Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Fort Necessity and Braddock road

ON our back home with the kids we stopped at Fort Necessity since we had studied the French and Indian war in May and we are studying George Washington.  This was where George Washington learned several important lessons and used them when fighting the British during the American Revolution.

The visitor center has a great museum and we learned even more about the National road that George Washington wanted to build.  Here the kids are examining different types of animal pelts that would have been hunted for in this area and one of the the reasons why the British and French were fighting
Looking at wampum beads and finding how they were made using shells.  

A rifle

Looking at a replica of the surrender  documentation that George Washington signed which places the blame squarely on his shoulders.  He did not have an interruptor who could adequately read French so he was unaware that he was agreeing that he murder French soldiers and it always haunted him years later.

The fort was quite small and it was to my surprised mainly used to store supplies  according the park rangers.  The Men slept outside the fort and only those who were wounded where brought into the fort. 

The fort was hastily built and it didn't look like it offered much protection

The small building inside the fort housed amunition  and food supplies

When Washington Surrender they had to give up most of their supplies to the French

Outside the fort were dirt berms and light weight cannons used by the British

The fort flew the British Naval flag of the time.

We were told the tree line surrounding the fort was much closer and it gave the French and Indians great cover which was a serious problem for Washington
Unlike today the forest was very thick and some diaries of the time say not a single ray of sunlight touched the ground  so it was perfect cover for the French

We got to watch some re enactors fire off a short cannon and a rifle

We were told that this was a very dangerous job back then

UP  close view of the cannon
Next we visited the Visitor center where we learned more about George Washington's idea for a National road.
examining Wampum belts

petrified pieces of wood front he original fort

The last battle of the French and Indian war took place in Manila, Philippines, as my kids like to say, it really was the first World War since they were fighting everywhere.
As we were driving away we happened up the burial and monument for Colonel Braddock that we have read about.  We stopped the car and got out to explore the area

Just down the hill from the Monument was the actual road that Braddock was building

There was a battle on the road and he was killed and secretly buried on the road he was built.  His remains were found and moved to the new location only about 500 feet away on a hill which can be seen from the road.

View of the road he was building along with George Washington from his original grave site

Shortly after seeing Braddock's grave we saw a marker which is the original National road that George Washington envisioned.
I bought a book to further read up on the National Road of George Washington and plan to educate the children on this as it is not something I remember being taught in school.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Claude Moore Colonial Farm

Another field trip we took while in the Alexandria area was to a colonial farm.  The kids have been to Williamsburg and while that is a wonderful place it gives the impression that everyone was wealthily in this era.  This farm shows how the common people lived and showed their hardships.

We travelled back in time to 1771.

Found out just how far our neighbors, store and church was.  

For every person living like George Washington there were 16 people living at the poverty level

This farm is an actual operating farm currently there are 6 people running the farm and they are using tools exactly as they did in the 1700's

The tobacco field and house

Turkeys were kept near the tobacco field as they help to keep the insects down on the plants

Seeing in the tobacco barn and learning the process of drying out tobacco

Next we walked to the main house where we met the family of this working farm.  They stayed in character.

We were given a tour of the home and shown what was being cooked for the noon time meal

upstairs was the sleeping quarters...other wise the house was a one story home with mud packed floors

Seeing the herbs and dead animals hanging from the ceilings

Geting to see how the meals were cooked using hot coals

This tabled held the types of things the family would eat or use in their cooking.

The noon time meal was eaten outside since it was a pleasant day

The hen house was behind the farm

Down the hill was a crude underground area used as a cool house as in a place to store fruits and vegetables.  There was no ice for this family

After touring the farm and visiting the family we went to the see what types of activities they did in their free time.
Playing 9 man morris which is my Firedrake's favorite

MarioFan tried the seesaw

and garden skittles

Playing the games graces

and shuttle cock with an old corn cob and feather

Next the kids were shown what some of the chores would have been for children of that period.  Grinding corn

Washing clothes with lye soap

rising and hanging them up 

Learning about wool 

and carding the wool

and trying our hand at drop spinning to make thread.

Another cabin in the woods but closed to the public

We had a great day exploring the way the average person would have lived in the 1700's.    If you are ever in the area I am told they do many events throughout the year.