Voices of Revolution

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Eleven Men’s Morris

This game may remind you of tic-tac-toe.

Players: 2

Materials: Two different kinds of markers such as beans or pennies; eleven markers for each player. A game board, as shown, copied on paper or poster board.

Object of the Game: To make the most rows of three markers in a line and remove opponent's markers from the board.

How to Play

  1. Choose markers. Decide who goes first.

  2. Take turns putting down one marker at a time, always placing markers at a point where lines cross or meet. Markers can be placed horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. Three markers in a straight line make a row. When a player makes a row, he or she can remove the opponent's marker if it is not already part of a row.

  3. When all the markers have been placed on the board, continue to try to make rows by moving a marker in any direction to the next vacant point.

  4. The game ends when one player has only two markers left, or when no one can make another move. The player with more markers left on the board wins.


Theme Wrap Up

Check Your Progress

This theme has shown you both real and fictional events from America's Revolutionary War. Think about that period of history as you read and compare two new selections and practice a new kind of test.

Before you begin reading, go back to the letter from Walter Dean Myers on pages 256-258. Think about how the power of symbols he writes about is related to the beliefs of Paul Revere, Katie, and James Forten.

Now meet more young people of the Revolution in the following selections. As you read, compare and contrast the work they do. See how that work connects with the actions of other characters in the thpmp


Read and Compare

Toliver’s Secret

Ellen Toliver, a shy girl of ten, must help deliver a secret message to George Washington.

Try these strategies:

Predict and Infer Question

Mary Redmaond, John Darragh, and Dicey Langston: Spies

Learn about three young people who really were spies during the Revolution.

Try these strategies:

Monitor and Clarify Summarize

Strategies in Action

Call on all your reading strategies for help as you read.

334 A

Toliver’s Secret

by Esther Wood Brady illustrated by Joel Spector

It is 1776. Ten-year-old Ellen Tolíver has discovered that hergrand­father is a spy for the Patriots. Grandfather has hidden a secret message for General Washington in a loaf of bread. The message may help bring a much-needed victory to the Patriot army, where Ellen's brother Ezra is fighting. But Grandfather has badly sprained his ankle. He is asking Ellen to deliver the message for him!

"Can you understand what I have been telling you?" "I think so."

Ellen could see that Grandfather was very serious about the need to send his message. She, too, had been worried about all the news of lost battles and retreats, especially since Ezra was with that army. She remembered how joyous everyone had been last July when they heard about the Declaration of Independence. There had been bonfires on the village green and singing and dancing in the streets. And then the British army came to New York and there had been three months of defeat.

"If you understand how important it is to take the message, Ellen, I'll tell you how it can be done. And then you are to decide."

Ellen listened and didn't say a word.

"You walk down to the docks near the Market-house and get on a farmer's boat - or an oysterman's. They come over early every morning and they go back to Elizabeth-town at eleven o'clock. Elizabeth is a very small town. When you get off the boat, you'll find the jolly Fox Tavern


without any trouble. My good friend Mr. Shannon runs the tavern, and you give the loaf of bread to him. That's all there is for you to do, Ellen. The Shannons will welcome you and take good care of you."

Sailing across the Bay didn't seem so hard. It was finding a boat here in New York and asking a stranger for a ride that worried her. "How could I find the right boat to take me?" she asked. She didn't intend to go, but she thought she'd ask anyway.

"The docks are right near Front Street where we walked on Sunday afternoon. The farmers and the oystermen tie up their boats near the Market-house. They are friendly people and they often take passengers back to Elizabeth-town since the ferryboat stopped running. I'll give you money to pay."

"And how would I get home again - if I should decide to go?" she said in a very low voice.


"Oh, the Shannons will put you on a boat early in the morning. You'll be back here by ten o'clock."

"Does Mr. Shannon take the bread to General Washington?" she asked.

"No, he takes it to a courier who will ride part of the way. Then he'll give it to another courier who will ride through the night with it. And finally a third man will carry it to the General in Pennsylvania."

Ellen thought about the messengers riding alone through the coun­tryside to carry the secret message. She wondered how it felt to be all alone among the British soldiers.

Mother interrupted. "It's too much to ask of her, Father. She's only ten."

