Appalachee Historian

Appalachee Chapter of the 

Frontiersman Camping Fellowship

FCF Historian


The FCF Pledge

"I share with you the warmth and glow of this campfire. These crimson flames are a symbol of our fellowship and adventures in camping.

"I promise to share with you the warmth of Christian friendship and with others the light of my Christian testimony.

"I promise to keep alive the spirit of FCF in my personal life and to observe at all times the principles of Royal Rangers."

   History of the West Florida Appalachee Chapter

These pages help to document the history of the Appalachee Chapter of the FCF. You will find pictures of events, reviews and notes on events, records of past meetings, FCF related memories of current and past members, member notes, items of interest, links and other assorted information.

By no means is this a complete record of everything Apalachee FCF and not every pictures or fact is listed. What you will find is a general review with enough photos and other information to gain a good picture of the Apalachee Chapter over the years.

See something missing? Looking for history... Do you know of any? email These pages are your Apalachee Chapter of the FCF History and they depend on what you want to show. Without FCF would not happen and without you these pages are not complete. Help preserve FCF history by sending in a few pictures, some notes, a memory or a scan of something you want to share. We can incorporate most anything that can be converted to digital. Have a special choker or hawk that was presented? Just scan it in and send the picture over. Remember, we do not need every picture ever made, but would like a few from each event that show a good sampling of what went on.

Now here is what we need currently:

  • When was the Chapter started?
  • Who were the first members?
  • How was the name chosen and why?
  • How did the first recruitment (phase 1 and 2) period go?
  • Where were events held and what types of events were held?
  • How about some info from events outside of our area the Chapter participated in.
  • Who were some of the more memorable members of the years?

Note: We know not everything is always positive, so as you send in stuff, please feel free to tell the truth, revealing what is needed to help preserve history, but do so with the love of Christ.

History of the FCF

The Frontiersmen Camping Fellowship (FCF), originally called Frontiersmen Camping Fraternity, was founded during the summer of 1966. The Fellowship began as a way to reward the older boys and men who had distinguished themselves in advancement, training, and camping.

The first FCF chapter was organized in the Southern California District in 1966. Dressed in buckskin outfits, the boys and men gathered in the firelight and prepared to endure a night of testing that would stretch their camping and survival skills to the limit.

Participation in the FCF ministry will achieve five important things for the boys and men: a demonstration of courage and leadership; development of friendships and woodsmanship; and a display of achievement.

FCF accomplishes the following purposes:

  • To give recognition to boys and men who have shown exceptional interest and outstanding achievement in the Royal Rangers ministry and in Royal Rangers campcraft.
  • To build a brotherhood of top-notch boys and men who will, over the years, continue to be Royal Rangers ministry and camping enthusiasts.
  • To emphasize the importance of involvement in the advancement program, development of campcraft skills, and completion of the leadership training programs.
  • To develop a corps of proven Royal Rangers who will strive to be the very best in Christian example and leadership.
  • To encourage the boys and men of Royal Rangers to always prefer others above themselves and to let their leadership be by example.
  • To show a spirit of servanthood, willing to give of time and energy above and beyond what is expected of Royal Rangers.

The FCF Symbol
The blazing campfire is the official symbol of FCF. It symbolizes the spirit of FCF. There are five logs around the fire and they represent things that keep the FCF spirit alive:

History of the Mountain Man and Fur Trade Era

Here is information from Wikipedia

Mountain men were trappers and explorers who roamed the Rocky Mountains from about 1810 to the early 1840s. These were primarily beaver trappers, but included some who mainly just wanted to explore the West.

The stereotypical mountain man was depicted as a loner dressed in animal pelts, sporting bushy facial hair and carrying a Hawken rifleand Bowie knife, commonly referred to as a "scalpin' knife." He is depicted wearing pelts and furs, although this is incorrect. While there were many free trappers, most mountain men were employed by fur companies. The life of a company man was almost militarized. The men had mess groups, hunted and trapped in brigades and always reported to the head of the trapping party. This man was called a "boosway", a bastardization of Bourgeois. He was the leader of the brigade, the head trader and overall CEO. Some mountain men were gruff, while others were well-mannered; however, they were romanticized as honorable men with their own chivalrous code who would help their brethren, but were more at home in the wild.

The legends and feats of the mountain men have persisted largely because there was a lot of truth to the tales that were told. The life of the mountain man was rough, and one that brought him face to face with death on a regular basis--sometimes through the slow agony of starvation, dehydration, burning heat, or freezing cold and sometimes by the surprise attack of animal or Indian.

The mountain man's life was ruled not by the calendar or the clock but by the climate and seasons. In fall and spring, the men would trap. The start of the season and its length were dictated by the weather. The spring hunt was usually the most profitable, with the pelts still having their winter thickness. Spring season would last until the pelt quality became low. In July, the groups of mountain men and the company suppliers would gather at the summer rendezvous. There, the furs were sold, supplies were bought and company trappers were divided into parties and delegated to various hunting grounds.

Here is information from

The tradition of the rendezvous was started by General William Ashley's men of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company in 1825. What began as a practical gathering to exchange pelts for supplies and reorganize trapping units evolved into a month long carnival in the middle of the wilderness. The gathering was not confined to trappers, and attracted women and children, Indians, French Canadians, and travelers. Mountain man James Beckworth described the festivities as a scene of "mirth, songs, dancing, shouting, trading, running, jumping, singing, racing, target-shooting, yarns, frolic, with all sorts of extravagances that white men or Indians could invent." An easterner gave his view: "mountain companies are all assembled on this season and make as crazy a set of men I ever saw." There were horse races, running races, target shooting and gambling.

