FRENCH AZILUM - What do you carry in a "possibles bag?"

Everything that you could possibly need, of course.

On Saturday, visitors could find this old-time item and more during the annual Heritage Day at French Azilum.

The Old Hickory Long Guns were on hand for the event as the members of the New York-based group educated people about weapons and accoutrements used in the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War.

One member of the group, Jerry Rhodes, explained that "possibles bags" could be used to carry such things as black powder, a powder measurer, and other items.

Two types of guns were on display - a "smooth bore" and rifles, specifically a .54-caliber rifle.

Rhodes noted that the "smooth bore" was lightweight and easy to load, but a .54-caliber rifle was more accurate. He said the .54-caliber rifle proved useful during the Revolutionary War.

"They gave us the accuracy needed to pick off British officers at a long distance," he said. "So, we could hide behind a tree or a stone fence to pick off their officers 150 yards away."

He said this created "chaos" in the British ranks, which used linear tactics to fight and were highly disciplined. He said the use of this type of weapon changed the nature of the Revolutionary War, to the benefit of the troops of the Continental Army.

Rhodes said there were 20 or so visitors at Heritage Day, who showed interest in learning about the old-time weapons and the pivotal role of the rifle in the Revolutionary War. He said they also showed an interest in powder horns. He noted powder horns were horns from cattle, and were lightweight, spark-proof and waterproof.

Jerry Rhodes' son, Dan Rhodes, was speaking with two visitors, Jerry and Cynthia Guercio of Owego, N.Y., about bows and arrows used by Native Americans. He noted that the arrows could travel fast, 160 to 200 feet per second.

Cynthia said she and Jerry were listening to Dan Rhodes' information and "soaking it up."

Brad Flint, another member of the group, had his Early American items on display, covering the time period of 1710-1820 and consisting of powder horns, assorted weapons, and Indian wampum belts. He had a flint knapping hammer, used to make gun flints, which he bought off e-bay. He said it was from Crown Point, N.Y.

Ironically, he noted that the weapons at French Azilum probably weren't used for warfare, but rather for hunting deer.

French Azilum site manager Danielle Lambert said Saturday's event was called "Heritage Day, with a black powder shoot." She said people were also going on the house tour at French Azilum.

"It's been a great turnout," she said.

She said it was The Old Hickory Long Guns' third year at French Azilum. Last September, the group was on hand for a black powder shoot. She said the weather was freezing cold back then, unlike the hot and humid conditions Saturday.

In other news regarding French Azilum, Lambert noted that Elizabeth, the nesting eagle at French Azilum, has two eaglets this year.

The next event at French Azilum is a Stonewall Restoration from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 13.

Eric Hrin can be reached at (570) 297-5251; email: