Author Archive

John Decatur Barry Presentation Sources

Danielle Wood

Source 1

Date: May 15, 2003

Context: genealogy forum post

Content: John Decatur Barry’s birthplace, birthdate, parent’s names, education, first and last positions in the war, time of death, and grave site.

Significance: It provides all of the known info on John Decatur Barry’s early life.

This is all that is known about his life before the war.  We will use these few known facts about his early life to tell his story.

Source 2

Date: N/A

Context: Biography

Content: John Decatur Barry’s time in the Civil War

Significance: It gives the complete history of his promotions during the war and the battles he took place in.

This will be used to give a clear history on his promotions throughout the war and his part in the major battles.

Source 3

Date: March 22, 2013

Context: article

Content: John Decatur Barry’s life

Significance: This is our most detailed source regarding the battles he took place in and his life before and after the war.

This will be of great use to us in our interview regarding his life before and after the war.




March 19, 2014 at 4:21 pm Leave a comment

The Origin of Basketball

Danielle Wood

            In 1891, James Naismith, a physical education teacher at Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts at the time, invented the sport of basketball.  With the help of American physical education specialist Luther Halsey Gulick, Naismith devised the indoor sport as an athletic distraction for a rowdy class during the long and harsh New England Winter.  The first official rules were devised in 1892.  From then on, the game progressed in its appearance and audience.  It became very popular throughout the country especially among the military.  In fact, it is mainly due to the military that the sport reached a worldwide audience.  Schools and neighborhoods all across the country adopted basketball as a favorite athletic pastime.  It first became actual events in colleges.  The first recorded official college game was on April 8, 1893 at Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania.  Professional organizations such as the NBA were not founded until the late 1900s.  Only until around that time did it become a professionally organized sport with leagues across the country.  However, college leagues were begun much earlier.

At the start of basketball, peach baskets attached to a ten-foot-high railing and soccer balls were used.  Since then, backboards were added along with iron hoops and a hammock-style basket.  Official court dimensions were decided upon not long after that.  Also, the United States patented an official ball for the sport in 1929.  From its start at a college which was also a YMCA building at the time, basketball has largely progressed in its setup and rules.  The sport has remained consistent since the national leagues were set up in the late 1900s.  However, the sport was very inconsistent before then.  It certainly took much time for the game to become consistent; however, this can be expected in sports.  Basketball has become one of the most important pastimes in America.  Sports themselves offer exercise and entertainment to people across the country.  There is no doubt of the importance that sports hold here in America.  After all, any neighborhood or school across the country contains some form of the game basketball whether a full court or a simple backboard and net hung high.  The sport of basketball has even helped churches across the globe reach out to teenagers with the gospel.


March 6, 2014 at 6:47 pm Leave a comment

School houses in the 1800s

Danielle Wood


In the early 1800s, there were no public schools that were financed by the government.  The only schooling there was besides at home was one room school houses financed and worked by the people in a small town.  The teacher was chosen by the parents of the children.  The requirements were very low.  Basically, the teacher just needed to know a little bit about the basic subjects like math, history, science, reading, and writing.  There were no specific courses for the teachers until later.  The teachers were men in the beginning, but because of World War II, men were needed to fight and so teaching became the only job that single women were allowed to have.  Eventually, the number of women teachers grew much higher than the number of men teachers. In the typical school day, the teacher got up at dawn and went to the schoolhouse.  They would be there teaching during the school hours and after school they would then clean the school house.  During the schooling time, the students would all be together no matter their grade.  The classes were mostly small.  Sometimes there could be 30 kids and other times there could be as little as one.  Since there was no law for children to attend school, many farm kids would be kept home to help on the farm.  This was frequent in rural towns.  The school day would typically last from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.  The school would be open for 10-11 weeks twice a year in summer and winter.  The first school period would begin in the third week of May and the second would begin in the third week of November.  The most well-known text books used were the Blue-Backed Speller and the Eclectic Readers which were written by Noah Webster and William H. McGuffey.  The schoolhouses in the 1800s were very different from the public schools we have today.  One difference that to me makes the biggest impact is the Bible’s position in it.  The children were allowed to bring Bibles to read and were encouraged to pray.  The focus of the teaching was on the Christian life.  The Bible had a big part in the school houses, but once the government took over schooling and developed public schools it was clear that the focus was shifted away from God.


