Fun Topics to Explore
The Cherokee Nation
The Cherokee people were one of the “Five Civilized Tribes” who were all forced out of their homelands in the early 1800’s. The Cherokee removal, known as The Trail of Tears, occurred in 1838-39. There was a small division of Cherokees who managed to escape removal by hiding in the North Carolina mountains. (The Seminoles have a similar band in northern Florida.) The descendants of the Cherokee people who escaped removal make up what’s known today as the Eastern Band of Cherokees. The Western Band of the Cherokee people live on reservations in Oklahoma. The Cherokees are trying to preserve their language. Watch the video below to meet a few Cherokees and hear them speak their language. The woman in the video is Amanda Swimmer, a well-known potter in Cherokee, North Carolina. She still makes pottery the way the ancient southeastern natives made it: hand-built and ground-fired with no kiln or potter’s wheel.
The Very First Air Rifle
The very first air rifle was not invented by Daisy but rather by Isaiah Lukens around 1800. Take a look at one or both of these You Tube videos about the unusual air rifle used by Lewis and Clarke on their famous expedition across America in the early 1800’s:
Lewis and Clark air rifle video 1 video 2
Watch this you tube video of the 1885 Benz Motorwagon–the first car ever!
Jay Leno owns a 1909 Baker electric car and he shows it to you in this video. You get to see all about it from the pullman-style windows to the rechargable batteries (he still uses the original ones!), and then he takes you for a ride. It’s “like driving a phone booth,” as Leno puts it. Note how there’s no steering wheel —Go to this webpage and click the screen for the video. Really fun! Watch and you’ll see.
I want this car!! Watch the brief news video about the Nisan “Leaf” — an all electric car that came out in 2010. Seen one around yet?
And check this fun video out below–it’s the Mercedes Smart for Two electric car. The guys in the video show you the ins and outs of this car as they drive it around San Francisco.
I bet you don’t know some of these interesting facts about the history of marbles.
LEARN TO PLAY MARBLES on You Tube! —This video demonstrates all the basics clearly. Very good and complete!
The interesting history of the ice cube tray. See why historians think it was invented by a doctor!
Here’s the audio file of a Bob White’s call that I mentioned in the book.
Take a look at this bird dog in full point while on a quail hunt in typical-looking Georgia woods.
The Chief Van House
The Chief Van House belonged to John Joseph Vann, one of the chiefs of the Cherokee tribe in north Georgia before the Trail of Tears (1838). The house is in Chatsworth, Ga., just outside of Dalton. When you see the picture of his house, you’ll understand just how far the Cherokees had come at that time in trying to fit in with white culture and society. Many whites tried to excuse the Cherokee Removal of 1838 (and other atrocities committed against Native Americans) by saying the Indians were “savages.” But the Cherokee were living in log houses, had towns with their own newpapers, farmed, went to church (a large proportion were Christian), wore typical American dress, and even owned slaves. Yet we rounded them up at gun point and sent them on foot to Oklahoma. The journey became known as the Trail of Tears. Here’s a link to more on the Van House
The Hotel Dalton
The Hotel Dalton, where the Jones boys’ mother stayed when visiting Dalton, was the only hotel in town for many years, but it burned completely down in 1911 and had to be rebuilt.
This link shows a picture of the Hotel Dalton as it looks today. When I was growing up in Dalton, it housed a drugstore on the ground level (Bradley and Weaver, I think) and my friends and I would go there to get milkshakes and chocolate sodas at the sofa fountain after watching a movie at the Wink Theater across the street
Topic for discussion: Life expectancy then and now
It might have been nice to live back around 1920 when Alfred and Walter were young boys. Times were simpler in many ways: kids played outdoors more, most moms stayed home with their children, and in small towns like Dalton, no one even bothered to lock their doors. Even at night, doors were left open in the hot summer time to catch the breeze. People could do that because crime was so unusual in small towns like Dalton. In many communities safety was of little concern at all. We never locked our car doors. My dad even left the keys in his car whether he was parked in town or at home.
However, compare the average age when people died, or the average life expectancy:
- The life expectancy for 1920-1930 men–54 years, women–55 years
- The life expectancy for 2000-2010 men–77 years, women–80 years
- What has made the difference? What do we have today that has increased the length of time the average person can expect to live?
- Would you want to live back then? Why or why not? If you were suddenly transported back in time to 1920, what might turn out to be better? What would you miss the most?