My Brother Sam Is Dead

by James Lincoln Collier & Christopher Collier

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My Brother Sam is Dead is a story beginning in April of 1775 and ending in February of 1779. The American Revolution is ongoing. The outcome of the war was unclear. Many colonists remained unclear about the issues which had led to this war; others had not taken a clear position on the issues. For many families, devastating disagreements about the war had led to family feuds. Some families found themselves literally fighting against family members. As this story unfolds, we find the Meeker family torn between a son's decision to join the rebels and a father's unwillingness to set aside his loyalty to King George III. The younger son, Tim, is caught between the beliefs and actions of the two men he looks up to the most and struggles throughout the story to determine which side of the conflict he personally agrees with and can support.
Liberty`s Kids #06 The Shot Heard Round the World
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Taverns of the Colonial Period

The Meeker family owned and operated a tavern. See what all that entailed by selecting the next link.

What are "loyalists" or "tories," and how do they relate to the novel?

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The Brown Bess

Clothing common at the time of the American Revolution

Revolutionary War Period Slang

Period Slang: Used in Camp or in the Field

  1. Adjutant: an officer who acts as military assistant to a more senior officer.
  2. Beetle-Headed: Dull, Stupid.
  3. Brown Bess: A soldier's fire-lock (musket). "To hug Brown Bess" is to carry a fire-lock, or serve as a private soldier.
  4. Chicken-Hearted: Fearful, cowardly.
  5. Cur: A cut or curtailed dog, disabled from chasing game. Figuratively used to signify a surly fellow.
  6. English Burgundy: Porter (wine).
  7. Flip: Small beer, brandy, and sugar.
  8. Fusillade: A discharge from a number of firearms, fired simultaneously or in rapid succession. A rapid outburst or barrage: a fusillade of insults.
  9. Gill: One gill is equal to 1/2 cup of liquid. Soldiers were allowed a gill of Rum per day when on fatigue, and at no other time.
  10. Grog: Rum and water. "Groggy" or "Groggified" is to be drunk.
  11. Ground Arms: To stack firearms on the ground.
  12. Hook: To steal. "My shirt was worn so I headed out of camp to hook one."
  13. Huzza: Said to have been originally the cry of the huzzars or Hungarian light horse; but now the national shout of the English, both civil and military; to give three cheers being to huzza thrice.
  14. Jack Tar: A sailor.
  15. Lobster(Back): A British soldier, from the color of his clothes (Red).
  16. Loggerhead: A blockhead or stupid fellow, also a double-headed, or bar-shot of iron.
  17. Neck Weed: Hemp. Used as rope in the time period.
  18. Pottage: A thick soup. Rod: A measurement of width, 16.5 feet is a rod.
  19. Sallied: Usually means to breakout or depart.
  20. Scaly: Mean, sordid.
  21. Surly: Unfriendly, crabby, grumpy. Used to describe someone of that nature: "Major Williams was a surly fellow."
  22. Sutler: A sutler or victualer is a civilian who sells provisions to an army in the field, in camp or in quarters.
  23. Tattoo: A beat of the drum, or signal for soldiers to go to their quarters, and a direction to the *sutlers to close the tap. * A sutler or victualer is a civilian who sells provisions to an army in the field, in camp or in quarters.
  24. Trainband: Local Militia. Volunteer soldiers formed to protect townships.
  25. Vanguard: The foremost position in an army or fleet advancing into battle.

Period Slang: Used in Everyday Life

  1. Anvil: A heavy steel faced iron block.
  2. Breeches: Trousers ending above the knee.
  3. Ciphering: Transforming a message into secret code via math.
  4. 18-21-14 = R-U-N
  5. Cholera: An acute infectious disease of the small intestine, caused by the bacterium Vibrio Cholerae.
  6. Commissary Notes: A Commissary is a store or market for military personnel, so a Commissary Note is a certificate given in lieu of currency for use in the store.
  7. Drover: One that drives cattle or sheep to market.
  8. Forage: The act of looking or searching for food or provisions.
  9. Fusillade: A rapid outburst or barrage: a fusillade of insults.
  10. Hardtack: A hard biscuit or bread made with only flour and water.
  11. Hogshead: Any of various units of volume or capacity ranging from 63 to 140 gallons.
  12. Hundredweight: 100 pounds.
  13. Jerked Beef: Long slices or strips of beef dried in the sun or near a fire.
  14. Johnny Cake: Cornmeal bread usually shaped into a flat cake and baked or fried on a griddle.
  15. Leggings: Tight, form-fitting trousers that extend from the waist to the ankles.
  16. Loft: Unpartitioned room overlooking another room.
  17. Pallet: 1. A fire shovel; 2. A bed of straw
  18. Papist: A Roman Catholic
  19. Plowshare: The cutting blade of a plow.
  20. Populace: The general public; the masses. A population.
  21. Pound: Unit of money- equivalent to twenty shillings sterling
  22. Powder Horn: Where you kept your gun powder
  23. Scrip: A piece of paper representing or acknowledging value, such as a receipt or certificate, given in lieu of currency.
  24. Seining: To catch or fish with a net.
  25. Sloth: Aversion to work or exertion; laziness.
  26. Shilling: A coin worth one twentieth of a pound.
  27. Thatch: A house roof made with a plant material (such as straw).

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