Her father reached out and squeezed her hand. "Abby, dear," he said, "I know you are distressed because of all that has happened this fall. But don't make the child timid. We all have to learn to do things that seem hard at first. A child can't start too early to learn that." Ellen knew her grandfather wouldn't send her if he thought she couldn't do it. Now that she thought it over she knew that if she walked carefully she could remember the way to Front Street. And she would have money to pay for the boat. She had liked sailing across the East River when she and Mother had taken the ferryboat from Brooklyn to New York last November. Perhaps it wouldn't be too hard. "But what would I do if I got lost?"

"If you lose your way, just speak up and ask someone for direc­tions," said Grandfather.

"You're sure there is no one else to take it for you, Grandfather?" "With this bad ankle I can't walk around New York to find one of my friends - and I wouldn't know where to send you or your mother to look. Besides, there isn't time. I need your help, Ellen."

Ellen was quiet for a long time.

"Very well," she said finally. "I'll do it - if you are really sure I can."

"I know you can, Ellen. And Abby," he said, "this is nothing too hard for a child of ten. The Shannons will take good care of her, you may be sure of that. In that chest in the kitchen are clothes that Ezra left here years ago. Go out and see what you find, Ellen."


Now that she had decided to go, Ellen ran quickly to the kitchen and poked around among the blankets and old clothes in the chest that sat near the fireplace. She was eager to see what was there. "Here's a striped cap," she exclaimed. "And here's that old blue jacket with the holes in the elbows. I remember these brass buttons." Grandfather had bought Ezra all new clothes when he had come to New York to visit several years ago.

Ellen put on a red knitted shirt that was too small and the blue wool jacket that was too big. The brass buttons made her think of Ezra's grin. She put on heavy gray stockings before she pulled up the short breeches. The leather breeches were so old and stiff they could almost stand alone. She kicked up her legs to make them soften up.

Not since she was a small child had she known what fun it was to kick her legs as high as she could. She tried to kick the skillet that hung beside the fireplace.

"These will be better for walking than petticoats," she said as she pranced about the kitchen. "Why can't girls wear these, too?"

"Ellen Toliver," said her mother primly. "It would be unseemly."

After trying on Ezra's boots, which were too big for her, she decided she would wear her own leather shoes to make walking easier. Certainly it would be easier to jump out of the way of horses and wheelbar­rows and it would be better for climbing on the boat.


She ran into the shop to show her grandfather how she looked. For the first time since he fell on the ice, Grandfather laughed. "You look like a ragged little urchin all right," he said, "with those holes in your elbows. But all the better. No one will even notice you. And now we must cut your hair."

Mother picked up the scissors and stroked Ellen's long brown hair. "Couldn't we just tuck her hair under the cap?" she asked.

"No," said Ellen firmly. "I might forget and take it off! That would be dreadful. Besides, it might look bunchy beneath a cap." Better to have it short and not worry about it. She remembered her friend


Lucinda who had short hair with a band of ribbon around her head. Lucinda looked very pretty with short hair. "Cut it off!" she said impatiently.

Grandfather smiled from his couch. "You'll do right well, Ellen," he said. "Tie a pigtail in back with a cord and then just snip off the part that is too long."

Ellen could feel her mother's hands tremble as she tied back the hair and snipped at the long pigtail.

"It will grow back," Ellen said to her. "How do I look?" Jumping up from the chair she stepped over the hair on the floor and stared at herself in the mirror.

"Why, I favor my father with my hair tied back!" she exclaimed. Her brown eyes were just like her father's eyes although not stern like his. Her face was thin like his, too. She stared at herself. Suddenly the person staring back at her didn't look like Ellen Toliver, and for a minute it frightened her to look so changed. Glancing sideways she could see her grandfather smiling his old cheerful smile.

Mother had given him the loaf of bread which he was wrapping in a blue kerchief and tying with a good strong knot.

"Where shall I hide the bread?" Ellen asked him.

"Don't hide it," he told her. "Don't think of hiding it. Just go along swinging this blue bundle as if it were nothing at all. There is only one thing to be careful about, Ellen. Be sure you give the bread to no one but Mr. Shannon."

His eyes grew as hard as they had been earlier that morning, when she surprised him in the kitchen. "No one but Mr. Shannon. He and I might hang if we were caught."

"Hang!" cried Ellen. "You mean on a gallows tree?"

Ellen's hands trembled so that she could hardly button the brass but­tons on her jacket. No one had mentioned hanging before. If she had known her grandfather might hang she never would have agreed to do it. It wasn't fair. She gulped and at last the words came out. "I can't do it, Grandfather. I just can't. I'm too scared and I might make a mistake."


