Georgia History Day at Oglethorpe

Once again this year, Tom and I represented Fort Frederica at Georgia  History Day at Oglethorpe Elementary School.  The Fort was well represented with Ellen Provenzano and Ranger Bob Lumas doing a session on archaeology and Tom and I doing a session on colonial clothing.

Tom talking to the class

Last year Tom and I did a similar session but we decided to change it up a little this year.  Last year I took the park spinning wheel and we took some colonial tools and it didn’t go as well as we would have liked.  This year we decided to change it up a little.  Fortunately we had third graders, which we knew the day ahead, so we could prepare specifically for them.

Third graders love the ick and ewww factor, so Tom talked about a soldier’s clothing and gear, but spent a lot of time talking about underwear.  I don’t spend as much time talking about clothing except for the differences between men and women’s clothing.  I do, however, talk about the lack of bathing and sanitation.  The kids are great at imagining what it would have smelled like back then.  Ewwww!

After talking about the clothing, I taught them the Soldier, Soldier song.  This was an actual colonial song, but my version is modified and I made up my own tune.  Two of the kids, a boy and a girl, act out the song.  First I get the girl dressed in a colonial outfit, then I teach everyone the chorus.

“Oh, soldier, soldier, won’t you marry me with your musket, fife and drum?”

“Oh no, fair maid, I cannot marry thee, for I have no _____ to put on.”

“So up she jumped to her grandfather’s chest and got him a _______ of the very, very best.  And he put that _______ right on.”

Each verse has an additional item of clothing and adds shirt, pants, coat, and hat.  Although the kids are reluctant actors, there is usually lots of laughter about the marrying part.  The very last verse is the surprise ending.

“Oh, soldier, soldier, won’t you marry me with your musket, fife and drum?”

“Oh no, fair maid, I cannot marry thee, for I have a wife of my own!”

I learned this song when we were working at Kings Mountain National Military Park and we ended the song with the maid shooting the soldier.  Tom and I decided that was a little violent for the current version of the song.

After the song, Tom and I did a militia relay, another activity we did at Kings Mountain on the education days.  We divided the kids into two teams and each team had to get dressed to fight the Spanish.  One child at a time put on breeches, waistcoat, and hat and then took them off and the next child put them on.  They could help each other, which seemed a difficult concept for third graders.  One of Tom’s teams turned into a rugby scrum with the child being forcibly dressed by the rest of the team.  I spent part of the afternoon mending the clothes we took along.

We had four classes of third graders and ate lunch at the school.  Georgia History Day was fun for us and for the children.  Hopefully they learned something along the way.

Ranger Bob helping with the archaeology session

Tom and I were especially thankful that Ranger Bob went along.  This was the first time in five years that a ranger from the park went to Georgia History Day.  At least one of the rangers now knows what we do when we go to the school.