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Frederick Market Fair - The 24th Annual 18th Century Market Fair April 28, 2018.
The 24th Annual 18th Century Market Fair April 28, 2018.
The 24th Annual
18th Century Market Fair was held this year Thursday, April 26 through Sunday April 29, 2018 at Fort Frederick in Big Pool, Maryland. The show was sponsored by Fort Frederick State Park and the Friends of Fort Frederick. Colonial Sense each year lists this Market Fair in our event section. This is a juried event.

We arrived early at 8:30am to a wet parking area in the grass from the previous day's rain. Some of the vehicles had difficulty making it up the hill. The temperature was 45°F degrees with clear skies. With those conditions, we knew it would be a beautiful day to meet all the sutlers selling their wares and providing entertainment.

Frederick Market Fair - The Fort Frederick wall can be seen behind the sutlers selling their wares.
The Fort Frederick wall can be seen behind the sutlers selling their wares.
The sutlers came from South Carolina, Arkansas, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Kentucky, North Carolina, Colorado, Missouri, Texas, West Virginia, New York, Florida, Tennessee, Delaware, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Michigan, and of course Maryland. The artisans attending the Fair were selling Kentucky long rifles, pottery, tin, clothing, books and bookbinding material, paintings, prints, lanterns, food, camp gear, cooking utensils, hats, windsor chairs, food items, and more.

The Fair was open too all military units, Native American Indians, soldiers, ladies and gentleman, longhunters, traders and servants as long as they would abide by the strict rules and regulations appropriate to the period from 1730 to 1790. The vendors has to wear proper attire and use shelters and equipment. Period lighting had to be used for illumination in camp. 

Frederick Market Fair - Jymm Hoffman from Hoffman's Forge LLC from Ambridge, Pennsylvania has the only blacksmith forge on wheels at the show. He was set up at the entrance of the show.
Jymm Hoffman from Hoffman's Forge LLC from Ambridge, Pennsylvania has the only blacksmith forge on wheels at the show. He was set up at the entrance of the show.
At the entrance set up was Hoffman's Forge from Ambridge Pennsylvania owned by James Hoffman. He has been a full time blacksmith from 1981 to 1988 and again from 1990 to present traveling to various craft shows and historical reenactments demonstrating his art with a reproduction 18th century traveling forge. The blacksmith we traveled to the show with noted that it was the only forge at the fair he saw on wheels. Jymm was listed as of of the "200  Best Craftsman" in Early American Life in 1993, 1996, 1997 and 1998 along with a featured blacksmith article in 2008.

We next stopped into the booth with Sue Skinner and Joe Jostes of SJ Pottery to admire all the mochaware, redware, salt glazed pottery and Leeds plates that the studio produces. We have written about the art of producing Mochaware on our website and shown all the patterns that are produced. Sue and Joe traveled all the way from Salesville, Arkansas. Their next show will be at Feast of the Hunter's Moon in Lafayette, Indiana. 

Frederick Market Fair - Co-owner Joey Gross holding Adeline Carlson. Adeline's mother Montana is to the right of the picture out of sight. Their business is Sanctuary Traders from Tinley Park, Illinois.
Co-owner Joey Gross holding Adeline Carlson. Adeline's mother Montana is to the right of the picture out of sight. Their business is Sanctuary Traders from Tinley Park, Illinois.
Sanctuary Traders from Tinley Park, Illinois were three booths away from SJ Pottery. Their specialty is reproducing hand-made clay tobacco pipes modeled from the 17th century style.  They also produce 18th and 19th century items for museums, museum shops, historic buffs and reenactors since 1997. Offered for sale were beeswax products, fur skins, bags, buckles, and historically accurate buttons, tomahawks, and compasses. Greeting us at the counter was co-owner Joey Gross holding Adeline Carlson. Momma Montana decided Joey was the most presentable for the picture as she hid to the side of them.

Traveling along the road pulling a cart full of tinware was Scott Baylor from Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania. We noticed his prices were quite reasonable. Tinsmiths have had difficulty in recent years aging the tin because of the makeup of the tin after the removal of lead. One from Walkersville Maryland actually left the business in disgust. Scott insisted that the chemical manufacturers came to the rescue of tinsmiths with a new chemical bath to age the tin. He said vendors want the new tin as much as they want the aged tin look. He offered his services in repairing any tin products we might give him.

