Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>1835 Texian militia
Subject: settler militiaman
Culture: Texian / Anglo-Texan
Setting: Texas 1824-1845

Context (Event Photos, Period Sources)


* Doughty 1983 p27
"Noah Smithwick (1808-99), Austin Colony pioneer, remarked that the unlikely assortment of farmers, woodsmen, and others who comprised the Revolutionary Army in October, 1835, wore 'buckskin breeches [which] were the nearest approach to uniform.'  Some garments were a soft, new yellow; others were black and hard 'from long familiarity with rain and grease.'  One of the finest examples of fashionable buckskin in frontier days was the suit worn by Indian scout Robert Hall, who sported a fringed and beaded suit of trousers, coat, and vest, topped by a coonskin cap.  A powder horn, leather canteen, and bowie knife completed his attire so that he cut a dashing figure.  His outfit, which reportedly belonged to Lafitte, was presented to Sam Houston, who then gave it to Hall.  'General Sam' was noted for an attachment to buckskin.  In a state procession as late as 1841, Houston paraded in buckskin shirt; earlier, Stephen F. Austin had donned buckskin, and Smithwick caught the eye of his future bride when he dressed in 'a brand new buckskin suit, consisting of hunting shirt, pantaloons and moccasins, all elaborately fringed.'
    "Apparel made up from other pelts was fashionable.  Moses Evans, the 'Wild Man of the Woods,' wore a vest made from snakeskin to a wedding at Washington-on-the-Brazos, where he lived in the late 1830s. ...  Black bearskins also proved useful ...."





Guns (Rifle, Pistol)

* Moore 2009 p125-126
"The Texas frontiersmen of the late 1830s relied heavily upon their Kentucky and Tennessee rifles for distance shooting.  Many of the Indians' opponents carried belt pistols -- or horse pistols -- of many calibers, including .54 and .65, although their effective range of perhaps 40 yards made them essentially useless unless fighting was engaged under extremely close quarters.  The first of Sam Colt's newly patented revolving five shot belt pistols manufactured in 1836 were models of .28  to .36 caliber, but few of them had made their way into Texas by 1839."


* Moore p156 (describing the aftermath of the Battle of the Neches, 1839)
"In its September 1, 1841, issue, the Telegraph and Texas Register reported that 'some rude chaps scalped the poor chief [Bowles] after his death.'  Others were seen to cut away pieces of Bowles' body for souvenirs or personal charms."

* Moore p160 (describing the aftermath of the Battle of the Neches, 1839)
"Walter Lane of Colonel Landrum's regiment noted one 'festive cuss' from the new arrivals who had taken the liberty to cut a strip of skin from the back of Chief Bowles.  The man told Lane that he planned to use the dried flesh for a razor strap and a good luck charm."