Welcome to the “Conegochege Ranging Company/Armstrong’s Battalion” web page. We are a collection of veteran, like-minded living historians who’ve come together with the purpose of experiencing, as closely as we can, the lifestyle and culture of the provincial soldiers and colonists of the 18th Century Pennsylvania frontier. Our intent is to portray the men who served as spies, scouts, and provincial troops patrolling the wilderness of Pennsylvania, serving as an early warning system and providing what safety and security they could for the isolated farms, settlements, and fortified places on the fringes of westward expansion.
Scores of references are found from throughout the 18th century which relate to provincial and private forts, blockhouses and fortified homes, in which settlers would seek refuge when Indians, often accompanied by their allies, French or British, depending on the conflict, conducted raids and attacks along the frontiers. In answer to these hostile forays, these provincial companies were formed to “range” the wilderness between these fortified sites in their regions; conducting reconnaissance, gathering intelligence, and when prudent, engaging the enemy. It was their duty to alert settlers when an attack had been made or was anticipated, and they often served as an armed escort to the nearest fortified place. In many instances they served as a “reaction force”, seeking out and attacking war parties, or engaging in a pursuit to rescue captives taken in a raid.
Our primary focus is the French and Indian War portrayal of Captain Joseph Armstrong's Company, of Lt. Col. John Armstrong's Battalion of Pennsylvania Provincials; however, we have the ability to tailor our impressions to encompass a broad span of the American colonial period, from the 1750’s to the 1780’s.
Perhaps a veteran of a past or present conflict, these were men inured to the hardships of frontier life, skilled in woodscraft, experienced hunters and marksmen, fiercely independent yet loyal to friends and neighbors. Some joined for adventure, others perhaps for revenge for the capture or murder of a relative at the hands of the Indians. More likely though, it was seen as just another facet of survival on the frontier, a job that needed doing to preserve their desire to carve a home from an expanse of wilderness.
Though we have roots in the "reenactment" community, we are no longer solely a “reenacting” unit. We are more interested in “Experimental Archaeology” - experiencing by doing, to the degree we can, the things these men did on a daily basis in the 18th century. We do “period” scouts or canoe trips, referred to by some as “trekking”; essentially a hiking/camping trip, with some relevant period objective, and using nothing but 18th century clothing, gear and skills. When seasons are in we try to get out a couple of times a year for a “period” hunting camp, and we are always game to get in some black powder target shooting no matter what type of event we’re doing. On occasion we will participate in a tactical battle event, but more often, when we’re not “out on a scout”, you will find us at some historical venue providing living history to create an awareness to preserve our colonial heritage.
We actively seek and are always open to welcoming new members. Whether you’re an experienced reenactor or living historian looking for something different to try, or just an outdoorsman with a love of history looking for a new adventure, we would like you to consider joining our company. All of our current members have many years of experience, and stand ready to assist and welcome you.
For more information on our history, what we do, or if you are interested in joining us, we encourage you to contact us. We maintain a Conegochege Ranging Company Facebook page as well; full of information, articles, photos and biographies pertaining to the activities we undertake, the clothing and equipment we use, and the members who comprise the company.