Holidays With The Governors

Holidays are important times for families, friends, religions and communities. Through this unit, students will be able to investigate Georgia's history and some of their favorite holidays in a creative and informative manner.

For this lesson you will need the following images (Please note, the Thanksgiving Letter, is the same as the Brown Letter, Nov 29, 1858, pages 1, 2, and 3 in Lesson 4, Sending for the Doctor.):

Activity 1: Valentine's Day
Upon the completion of this activity, students should be able to:
  1. Demonstrate creative writing skills using historically based information.
  2. Compare and contrast earlier methods of celebration of holidays to those of modern times.

QCC Objectives:
Grade 4: Skills: A1, A2, A3, B12, B13, D24, D29,
Grade 8: Topics/Contents: D20, Skills: A1, A6, A9, A10, D34, D38, D39

Suggested Lesson:
  1. Give each student a copy of the valentine written to Howell Cobb, Jr. which includes the handwritten version and the transcription.
  2. Allow the students to use reference materials to find out when this holiday became a celebration. Ask them to include in their research any information that may be available about the first or early Valentine's Day cards.
  3. Ask the students to compare the valentine cards that they receive to the 1852 valentine. What are the similarities and differences between the modern cards and the handwritten note from 1852?
  4. Using construction paper, glue, colored pencils, markers, or crayons, ask the students to design a nineteenth century valentine. Remind the students that roses, cupids, flowers and hearts were very popular in this time period.
  5. Ask the students to compose their own "verse" for their valentine.
St. Valentine's Day
Feb. 14th 1852
"To Mr. Howell Cobb Jun.
Over the mountains,
   And over the waves;
Under the fountains,
And under the graves;
Under floods that are deepest to
Which Neptune obey;
Over rocks that are steepest
Love will find out the way."
 
As sure as the grapes grow on the vine
I choose thee for my valentine
I choose thee out of all the rest-
Because tis thee I love the best.
"Dollie" 

Activity 2: A Dull Christmas
Upon completion of this activity, students should be able to:
  1. Interpret an historical writing using their own words.
  2. Demonstrate creative writing skills using historically based information.
  3. Discuss dialect in writing.
  4. Compare and contrast earlier methods of celebration of holidays to those of modern times.

QCC Objectives:
Grade 4: Skills: A1, A2, A3, B12, B13, D24, D29,
Grade 8: Topics/Contents: D20, Skills: A1, A6, A9, A10, D34, D38, D39

Suggested Lesson:
  1. Give each student a copy of the newspaper article from the Federal Union, January 2, 1855 and the transcription of the article.
  2. Ask the students to read the article, define any words that they do not know and to rewrite the article using their own words.
  3. Point out the statement written in dialect, "Christmas gif, massa." Ask the students to explain this statement. ("Christmas Gift!" was a common greeting on Christmas morning in the South. It was normally rewarded with a small gift or a small amount of money. For the best and most entertaining explanation of the use of the term, see the book Christmas Gift! by Georgia author, Ferrol Sams.) Ask the students the following questions: Is the dialect necessary to the article? Why or why not? Is writing in dialect important to history? Why or why not?
  4. Ask the students to compare and contrast the items listed that were common gifts for children in 1855 to those that are commonly given today to children.
  5. Give the students the following assignment: Imagine that you are the editor of a newspaper. You must write an article describing the Christmas season and its celebration in your town, city or community. Be sure to include any community or church activities that you and your neighbors and friends will attend or have attended during the Christmas season. (This activity can be adapted to Kwanzaa, Hanukkah or other winter season holidays celebrated by your students.)
Federal Union, Milledgeville, January 2, 1855
 
A dull Christmas.
 
That unwelcome visitor "Hard Times,"
has put his finger into the Holidays, and
spoiled to a great extent, the long, coveted
enjoyment of two classes in our midst, hith-
erto supposed to be privileged, by the very
laws of Christmas.  The Negroes and children
have had a poor Christmas of it.  Masters 
and fathers have found an immediate use
for every cent in their possession; hence the 
"colored population" have not had the cus-
tomary representation "in town," and doll-
babies, toys, sugar candy, and fire-poppers,
have been permitted to "lie on the table for
the present."  This is an unfavorable symp-
tom, and augurs badly to the state of the 
money market.  We could desire no better
finance thermometer that Christmas, could 
we keep it by us.  If  the Negroes have no
money, and even refrain from the customary
salutation, "Christmas gif, massa," and the
little children stay at home, content to play 
with last year's presents, then, indeed, the 
times are hard.  But there's luck in odd
numbers, maybe Christmas is 55 will be 
better.

Activity 3: Thanksgiving in the Governor's Mansion
Upon completion of this activity, students should be able to:
  1. Compare and contrast the public Thanksgiving celebration meal with the modern family Thanksgiving meal.
  2. Discuss and compare the cost of food items in 1858 with those of modern times.
  3. Discuss the availability of food items in 1858 with those of modern times.

