Last in a Long Line of Rebels
Written by Lisa Lewis Tyre
When the city of Zollicoffer, Tennessee, where her family lives, announces plans to seize their one hundred seventy-five-year-old house through eminent domain, twelve-year-old Louise Mayhew needs to come up with a way to save it–and her ancestor’s Civil War diary linking the house to the Underground Railroad, as well as a hidden treasure, seem to offer her family the best chance of saving their home.
Primary Source Pairing:
The diary entries of Louise Duncan Mayhew begin each chapter in Last in a Long Line of Rebels. These entries provide a look into the past during the Civil War and when Lou’s family’s house was new. When the story takes place 175 years later, the family house is in need of repair and rescue, and Lou and her crew of friends and cousins have an idea on how to save it. For this primary source pairing, invite students to analyze a letter written by a woman named Betty Herndon Maury during the Civil War. Additionally, visit the online Civil War collection curated by the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress Primary Source Set: “The Civil War: The Nation Moves Towards War, 1850-61” also has a variety of images, newspaper articles, and maps from the Civil War era.
Questions for Discussion:
- Describe what you see.
- What do you notice first?
- How much of the text can you read? What does it say?
- What do you see that looks strange or unfamiliar?
- How are the words arranged?
- What do you notice about the page the writing appears on?
- What do you think was happening when it was created?
- What tools and materials were used to create it?
- What can you learn from examining this?
- If someone created something like this today, what would be different? What would be the same?