Stowe fifth-graders re-enact colonial timesFifth-graders at Stowe Elementary School on the western edge of Duluth learned colonial history this week by re-enacting colonial times in the gymnasium.
By: Naomi Yaeger, Duluth Budgeteer News
Fifth-graders at Stowe Elementary School on the western edge of Duluth learned colonial history this week by re-enacting colonial times in the gymnasium. Social Studies teacher Bob Berg said the students had spent about one month researching colonial times in the America. The 60 students were dressed in clothing of the period – girls in skirts and bonnets, and boys in knickers. Those who played judges wore white wigs.
A hand-drawn sign on the gym door welcomed visitors, mostly parents and grandparents, to the village of Bergsville. The school borrowed artifacts from friends, the Duluth Children’s Museum, and Puglisi Gun Emporium. “Each (student) did a research project on a different job,” said Berg.
Some of the occupations the Budgeteer visited included farmers, judges, gunsmiths, constables and bakers.
If fifth-graders’ re-enactments are close to the truth, peer pressure and public humiliation were a big force in keeping people in line back then. Supposedly, Caleb Bucci got caught stealing a candle mold. Constables Eric Nelson and Dustin Beasley dragged him to the judge, played by Logan Jasper. Matt Rukavina acted as a lawyer. Judge Jasper said he made his decisions based on “what the constables tell me.”
“You’ve been accused of theft,” Judge Jasper told Bucci. And he emphasized, “You don’t go to church!”
Nelson and Beasley grabbed Bucci and pulled him over to the stockade, while the rest of the class pointed at him and mocked him. Berg informed the class that in colonial times people may have thrown rotten vegetables at Bucci while he was locked in the stockade.
Things were a little more relaxed at the farm, where life was re-enacted by Jillian Beetcher, Nick Sater, Alliyah Hales and Gavin John. “If it wasn’t for us most people would starve to death,” said Beetcher. John showed the Budgeteer reporter a tool. “I think it’s a hoe,” he said, as he demonstrated how to use it. “We put the seeds of the carrots in the ground.”
Around the corner, Samantha MacDougall and Kennedy Postal got their hands full of flour. “It’s dirty but also fun,” said MacDougall. The girls wore dresses and white caps.
Grandparents Marie and Roy Peterson drove up from South Range, Wisc. to see the activities, including their grandson Eric Nelson playing a constable. Marie said she learned a couple new things that day. “I didn’t know how they soaked wood to make barrels,” she said. Both said they had never participated in re-enactments as educational activities when they were in grade school.
Noah Ward and Chance Ward-Balen played gunsmiths. Ward-Balen thought the judicial system was worse in the colonial days, saying, “Back then you would usually be killed; now you would just be put in jail or taxed.”
Re-enacting for the parents and grandparents was “nerve-racking” for Ward-Balen. “You want to impress your parents,” he said.