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Colonel Clark Conquers Kaskaskia

Col George Rogers Clark

AT the time of the Revolution there were but few people living on the north side of the Ohio River. But there were many Indians there. These Indians killed a great many white people inKen­tucky. The Indians were sent by British officers to do this killing. There was a British fort at Vin­cennes in what is now Indiana. There was another British fort or post at Kaskaskia in what is now the State of Illinois.

George Rogers Clark was an American colonel. He wanted to stop the murder of the settlers by the Indians. He thought that he could do it by taking the British posts. He had three hundred men. They went down the Ohio River in boats. They landed near the mouth of the Ohio River. Then they marched a hundred and thirty miles to Kaskaskia. Kaskaskia was far away from the Americans.

Fort Kaskaskia

The people there did not think that the Americans would come so far to attack them. When Clark got there, they were all asleep. He marched in and took the town before they waked up. The people living in Kaskaskia were French. By treating them well, Clark made them all friendly to the Americans.

When the British at Vincennes heard that Clark had taken Kaskaskia, they thought that they would take it back again. But it was winter. All the streams were full of water. They could not march till spring. Then they would gather the Indians to help them, and take Clark and his men.

But Clark thought that he would not wait to be taken. He thought that he would just go and take the British. If he could manage to get to Vin­cennes in the winter, he would not be expected. Clark started with a hundred and seventy men. The country was nearly all covered with water. The men were in the wet almost all the time. Clark had hard work to keep his men cheerful. He did everything he could to amuse them.

They had to wade through deep rivers. The water was icy cold. But Clark made a joke of it. He kept them laughing whenever he could. At one place the men refused to go through the freezing water. Clark could not persuade them to cross the river. He called to him a tall soldier. He was the very tallest man in Clark’s little army. Clark said to him, “Take the little drummer boy on your shoulders.” The little drummer was soon seated high on the shoulders of the tall man. ” Now go ahead!” said Clark. The soldier marched into the water. The little drummer beat a march on his drum. Clark cried out, “Forward!” Then he plunged into the water after the tall soldier. All the men went in after him. They were soon safe on the other side.

At another river the little drummer was floated over on the top of his drum. At last the men drew near to Vincennes. They could hear the morning and evening gun in the British fort. But the worst of the way was yet to pass. The Wabash River had risen over its banks. The water was five miles wide. The men marched from one high ground to another through the cold water. They caught an Indian with a canoe. In this they got across the main river. But there was more water to cross. The men were so hungry that some of them fell down in the water. They had to be carried out.

Clark’s men got frightened at last, and then they had no heart to go any farther. But Clark re­membered what the Indians did when they went to war. He took a little gunpowder in his hand. He poured water on it. Then he rubbed it on his face. It made his face black. With his face blackened like an Indian’s, he gave an Indian war-whoop. The men followed him again.

The men were tired and hungry. But they soon reached dry ground. They were now in sight of the fort. Clark marched his little army round and round in such a way as to make it seem that he had many men with him. He wrote a fierce letter to the British commander. He behaved like a general with a large army. After some fighting, the British commander gave up. Clark’s little army took the British fort. This brave action saved to our country the land that lies between the Ohio River and the Lakes. It stopped the sending of Indians to kill the settlers in the West.

SOURCE:  Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans                                                      By Samuel Eggleston                                                                                                           American Book Co  1893                                                                                                       Digitized by Google                                                                                                                 Available for free download from Google Books

Tomorrow, A Long Journey   Rita Bay

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A Wise Man Plants A Crop

THE first European settlers that came to this country hardly knew how to get their living here. They did not know what would grow best in this country. Many learned to hunt. All the land was covered with trees. In the woods were many animals whose flesh was good to eat. There were deer, and bears, and great shaggy buffaloes. There were rabbits and squirrels. And there were many kinds of birds. The hunters shot wild ducks, wild turkeys, wild geese, and pigeons. The people also caught many fishes out of the rivers.

Then there were animals with fur on their backs. The people killed these and sold their skins. In this way many made their living. Other people spent their time in cutting down the trees. They sawed the trees into timbers and boards. Some of it they split into staves to make barrels. They sent the staves and other sorts of timber to other countries to be sold. In South Carolina men made tar and pitch out of the pine trees.

But there was a wise man in South Carolina. He was one of those men that find out better ways of doing. His name was Thomas Smith. Thomas Smith had once lived in a large island thousands of miles away from South Carolina. In that island he had seen the people raising rice. He saw that it was planted in wet ground. He said that he would like to try it in South Carolina.. But he could not get any seed rice to plant. The rice that people eat is not fit to sow.

One day a ship came to Charleston, where Thomas Smith lived. It had been driven there by storms. The ship came from the large island where Smith had seen rice grow. The cap­tain of this ship was an old friend of Smith.  The two old friends met once more. Thomas Smith told the captain that he wanted some rice for seed. The captain called the cook of his ship, and asked him if he had any. The cook had one little bag of seed rice. The cap­tain gave this to his friend.

There was some wet ground at the back of Smith’s garden. In this wet ground he sowed some of the rice. It grew finely. He gathered a good deal of rice in his garden that year. He gave part of this to his friends. They all sowed it. The next year there was a great deal of rice .After a while the wet land in South Carolina was turned to rice fields. Every year many thousands of barrels of rice were sent away to be sold.

All this came from one little bag of rice and one wise man. 

