William Herschel discovered Titania and Oberon, the two largest moons of Uranus, in 1787. Herschel, a German-born astronomer who had moved to England, discovered Uranus in 1781. Today we know Uranus has 27 moons and a ring! Herschel named the two moons after characters in Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Children can learn more about the moons of Uranus at: Moons of Uranus.
George Taylor, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, died in Easton, Pennsylvania, in 1781. He was born in Ireland, probably during 1716. He also helped the cause of the Revolutionary War because his forge produced grapeshot, cannonballs, and cannons. Idea: Children could find out how grapeshot and cannonballs were made. Children could learn more at: George Taylor.
Articles of Confederation were ratified in 1781. This document consolidated the thirteen colonies into one country and was the early nation’s frame of government until the Constitution was written in 1789. Children could learn more at: Articles of Confederation.
Jack Jouett became a hero on the night of June 3 into June 4, 1781. Jouett overheard British plans to capture Thomas Jefferson and others. Jouett understood how vulnerable and yet how important the group was. He rode 45 miles through rough and tough Virginia countryside to warn Thomas Jefferson and members of the legislature that the British were coming. When the British arrived in Charlottesville, the Americans had escaped. Jouett has been called the “Paul Revere of the South.” Children could read Jack Jouett of Albemarle: The Paul Revere of the South by Jennie Thornley Grayson.
Battle of Yorktown commenced in 1781. George Washington and 17,000 American and French troops laid siege against General Cornwallis and 9,000 British soldiers in Yorktown at the mouth of the Chesapeake. French ships cut off his retreat into the bay. Cornwallis surrendered three weeks later on October 17, 1781. Yorktown was the last major battle of the Revolutionary War. Children could learn more at: Battle of Yorktown.
Yorktown Day marks the surrender of General Lord Cornwallis and his troops to George Washington in 1781. This surrender virtually ended the Revolutionary War. No other major battles occurred after this date, and the official peace agreement, the Treaty of Paris, was signed September 3, 1783. Children can learn more at: Yorktown Day.