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In the Classroom > Course Overview > Unit Overview
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Lesson 10: A Second Visit to Deerfield

Lesson Central Question:

In This Lesson:

What are the basic elements of a reconstituted colonial village?

Lesson Length
Key Ideas
Activity 1
Lesson Length

1 class period (85 minutes)

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Key Content Ideas Taught in this Lesson and Teacher Background

After the 1704 raid, Deerfield entered into a period of relative tranquility. With the threat of hostilities diminished, the people returned to the village, rebuilding the structures and their lives, Capitalizing upon the richness of the land, its proximity to the Connecticut River, and the familial connections among its residents to those of other communities. The community slowly entered a period of growth, financial stability, and subsequent refinement, as evidenced by its meeting house, its graveyard and homes.

Teacher Background Essays:
1. The Wells-Thorn House
2. The Common and the Meeting House
3. Death and Dying in the 18th and 19th Centuries

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Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will understand:

  • that there were increasingly in this period competing political agendas, and competition for land, power, and wealth in Deerfield.
  • that land ownership conferred power because it was a determinant of wealth, and a prerequisite for political participation.
  • that in Massachusetts there was no division of church and state as we understand it, and this condition influenced every aspect of daily life.
  • that the past has a significant influence on present day lives and society.
  • that it is valuable to study the lives, actions, ideas, political experiences, and judgments of people in the past.
  • how historians approach their work, using both artifacts and documents.
  • that both primary source materials and interpretive materials of all types are rich sources of historical evidence.

Students will be able to:

  • transcribe a primary document.
  • use a variety of primary source materials, to analyze these sources, and to make logical inferences and supported conclusions.
  • make reference to previously presented material.
  • utilize technology to research information and present projects.

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In Preparation for Teaching

Read these Teacher Background Essays:
1. The Wells-Thorn House
2. The Common and the Meeting House
3. Death and Dying in the 18th and 19th Centuries
4. From Memorial Hall Website, "The Turns of the Centuries Exhibit" : "Family - 1680-1720" : "Childlife - Fleeting Mortality"

Further Background Reading:
Hawke, David Freeman. Everyday Life in Early America. New York: Harper, 1989.

Tunis, Edwin. Colonial Living. Cleveland: World Press, 1972.

Tunis, Edwin. Colonial Craftsmen. Cleveland: World Press, 1965.

Deetz, James. In Small Things Forgotten. New York: Doubleday, 1996.

Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife. Puritan Gravestone Art. Boston: Boston University, 1976.

Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife. New England Meeting House and Church: 1630-1850. Boston: Boston University, 1979.

Forbes, Harrriette. Gravestones of Early New England and the Men Who Made Them. 1653-1800. Boston: Houghton: 1989

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Primary and Secondary Sources:

1. images of the Wells-Thorn House:

2. Proper, David. Singer of History: Lucy Terry Prince. Deerfield, Massachusetts: Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association and Historic Deerfield, 1998.

3. Menu of Gravestone images and plot plan of the cemetery

4. images of the Meeting House:

5. General web search using the keywords "New England Meeting House" and "Colonial graveyards."

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Activities Materials in Context

Activity 1

1. The Wells Thorn House

Instruct students to make a scale drawing of their own kitchen at home, locating appliances and furniture. Tell how many people are in the family and the number of pets.

Instruct students during their virtual visit to the Wells Thorn House to sketch details of the architecture and furnishings of the ell of the house.

Ask students to repeat the exercise as they visit the later addition, then write a paragraph, describing the contrast between the two living areas during the colonial period, and then with their own 20th century homes. Include references to Lucy Terry Prince in the colonial exposition.

2. The New England Meeting House

Instruct students during their virtual visit to the Meeting House to sketch details of the architecture and furnishings.

3. The Graveyard

Instruct students to make a sketch of a representative gravestone, telling about the materials used, the design of the stone and the iconography used. Talk about the Puritan beliefs about death that would impact on the siting and care of the graveyard.

4. As a chronicler, describe the changes that appear in both the meeting houses and the gravestones over time. Can you account for the reasons?

5. Discuss as a class evidence that Deerfield was becoming a stable settlement.

Continue work on the Colonial person for the final presentation.





Images of the Wells-Thorn House:

East Parlor - bed
East Parlor - dining area
Kitchen - hearth




Images of the Meeting House:

Fourth Meeting House (1729-1824)
Seating Plan of the Meeting House
Seating Plan from History of Deerfield
Deerfield Meeting House

Menu of Gravestone

Plot plan of the cemetery

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Sketches and description of the chronicler of the Wells-Thorn house, the Meeting House and the graveyard with indications of Puritan influences will be assessed.

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