Daughter of Liberty: A True Story of the American Revolution (Hardcover) by Robert Quackenbush; Hyperion, 1999. ISBN: 0786823550. pp: 64.
Ages: 9-12, gr: 4-6

Summary

Wyn Mabie almost ran into George Washington with her horse as she was trying to get home in time for supper. When she recognized the General, she asked him how the war was going. He told her that he really needed papers that were hidden in the Roger Morris House. Unfortunately, the British had captured the house. Wyn volunteered to go retrieve the papers for George Washington. This book is her story about her true adventures.

Activities

  1. Learn as much as you can about George Washington. Compile your information into a children’s picture book or into a poem or series of poems.

  2. Chart the major battles of the American Revolutionary War on a map.

  3. Stone House is now called "76 House." Learn more about the history of this period and of this house:

  4. Who was Nathan Hale? Nathan Hale said that he regretted he had only one life to lose for his country. Write an opinion paper about this statement.

  5. Role-play chapter 3. What would you say to convince General Washington that you could retrieve his papers? Role-play several tactics.

  6. The horse thief has a red scarf around his neck. What do you think this signifies? What would you have done to get rid of the horse thief? Share your plans with your peers.

  7. Wyn told the twins that someday they would believe in something just as strongly as she believed in her mission. Think of the freedoms we now enjoy. For which would you be willing to fight? Defend your choice in a panel discussion.

  8. The following websites are places mentioned in this book that still exist today.
    • The Roger Morris House is now called the Morris-Jumel Mansion.
    • The other house is the DeWint House, where General Washington established his headquarters in 1780. It is thought that Wyn Mabie also helped Washington when he was at this location.
  9. Compare and contrast the condition of soldiers during the American Revolution and to today. Do this with a Venn Diagram or another graphic organizer.

  10. What do you think Wyn would have done had she not met Mrs. Thompson?

  11. Explain what happened when Washington crossed the Delaware into Trenton during Christmas of 1776. Be sure to look at the famous painting of this event by Emanuel Leutze at the following websites:
  12. It is possible to take a road trip to see the places mentioned in this book. If you could visit this area of the country, what would you most like to see? Plan your trip.

  13. Read other books about the American Revolutionary War. Booklists can be found at these websites:
  14. Would you classify the book as fact or fiction? Read the following review of the book written by the author, Robert Quackenbush, online at either Amazon.com or AAABookSearch.com.

    I am the author of this book and here are my comments: Daughter of Liberty portrays an incident in the life of my great, great, great, great Aunt Wyntje (Wyn) Quackenbosch (Quackenbush) Mabie who served as a messenger for General Washington during the Revolutionary War. In November 1776 she rode from her farm in Tappan, New York to Fort Lee, New Jersey, and rowed across the Hudson River by rowboat to retrieve papers from Washington’s former headquarters at the Roger Morris House, now called the Morris-Jumel Mansion. Then she rowed back across the Hudson River and delivered the papers to Washington at his new headquarters in Hackensack, New Jersey. The papers contained names of suppliers and volunteer troop replacements so that Washington could quickly restore his shattered defenses. His Army had been reduced to 6,000 troops in just a few short months after the British invasion of New York city in August 1776. The papers were an aid to his first major victory at Trenton on December 26, 1776. I took certain liberties to write Wyn Mabie’s story so that young readers could comprehend the complex events of the times. This included the addition of Jan and Janneke, ten-year-old twin cousins of Wyn’s husband, Abraham, who were being cared for by Wyn and her Aunt Susanna. The twins actually represented Wyn’s and Abraham’s own children, a boy Abraham, age two months, and a girl Elizabeth, age 2, who would be too young at the time to talk about their feelings when Wyn undertook her mission. This type of writing - fact meeting fiction - is a process of harvesting things one accidentally knows and merging them with facts. Often it means bending the facts in order to arrive at the truth. For me, writing Wyn Mabie’s story meant verifying through research a story that had been passed down in my family since the Revolutionary War. Then I linked the details of her mission with precise events and the time they occurred. This research took nearly twenty years to complete before I wrote and illustrated the finished book, which took one year. My purpose for creating Daughter of Liberty was to confirm a life that had become a legend, by restoring Wyn Mabie and her heroism to the book of life. For this reason I begin her story with this 184l quotation by Ralph Waldo Emerson: There is probably no history, only biography.

About the Author

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Assessment

Accelerated Reader: Quiz #30628 EN; Book Level 4.5; Points= 1.0
Book Adventure (Sylvan): Quiz Level 4
Reading Counts: Level 3.9; Points= 3.0
Lexile Level 620
word count= 5549