Appalachia is now and always has been known as the Bible belt. We are very much a part of God’s Kingdom and throughout history man has strivedto be a witness to others in various ways. Whether it be in our actions, words or be it written upon the things we carry, Appalachian people have always wanted to share their faith with others, for where God’s word is, there is Freedom. Biblical scripture has been marked upon the guns they carried and on the horns and pouches, as a reminder of God’s promise to them.
This Western Virginia, Southern Appalachia pouch, horn and knife is a testament to those people who have settled and tamed the far western regions of our early nation. In John 15 verse 5, the Lord says that He is the vine and we are the branches and if we abide in Him and He in us, the same brings forth much fruit.
This rifle pouch is 8 inches wide and 7 inches deep, it is a classic kidney shape with a “D” shape flap. It has been hand sewn with waxed linen thread and all seams are welted for strength. There is an inside pocket that has been sewn to the inside back and the pouch and pocket openings have been bound with leather binding for ease of access. The flap has been hand carved and tooled with the Scripture, “I Am the Vine” which is inside a heart, vine and leaf pattern. It is stained a dark, burgundy brown and is trimmed in black. The strap is 1 inch wide and is fully adjustable with a forged buckle.
The period horn is about 10 inches along the bottom curve and is styled in the Appalachian fashion. The walnut plug is secured with wooden pegs and has a twisted staple installed for the horn strap. It has been carved by Ohio rifle smith Karl Fisher with the scripture, “Ye are the Branch”, and has a leaf and vine pattern which matches the pouch motif.
The knife has an overall length of about 10 inches with an antler handle. The 5 and ¾ inch blade is from an old butcher knife that has been sharpened on the edge of an iron skillet for a great number of years and is attached to the back of the pouch but can also be removed and worn on a belt.
Photos by Carolyn Barker with copy by Frank Barker.