"You can do it, Ellen. Better than anyone else. No one in the world will suspect a loaf of bread in the hands of a child. If, perchance, some­one found the message in the bread, just act surprised and say you don't know a thing about it!" He smiled at her to encourage her. "Just hang onto the bread good and tight until you see Mr. Shannon. That won't be hard to do, now will it?"

"But don't talk to any strangers, Ellie," Mother pleaded. "Now, Abby. She has common sense."

"You're sure I won't make a mistake, Grandfather?"

"I can't see where you could go wrong, Ellen. The boatmen are kindly and they take people every day. And at the other end of the trip are my good friends the Shannons."

"Well, then," she said. "I think I am all ready now."

"Good!" cried Grandfather. "When you hand the bread to Mr. Shannon say this to him, `I have brought you a present for your birth­day.' He will understand what it means."

Mother slipped two corncakes into her pocket. "You'll get hungry before you get there, I'm sure." She was trying hard to sound cheerful. "I've always heard about Mistress Shannon's good potpies, and now you can eat one."

Grandfather slipped some coins into her pocket. Then he squeezed her hand until it hurt.

"God bless you, Ellen. I'm proud of you."

Mother pulled the red and white striped cap down around her ears and 2ave her a pair of mittens as well as a huiz that almost smothered her.

Then she stepped to the door and opened it. "I think you are a brave girl, Ellen."

Ellen stood at the top of the steps and looked up and down the street. She took a deep breath. Mother had / said she was brave and Grandfather had said he was proud of her - well, she hoped they were right.


Mary Redmond, John Darragh, and Dicey Langston:


by Phillip Hoose • illustrated by C.B. Mordan

Young people made excellent spies during the American Revolution. Often over­looked by adults, they heard and saw plenty. Secrets were everywhere, encoded even in the way laundry was hung on the line to dry. Patriots and loyalists lived together and spoke the same language. Sometimes you couldn't help but overhear.

In 1777, British troops invaded Philadelphia and took over the city. Many colonists fled, but some stubbornly stayed in their homes, even when British soldiers moved in. With enemies living just walls apart, Philadelphia became a city of secrets. The British didn't know whom they could trust. Armed redcoats patrolled the streets and set up guard posts around the town. Colonists had to show passes and state their business before they could even go to the marketplace.

The city was honeycombed with spies, many of them children. Some worked in teams. One girl named Mary Redmond worked with a boy who carried messages into Philadelphia from Continental soldiers camped in the surrounding countryside. The messages were stitched into the back of his coat. The public market was the handoff place.

Mary's job was to watch the British soldiers closely as the boy approached the market. If it ever looked as if the British were on to him, she was supposed to flash a signal to nearby contacts. One morning, though, there was no time to signal. Mary saw two British soldiers eyeing her partner as he neared the market. Both men started toward him. With no time to signal for help, Mary took off running across the square as fast as she could and, pretending to be playing, drove her shoulder hard into the


boy's legs in a flying tackle. He went down in a heap. As they rolled in the dust she threw her shawl over his back, ripped the message from his coat back, and stuffed it in her dress. Then, laughing, she skipped away from both the boy and the puzzled soldiers and went on to deliver the message. Later she liked to recall that her loyalist relatives enjoyed chuckling over "our little black­eyed rebel." She doesn't say if they ever found out that their little rebel was a spy.

Elsewhere in Philadelphia, a group of British officers took over a large room in the home of Lydia Darragh, a pleasant Quaker woman. Normally, Quakers stayed out of wars, but Lydia's son Charles had enlisted in the Continental army and was now a lieutenant. The British tenants used the room as a "council chamber," to make war plans. As they schemed, Mr. and Mrs. Darragh and their fourteen-year-old son, John, lay flat on the floor above them, ears pressed hard against a crack between two boards. Whenever they heard important information, Mr. Darragh wrote it down in code on small scraps of paper. Mrs. Darragh sewed the messages inside large cloth-covered buttons and fastened them to John's coat.

Then it was all up to John. If the British caught him delivering military secrets, he could be jailed or even executed. Looking as casual as he could, he would wander out the door, through the city, and to the road that led from town, presenting his pass to British soldiers at each checkpoint. Sometimes


they questioned him roughly and shook him down, but they never thought to inspect his coat buttons. Once past the guard, he would fade into the trees at the edge of the city and go to meet his brother, who would cut off his buttons and send them straight to George Washington.

