This lesson plan focuses on learning about the lives of Loyalist women in the period 1783-1827 who settled in New Brunswick. Students will also learn about the process of historical investigation through transcription and primary source document analysis.
This learning activity assists students to:
This learning activity is designed to be introduced once students have had an introduction to New Brunswick history during the eighteenth century. Students should have a general sense of the politics of migration as well as the number of people who moved from the United States to British North America at this time. Information on the latter can be found in the Historical Context section of this site. The activity can be used to emphasize the rich insights historical evidence from ordinary people can reveal about the world around them.
In small groups or as a class, challenge students to transcribe one of the more difficult letters from the Loyalist Women collection, using the alphabetical clues provided.
In groups of five, assign students one of the collection letters, answering the questions outlined on the Document Analysis Worksheet.
Information on some of the women is provided in secondary sources. Students can research the lives of Deborah Cottnam, Polly Dibblee, Sarah Frost, Hannah Ingraham, and Sylvia Johnson by referring to the Biographies section of this site as well as to other web sites.
Challenge students to ask and answer questions such as why some historical voices and lives are expressed in letters while others are not? Are there different ways to express thoughts and feelings other than through the written word?
Have students write letters about events in their own lives. Is it possible that one day their letters will be found and studied to understand what it was like to live in the 21st century? Students can write their letters using a quill pen and historical font.
Challenge students to imagine how our current forms of communication (cellphone, email, Facebook) will be found and studied in the future, as historical evidence of our lives in the 21st century.