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Living history at the Alabama Nature Center PDF Print E-mail
Written by News Desk   
Friday, 27 June 2014 13:33

awfmastBrian Mast, representing explorer Bernard Romans in a living history demonstration, fishes at the Upper Pond at the Alabama Nature Center in Millbrook.

By BRIAN HODGE

Visitors to the Alabama Nature Center last weekend got a glimpse at living history with the help of Brian Mast, University of West Alabama - Assistant Educational Programs Coordinator, Black Belt Mueseum.

Mast (pictured fishing at the ANC Upper Pond) was representing, from clothing to fishing tackle, a man named Bernard Romans. Romans was a Dutch-born British subject who came to the Americas around 1757 during the French and Indian War. A well educated man, Romans became a surveyor after he tried his hand as a privateer (legalized pirate) and lost most of his money.

"He travelled extensively in Florida and his maps were highly sought after for a long time because of their accuracy. He came up through this area on his way back North," Mast explained.

On the expedition that brought him closest to our area Romans lost his weapons and most of his surveyors gear in a boating mishap.

"That was probably a good thing, because the Choctaws and Creeks were at war. Being found by native tribes with surveying equipment could be a death sentence. The experience for a lot of native tribes was that surveyors appeared, got out some funny instruments, looked around, then left. Then armed people would show up asking the tribes to sign paperwork to sign over their land. So surveyors were not usually a welcome site because what followed them was bad," Mast said.

Mast said Romans relied on local native tribes for sustenance as well as survival. An avid fisherman, he learned even more ways to fish and harvest food from the woodlands from the natives. As a function of his living history demonstration Mast fished using traditional tools and techniques.

 
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