Side seam moccasins

Here are a pair of side seam moccasins, I made recently.  These were the most common style of moccasins in the Rocky Mountain west.  Alfred Jacob Miller described the mountain men leaving rendezvous as having “twenty pairs of moccasins” packed in their gear.  Over the course of a year, until the next rendezvous, that averages to less than three weeks of use per pair! I hope mine last a little longer than that.

P.S.  Alfred Jacob Miller portrays his subjects as wearing pucker toe or Ojibwa style moccasins.  These were common in the Great Lakes area and parts east.  According to the map on Nativetech.org [http://www.nativetech.org/clothing/moccasin/mocmap.html]  pucker toe and center seam moccasins were used by the tribes in the north-east and south-east parts of North America, most tribes west of the Mississippi used a side seam or two piece with a hard sole.  Rex Allen Norman in his 1837 sketchbook questions the depiction of pucker toe moccasins by Miller, as does Landry and Chronister in their article about mountain clothing from the Book of Buckskinning Vol.VII.  From my study, I believe Miller shows the pucker toe because most of Stewart’s party were French-Canadians.  Antoine, Pierre, Auguste and Jean are all described as being French-Canadians or Canadians.  Being on a hunting excursion from St. Louis they may have brought clothing and gear from back home rather than trade from the Indians.  Even if they had to make new moccasins while on the trip it is reasonable to assume they would follow the pattern of their existing items with which they were familiar and comfortable.

If you were to get your moccasins from western Indian tribes you probably got side seams of this style or a two piece hard sole moccasin.  Miller shows the side seam moccasin on an Indian in one of his paintings and shows a hard soled moccasins or boot in Plate 50 of “The West of Alfred Jacob Miller“.

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2 Responses to Side seam moccasins

  1. Ron says:

    Gabe,
    Do you have another moccasin as an inner sole or are you using a piece of lattigo to absorb some of the Rocky Mountain rock bruising?

    Ron

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