Frederick Market Fair - Tinsmith Scott Baylor from Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania traveling throughout Fort Frederick just as a colonial tinsmith would in colonial times, pulling his tin wares in a cart.
Tinsmith Scott Baylor from Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania traveling throughout Fort Frederick just as a colonial tinsmith would in colonial times, pulling his tin wares in a cart.
Also discussed was a tinsmith he finds dear to his heart, Karen Hurd from Quarryville, Pennsylvania. Her specialty was always cookie cutters, but she can do any type of order. Tinsmithing with orders keeps Karen busy year round. We noticed a coffeepot with a turned spout was a reasonable price at $79. I told him we bought a punched tin coffeepot for $600 from David Claggett (once married to Karen Hurd) years ago at his studio in the old mill in Weston, Vermont. Scott told us that punched tin coffeepots are much more expensive at $450. He said it doesn't take much to blow a hole through the piece you are producing. One of the most difficult parts is bending that spout on that punched tin coffeepot. 

Two booths down was Grandma's Soap and Stuff from Sheridan, Indiana.  Grandma was yelling out the type of soap from behind the curtain as Grandpa yelled out the number of bars of soap on the table. They wanted to make sure there was enough to keep the crowds happy. Some of the soaps offered were cherry almond, egyptian musk,  chamomile and apricot, grandma's shampoo soap, lilac, raspberry sage, and several other fragrances. 

Frederick Market Fair - Silas Moore the Ratcatcher with his two cages rats Rebecca who was named after his wife and and Charlotte named after the Queen.
Silas Moore the Ratcatcher with his two cages rats Rebecca who was named after his wife and and Charlotte named after the Queen.
Walking down the lane we came across a favorite entertainer year after year, Silas Moore the Ratcatcher with his two caged rats Rebecca and Charlotte. Silas said Charlotte was named after the Queen and Rebecca was named after his wife who left him alone taking his thirteen children with her.  That gave him chance to propose to other eligible woman he told us as he proceeded to grab a beautiful blonde next to us.

At Apple Cart Creations from Greentown, Indiana, Karen Heinlan's husband was showing a vendor how to turn a post on a lathe using foot motions. The vendor commented how much work it took to make a post. They product historically accurate hand knitted and hand woven items used in reenactments.  Apple Cart Creations also sells knives, lavender sachets, and wooly sheep.

The 18th Century band marched past the crowd playing their colonial music while at Wagner's Pieces the sutler did work to his knife while comfortably perched in his hammock. Around the corner was The Crown Point Bread Company of New York with sour dough bread stacked so high you could barely see the worker behind the counter. Would they sell it all?  The lady at the counter asked that question before she made a loaf. At the end of the day there would be only a few loaves left. They also made sweets such as cookies, chocolate croissants, and sausage rolls.

Frederick Market Fair - The marching band performing 18th century music.
The marching band performing 18th century music.
At Royal Blue Traders a sutler was measuring ribbon while a lady was admiring the hats. The booth at Zettlemoyer Pottery was filled with Pennsylvania German redware and sgraffito pottery. Perry Riley Jr. of Kingman Indiana sat in front of his booth dressed as an Eastern Woodland native. Perry make gourd baskets from the gourds he plants each year.

Right around noon we walked into the fort to view the barracks. There were plenty of sentries to help with our questions. Our sentry told us that the two barracks were built in 1975 on their original foundation. There is another building known as the Governor's House that stood in front of the flag pole that has yet to be reconstructed. The foundation is there but more information is needed in research before they continue to reconstruct the building.

Frederick Market Fair - Apple Cart Creations from Greentown, Indiana demonstrating wood turning on a manual lathe run by foot power. Also beeswax and honey being sold at Sanctuary Traders.
Apple Cart Creations from Greentown, Indiana demonstrating wood turning on a manual lathe run by foot power. Also beeswax and honey being sold at Sanctuary Traders.
Frederick Market Fair - Beeswax and honey being sold at Sanctuary Traders.
Beeswax and honey being sold at Sanctuary Traders.
Fort Frederick is a British stone walled fort built at a cost of £6000 between 1756 and 1758 by the colony of Maryland to serve as staging areas and supply depot for military forces during the French and Indian War and Forbes Campaign in 1758. The design of a large square with four diamond-shaped bastions was developed by Sebastian Vauban, a French engineer, and typical of eighteenth century fortifications. By the end of 1758 the fort was no longer garrisoned.

Settlers moved in and were reported to be destroying the fort and improvements by 1762.  On December 25, 1762, a decision was made to lease the land to Henry Heintzman. The lease stated "there is not any garrison or soldiers at the said Fort Frederick, and several persons who live at or near the said fort do, and if not prevented, will continue to make great waste and destruction of the said fort and improvements by burning the plank and materials."

