American Mountain Men
New England Brigade
Connecticut - Maine - Massachusetts
New Hampshire - Rhode Island - Vermont
Dan'l B. Cripps, NE Brigade Booshway
(from The Journal of a Clerk)
October 6: After wandering a winding and circuitous route to fall camp since leaving the fort, I arrived late last night to be greeted by Dan'l B and mother. Uncle Paul, the early riser that he is, decided to turn in prior to my coming, choosing to meet me in the morning. While not the first hand into camp, I was certainly not the last. Coming back to this meadow, which holds so many memories was like coming home, with the coals of the dying fire looking like the embers of home and hearth.
Quiet day in camp as more of the company assembles for the fall hunt, our mess being completed by Mr. Mule' and Young Jacob bringing greetings and salutations from the settlements. With camp set, and our watches established, some of us did take to playing at throwing axes, knocking the rust off some of us old hands, although, after a while, it was like riding a pony. Rene did impressively for his "first attempt," although Uncle Paul, Dan'l, John and I suspect that he was pulling our legs a bit.
Looking forward to more excitement tomorrow as the fall camp will really heat up with a shooting contest on the agenda. We don't quite know what to expect; we have been told to "be prepared".
Shared a nice evening listening to the coyotes with Young Jacob standing the watch to keep the fire up for Mr. Mule' who threw a shoe somewhere along the trail, and needed to retrieve it. I hope he didn't need to tramp all the way back to Connecticut to find it...
October 7: The morning dawned clear and warm; as if a foretelling of a great day. Just before noon, we were told to ready ourselves and form up. As the idea for our shoot came from the mind of Dan'l B, we were guaranteed a fun yet challenging contest of shooting at the mark. We drew lots for our teams, then preceeded to shoot for a group score, then tightest group, followed by the best shot.
I counted myself among the lucky draws as I was partnered with Capt. Fox and the Younger Roberts. I believe that, after these many long years in the mountains, this may be the first time that I was teamed with these two shootists! While the three of us put up a strong showing, eventually, age and experience won out as our forbears, Dan'l and Johnny, reminded Nick and I that, despite a strong showing, they were still the best shots, even if only by a hair!
Our merriment and mirth continued into the afternoon as all camps prepared their contributions to the camp feed. Such a bounty has rarely been seen in this valley, featuring dishes such as roast chicken, beef, fresh baked bread, and even chili for those who have traveled to Taos! All hands then dug in with great feelings of camaraderie and companionship lasting into the night, swapping stories, tall tales, messages from those elsewhere on the trail, and plans for the future!
October 8: After one of the warmest nights any of us can remember for a fall camp, we woke to the sound of rain on the tents; there are few things I hate more than packing wet canvas, but, as Geisel wrote, "business is business, and business must grow!" So, it's back to the trail we go! From here we divide for the fall hunt, then it's on to winter quarters, as we part in friendship.
Dave Edington, Booshway Brendan Cripps, Clerk
Mr. Edington was the man with the vision to create the Westfield River Party in 2011. A skilled craftsman of fine powder horns, as well as woodsman, and hunter, Dave also brings to the mountains a sharp business mind which might make Mr. W. Sublette consider making him a partner in the coming years. Mr. E. has travelled a fair piece looking to build relationships throughout the organization, and will never pass up the opportunity to palaver and swap stories and strenghten the bonds of brotherhood with his fellows.
BRENDAN D. CRIPPS
Author of the "Confluence of the Merrimack and Concord Rivers" series in Tomahawk and Long Rifle, editor of the Moccasin Mail, Cripps is a unique mixture of book-learning and field craft, having travelled many twisting and precarious trails both in the Rockies as well as the halls of higher learning. B is dedicated to a commitment to excellence for himself and delights in being able to further his own knowledge and experiences, while also always available to his friends and brothers, no matter what the occasion.
The senior hand in the party, "Skip" has travelled far and wide, north and south, east and west, with more time in the Rockies than any other man of the party.Teacher, leader, mentor, and true rennaissance man, Mr. Wiley's coat buttons over a long list of honors, and experiences, of which he is always willing and gracious to share with his fellows.On more than one occasion, men have been known to wonder, "What would Skip do?"
While his primary occupation in these mountains is that of a trapper, Mr. Thebodo is also a skilled hunter, craftsman, and a noted marksman. Ronnie is also a very experienced hand and always has a tale, yarn, or anecdote for any occasion, especially when tending bar, which is his own creation as well. Ask him for a gill of shrub and a tale, and you won't be disappointed, and will have gained a trailmate for life! It's not every man who is awarded his membership card by passing through an honor guard saluting with the finest New England maple! It also should be noted that, every now and again, Mr. Thebodo has been known to associate with the stars of the Alaskan moving pictures as well!
