to the Red Dog Arms shop, owned and operated by Mr. M.C. Totten. Don’t mistake this for just a museum, this is an antique shop with items for sale, look for the price tags. And if you don’t see one, don’t be afraid to ask. I think if you ask him, if it’s ok, to call him Michael, you’ll find he’s quite civilized in spite of the 18th century dress and firearms. I found this shop walking down Main Street unexpectedly. From the outside, the shop was quite unassuming. There was another man, standing on the street looking in the window, as the shop was closed. So I looked in as well.
The curiosity I found welling up in me was the same in the other gentlemen. It took us back through time, out of ourselves, and into a place where life was simpler, less distracted from the real dangers in life. We connected immediately over the draw of history in antique weapons like musket rifles, swords, and other the antiques.
My father taught me to shoot when I was a small boy. It wasn’t until years later when I attended a Boy Scouts fire arms exorcise, that I learned other father’s didn’t teach their sons how to shoot.
I can remember my father working on muskets and other more modern firearms as a hobby, squirrel hunting, and my mother making things on her sewing machine, a dying art that sorely needs renewing again before it’s lost forever. As one of many I’m sure, I find it troubling, so much change, from the time I when I was young, to such modern, computer, internet driven times.
There was little recreation back then. If you had spare time at the end of the day, you'd better spend it practicing some useful craft.
It’s important we don’t lose history. And it’s here that M.C. Totten’s Red Dog Arms shop does us all a service, and so well done. This shop is truly unique, even among the variety of the Madison Historic District. As a family safe and educational activity this is one of the best tourist destinations in Indiana.
These two pieces of equipment , the firearm and the sewing machine, were absolutely essential for survival in an age when you had to kill for protein and sew to have clothes! "Independence" meant being able to survive with as little outside support as possible. Each artisan made his muskets uniquely hand crafted, each with it’s own charm. Just like how each piece of clothing, designed, cut, and sewn has it’s own charm never to be repeated exactly the same. Each the culmination of sweat and labor, for practical everyday use.
They have reproduction historical maps related to important battle fronts from history.
Notice the classic sewing table, foot pedal driven or for hand driven sewing machines. See the hand wheel on the end of this sewing machine. One would move the clothe pieces together with one hand and simultaneously drive the sewing machine with the other. This is an exceptionally beautiful and valuable antique.
Wild feral boars are quite exceptionally dangerous and valuable for their meat (wikipedia for more info), which made it different from putting down other animals just because they were dangerous like wolves, mountain lions, or bears. I suppose it might be difficult to make a trophy of a wild turkey, less dangerous but valuable for it’s meat.
This image reminded me of the importance of good hunting dogs, whether for finding ducks you've brought down, or alerting you to the dangers of snake in the grass or a mountain lion who’s considering stealing your kill, or taking you for a meal. This is where they get the name, "man’s best friend," the companionship as a good pet is secondary to keeping you a live.