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John and Lydia’s Story: The First Winter

By Sarah Rooker on December 18, 2013 in Flow of History
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Overview: In 1765 John and Lydia Mann set off from their home in Hebron, CT, to settle in Orford, NH. They traveled by horseback along the Connecticut River, stopping to rest along the way. This lesson picks up from the first lesson, exploring how the first settlers lived.

Focusing Questions

How did the first settlers live?
What were the first homes like?
What did the first settlers eat?

Topical Understandings

The first settlers lived in small, log huts.
The first settlers had little to eat.
The first settlers had to trade with distant neighbors in order to meet their basic needs.

Background Information

Who settled here and how did they live?

Materials

house illustrationJohn Mann Account for either 4th or 7th grade; Paragraphs 6 – 9
4th grade version
7th grade version
Slafter House, Norwich, VT
“A Home in the Wilderness,” 1789
Worksheet, “How did they Live?”

Procedures

Paragraphs 6 & 7: Forging a Life on the Frontier
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  • Visualizing the Cross’s Cabin
    1. From the description of the cabin the Manns shared with the Crosses, have each student create quick sketches of the exterior and floorplans of the cabin.
    2. Hand out the “Home in the Wilderness,” “Slafter House Illustration”, and “How did they Live” worksheet. After students fill out the worksheet, compare the cabin they drew to the illustrations. How might they adjust their illustrations?
  • Out of Necessity: Travel or travail?
  • Discussion:
    1. What is an augur and why would it be needed to make bedsteads and chair frames?
    2. How do you suppose John Mann traveled to Thetford? (means, route)
    3. How long do you think it took him, given what you know about rate of travel: could he have done the trip there and back in one day?
    4. Does this represent, by today’s measures, a whole lot of effort with not much to show for it? (Do we drive a day to buy/locate something we need for an activity or a project?) Examples? Is this a valid comparison or not? Explain/justify responses.

    Extensions

    Try the online activity