My Brother Sam is Dead begins in April 1775 and ends in February 1779...a very volatile period of the American Revolution as it was not clear which side would win the war. Many were either still confused about the issues or unwilling to solidify a position on the issues. As the story unfolds the consequences of the war prove devastating to the Meeker family as the rebelliousness of Tim’s brother, Sam, and the pacifist postion taken by Tim’s father, Life, result in the ironic deaths of both, symbolizing the atrocities and unfairness of war.


My Brother Sam is Dead is a historical fiction novel told in the first person by Tim Meeker. It recounts the hardships endured by Tim and his family during the early stages of the American Revolutionary War. When Tim's older brother Sam joins the rebel forces, it greatly impacts Tim's family who are Anglican Church members and wish to avoid a war with England; a split with England would greatly affect their religious interests.

Tim Meeker is a metaphoric symbol of one third of the American population during the war. He portrays the American that is uncertain which side is right and does not wish to choose a side until forced to, sometimes referred to as a "fence-sitter". Sam and Life are examples of the other two thirds: the Rebel/Patriot and the Tory/Loyalist.

Through Tim Meeker we learn of the issues, the concerns and the conflicts of the rebellion from a personal level. Each chapter touches on a number of topics and issues that allow readers to see the war from the position of those that lived through it. This is one of the greatest strengths of the novel; it quietly weaves all of the topics and issues of the early years of the American Revolution into a tragic story of a 10 year old boy’s role in a war he doesn't understand.

I believe the best way to use this novel in the classroom is to explore the issues My Brother Sam is Dead highlights. Each chapter is geared toward giving us a better understanding of the hardships caused by the American Revolution and the affect it had on individuals, their families, their churches, their towns, their neighbors, etc...and thus the novel can be a very powerful learning tool if you are willing to look beyond the storyline.

The topics covered in this book are important and well represented historically speaking. Christopher Collier was Connecticut's State Historian for a very long time, he knew the issues, the localities, the facts. James Lincoln Collier wrote childrens stories, he knew how to write in a way that captivated the attention of young people. Between the two of them they were very talented. What I love most about My Brother Sam is Dead is it's realism. I was born and raised in Redding, Connecticut. I know it's history well, and can tell you the Collier brothers wove an amazing tale here and to help others better understand and use this novel in their classrooms I have created this website. Enjoy!

Online presentation about Redding Ridge and My Brother Sam is Dead

Online presentation about Putnam Park and My Brother Sam is Dead

Online presentation about Keeler Tavern and My Brother Sam is Dead

All my presentations for Redding and My Brother Sam is Dead topics

My Brother Sam is Dead Dropbox Account


Word Document that explains what is at the Dropbox: My Brother Sam is Dead Dropbox

Photo Examples of the Dropbox:
My Brother Sam is Dead Dropbox

Please feel free to email me with any questions @


Google Map of Redding with information about My Brother Sam is Dead

Download a My Brother Sam is Dead Parent Letter a
5th grade Teacher sends out to parents each year.


  Online My Brother Sam is Dead Quizzes. Students can take this online quiz to test their understanding of Chapter One. After they take the test they can see how they did and enter their email address to have the test results sent to them.

The British Raid on Danbury: April 26, 1777 the British Raided Danbury, Connecticut.

Teaching Historical Fiction

Google Maps of Historical Voyages and Historical Events Amazing online presentations that use My Brother Sam is Dead from Carol LaRow.

Places you can visit related to My Brother Sam is Dead.

Google Map of Redding with information about My Brother Sam is Dead added

Putnam Memorial State Park-
Corner of Route 58 & 107 Redding, Connecticut

General Israel Putnam's division of the Continental Army encamped in Redding in the winter of 1778-1779. This is why Sam Meeker returns to Redding in the Winter of 1779 in My Brother Sam is Dead.
View: Video Tour of Putnam Park

Keeler Tavern Museum-
132 Main Street
Ridgefield, Connecticut

The Keeler Tavern Museum has been a farmhouse, tavern, stagecoach stop, post office, hotel for travelers and a private residence. The Meeker Family Tavern was very similar and thus Keeler Tavern gives a glimpse at the way Tim, Sam, Life and Suzanne lived and worked.
View: Video Tour of Keeler Tavern

Compo Beach-
Compo Beach Road
Westport, Connecticut

There is a daily fee for non-residents, contact the town's Park and Recreation Department at 203-341-5090 for fee schedule. The British landed on this beach in 1777. From here they marched north through Redding where they halted for several hours before their attack on Danbury Connecticut's military depot.




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