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Baker, Mark A.

Sons of the Trackless Forest: The Cumberland Long Hunters of the Eighteenth Century

(Franklin, TN, Baker's Trace Publishing) 1997; 992 pp.

Put on your coonskin caps, readers, and journey back to a time when countless boys, girls and even adults fell under the spell of early television's tribute to Daniel Boone--starring Fess Parker as Dan'l and Ed Ames as Mingo, the Cherokee warrior educated at Oxford--or Wonderful World of Disney's Davy Crockett. 

"The solitary woodsman of the colonial frontier who traveled beyond maps and into the deepest of a dark and deceptive wilderness is an image firmly rooted in American culture.  In a variety of story lines found in both print and film, this linen-and-leather-clad individual passes freely between the European and Indian worlds, yet he stands squarely between the encroachment of the British powers and the untouched garden of the American Indian.

He resists the coming of settlement and ignores the very enticements of the most powerful, yet he rescues the very individuals who will one day destroy his person Eden.  He yearns for lasting peace in his wilderness home, yet he become the most brutal of warriors when such a peace is threatened.  Such a complex and attractive natural man personifies the paradox  of the westward movement in American history."

Sons of the Trackless Forest centers around two key themes. First, the woodsmen of pop culture are traced back to their earliest celebrations, providing a wonderful world of nostalgia and Romanticism.  These fictional woodsmen are used as a frame to both open and close the second theme--an in-depth investigation into the lives of the common hunters who actually lived along the middle frontier of the 18th century.

Author Mark A. Baker has reported his intense research and experimental archeology efforts in his column, "The Pilgrim's Journey," which has appeared in Muzzleloader magazine continuously since the fall of 1986.  He has appeared in a video entitled The Long Hunter Series by Pioneer Video in which he demonstrated many of the skills necessary to survive in the wilderness.  In addition, Mark served as a personal coach to actor Daniel Day-Lewis in his role as Hawkeye in the movie, The Last of the Mohicans (1991).  By day, Baker serves as the head of the English and Fine Arts Department at Page High School, where he teaches both American Studies and American Literature.

--A worth-while read!

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For more than 300 years, American Quakers have advocated tirelessly for social reform in order to bring about the justice and equality essential to their vision of a peaceful world. They have consistently worked on behalf of Native Americans, African-Americans, and women to eradicate the discriminatory treatment that has prevented these Americans from enjoying the fruits of an equitable society. Friends have extended the reach of their compassionate advocacy to include the mentally ill, the impoverished, the imprisoned, and immigrants. The American Friends Service Committee, whose international efforts to bring relief to those suffering hardships wrought by war and natural disaster, is perhaps the most emblematic instrument of Friends persistent imperative to build a more peaceful world. Friends' leadership in reform efforts throughout our history, markedly disproportionate to their small number, is a little-known but remarkable story of meaningful civic engagement. As Americans, we are profoundly touched by the Quaker imprint on our nation s political and social history. Their positive worldview, their aspirations for a more benevolent and just society, and their stubborn insistence on peacefully promoting these aspirations in the civic realm have contributed significantly to the American spirit and to our understanding of ourselves.


Quakers, also known as “the Society of Friends”, have been part of American history for over 300 years and America’s whole national character and moral fabric has been affected by their commitment to peace and social equality. They arrived in the mid-1600s and from the start worked for responsible relations with Native Americans. They denounced slavery and were early advocates for women’s rights. Unlike the Puritans they were tolerant of all religious beliefs. Even though they are Christian, they have no priesthood or official pastors. Their primary belief is that “truth” is discovered by going within. In this fascinating dialogue you’ll learn about how this relatively small group of people has formed the foundation of America’s most revered and closely held beliefs. Goldman points out, “Quakers are guided by a spiritual imperative to work for peace and justice. They recognize there can be no peace without justice and equality.” She goes on to say, “There are many traits that Quakers embody that I think Americans like to consider as their fundamental characteristics such as: democracy, egalitarianism, religious toleration, and a kind of a positivism, a can do attitude.”  (Hosted by Justine Willis Toms)


Susan Sachs Goldman is a widely recognized lecturer on Quakers and the history of Quaker social reform efforts. She has served on the Board of the Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC, where her three children attended school. Her respect for Quakers grew out of her appreciation for the quality of the education her three children received, as well as an admiration for the world view demonstrated by the Quakers who served with her over her 11 years on the Board.  She holds a bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College and a master’s degree in American history from Brandeis University.

She’s the author of:

  • Friends in Deed: The Story of Quaker Social Reform in America (Highmark Press 2012)

To find out more about Susan Sachs Goldman’s work go to

Topics explored in this dialogue include:

  • What is the process of problem solving that Quakers espouse that sets them apart for other religions
  • How, from their early history, Quakers encouraged women to speak in public and treated as equal to men
  • How were Quakers persecuted for not taking sides in such conflicts as the American Revolution, the Civil War, WWI, WWII, and Vietnam war
  • How Quakers helped to reform mental institutions and prisons
  • How Quakers helped form the Settlement Movement in the late 1800s to be of help with the enormous influx of immigrants arriving from Europe
  • Why Jane Adams was the first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize
  • How President Kennedy was influenced by the Quakers to form the Peace Corps
  • How the Quakers formed the Peace Testimony based on the “Golden Rule”
  • How Quakers are working today to lobby against gun violence, for the rights of Native Americans, and to alleviate the effects of climate change



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