The fort was used during Pontiac's uprising in 1763 as a place of refuge for western settlers which numbered in the hundreds. Governor Sharpe ordered the return of arms during this time. But it didn't last. By the end of the summer the arms were returned to storage in Annapolis.

Frederick Market Fair - Sutlers shopping at the show.
Sutlers shopping at the show.
Frederick Market Fair - Hats being offered for sale.
Hats being offered for sale.
Fort Frederick was used again during the Revolutionary War. The War Office asked Colonel Moses Rawling to inspect the fort on December 16, 1777. The inspection came back on December 20 that "The Fort and Barracks are much out of Repair and will require a good Deal of Work to put them in proper Order to receive Prisoners, but no Time shall be lost". The repairs were completed after March 27, 1778 at a cost of £570 9 pence. 

The fort was opened for the prisoners and Colonel Rawlings was in charge. Food and supplies were difficult to come by because the locals wouldn't accept government money.  By December 1780, the prisoners suffered due to lack of meat and water which had to be obtained a half mile away. 859 prisoners including men, women, children, and sailors were transferred to Fort Frederick in May 1781. The fort received additional prisoners after Cornwallis's defeat at Yorktown in October 1781.

Frederick Market Fair - Gentleman from Wagner's Pieces working on his knife from a comfortable hammock.
Gentleman from Wagner's Pieces working on his knife from a comfortable hammock.
After the Revolutionary War, Fort Frederick and the surrounding area returned to a relative peace an calm. No longer being needed the fort sold at public auction on September 5, 1791 to Robert Johnson for $1,800. As the years passed in the nineteenth century, the land returned to farming and the fort became rundown but the greater part of the walls which were four and a half feet thick at the base, three feet at the top, and at least twenty feet high were still standing based upon an account in the summer of 1828. However, the barracks were robbed of their windows, doors and floor planks. The fireplaces were knocked down and the wood buildings set afire as a quick method of obtaining nails. 

In the 1820's an elderly resident of Indian Springs, a village located three miles north of Fort Frederick, said they attended religious services in the fort held by Methodist itinerants going westward. 

Frederick Market Fair - The sentry inside the fort who let us enter to view the barracks built in 1975.
The sentry inside the fort who let us enter to view the barracks built in 1975.
In the mid-1800s part of the northwest bastion was demolished in order to make way for a barn which was erected directly against the wall of the fort. Stones were also removed from the walls and used for foundations in area dwellings. The fort was used as a barnyard and garden. 

Nathan Williams, a colored man and former slave was given the tract of land in 1860 by his owner Robert Johnson. Nathan was the man that that used stone from the northwest side and built the barn against the wall of the fort.  Inside the fort Nathan planted an orchard, vegetables and grapes while he tended to the animals in pens. Outside of the fort he planted grain and harvested hay. His son inherited the property in 1910 and lost it to Jesse Snyder due to financial difficulties.

Fort Frederick region was occupied by the 1st Maryland Infantry during the Civil War in 1861 to guard the C & O Canal and the B & O Railroad. The troops were believed to have knocked a whole in the south curtain wall through which they place a cannon to stem off Confederate forces across the Potomac. During the winter of 1861-1862 several skirmishes took place in the vicinity of the fort.

Frederick Market Fair - Two officers inside the the Great Hall.
Two officers inside the the Great Hall.
The land was offered again in December 1910 and bought by Homer J. Cavanaugh for $7,864.25. The state of Maryland showed interest in the land by offering a payment in 1914 but the owner declined to sell. The land was finally purchased by the state on December 30, 1922 at a cost of $12,000 to become Maryland's first state park.  

In 1934 the Civilian Conservation Corps sent about 200 men to start work on the excavation and restoration of the fort and park area which includes 279 acres today. They restored the fort walls, the northwest bastion, and a portion of the catwalk, and the former buildings were built up to ground level and capped. Artifact were removed but were poorly recorded and misplaced. The land was disturbed for future excavations which took place before the construction of the barracks in 1975. The west barrack was constructed to its 1758 appearance, the east barrack contained displays regarding the history of the fort.

Frederick Market Fair - Sour Dough Bread piled high at Crown Point Bread Company.
Sour Dough Bread piled high at Crown Point Bread Company.
There were several archaeological excavations that took place at Fort Frederick. In July 1971 Tyler Bastian dug a thirty by five foot trench across the width of the eastern barrack. In 1975 and in preparation of the construction of the barracks Stephen Israel dug five trenches in the west barracks area and three at the east barracks. A backhoe was used to excavate trenches A-1 through A-12 and B-1 through B-12. He wrote extensively regarding the history and its misconceptions about Fort Frederick in his report. 

