Thursday, February 08, 2007

Meet Frontier Resources - Gerry Barker

The Wagoner, Gerry Barker has retired from the Army, taught history and managed museums. He holds a MA in Labor History. He has specialized in Living History, taking part in numerous projects such a building forts and homesteads, wagon trains, military campaigns and reenactments of important events in American history. Gerry has written books and articles on frontier history, military history, living history techniques, mountaineering and survival. His current research is into the lives and work of wagoners in Colonial America.

Meet Frontier Resources - Butch Hauri

Dr. Hauri, the Schoolmaster, was born on a dairy farm in a Swiss/German community in Wisconsin. He started his apprenticeship in commercial beekeeping while still in eighth grade. He was drafted in 1965 and after ten years in the Army returned to beekeeping, becoming a Bee Master in 1975. Dr. Hauri ran a commercial beekeeping company with 1500 hives, on 38 farms in four counties in Wisconsin and Illinois. When health problems forced his retirement from full time beekeeping, he devoted his time to living history and became a “Minister at Large" to the community of historical reactors. He received a Doctor of Divinity in 2002, along with the appointment to Bishop at Large.

Currently he is working on second Doctoral degree focusing on the part that the Protestant reformation had on settling of America from a sociological and economic point of view. And, of course, he is still trying to get people to think.

Meet Frontier Resources - Maria Hummel

Maria was new to the field of living history when she joined us. She brought skill with animals, attention to detail, and a strong determination to “do it right” if she was to do it at all. She has a broad knowledge of textiles and textile equipment, and the work necessary to accomplish a frontier homestead. Capable of writing cogent and engaging school programs, her current offering is Children’s Work on the Frontier.

Itty Bit

Itty Bit, or 'Bit', was named that by the children of one of our Frontier Resources families. She was so small when she was born that when they first saw her she was standing completely under her mother staying out of the rain. She is the most intelligent horse we have ever had and is trained to ride, drive, either single or in a team, or work as a pack horse.

It is almost impossible to stop her. She has amazed us with the loads she can pull. Bit was bred to resemble the Colonial horses, she is short and muscular, with a large head. We say she looks like a whiskey barrel with four legs.

Salt & Pepper - Matched Grays

Salt and Pepper are Arab/Quarterhorse crosses, the pair are nearly perfectly matched and full brothers. They are practically inseparable. Both of the boys will ride or drive. They are good natured animals, not bothered by crowds or traffic.

Notice in this picture that we have a safety person walking in front of the wagon. Need for a safety depends on the venue. That's me driving.


James is Charlie’s yoke mate. He is steady and never any trouble. As the farthest animal from the driver, he is perfect for the job; he never seems to make a mistake. When the load gets heavy it is James and George that will take more than their share. James is gentle but more shy than the others.


The left hand ox nearest the wagon, Charlie is intelligent and hard working, but the class clown. A fence is just a challenge to him. We jokingly say Charles is the Dennis the Menace of the four. He is friendly and loves attention but will agitate when he gets the chance. Charlie likes to play with dogs. He is the largest of our four oxen weighing about 1900 pounds.


The off side leader, William is paired with George. He is sweet and gentle but a little air headed. He loves to be petted and is the smallest of the four weighing only 1400 pounds.

George - The Lead Ox

The lead ox, he is the animal at the left front of the team. George is the dominant animal and the most intelligent of the four. The other three oxen look to George to make the decisions. He is gentle and extremely hard working but can be a disciplinarian with the other oxen if they do not behave.

The Four Kings

A team of Durham oxen trained to move wagons, farm or haul logs in the woods. Durham oxen were introduced as a breed in England in 1747 and were becoming popular in the Americas about the time of the Revolution. These four are named after Gerry’s least favorite English Kings: George, William, Charles and James. The four oxen are good friends and bicker very little amongst themselves. None of them are related.