After rendezvous, the men headed off to their fall trapping grounds. Contrary to the common image of the lonely trapper, the mountain men usually traveled in brigades of 40 to 60, including camp tenders and meat hunters. From the brigade base camps, they would fan out to trap in parties of two or three. It was then that the trappers were most vulnerable to Indian attack. Indians were a constant threat to the trappers, and confrontation was common. The Blackfeet were by far the most feared, but the Arikaras and Comaches were also to be avoided. The Shoshone, Crows and Mandans were usually friendly, however, trust between trapper and native was always tenuous. Once the beaver were trapped, they were skinned immediately, allowed to dry, and then folded in half, fur to the inside. Beaver pelts, unlike buffalo robes, were compact, light and very portable. This was essential, as the pelts had to be hauled to rendezvous for trade. It is estimated that 1,000 trappers roamed the American West in this manner from 1820 to 1830, the heyday of the Rocky Mountain fur trade.

In November the streams froze, and the trapper, like his respected nemesis the grizzly bear, went into hibernation. Trapping continued only if the fall had been remarkably poor, or if they were in need of food. Life in the winter camp could be easy or difficult, depending on the weather and availability of food. The greatest enemy was quite often boredom. As at rendezvous, the motley group would have physical contests, play cards, checkers and dominos, tell stories, sing songs and read. Many trappers exchanged well worn books and still others learned to read during the long wait for spring, when they could go out and trap once again.

The Apalachee - A People & A Place

(Yes, the name is correct, the mountains are spelled wrong!)

Updated note: Dennis "Golden Eagle" asked that we use the spelling of two PP's for the chapter name. As of October 1, 2013, we will start using the more popular spelling of Appalachee.

Here is information from various sources, especially Wikipedia and the Florida History Website

The Apalachee Indians were the most advanced native peoples in Florida. They were a centralized Mississippian chiefdom with extensive agriculture centered around maize, beans and squash; they constructed ceremonial centers with platform mounds, plazas, and villages; they had highly stratified social, political, and religious organizations; they participated in extensive exchange networks including manufactured symbolic items and raw materials; and they shared elements of a regional belief system. When Narváez and de Soto landed in the Tampa Bay region, the local natives told them that the riches they sought could be found in Apalachee. The exaggerated size and importance of the region to Europeans can be seen in numerous 16th and 17th century maps attributing much of the Southeast to Apalachee Province, and led to the naming of the Appalachian Mountains.

The Apalachee were an Indian tribe that lived in Apalachee ProvinceFlorida until the tribe was largely destroyed and dispersed in the 18th century. They lived between the Aucilla River and Ochlockonee River, at the head of Apalachee Bay, and were first encountered bySpanish explorers in the 16th century. The Apalachee spoke a now-extinct Muskogean language, documented by letters written in the Spanish Colonial period.

The Appalachian Mountains were named after them.

In about 1100 agriculture became important in the area that became the Apalachee domain. This area was part of the Fort Walton Culture, the Florida sub-culture of the Mississippian culture with their capital as Anhaica. The Apalachee lived in towns of various size, or on individual farmsteads of 1/2 acre or so in size. Smaller settlements might have a singlemound and a few houses. Larger towns (50 to 100 houses) would have several mounds. Villages and towns were often situated by lakes. The largest Apalachee community was atLake Jackson on the north side of present-day TallahasseeFlorida. This community had several mounds, some of which are now protected in Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park, and 200 or more houses.

The Apalachee grew cornbeanssquashpumpkins and sunflowers. They gathered wild strawberries, the roots and shoots of the greenbrier vine, greens such as lambsquarters, the roots of one or more unidentified aquatic plants used to make flour, hickory nuts, acornssaw palmetto berries and persimmons. They caught fish and turtles in the lakes and rivers, and oysters and fish on the Gulf Coast. They hunted deerblack bearsrabbits and ducks.

The Apalachee were part of a trade network that extended from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes, and westward to what is nowOklahoma. The Apalachee acquired copper artifacts, sheets of micagreenstone and galena through this trade. The Apalachee probably paid for these imports with shells, pearls, shark teeth, preserved fish and sea turtle meat, salt and cassina leaves and twigs (used to make the black drink).

The Apalachee made tools from stone, bone and shell. They made pottery, wove cloth and cured buckskin. They built houses covered with palm leaves or the bark of cypress or poplar trees. They stored food in pits in the ground lined with matting, and smoked or driedfood on racks over fires. (When Hernando de Sotò seized the Apalachee town of Anhaico in 1539, he found enough stored food to feed his 600 men and 220 horses for five months.)

The Apalachee men wore a deerskin loincloth. The women wore a skirt of Spanish moss or other plant fibers. The men painted their bodies with red ochre placed feathers in their hair when they prepared for battle.

The Apalachee scalped opponents they killed, and exhibited the scalps as a sign of their ability. Taking a scalp was a means of entering the warrior class, and was celebrated with a scalp dance using headdresses made of bird beaks and animal fur. The village or clan of a slain warrior was expected to avenge his death.

The Apalachee played a ball game that was described in detail by Spaniards in the 17th century. Two teams kicked and hit a small ball, made by wrapping buckskin around dried mud, trying to hit a goal post. There was only one goal, with an eagle's nest set on top. Players scored one point if they hit the post with the ball, and two points if the ball landed in the nest. Eleven points won the game. Spectators gambled heavily on the games.

Up to 50 men played on a team. The best players were highly prized, and villages gave them houses, planted their fields for them, and overlooked their misdeeds in an effort to keep such players on their teams. The giving of challenges for a game and the erection of goalposts involved rituals and ceremonies. The game itself had few rules and could be quite violent. Serious injuries and even deaths occurred in the games.

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