The man pictured above – you could call him one of the original preppers – is my great great grandfather, Lebbeus Hammond Mathews. He was a gentleman farmer (or dirt farmer… vegetables and later broadleaf tobacco that was sold for use as wrappers in Cuban cigars) and lived on a homestead in Elmira, New York. A knowledgeable horseman, he was a harness racing trainer. In the generations that have passed from his time until mine, the vintage skills needed for everyday survival have vanished.
I’ve been digging up old resources pertaining to survival, outdoor skills, and general know-how from the 1800s to early 1900s. It’s my intention to pass along interesting finds in the hopes that they reach a greater audience and don’t get lost to the past.
Keeping in mind that these are historical references and should be taken as reflections of the time period they were created, I’d like to think that we’d all benefit from keeping this information alive and in the present. Having grown up within sight of the Cumberland Gap in Tennessee, a lot of the information that I hope to discover was probably available steps from where I started out. The pioneers that traversed that landscape were hardy people and went on to populate large portions of the western frontier. It is my hope that this blog becomes a digital repository for our tech obsessed culture, myself included, and that I can convey the “lost wit and wisdom” that our ancestors took for granted in a format that is entertaining as well as educational.