coat pockets - that's what they're there for! - Another reason to wear a coat or jacket!!
I use my giant coat pockets all the time... I don't even own a haversack. If you ever run into the Doctor at an event... be sure to ask him what he's got in his pockets!

6. Lose the accessories in the hat - one or two folks might have stuck a pipe in their hat, but there are far too many out there.
My hat is as plain as I could get it... no pipes, no papers.

7. Remove the ostrich feathers from your hat unless you are doing an upper class interpretation
refer to answer to question #6.

8. Overcast your machine made button holes with hand stitches
I haven't done this, mainly because it has never occurred to me to do so. I've only ever had ONE member of the public call me on thread count... and she was a professional seamstress.

9. Use farmer’s Half Boots made from black wool to hide inaccurate shoes.
I own a pair of leather soled shoes with silver buckles as well as the riding boots you see in the picture there. I bought my boots off of ebay BECAUSE they were pre-used and had lots of wear.

10. Use a razor!  Beards were not fashionable in the 18th century.  If you can’t part with that beard that you’ve had since high school, consider trimming it to the stubble stage -- it will grow back! 
When I goto events as the Doctor... I always shave my face, beards just don't look right with the wig. But I hate to shave... ask anyone who's seen me in the 21st Century!

11. While you have the razor out, consider trimming your sideburns.
I love my sideburns! But when I'm wearing the wig, I shave them off. The wig just doesn't look right with them poking out from under the curls at the side of my head. Believe me... I tried!

12. Consider making a checked linen shirt, or unbleached linen shirt instead of a plain white one when interpreting the lower sort – and save the ruffles for an upper class impression
I wear a perfectly aged, unbleached linen shirt. It proudly bears all the stains and wear of years of interpretation. Face paint from dispatched savages, holes and patches from rebuilding fort walls in the dead of summer etc. I love that shirt, long may it live!

13. Feeling prosperous? Have your waistcoats fitted to the point of being snug all around. This garment should serve to provide shape & support for men of middling & upper classes. If you are concerned about too tight a waistcoat, consider opening the back seam and installing linen tape ties or eyelets with stay lacing cord (they are laced up like a pair of stays, and are eyeletted accordingly.
My waistcoat fits this description fairly well. It laces in the back and fits pretty tightly. It really does aid in proper posture.

14. Tailor your breeches ­ they should fit well thru the leg and not be too long
My breeches were made just for me... so they fit pretty well.

15. Consider a queue  ($25-$30)
How about an entire wig? (about $100) No big deal...

16. Try contacts or period frames (for those who wear glasses)
How about 'period correct' vision? I just take my glasses off at events. I have a little pair of period frames... but I DO SO hate to wear them if I don't have to. My thought is, plenty of folks of the period went their entire lives with poor vision... the Doctor could have to! It's an interesting experience.

17. Use period documentation for developing and honing your impression.

Williams, Guy 
The Age of Agony: The Art of Healing, 1700-1800

Revolutionary Medicine, 2nd (Illustrated Living History Series) (Paperback)
by C. Keith Wilbur

Physick: The Professional Practice of Medicine in Williamsburg, Virginia, 1740-1775
By Sharon Cotner, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Kris Dippre, Robin Kipps, Susan Pryor, David M. (PHT) Doody
Edition: illustrated
Published by Colonial Williamsburg, 2003
ISBN 0879352191, 9780879352196

Disease: The Extraordinary Stories Behind History's Deadliest Killers (Hardcover)
by Mary J. Dobson

Every Man His Own Doctor: or, The Poor Planters Physician by John Tennent, 1734

Extracts from the Marine Practice of Physik and Surgery, Including the Nature and Treatment of Gunshot Wounds. Ranby 1776

Plain Concise, Practical Remarks on the Treatment of Wounds and Fractures, by John Jones, MD. 1776

Back from Red River

I have returned from my travels to the Red River Meeting House in Kantuckee to aid in the clean up after the ice storm that passed through some weeks ago. A goodly number of us were on hand to chop and remove the limbs that had broken from the trees. In all, there were, by my best estimation, five trees that had given up large limbs, one directly next to the meeting house itself.

