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French and Indian War era re-created

September 11, 1999|By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

Shots were fired at Fort Frederick Saturday morning.

But the only casualties were some steel targets and possibly a few egos among the French and Indian War period re-enactors participating.

The shoot was part of the American Longrifle Association gathering Fort Frederick State Park, near Big Pool.

Scott Allen, of Fairplay, a member of the group and president of Friends of Fort Frederick, organized the weekend event.

Roughly 30 members came from around the eastern United States to participate.

The group organizes gatherings every spring and fall to give members an opportunity to compare their historically accurate clothing and gear, attend how-to seminars and discuss organizational business, Allen said.

A living historian for a quarter of a century, Allen, 40, joined the American Longrifle Association about a year and a half ago and is working on achieving its first, or "patriot," skill level.

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To progress in the organization, you have to demonstrate various 18th-century skills, he said.

"The premise is to do things as close as possible to what 18th-century American woodsmen would have done," said Allen, a communications engineer at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Md.

Among the skills is shooting with a flintlock rifle, a skill that members were able to demonstrate Saturday morning, he said.

Because he ran the shoot, Allen couldn't participate. But he did tote a flintlock rifle as part of his period gear, including elk leather boots and leggings he made himself.

He got special permission to bring along his historically accurate dog, Red.

Red is a mountain cur, a breed used by 18th-century woodsmen to hunt and protect their property, Allen said.

Keeping true to the period can be expensive, said Fred Skroban, of Waynesboro, Pa., an electrical engineer at Fort Detrick who joined the group about a year ago.

Skroban said that's why members like Allen and himself try to make as much of their clothes and gear as they can.

He, his wife, Beth, and his children usually participate in living history events like this weekend's encampment together, said Skroban, 34, who brought two of his sons, Frederick, 10, and Benjamin, 8, along on Saturday.

There are usually a lot of kids to play with at the events, said Benjamin, who said he and his brothers have some friends they only see at those times.

He also likes donning his period clothing, basically a smaller version of what his father wears.

"It seems hot at first, but you get used to it after a while," he said.

The family doesn't go along on the historical treks, when he and others go out in the woods in period gear and try to relive what it was like to be an 18th-century woodsman, Fred Skroban said.

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