QCC Objectives:
Grade 4: Skills: A1, A2, A3, B12, B13, D24, D29, E37, E42
Grade 8: Topics/Contents: D20, Skills: A1, A6, A9, A10, D34, D38, D39, E53, E56

Suggested Lesson:
  1. Make each student a copy of the letter from Elizabeth Brown, November 29, 1858.
  2. Ask the student to define the term, "levee."
  3. As the class reads the letter aloud, make a list of the foods that were served at the levee. Be sure to note the cost of the items when they are mentioned in the letter.
  4. Using current grocery store advertisements from the newspaper, allow the students to work as partners researching the modern day cost of eggs, fruit, etc.
  5. Discuss with the students the distances that different foods had to be shipped. Ask the students where the items might be located today. (Today, grocery stores will stock many of the items listed in Mrs. Brown's letter that had to be shipped from other cities. This will present an opportunity to discuss the lack of refrigeration in the 1850s and the necessity of shopping every day for items which were not produced or grown at home.)
  6. Using a road map of Georgia, ask the students to measure the mileage from Savannah to Milledgeville to determine the number of miles some food had to be shipped. Ask the students the significance of the food products coming from Savannah. They should observe that Savannah is a port city and it would have greater accessibility to shipping and to different types of foods.
  7. Remind the students that the "levee" took place on the day before Thanksgiving. Ask the students to make a list of the foods that they like to eat at parties or on Thanksgiving Day. Have them look for similarities and differences between the levee held at the Governor's Mansion and their lists. (As far as can be determined, a "steeple" cake was made of many different layers, somewhat like today's wedding cake.)

Activity 4: The Fourth of July
Upon completion of this activity, students should be able to:
  1. Interpret an historical writing using their own words.
  2. Demonstrate creative writing skills using historically based information.

QCC Objectives:
Grade 4: Skills: A1, A2, A3, B12, B13, D24, D29,
Grade 8: Topics/Contents: D20, Skills: A1, A6, A9, A10, D34, D38, D39

"After the company had dined, the following regular and volunteer sentiments were drank with great applause (lemonade and cold water being substituted for more exciting stimulants) interspersed with patriotic and temperance songs."

REGULAR TOASTS
  1. The day we celebrate: Cherished by every pat- riot heart-may the thrilling events which gave it birth be impressed on the mind of every new born son and daughter of freedom.
  2. Our Country-our whole Country: After God, the first and paramount object of our affection.
  3. Benjamin Franklin: The illustrious, sage and philosopher, and one of the god-fathers of our Republic - his name will never fade on her escutcheon.
  4. George Washington: Freedom's model -the world's admiration-man's benefactor.
  5. Andrew Jackson: The tears and badges of a whole nation proclaim in tones of sadness, that a great and good man "has fallen in Israel."
  6. The officers and soldiers of the Revolution:- Whilst we enjoy our rich heritage of civil and religious liberty, may we never forget the noble spirits who bought them with their blood and treasure.
  7. The President of the United States.
  8. The Governor of Georgia.
  9. Our Foreign Relations: May every Christian and patriot cherish and disseminate the benign principles of "peace and good will to men," and as far as may comport with national honor and safety, discourage the fell spirit of war.
  10. Our Federal Union: "What God has joined together "let no parricidal hand cut asunder."
  11. Sunday Schools: Christian nurseries of a Christian age-the mighty bulwarks of Church and State-terrible to despotism as "an army with banners." Long may they be loved by every pious heart, and fostered by every patriot hand.
  12. The Orator of the Day: We have listened with pleasure to his eloquent and patriotic sentiments, and in return he has our warmest thanks, and good wishes for his future success and happiness.
  13. The American Fair: Too fair to be omitted. Though last on our list of regular sentiments, they are always first in the hearts of their countrymen."
Suggested Lesson:
  1. Give the students a copy of the newspaper clipping and the transcription of the newspaper clipping.
  2. Explain to the students that on the Fourth of July community speeches, parades, picnics and celebrations were very common for the 1850s.
  3. Ask the students to choose one of toasts and define any words that they do not know.
  4. Ask the students to rewrite the toast that they have chosen in their own words.
  5. Allow the students to write a toast of their own for a Fourth of July celebration. Students may choose any person or event, historical or present, to honor.

Click here for the Eighth Lesson, Money from the Past 

Click to return to the Educational Resource Site Main Page

If you have any questions or comments about the Mansion,
please contact Jim Turner either by phone or e-mail-

(478) 445-4545 / jim.turner@gcsu.edu

or by mail -

The Old Governor's Mansion
120 South Clarke Street
Milledgeville, GA 31061



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