The weather was cool with a good deal of wind, but pleasant enough to do the work required of us. The rains held off until after we had completed the bulk of our task.

The girls made their time by exploring the cemetery that is next to the church house. Lucy and her sisters could not help but comment on some of the more humorous names that were engrav'd on the stones, as in the case of one poor soul by the name of 'Butts'.

My arms are sore from the sawing and carrying of large pieces of wood, I can scarcely raise them above my head.

The Excessively Diverting Blog Award

The Widow Black of 'Slightly Obsessed', has nominated Tempus Fugit, the humble ramblings of yours truly for an 'Excessively Diverting Blog Award'.

Started by the blogging team at Jane Austen Today the
"aim of the Excessively Diverting Blog Award is to acknowledge writing excellence in the spirit of Jane Austen’s genius in amusing and delighting readers with her irony, humor, wit, and talent for keen observation. Recipients will uphold the highest standards in the art of the sparkling banter, witty repartee, and gentle reprove."

Now, as I understand it, I have to nominate 7 other 'Excessively Diverting' blogs. This could get tricky... as I think that nearly ALL the journals that I would have nominated have already been nominated. Therefore, my nominees are:

Au Temple des Modes- Great reference material for 18th C. European fashion (in French).

Mme. du Jards Atelier- Another great reference site for 18th C. & early 19th C. European fashion. Mme. du Jard makes her own clothing and has lots of rich lovely pictures displayed. In German.

Musica & Arte- Ninon posts links to some lovely musical pieces as well as art videos and portraits from the Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo era. Good stuff, always worth a visit.

You, fair reader, will have to forgive me for not nominating the full seven journals for consideration... for I only truly follow three journals that are worthy (AND still eligible) of such an award.

Recipients, please claim your award by copying the HTML code of the Excessively Diverting Blog Award badge, posting it on your blog, listing the name of the person who nominated you, and linking to their blog. Then nominate seven other blogs that you feel meet or exceed the standards set forth. Nominees may place the Excessively Diverting badge in their side bar and enjoy the appreciation of their fellow blogger for recognition of their talent.


I have made plans to travel to the Red River meeting house next weekend to aid in the clean up of the grounds and building after the ice storms that swept through the area last month.

I would imagine that a good deal of the work will involve the gathering of limbs broken by the weight of the ice that was deposited upon them. But the girls and I will offer our assistance in whatever capacity it may be needed.

All are welcome to come out and help. More information about Red River can be found here:


Other events coming up at Red River:

Saturday April 4, 2009, The Mauldin Militia Muster and Blanket Trade Day.
Militia Muster of CPT Mauldin's Company and a Blanket Trade Day at the Red River Meeting House, which is located about a half mile from where Mauldin's Station was located. Set up is free for any participants whether you are a merchant or just want to lay out a blanket. Martin Hickey will be in charge of the militia muster. There will be a community meal.  We will post more info as we come up with things.  You can also contact Frank Jarboe or Tom Ruley.  There will be areas designated for re-enactment things and things that are not period correct.

Museums dealt another blow

Got this in an email from Myers Brown at the Tennessee State Museum:

Amendment Excluding Museums Passes Senate, 73-24

Tell Congress About Your Museum's Economic Impact!

During Senate consideration of the economic recovery legislation today, an amendment was passed prohibiting funds from going to museums, zoos, and aquariums. The amendment, offered by Sen. Tom Coburn (S.Amdt. No. 309), states, "None of the amounts appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used for any casino or other gambling establisment, aquariums, zoo, golf course, swimming pool, stadium, community park, museum, theater, art center and highway beautification project."

The amendment was adopted on a 73-24 vote. You can see how your Senators voted HERE

Differences between the House and Senate versions of the economic stimulus legislation will have to be resolved in a House-Senate conference committee before the bill is submitted to the President.