After the four excavations were completed, the artifacts totaled 13,429. It was surprising to see that Fort Frederick possessed more expensive decorated ceramics than previously thought. Some of the military items discovered were 10 smaller lead shot, 6 gunflints, 12 musket balls, and four iron musket hardware fragments. Three jew harps were discovered which showed the leisure activities of soldiers. It was also discovered than buttons were being manufactured in the fort when 62 bone buttons and 51 button blank fragments were found near the fireplace footings of the east barracks.

Frederick Market Fair - Perry Riley Jr. of Kingman, Indiana dressed at an Eastern Woodland Indian selling his wonderfully decorated gourd baskets.
Perry Riley Jr. of Kingman, Indiana dressed at an Eastern Woodland Indian selling his wonderfully decorated gourd baskets.
Frederick Market Fair - The gourds that Perry Riley Jr. of Kingman, Indiana sells during the Market Fair.
The gourds that Perry Riley Jr. of Kingman, Indiana sells during the Market Fair.
Of the high priced ceramics and glass artifacts discovered were scratch-blue white salt-glazed stoneware, sprig-molded and hand painted white salt-glazed stoneware, polychrome tin-glazed earthenwares, and Chinese porcelains. Utilitarian coarse earthenwares were excavated along with wine and pharmaceutical bottles. There were knife and fork fragments, snuff bottles, and tumblers and stemware dug up during the excavation. 

Personal items give additional insight into the lifestyles of the residents of Fort Frederick. A pair of cufflinks, copper alloy buttons and some with military insignias, buckles used in various clothing and belts were excavated. This treasure trove of artifacts gives credence as to why the Market Fair is so strict on the dress and use of proper equipment during the entire fair. Fort Frederick is truly hallowed ground for these participating sutlers.

Frederick Market Fair - Attendees at the auction to benefit the Friends of Fort Frederick.
Attendees at the auction to benefit the Friends of Fort Frederick.
We continued with the auction held in front of the CCC Museum. Over 125 items were donated by the sutlers to auction to the highest bidder to benefit the Friends of Fort Frederick. All were able to bid including the sutlers. The court jester made many jokes as his daughter brought out items to bid on. 

At the end of the day we visited Mark Thomas from Dayton Virginia who specializes in powder horns. The discussion was the importance of York County powder horns which are important and sought after items by collectors. Each powder horn that Mark offered, some with chip carvings and some with engravings were priced at $750.

Frederick Market Fair - Pat McAffee McKinney of R. McKinney 1777 from Elizabethtown, Kentucky demonstrating the use of a tape loom.
Pat McAffee McKinney of R. McKinney 1777 from Elizabethtown, Kentucky demonstrating the use of a tape loom.
We also visited with Pat McAffee McKinney who demonstrated the use of a tape loom. She has also been a contributing artisan to Early American Life. The business is R. McKinney 1777 run by Pat and Rudy from Elizabethtown, Kentucky which specializes in porringers, bowls, camp beds, Bible boxes, gout stools, tape looms, candle stands, campaign chairs, clothing hat brushed and lucets. 

It was estimated by Bob Yetter, treasurer for the Friends of Fort Frederick, that the fort had 9,000-10,000 visitors in the three days it was held, There were 140 sutlers not counting campers trading their wares. Fort Frederick is such a fitting place to hold the 18th Century Market Fair with the sutlers tents aligning the fort walls. 

The 25th Annual 18th Century Market Fair will be held next year April 25th-28th. Be sure and attend. For the colonial enthusiast, there is no better place to be than Fort Frederick during the Market Fair. Be sure and check out the links of some of the sutlers at the fair. This is certainly not a comprehensive list. If you care to check out other sutlers, go to the Sutler List for 2018 Fair under the Friends of Fort Frederick website. Be sure and check out the slideshow for additional photos. 

Frederick Market Fair - Tents set up on the outside of the wall at Fort Frederick.
Tents set up on the outside of the wall at Fort Frederick.
Source: Research, photos & text by Bryan Wright

Related Links:

18th Century Market Fair
Fort Frederick
Friends of Fort Frederick
Hoffman’s Forge LLC
Mark Thomas
R. McKinney, 1777
Sanctuary Trader
SJ Pottery LLC

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