History of Redding > My Brother Sam is Dead > Teaching Aids > Exploring the Topics  

Exploring The Topics in the Novel.

Activity: This activity is more of a learning exercise with the teacher pointing out the topics in each chapter and then discussing these topics with the students as they are reading the book.

Taking a closer look at the topics the novel explores can be very helpful to teachers who wish to present Revolutionary War history in a unique way.

Each chapter of the novel has a number of topics which can be used to improve the students understanding of the novel and the Revolution. That is what I really love about the novel....it quietly touches on all the issues that occurred during the early years of the Revolutionary War.

My Brother Sam is Dead Chapter I:

The story begins in April of 1775. Sam Meeker returns home from college in uniform and full of excitement. "We've beaten the British in Massachusetts" are the first words out of his mouth. This comes as a surprise to his father, mother, brother, minister and other locals in the taproom of the Meeker's tavern; they are unaware of the rebellion brewing in Boston.

The topics are vast in the opening of the first chapter:

  • you can discuss the events that lead to the skirmish at Lexington and Concord
  • you can discuss the history of colleges in America and why they would be pro-rebellion
  • you can discuss the uniform Sam is wearing, what a militia was, why an American would be wearing a red uniform
  • etc...

In addition to the topics related to Sam's arrival in Redding. You have a number of other topics in the first chapter:

  • you can discuss what a tavern was and the importance it had in colonial times
  • you can discuss why Anglicans would be opposed to a split with England
  • why Americans who weren't Anglicans would be opposed to a split with Englands
  • you can discuss muskets...how they worked, how accurate they were, how they made bullets for them, etc...

My Brother Sam is Dead Chapter II:

Tim provides background information about his town, neighborhood and religion at the onset of chapter two.

Tim: "Redding was divided into two-parts: Redding Center and Redding Ridge"

  • you can discuss Redding, Connecticut - where is it and why it was divided in two parts (Anglicans and Presbyterians). Read my novel setting page for ideas.

Tim: "Church was practically the only time we ever saw some of the farmers from farther out in the parish - places like Umpawaug. They wanted to keep up with the news…"

  • you can discuss how information was shared in colonial times and how these methods led to biased opinions on very important issues.
  • you can also discuss Religion in colonial times.

Sam: "This is Tory Country. Father, Mr. Beach, the Lyons, the Couches - most of them in our church are Tories. And they think it's the same everywhere, but it isn't."

  • you can discuss how a township could gain a reputation for being "Tory Country".
  • you can also discuss who Tories or Loyalists were and why they were opposed to the rebellion, what they endured, etc...

For more ideas and topics for each chapter please read my Chapter by Chapter Summary and Analysis of My Brother Sam is Dead.

I will continue to provide free content here at the History of Redding, but for those who wish to have access to all I know, I have created a Dropbox account that has everything I've found and created. All can be downloaded from the Dropbox. Access is $12.99 (see below for deep discount) and that is unlimited access. See the video below or read the Word document for details of what's included.

School Savings- Get All My Brother Sam is Dead Resources & E-books (all of them) use the code REDDINGRIDGE & save $3.00. Just $9.99

Are you a teacher or parent? Email me at bcolley@colleyweb.com subject "MBSD Dropbox" and I will send you a special code that will give you free access if you promote my Dropbox. And, if people use your special code, you will be paid a % of the sale. It's a great win/win.

Video of me showing you what is in the
My Brother Sam is Dead Dropbox Account
and a why I created this resource.

My Dropbook Sign up is hosted by FastSpring.com & linked to my company: Colley Web Services, LLC. Access is $9.99 when you use the code: REDDINGRIDGE

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 @ bcolley@colleyweb.com.


Resources Available at the History of Redding Website:

Resources Available Online:




Putnam Memorial State Park- This is where Sam Meeker was encamped during the winter of 1778-79. This is the same camp Tim describes when he attempts to free Sam from the stockade.

Keeler Tavern Museum- Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, 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.

Putnam's Cottage / Knapp's Tavern Museum- Putnam's Cottage is intimately connected to the Revolutionary war, having housed General Putnam and hosted General Washington for lunch. The house has long been associated with General Israel Putnam and his heroic escape from the British during the Revolutionary War. General Putnam was Sam Meeker's General in the novel.

Compo Beach- 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. Tim describes their visit in the novel.





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