Mr. Duff is a true man of honor, whose word is his bond, and is always there to help a friend. A well travelled hand, Duffy's inquisitive mind, particularly about the trail to come, is the stuff of legend, as his skill in games of chance, as some of our brothers from Michigan can attest to after a run of luck in which the dice took a huge shining to Mr. D. leaving some of our friends to hold on to their shirts for fear of losing them! A man with a great attitude, problems seem to fall away from "Duffy" like water from a duck's back. It seems likely that Ray's career path will follow that of Mr. Sublette's into the potential ownership of a racetrack and spa when his time in the mountains has finished.
MICHAEL J. QUIGLEY
What truly sets Mr. Q apart is his work ethic and inventive attitude on the trail. Always looking to take on a new challenge, or take things to the next level, his "we can do that" attitude is infectious, resulting in members of the party being reinvigorated while continuing along his path, while at the same time motivating people to try new things, learning from his experience and sharing his findings, and asking for help and advice, resulting in all around him benefiting from his experience.
Old Colony Sportsman's Club (Pembroke, MA)
2nd Saturday of the Month
Townsend Rod and Gun (Townsend, MA)
3rd Sunday of the Month
Danvers Rod & Gun Club
New England Trade Fair
Red Hook Ale House
1 Red Hook Way
March 24 & 25
At spring camp May 5th 2011 the first conversations were had about forming a new AMM party from Massachusetts. The Westfield River party had its inaugural meeting at the Original Northeastern Primitive Rendezvous in West Warren, Massachusetts on May 30, attended by eleven AMM members including members of the White Mountain Party (NH) and Non-Party (?). The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the possibility of establishing a party for men from Massachusetts, and, if the interest was there, begin the process of establishing that party to be part of the New England Brigade. D. Edington, B. Cripps, R. Duff, S. Wiley, and R. Thebodo voted in favor of the creation of the Westfield River Party, with Edington being elected Party Booshway and Cripps as Party Clerk.
The party derives its name from a picturesque mountain valley in western Massachusetts which the men of New England have used as a gathering place since its discovery by Msrs Shaw, Kemp, and Farnsworth in '75. In the time since, the valley has become part of the identity of the mountaineers of New England, being a thread in the fabric of countless tales, adventures, and memories of all sorts, so that in many ways it has become a home that we look forward to returning to on an annual basis.
In the years since its inception, the Westfield River Party has strove to create a reputation of a "high quality outfit" not only within the New England Brigade, but throughout the American Mountain Men through adhering to the AMM goal to "teach, share, and learn the arts and skills of the original Mountain Men" by hosting and attending activities ranging from hunting and trapping camps, to educational demonstrations, while also focussing on the academic realm through numerous contributions to the Tomahawk and Long Rifle and extensive communication and conversation with AMM brothers across the country as well as hosting the 2015 AMM Eastern Territorial Rendezvous. As well as increasing it's numbers by over 50% in only five years. Although the younger party in the New England Brigade, the Westfield River Party's continued dedication to excellence is second to none!
Westfield River Party Spring Camp, plus Non-Party Members and invited guests, Edington Property, Rehoboth, MA (2011)
*IF YOU WOULD LIKE A DIGITAL COPY OF ANY OF THE PHOTOS BELOW, CLICK HERE*
After years of adventures ranging from the shores of colonial Plymouth, to the mountains of Colorado, to the halls of power in Europe, to the "Land of the Rising Sun", "Uncle Paul" has decided to sign on with the Westfield River Party looking for further adventures and to help his trailmates out as much as he can along the way. A man whose talents range from helping his fellows find "who they are" (from a historical perspective) to leading by quiet example, being able to rustle up a fine stew from out of nowhere, to sometimes even being able to predict the weather, Mr. Cripps is a welcome and exciting addition to the WRP!
Looking for Molds, Vices, and other essential truck?
Look no further than
Callahan Bagmolds and Accoutrements, Mr. Larry Callahan, Proprietor
(Blue Mountain Lake, NY)
Return to Fort Manuel Lisa
(Fort @ Number 4)
Fall "Homecoming" Rendezvous
Mountain Man Meadow Russell, MA
Mr. & Mrs. Q Visiting the Wilmington Harvest Festival
Seasoned Hands are Entered into the Roles
Dave Fox signs on Chuck Terry (White Mountain Party) Poor Dog (Jed Smith Party), Uncle Paul, Bob Smith, and LT
Ray Fox, Mr. Berry, and Denny Enjoy a Quiet Day in Camp
Uncle Paul, Jacob, and Chuck shake off the rust, while Rene "shows us how it's done"
Uncle Paul readies himself
New England Brigade Booshway Dan'l B. explains the rules and reveals the teams
Dave, Ronnie, and Eric appear a strong team
Dave Fox (NP) primes and loads
Dave sends one down range
Despite my best efforts, the "old man" still got the last laugh!
De, Patrick, and Cathy prepare for the meal
Dave and Bob Berry share a laugh
The lads queue up and dig in!
Dan'l B. presides over the camp meeting: "Look to your right...look to your left...you are the ones who have made it. You are the survivors."