"Congress needs to be reminded that museums are a vital part of our economy," said AAM President Ford W. Bell. "It's time for us to make our case and I am calling on all museums to send their Members of Congress an Economic Impact Statement showing the ways in which their museum contributes to the economy."

You can do this today by answering a few questions about your museum HERE

The information you provide will be automatically entered into letters that you can send to your Members of Congress.

Most Members of Congress do not realize that museums employ more than a quarter-million Americans, spend an estimated $14.5 billion annually, and rank among the top three family vacation destinations. Let them know about the local impact your museum has by contacting your U.S. Senators and Representative today!

Visit www.speakupformuseums.org for more information about AAM's advocacy for museums.

EXPO '09

I have been retained to perform two shows for all ages at the Currey Ingram Academy 'Inspiration Expo' to be held on their campus on Saturday Feb 28th.

The program is entitled, Meet the “Doctor:” A Live History Show -
Travel back in time with the “Doctor,” an 18th-century re-enactor who portrays a “gentleman physician” authentic to the era. Participants of all ages will be sure to learn and laugh.

I'll be performing twice that day, from 9:30 - 10:20am, then again from 10:30 - 11:20am.

I was scheduled to perform that this event last year, but a freak snow storm caused enough havoc that they called it off.

You can find out more information online at the Currey Ingram website:



Lucy, my eldest, is still occasionally upset that she was not consulted before the creation of her siblings; she would have been an only child forever if given the option. Lucy is smart and loves books and frequently complains that she has nothing to read because she has read everything we own. A natural scholar, Lucy does very well at her studies, but will complain about it bitterly. At eleven, she expresses her opinion very freely... I never have to wonder what is on her mind.

Molly is sweet and brave and eager to please me. She works hard and oft has the best attitude of the lot. She will usually lead her younger sisters in play, being the boss and determining the mode and manor of their games.

Completely oblivious to what the world might think, Rose does as she pleases. If her wish is to wear clothing that doesn't match or is inappropriate for the season, she'll do it and not think twice about having done so. Having known nothing but a crowd of sisters since birth, I fear Rose has very little concept of being truly alone, and does not do well without them.

Growing up with three older sisters has made Sophia rather rough-and-tumble. Curious and very clever, Sophia, like her eldest sister Lucy, speaks her mind frequently to the embarrassment and dismay of her poor father!

Historical Interpreter Profile

ROBERT K. RAMBO as Atta kul kulla, 'Little Carpenter'

Kentucky Humanities Council

The Kentucky Humanities council website say this about Atta kul kulla:

...the Peace Chief of the powerful Cherokee Nation from 1758 until his death around 1780. Called the “most important Indian of his day,” Atta kul kulla learned English ways (and met King George II) during a visit to London while still a teenager. He developed into a skilled and sophisticated diplomat whose ability to build alliances and treaties caused the English to dub him The Little Carpenter. Many of his policies and actions are still controversial, but he did manage to unite his people, a difficult political feat that laid the foundation for the long-term survival of the Cherokee Nation on a continent that was rapidly filling up with European immigrants.

Atta kul kulla played a key role in the famous land transaction known as the Transylvania Purchase. He negotiated an agreement with Judge Richard Henderson of North Carolina and the Transylvania Land Company, which Henderson used to claim purchase of nearly all of what is now Kentucky and north-central Tennessee. Although the governments of Great Britain, Virginia, North Carolina, and the Continental Congress all annulled the document, Virginia still used it to claim state ownership. Kentucky was lost by the Cherokee forever and sold to a flood of settlers from the east.

You can watch a video of Robert in character giving his presentation here:

Rambo clip from Fort Boonesborough

I've seen Mr. Rambo give his presentation on a couple of different occasions and he does a fantastic job of it. His costume and makeup (especially the ears) are very well done and he brings with him a trunk full of props to show off and use throughout the course of his talks.