December 12, 2013 at 6:08 pm 4 comments

The Monroe Doctrine

Danielle Wood

The Monroe Doctrine

            On December 2, 1823, President James Monroe made his seventh annual address to Congress.  Within this address, the famous Monroe Doctrine was stated by the president.  The Monroe Doctrine declared that the United States was no longer under the rule of European Powers.  Also, it gave them the right to interfere with the colonization of efforts of other European countries if viewed as acts of aggression.  However, the doctrine also stressed that the United States would not interfere with the existing European colonies or meddle in the affairs of the European countries.  The intent of this foreign policy was to warn the European nations, mainly Spain and France, that their further colonization of the New World would not be accepted by the American colonies.  Great Britain agreed with this policy and therefore wanted to form an alliance with The United States; however, the United States rejected the proposal seeking to do this on their own.  The Monroe Doctrine made a big impact in the world.  It gave the United States a new respect for standing up to the threats of the bigger and stronger countries.  It was noted by these other countries that heeded the warnings and remained distant from the United States avoiding any conflict in North America.  The Monroe Doctrine has been used many times since Monroe’s presidency including during the presidencies of Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and many others.  It is very much honored for the bravery it took for James Monroe to make that stand alone without the help of another country.  Even to this day it is a part of our nation’s foreign policy.



November 13, 2013 at 11:41 am 2 comments

Burning of Washington DC

On August 24, 1814, the British overcame the Americans at the Battle of Bladensburg.  This was a relatively small battle and didn’t make a big difference in the war of 1812.  The danger of it was that in losing this battle, the Americans provided the British with an open road to America’s capital, Washington DC.  As the British closed in on Washington DC, their intentions became clear.  Their plan was to raid it and burn it to the ground, supposedly to teach the Americans a lesson on their retaliation.  The command given to Rear Admiral George Cockburn by Vice Admiral Alexander Cochrane said that to “deter the enemy from a repetition of similar outrages…You are hereby required and directed to destroy and lay waste such towns and districts as you may find assailable.”  Also, Cochrane stated that “you will spare merely the lives of the unarmed inhabitants of the United States.”  With word of the British coming, the American people fled.  As the British raided Washington DC, burning government buildings such as the White House, the United States Treasury, and the Capitol, they hoped that it would kill the hopes of the Americans and embarrass the nation as a whole.  Much to their dismay, the burning of the nation’s capital only increased the sense of patriotism in the Americans.  Many who once sided with the British saw the wrong they had done to America and sided with the Americans.  In the end, the Americans never lost hope and ended the war with a strong pride they never before had.

            After the British left Washington DC, the People who fled before returned to a burned city.  There was much controversy throughout the nation whether or not they should relocate the capital.  Philadelphia was quick to offer but Congress rejected it.  They began to rebuild the city in 1815.  The reconstruction focused on the Capitol and the White House.  The Capitol was completed in 1819 and the White House was finished in time for James Monroe’s inauguration of 1817.  The reconstruction needed to be completed hastily before more conflict about moving the capital of America could come up.  Not much was changed in the process.  Of course there is always going to be improvements that come with the time but the focus was mainly on getting it done so that the nation could return to its original ways.  The Burning of the White House was partially good and partially bad.  It was good because it increased the patriotism of the people, and turned many to support the Americans due to the British’s unfair actions.  However, if the Americans had succeeded in stopping the British from reaching Washington DC, though it may have still increased their patriotism due to the victory, there would have been no need to rebuild any of it and many historical documents would be here today to give us even more history on our country.  The burning of Washington DC was a big turning point in the War of 1812.  It affected our nation greatly, therefore it will never be forgotten.



November 6, 2013 at 2:23 pm 4 comments

German Americans

          Many different countries migrated to America.  As a result it has become a very diverse land.  German Americans are known as the largest ancestry group here.  The first German American, Dr. Johannes Fleischer, came over in 1607 with the Jamestown colony.  Later in 1608, 5 German glassmakers and 3 German carpenters followed him.  As Germans continued to migrate through the 1680s to the 1760s, they began their own settlements.  The first permanent settlement was Germantown, Pennsylvania.  Most came over because of worsening opportunities for farm ownership in Europe, persecution of some religious groups, and military conscription.  They were drawn to America because it offered religious freedom and more land opportunities.  As they migrated to America they brought many traditions and their religion with them.  A large group of German Americans is evident today all across the country, they are known as the Amish.  The Amish religion stems from Christianity with mostly the same beliefs but they are stricter on separation from the world.  The Amish have become a big part of America and can be found all across the states.  Although German Americans have cut off their ties to the mother country the governmental structure has remained in their lives.  As a result of the many different nations that inhabit America, it has subtle influences from each nation located all throughout the governmental structure.  The Germans also brought over many different foods such as hot dogs and hamburgers.  These foods have had a major industrial impact with businesses such as Oscar Mayer.  German Americans have rich heritages reaching across their families.  They continue to make up a large sum of the American people today and their heritage includes some of the biggest people in our history such as Dwight D. Eisenhower and Herbert Hoover.  It is clear that the German society has had a major impact on the shaping of America.

October 2, 2013 at 10:01 am 6 comments