Ron Vail was born and raised in Connersville, Indiana, part of the country known in prior years as the Northwest Territory. This small town developed around an early 1800ís fur trading post owned and operated by John Conner. John was the brother of William Conner on whose land the Conner Prairie Living History Museum, Fishers, Indiana, is now located. |
At an early age Ron became interested in America's original inhabitants and it's white settlers but it wasn't until the early 1970's that he became involved in re-enacting. Over the years his interest in early American history grew even more and he developed a strong interest in powder horns. He made his first powder horn in the early 1980's. He has an extensive library covering the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War, the mountain man era and the Civil War, as well as, many books pertaining to powder horns and other horn items. He has studied powder horns in museums and private collections and has his own collection of original "common man, working" powder horns and other horn items.
Ron and his wife Shelly live in a log cabin they built in a woods in Morgan County, Indiana. Sharing the cabin is a collection of dogs, birds, fish ,and at times, various other animals. Roaming outside the cabin is the usual assortment of rabbits, squirrels, coons, possums, coyotes, deer and many wild birds. Ron provides food and shelter for all of these critters and lets the natural enemies sort out their differences on their own.
In good weather Ron does virtually all of his horn work under a tree in the yard next to the cabin. The tools most used are an assortment of files and knives. He occasionally uses a shaving horse and draw knife. His goal is to make a powder horn, salt horn, horn cup or other horn item that looks like one made and used by the F&I or Rev War soldier, Native American, long hunter, mountain man or common man living between the mid-1700ís to the mid-1800ís. When finished, items are aged to appear as though they have been well used. Ronís trademark is his initials, RV, with the V being part of the R.
Ron would like to thank Early American Life magazine for selecting him as one of the top traditional artisans in the United States in the August 2011 issue of the magazine.
Check out his website at:
Contact Ron Vail at:
8082 E Hadley Rd
Camby, IN 46113
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