HISTORICAL SEMINARS

 

Fiddlin’ Red Simpson is a historian of early American folklore, particularly music, craft and culture, circa 1770-1870.  Red is also a traditional blacksmith specializing in the North American Fur Trade era. For 30 years, he has produced—using historic techniques and tools—the common items used and carried by frontiersmen, and traded to Native Americans, including tomahawks, knives, axes, firearms and other sundry tools of the period.  These items have been used for historical re-enactments and are also displayed in many private collections.


Paying close attention to authenticity in his renditions, Fiddlin’ Red performs his versions of early American folk music on the fiddle, banjo, mandolin and guitar. His music has been used for sound tracks for several documentary movies.


Red has attended numerous Native American ceremonies, making friends and learning much about Native traditional culture. From these gatherings, he extracts many experiences to illustrate life on the frontier, including relations between both cultures.


Fiddlin’ Red participated in a reenactment trail ride from Fort Bridger to Jackson Hole, Wyoming in 1991, covering over 300 miles through the historic Green River Valley. On this ride to celebrate the Wyoming centennial, only authentic accouterments were used, such as St. Louis saddles, packhorses and mules, flint and steel to light fires, and authentic buckskin outfits.


For over 35 years, Red has been participating in regional historic reenactments, using his own dugout canoe. He has participated in fur trade rendezvoos for the Historical Society of Kettle Falls in Washington on the Columbia River for 15 years.


Fiddlin’ Red owns a traveling blacksmith shop complete with period bellows and anvil that he uses to demonstrate and teach traditional frontier ironwork. Red’s experience and dynamism as a speaker—and his depth of knowledge—combine to create an experience students will long remember. He has been active in performing classroom demonstrations for students at all levels, elementary through college