Author Topic: Belt axes associated with TN frontier individuals  (Read 1619 times)

Offline Elnathan

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Belt axes associated with TN frontier individuals
« on: December 20, 2023, 08:37:21 PM »
I was thinking about some recent posts showing belt axes of debatable age, and it occurred to me that some folks might not be familiar with these belt axes with good (I think!) provenance to the 18th or early 19th century frontier.

Bob Benge's axe. If the name is unfamiliar, he one of the most prominent war leaders of the Chickamauga Cherokee up until his death during a raid on Virginia in 1794.


Isaac Shelby's belt axe.


That Benge's hatchet was just a plain American-pattern axe was something of a surprise to me - it gets some particular attention in some the later stories about him, and until I saw a picture I imagined it as something fairly exotic, like a halberd tomahawk. Of course, the later fame of his axe may be due to that fact that it was kept as a trophy  after his death and he may not have been closely associated with it in his own day.
A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition -  Rudyard Kipling

Offline E.Boyd

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Re: Belt axes associated with TN frontier individuals
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2024, 03:15:50 AM »
 Dimension , Size ????

Offline Elnathan

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Re: Belt axes associated with TN frontier individuals
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2024, 03:44:36 PM »
Dimension , Size ????

Beyond the fact that they are hatchet-sized, I have no idea. Sorry. As far as I know, neither of these have been published anywhere. Both pictures I got from the 'net at some point.

What I was trying to do by posting them was spark a conversation about possible differences between what folks tend to gravitate towards when looking for antique frontier hatchets/belt axes and what we know was actually used. I've seen dozen or two hammer-poll hatchets, many which almost look like they were forged out of square stock, presented on various websites as rifleman's axes or something of that nature, yet I can't recall any with provenance or excavated examples off the top of my head. In contrast, it seem pretty rare for someone to show an example of an American pattern belt axe here, despite the fact that we do know that they were used, and I've yet to find a post-Civil War hatchet head with a minimally-flared profile, with or without ears, for sale. Food for thought....
A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition -  Rudyard Kipling

Online Thimble Farm

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Re: Belt axes associated with TN frontier individuals
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2024, 09:51:05 PM »
one of my favorites




small numbers copy and paste

Online rich pierce

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Re: Belt axes associated with TN frontier individuals
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2024, 10:41:25 PM »
Thatís a good one!
Andover, Vermont

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Re: Belt axes associated with TN frontier individuals
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2024, 11:19:15 PM »
from Sheffield Mass

Offline Elnathan

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Re: Belt axes associated with TN frontier individuals
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2024, 07:48:12 PM »
Okay. That one looks hand-forged to me, but when was it made and how do we know? How do we know if it was made here in the US, and not brought over by an immigrant much later? Are we sure it is a belt axe and not a really worn down Kent pattern carpenter's hatchet that was re-steeled multiple times (that bend in the blade makes me wonder if it was made or altered for use as a hewing hatchet)? Has anyone ever seen an an axe of this pattern that can be demonstrated to have been used along the frontier?

It is a nice axe regardless of the answers, don't get me wrong. I'm just asking what do we actually know, and what are we assuming as true?
A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition -  Rudyard Kipling