Liberty's Children: Stories of Eleven Revolutionary War Children


When Americans think about the American Revolution, certain names come quickly to mind—George Washington, Paul Revere, and Samuel Adams. These men deserve to be remembered, yet their stories do not give us a clear picture of what life was like for the average person during the years before, during, and immediately after the war.

Typical history books do not describe how a nine-year-old Massachusetts boy might have felt when his friend was killed in the Boston Massacre or what ...

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When Americans think about the American Revolution, certain names come quickly to mind—George Washington, Paul Revere, and Samuel Adams. These men deserve to be remembered, yet their stories do not give us a clear picture of what life was like for the average person during the years before, during, and immediately after the war.

Typical history books do not describe how a nine-year-old Massachusetts boy might have felt when his friend was killed in the Boston Massacre or what went through the mind of a teenage Quaker girl when her family fled Philadelphia. These are the kinds of stories you will find in this book. Many of these children not only survived the war but played an active role in it.

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Editorial Reviews

Cohn's collection of 11 biographies is a clever classroom resource. The brief entries cover seven males and four females who lived in New England, Pennsylvania and the Carolinas during the Revolutionary War. Among the issues introduced in the text are colonialists' interactions with Native Americans and the importance of Quaker activism to American history. Of particular value is the introduction to Deborah Samson, one of the first women in the North American colonies known to have served in the military. Students can learn the value of all citizens, old and young, in a desperate struggle for national freedom. Cohn's writing is readily accessible to average readers from fifth to eighth grade and for literacy classes, ESL, and remedial classes from ninth grade to adult. There is a blend of simple explanations of the times and places with human-interest themes of courage, commitment, and loyalty to a cause. The index is a wealth of names, places, ships, events, and such abstract concepts as food riots, tar and feathers, and the creation of Yankee Doodle. The book is a valuable source for read-aloud classroom stories as well as for student research or general interest. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2004, Globe Pequot Press, 136p. illus. bibliog. index., Ages 12 to 18.
—Mary Snodgrass
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780762727346
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/1/2004
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Scotti Cohn

Scotti McAuliff Cohn is a freelance writer and copy editor living and working in Bloomington, Illinois. She has written three other books for The Globe Pequot Press: More than Petticoats: Remarkable North Carolina Women, It Happened in North Carolina, and Beyond Their Years: Stories of Sixteen Civil War Children.

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Read an Excerpt

Christopher Hawkins grabbed the rail as the Eagle heaved and lurched under his feet. Another salty wave smacked his face. The thirteen-year-old Rhode Island boy had spent the past five months getting his sea legs. Now he wondered whether those legs would continue to hold him upright. Even the more experienced sailors were sliding across the slick deck.

The storm blasted the Eagle throughout the evening and into the next day. The second night, the crew had to throw six of the heaviest cannons overboard to lighten the vessel. There was nothing to eat or drink on deck except bad water. As evening drew near again, some of the crew asked Captain Mawry Potter if there was any food down below. He told them Christopher, the cabin boy, would know best.

Crew members opened the hatch and helped Christopher down into the companionway—a stairway leading to the deck below. He gathered as much food and drink as he could find, and the sailors hauled him up again.

"This was a very small meal for each of the crew when divided," Christopher wrote years later in his memoirs. "And nothing else could be obtained through the dismal and painful night ensuing — the gale was hard so that ev'ry one was either lashed to some part of the vessel, or clung to some of her rigging — no one slept."

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Table of Contents

(1) The Greatest Terror and Confusion (John Greenwood) (2) An Actor in the Scenes of War (Andrew Sherburne) (3) No Safety for You Here (Mary Hunt Palmer) (4) Worthy of the Praise (James Durham) (5) A Spirit Warm and Bold (Deborah Samson) (6) Not Born to Be Drowned (Ebenezer Fox) (7) Troublesome Times (James Potter Collins) (8) So Tired, So Sad, and So Sacred (Frances Slocum) (9) With Liberty for All (James Forten) (10) Prepare to Hear Amazing Things (Sally Wister) (11) Almost Beyond Endurance (Christopher Hawkins) (12) Index

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  • Posted August 24, 2012

    great accompaniment for a study of the American Revolution

    Who are your heroes of the American Revolution? Most people think of individuals like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Patrick Henry, Paul Revere, John Paul Jones, or Samuel Adams. These are among the most famous, but there are others who are less well-known. Did you know that some of them were actually children? One example is John Greenwood, whose friend was killed in the Boston Massacre and who at age fifteen fought in the Battle of Bunker Hill. Another was twenty-year-old Deborah Samson, who enlisted in the Continental army claiming to be Robert Shurtlieff, a fifteen-year-old boy, and was awarded an invalid pension for injuries sustained in combat. Still another was James Durham, a thirteen-year-old African American boy who had been the slave of a Tory doctor and learned to mix medicines. Then there were Frances Slocum who was captured and raised by Native Americans, and James Forten, a free black who served on a colonial government-commissioned ship.

    Liberty’s Children tells the stories of eleven young people whose lives were caught up in the American Revolution. Not only did most of them survive the war but also many of them took an active role in it. Thus the book gives youngsters a clearer picture of what life was like for ordinary children in the years before, during, and after the war. When I picked it up and looked at it while visiting in the bookstore at Valley Forge National Park in Pennsylvania, it appeared quite interesting, but my decision to buy it was confirmed when I saw the author’s name. I have read and reviewed other great books by Scotti Cohn, and she is an excellent writer. There are a few references to drinking beer, rum, and whiskey, which of course are simply reported as historical events. I do appreciate the fact that in one quote where a British soldier cursed, it was written “d—-d” rather than being spelled out. And I found it especially noteworthy that for at least some of the children, it is specifically stated that they received their education at home. This would make an excellent accompaniment for a homeschool study of the American Revolution. Another similar book by Cohn is Beyond Their Years: Stories of Sixteen Civil War Children.

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