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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Historical Events & Eras > American Age of Discovery, Colonization, Revolution, & Expansion > American Colonial Era

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American Colonial Era 1660-1763 The growth of North American colonies, often with a change in native & national control.

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  #106  
Old 07 Aug 11, 06:30
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Originally Posted by Elijah View Post
I've read about Lewis Wetzel's skill of loading on the run making him the great Indian fighter. I've often wondered if that is truth or myth?
I come from the town were the Wetzels first settled. Wheeling, WV. Their history is easy to find but then how correct is it. Much of L Wetzels accomplishments, real or imagined can be found in "That Dark and Bloody River". Were there is smoke is there always fire?
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  #107  
Old 07 Aug 11, 08:04
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Originally Posted by Half Pint John View Post
I come from the town were the Wetzels first settled. Wheeling, WV. Their history is easy to find but then how correct is it. Much of L Wetzels accomplishments, real or imagined can be found in "That Dark and Bloody River". Were there is smoke is there always fire?
I believe before that the Wetzels were from near Frederick in Western Maryland. Some family history of the Getzendanner clan makes mention of them. In any event, I thoroughly enjoyed That Dark and Bloody River. I find Eckert's entire Winning of America Series very entertaining. I particularly liked The Conquerors as I had previously known very little of Pontiac's War.

In my father's day, Lewis Wetzel was a much better known frontier hero. Probably due to Zane Grey's Frontier Trilogy that starts with the story of Wheeling's siege and Betty Zane. Apparently, he fell out of favor in the years since as my generation barely seems aware of him. (I am 50). In any event, there are a number of books that tell stories of Wetzel. Many of them non-fiction. Even those tend to describe him as the most talented rifleman of the early frontier. The secret being that he could reload at a full run, turn, fire, and repeat the performance at top speed. At least once he is thought to have single handedly used this ability to take on some 5 or 6 pursuers.

Unfortunately, modern history also tells of Lewis being a cold blooded murderer who was not above killing an unarmed chief by tomahawk during what should have been a peace talk. Lewis was both. He was a terrible villain who murdered Indians in battle and at rest. He was a great hero to the frontier folk who loved him and hid him from the authorities when his dark side made trouble in the form of murdering the Indian chief. I wonder if this dual personality turned modern history away from Lewis whereas early 20th century historians tended to be more forgiving where the killing of Indians was concerned?

Anyway, I have read some of Hugh's work on disproving famous rifle shots. It made me wonder about the feats attributed to Lewis Wetzel. Could it really be possible for him to reload on the run and be so lethal with his weapon?
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  #108  
Old 07 Aug 11, 10:08
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I ran the hills around there as a boy and if he loaded a smooth bore on the run then he really must have been something special. I had trouble loading a single shot .22 while at a fast walk. We are not talking KS landscape here.

Wetzel was the true good, bad and the ugly all in one.

From the book, what I found interesting that for the attack on Ft Henry the Indians approach was right down the street were I grew up. (Ref Virginia St). With that it's hard not to become interested in a subject.
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Last edited by Half Pint John; 07 Aug 11 at 10:13..
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  #109  
Old 07 Aug 11, 10:15
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Another modern work containing alot of material on the Wetzels would be, The Border Wars of the Upper Ohio Valley by William Hintzen. I really enjoy that work and find it very handily organized for later reference.
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  #110  
Old 07 Aug 11, 10:18
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Originally Posted by Half Pint John View Post
From the book, what I found interesting that for the attack on Ft Henry the Indians approach was right down the street were I grew up. (Ref Virginia St). With that it's hard not to become interested in a subject.
Wonderful. As a child I spent a couple of early years in Parkersburg and then in Vienna along the Ohio River. I remember a very notable event involving a bridge collapse.

Do you also maintain interest in the Burr Conspiracy? I understand Blennhasett Island (is that right?) is in the Parkersburg area but I was a bit young for that stuff when I lived there. My interest came later.
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  #111  
Old 11 Aug 11, 12:04
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Originally Posted by Elijah View Post
Anyway, I have read some of Hugh's work on disproving famous rifle shots. It made me wonder about the feats attributed to Lewis Wetzel. Could it really be possible for him to reload on the run and be so lethal with his weapon?
The frontiersman, Simon Kenton was known for using this on the run reloading tactic and also one of the few who lived to tell about it.
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  #112  
Old 10 Oct 11, 08:58
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One of my favorite lines from the movie is. When the English offcer ask's Hawkeye .
" If there is war on why are you heading west ? " Hawkeye replies .
" We were faceing north and real sudden like turned left . " I just goes to show you there are more than one way to tell some one to mind their own business .
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  #113  
Old 04 Dec 11, 11:58
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Originally Posted by KRJ View Post
Last of the Mohicans is my favorite movie for several reasons besides the historical background.

The scenery is great. It's supposed to be New York State but it's actually filmed in North Carolina not far from where I grew up.

The clothing was period correct. Nothing goofy like coonskin caps and fringed buckskin jackets. That sort of thing belongs to the early 1800s, not the 1750s.

The weapons and weapons handling scenes were great and historically correct. Not sure, but I think they may have drawn on Lewis Wetzel for the tomahawk and knife H2H scenes and especially for the scene of Nathaniel reloading a longrifle on the run.

And the scene where Nathaniel covers the courier from the fort wall is the best sharpshooting scene on flim, IMO.
That scene is memorable. And the last shot, in the dark, though we cannot tell the range is monumental.

Regarding loading on the run, to survive and excell in frontier times it would have been a difference maker on whether one lived or died. I have not read all that much on the period but it is mentioned many times particularly regarding the well known frontiersman of the day.

The one book that stands out for me is The Frontiersman by Eckert. The story of Simon Kinton which I believe to be factual gives one a real sense of life in the wilderness.
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