The beautiful Green River of western Kentucky was settled in earnest shortly after the close of the American Revolution. In 1785, Captain Henry Rhoads led a party of settlers to the falls of the Green and established one of the regions very first settlements, Rhoadsville Station. At the time Henry was a prominent citizen of Berks County, Pennsylvania where he had been an officer in the militia during the war, owned 1200 acres of land, was a justice of the peace, and had been a member of the Philadelphia Constitutional Congress.
Henry was the son of German immigrants, living then at Germantown Pennsylvania, and many of the settlers accompanying him to Kentucky were also of direct German, or what was then called “Dutch” descent.
In 1795 Henry was engaged to survey a 7000 acre tract of land along the Green that had been awarded to fellow war veteran and officer, General Alexander McClanahan, as “War Bonus” or bounty land. For his services as surveyor of the tract, Henry was paid in land, the land where he and his descendants lived and where he went on to become one of the areas most famous settlers.
Coming from Berks County, one of the very centers of the early longrifles early development, Henry would have recognized the design and style of this rifle pouch, and odds are that he even carried one very much like it. Made of finely tanned cow hide, from the simple double pocketed construction, shaved hair deer skin flap, external saddle stitched bindings, to the large and spuriously added patch knife and sheath, this set is based directly on an original early Pennsylvania double pouch in my collection. I believe these traits are often found on many of the nicer and perhaps professionally made bags common to that region during that time, and that fine early double bags like this set a standard for the basic size and design of many rifle pouches for years to come.
The set as accoutered with a simple, early styled “lip” horn commonly used during both the French and Indian wars and the Revolution, and is served with a file worked deer antler powder measure, a forged iron vent pick, and a primitive antler handled utility knife with a poured lead ferrule and hammered copper pommel cap.
As a seasoned war veteran, respected wilderness surveyor, early settler, wealthy land owner and avid hunter, we would expect that Henry Rhoads spent a fair amount of time living in the field with a fine Berks county made rifle in his hand and nice shaved hair double shot pouch over his shoulder. Many tales of his exploits survive, and one story or legend is particularly famous. It seems Henry owned a fine rifle, but that it was so prone to “hang fire” and touched off a round so slowly that it actually saved his life one day.
Henry was out in the woods one morning hunting turkey, and drawing bead on a big old bearded tom had just pulled the triggers when from the corner of his eye he saw a large mountain lion bounding towards him from the underbrush. Henry whirled his rifle around in time to aim it at the cat. It when it finally went off just as the cat was leaping into the air barely a few feet from him, hitting it “point blank” in the chest and killing it instantly. The mountain lion fell harmlessly across his shoulder and he promptly “hopused” it back home and skint it.
The “Green River” of Kentucky pouch set is dedicated to the memory of Henry Rhoads, his family, friends and neighbors, and all of the other early frontiersmen that shared similar experiences and stories as they settled along the banks of the Green.
Copy and photos by T.C. Albert.
Thanks for letting me know about the story TC I really like the part about the cougar falling across his shoulder.LOL he should of let the cougar skin hisself first however.ReplyDelete
How neat! Captain Henry Rhoads is my 5th great grandfather! Thank you for this tribute to him!ReplyDelete