Farther south, fifteen-year-old Dicey Langston lived in peril. The southern colonies had more loyalists than those up north. Many country people resented the wealthy planters along the coast and didn't mind a bit if the British put

them in their place. Dicey lived among loyalists near Spartanburg, South Carolina, but her father and her brothers were patriots. Neighbors distrusted her, and with good reason. They knew her brothers were militia-men, scattered in secret places in the woods nearby.

As she did her chores, Dicey often overheard her neighbors and loyalist uncles talking about troop movements. Whenever she heard anything of inter­est, she hiked off to inform her brother's militia unit, camped across the Enoree River. But one night she stayed away too long and returned to face a group of men shining lanterns in her eyes and asking pointed questions about where she had been. After that, her father made Dicey promise to stop sneaking away. She did, until she overheard one secret she couldn't keep. A company of loyalist soldiers called the Bloody Scout knew exactly where her brother's militia was headquartered. They were planning to wipe it out.


With no time to lose, Dicey slipped into the woods after dark and ran until she came to the edge of the Tyger River. Heavy rains had raised the angry water almost to the banks and washed out the footbridges. Dicey steeled her self and plunged in. In an instant the water was up to her neck and the current was carrying her rapidly away. She was far downstream by the time she strug­gled to the opposite bank. Shivering, she retraced her steps and found her brother's camp.

After that, life became terrifying for the Langston family. One night armed soldiers rode up to their house with orders to kill every Langston man. Only Dicey's father, Solomon Langston, frail and elderly, was still there. A soldier dismounted from his horse, took out a pistol, and shoved the barrel against the old man's chest. Dicey sprang between her father and the gun. The soldier threatened to kill her father if she didn't move, but she stood her ground and said he'd have to kill her first. The soldier hesitated, then reholstered his pistol and ordered his men to depart.

What Happened to Dicey Langston?

She lived to be an old woman in South Carolina. At the time of her death she liked to boast that she had thirty-two sons and grandsons willing to bear arms for their country.


Think and Compare

  1. How is Ellen Toliver like Mary Redmond or Dicey Langston? How is she different from them? What advice would they have for her?

  2. Compare what you learn about fictional char­acters in the theme (Ellen and Katie) with what you learn about real historical char­acters. Who do you know better and why?

  3. All the main characters in the theme show courage. Choose two characters and com­pare their deeds. Is there one you are more impressed with? Explain why.

  4. Do you think Dicey Langston would be understanding toward Katie and her Loyalist family? Why or why not?

  5. Do you think it was right that the characters in the theme took the risks they did? Explain.

Strategies in Action

Explain how you used reading strategies to help you understand one of the selections.


  • Reread the part about Dicey Langston.

  • Write brief notes telling how she felt and what she did.

  • Think about the tone Dicey might use. Would she brag? Would she create suspense?


Write a Letter

Write a letter that Dicey Langston might have written to one of her grandchildren, telling about her adventures as a spy. Be sure to include the date, greeting, closing, and signature.


Taking Tests

Writing a Personal Response

Some test items ask you to write a personal response to a topic, based on your ideas and experience. Here is a sample test topic about Toliver's Secret.

Write your response to this question.

Do you think it was right for Ellen's grandfather to ask her to go on the mission? Explain your answer in one or two paragraphs. Use information from the selection and your own experience.

  1. Understand the question.

Find the key words. Use them to understand what you need to do. Decide what to write about.

  1. Get ready to write.

Look back at the selection. List details that help answer the question. Think about yourself. List thoughts or experiences that help answer the question.

Here are two sample lists.


The Patriots needed help.

Grandfather could not ask anyone else.

Ellen was able to help.

I have helped my parents.

Kids are able to do a lot.

It’s fair to ask a kid to help if no one else can help.

334 N

  1. Write your answer.

Use details from both of your lists. Write a clear and complete answer.

Here is a good answer to the test question.

I think it was right for Ellen’s grandfather to ask her to deliver the loaf of bread. The Patriots needed help against the British. No one esel was able to deliver the message. Ellen could not be a soldier but this was something shel could do to help.

I’be helped my mom and dad when they were sick. Once I delivered food to a shelter when no one else cold do it. I think it’s fair to ask a yound girl to help an adult if it’s something she can easily do and no one else can do it.


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