Friday, October 24, 2008

Show & Tell {St Mary's City}

It's time for Show & Tell with CanadaGirl - and since I missed it last week, I'd like to show why.

I took Spencer, Landon, and Kennady on an all-day field trip to Historic St. Mary's City in southern Maryland.  They held a homeschool day, and since we are studying US History this year, I couldn't pass it up.  Jamestown and Plymouth get a lot of "press" as the first British settlements in North America, but St Mary's City is the fourth permanent British settlement and claims to be the birthplace of religious tolerance in NA.  The Protestant King James I granted a charter to the Catholic Cecil Calvert, Baron of Baltimore in 1632, and in 1634 Calvert's son led the colonization effort.  The charter granted the Calverts princely rights, power to raise an army, collect taxes, and grant land.  Although the Calvert family were Catholic, the policy they pursued for the colony in Maryland was that it would have no official established religion - Catholic or Protestant - and in that regard, it was unique among the early British settlements.  The first colonists were about half Catholic and half Protestant. 

Some scenery from our trip - it was a drizzly, dreary day for the most part:

Our first stop of the day was at the Print House, where Landon and Kennady learned how to sort the letters - minding their Ps and Qs of course! - and helped the Master Nuthead work the printing press.  They got a copy of the document they printed to take home.

The Print House is next door to Smith's Ordinary, where an apothecary was explaining how the colonists made some of their own medicines.  He was working on cough syrup, and we helped a little.

Inside the house, the children were invited to write with a quill pen.

The ordinary functioned rather like an inn.  Here is the bed that a traveller could pay a few pounds of tobacco to sleep in - together with other travellers, of course!

Also at the ordinary, we each made a "sweetbag" with the dried herbs we liked best.

Next we headed over to Cordea's Hope, which is a shop.  The proprietress explained some of the items offered for trade and that the main currency was tobacco.  Since the planters wouldn't always have tobacco on hand to make a "cash purchase" they had a credit system!  Not nearly everyone could read, write, or work numbers, but they even had a 'calculator' to help add up purchases so the debt could be entered in the ledger.

Those who didn't pay their debt might be punished by having a "T" for "thief" branded on their hand, which made it very difficult for them to get credit ever again.  Wonder what would happen if we used a similar practice in today's world?

After lunch, we went to the Godiah Spray Tobacco Plantation, where we watched the indentured servant, John, take musket practice.  All men between 16 and 60 were expected to serve in the militia, so knowing how to handle a musket was very important. 

On his second shot, the musket misfired (literally a "flash in the pan") and John had a mild powder burn as a result.

Here Master Spray is inspecting the musket and explaining how it works.

Tobacco is the money-maker crop grown in colonial Maryland.

The plants need to be regularly checked for worms, and the suckers (new leaf shoots) pulled from the larger leaves.

After harvesting, the leaves need to be properly dried.

Then we went back to the main settlement, and visited the dock, where we could see and board a replica of the Dove, one of the two ships that brought colonists and supplies to Maryland in 1634.  You can read Father White's account of the voyage here.

On the dock, we got a bit of a hands-on physics lesson, as the kids tested their strength using pulley systems.  Pulleys on the ship enabled cargo and sails weighing hundreds of pounds to be moved and manipulated by a crew of less than ten!  In a couple of the pictures in the slide show, you can see the pulleys being used to hoist a hogshead of tobacco onto the ship from a rowboat.   We also got another physics lesson on shore - did you ever wonder why barrels were used for ships cargo?  The barrel's shape allows it to be rolled (like a wheel) meaning that a planter could take his cargo to the ship without needing a wagon.  Because the top of bottom of the barrel are curved, it makes it easy to steer a rolling barrel.  Also the barrel will right itself if toppled over, and will fit into the curved hold of a ship much better.  Rolling the barrel along a plank into the rowboat is another physics lesson - the plank is an inclined plane. 

Once on the ship, we had another physics lesson - using a windlass to hoist anchor.

Unfortunately, just outside of the State House, Landon and Kennady both had to serve some time in the stocks

...and in the pillory

...although it didn't seem to bother them too much.  I am considering building a stocks for our backyard as a homeschool project...

Once they had been released, we visited the State House.  St Mary's City served as the capital of Maryland during the state's early history.

We walked by the Brick Chapel from 1667, which is currently being rebuilt on its original foundation!

Our last stop was at the Woodland Indian hamlet.

We got another good idea for a homeschool project here - a firebow...

This interpreter was working on making a new one, and showed us a little of how it worked.  And it did work - he got a bit of smoke and a spark!

Hope you enjoyed our photo tour of Maryland's first British settlement!  Visit Mary's blog to participate in Show & Tell, and to see what others are sharing this week!

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CelticMom said...

Oh, Kym, what a wonderful field trip!! I'll have to keep that in mind for when we finally make our east coast trip...

Thanks so much for sharing - looks like a wonderful time was had by all. *grin*

Have a great weekend!


kansaskat said...

I learned something today! I live across the bay, but I need to plan a trip looks SO much fun!

Mackenzie said...

What a fabulous trip!!!!!

blessedwith2angels said...

I would love to go on this field trip! We only have Civil War history around our house.

Thanks for sharing. I am going to put it on the list of "must see" places I want to visit someday.


Flemj17 said...

What an awesome field trip! Thanks for sharing.


jenn4him said...

I like the idea of backyard stocks. Very much!


short said...

Oh I did thoroughly enjoy it! So educational, so much fun and very entertaining too! I wonder if stocks would be half as much fun if they were used for real punishment ;)

Canadagirl said...

This was a NEAT post ! We are studing the same time period but just up in Canada right now. [0= I learned TONS from your post. Kym thank you soooooooo much for sharing your feild trip. I would never get to see that place if it wasn't living it through you.

Blessings and ((HUGS)) my SSiC

In Him<><


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