SOURCE:  Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans                                                      By Samuel Eggleston                                                                                                           American Book Co  1893                                                                                                       Digitized by Google                                                                                                                 Available for free download from Google Books

Tomorrow,   Wise Women Can Plant Crops Too    Rita Bay

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The Romans & Greeks: Afterlife & Underworld


Both the Greeks and Romans believed in an afterlife. In Greek mythology, the Greek god Hades was the king of the Underworld, a place where souls live after death. Hermes, the messenger of the gods, transported the dead soul of a person to the banks of the River Styx to Hades (the underworld). Charon, the ferry-man who transported souls across the River Styx.  Part of the burial  was to leave a coin underneath the tongue of the deceased to pay Charon for the trip across the River. Otherwise, the deceased would have a long wait.

Charon Demanding Payment

Once across, the soul would be judged,. The soul would be sent to Elysium, Tartarus, Asphodel Fields, or the Fields of Punishment. Elysium Fields contained green fields, valleys and mountains, where pure souls lived peaceful and contented lives. Tartarus was for the people that blasphemed against the gods or were evil. The Asphodel Fields was a kind of limbo where those whose sins equaled their goodness or were indecisive , were sent. The Fields of Punishment was for sinners. In Tartarus, the truly evil souls or enemies of the gods were punished by being burned in lava, or stretched on racks.

Tomorrow,  Philosophy & Philosophers    Rita Bay

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Mythic Heroes: Hercules

Hercules in Marble

Hercules (Greek-Heracles) was the demi-god son of Jupiter  (Greek – Zeus) and the most beautiful of all women, Alceme. Hercules attributes included a lion skin and a gnarled club that was his favorite weapon. Throughout his career as a hero, he killed many monsters and made the world safer for mankind.

Hercules & the Nemean Lion

Juno hated the children of Zeus that were not hers and often gave them trouble.  When Hercules was born, Juno slipped snakes into his cradle.  Hercules killed the snakes with his massive strength.  During his adult life, Juno sent Hercules into a blind rage in which he killed wife and children.  Hercules consulted the Oracle of Delphi (we’ll visit her in a few days) for expiation.  The Oracle sent him to Eurystheus, the king of Mycenae, who (with the spiteful assistance of Juno) assigned him a set of impossible tasks that became known as the Labors of Hercules which took 12 years.  His labors included killing the Nemean lion, destroying the Lernaean Hydra, capturing the Ceryneian Hind, trapping the Erymanthian boar, cleaning the Augean stables, destroying the Stymphalian birds, capturing the Cretan bull, rounding up the Mares of Diomedes, taking Hippolyte’s girdle, returning the cattle of Geryon, delivering the golden apples of the Hesperides,  and capturing the Cerberus from Tartarus.

Kevin Sorbo as Hercules

After Hercules was married the second time, he killed the centaur Nessus with a poisoned arrow for abducting his wife.  Before Nessus died, he gave Hercules’ wife Deianeira a vial of blood and told her that the blood was a love potion that would bring Hercules back to her when he strayed.  When she suspected he had been unfaithful, she sent him a cloak that had the blood spread in it.  When he donned the cloak, the blood burned like acid and destroyed his body.  Hercules died in horrific pain.  He was taken to Olympus and deified.  His wife committed suicide in despair.

Tomorrow,  The Heroes of the Trojan War   Rita Bay

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Keeping Track of Moon Rocks

Collecting Moon Rocks

When moon rocks were returned on the Apollo missions, they became the most valuable rocks on Earth—probably priceless. The unmanned Soviet Union Luna missions also returned with samples. In addition, a few moon rocks have been discovered that  journeyed to Earth as lunar meteorites.

Most of the 2,415 samples weighing 842 pounds of moon rocks were collected by Apollo 15, 16, and 17. Most are stored at the Lunar Curatorial Facility at the Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas with some stored at Brooks Air Force Base near San Antonio, Texas, placed there in case of loss of the Houston samples. Many small samples are also in the laboratories of researchers around the world. Other samples of moon rocks are on display in public museums.  Only three pieces can actually be touched—the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., the Space Center Houston facility adjacent, and a loaner at the Museo de Las Ciencias at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico.

Oldest Moon Rocks

Goodwill moon rocks were distributed by President Richard Nixon to 135 foreign heads of state, the 50U.S.states and its provinces. The fragments were presented encased in an acrylic sphere, mounted on a wood plaque which included the recipients flag which had also flown aboard Apollo 17.  Approximately 180 are currently unaccounted for. Many of the moon rocks that are accounted for have been locked away in storage for decades.  Some researchers and hobbyists have documented the presence, absence, and search for the Goodwill Moon Rocks. For fascinating stories about the search for the missing moon rocks check out:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stolen_and_missing_moon_rocks

Alaska Moon Rock

The most recent lost Moon Rock that’s been located is Alaska’s Goodwill Rock.  The rock had been lost after an arson fire in Alaska’s Transportation Museum in Anchorage in 1973.  Coleman Anderson, who now lives in Texas, sued for formal title to the rocks in December, 2010. If he doesn’t receive title, he’s asking to be compensated for the return of the rock and plaque he claims to have found in a pile of debris after the fire.

The lawsuit claims Anderson became owner of the plaque because the state had abandoned it.  According to the lawsuit, recovery efforts concluded days after the fire and remaining debris was declared garbage.  The lawsuit claims then 17-year-old Anderson, who was the stepson of museum curator Phil Redden, entered the debris area as crews removed garbage, discovered the moon rocks plaque covered by a layer of melted materials and took it home with the permission of his stepfather.

State officials, meanwhile, contend the moon rocks were stolen after the fire.The state contends that Anderson’s story “does not correspond with what our documentation shows.” Witnesses afterward saw the moon rocks plaque intact in its glass display case. Later, the display case was broken and the moon rocks and plaque removed, state officials said. Anderson has offered to sell them to the state at a discount.  Litigation is pending.

Tomorrow, Unmanned Explorations     Rita Bay

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