Mother’s Day is today. Anna Jarvis of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, first proposed the idea. She asked that her church hold a service in memory of all mothers. West Virginia was the first state to honor the day, and other states followed. In 1914 Congress voted to make the second Sunday in May Mother’s Day. A Presidential Proclamation has been made every year since 1914, honoring the day. Children can learn more at: Mother’s Day. They can find some great Mother’s Day activities at: http://www.dltk-holidays.com/mom/games.htm.
Constitutional Convention opened in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1787. While the delegates came with ideas of revising the Articles of Confederation, they realized they had to create a new type of government. The Constitutional Convention concluded on September 17, 1787. Idea: Children could read Jean Fritz’s Shh! We’re Writing the Constitution. They could learn more at: Constitutional Convention.
The Pennsylvania Evening Post in 1775 became the first newspaper to be published in the United States. Benjamin Towne printed the newspaper in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The newspaper closed in 1784.
The Battle of Gettysburg began in 1863. Many experts call this battle the turning point of the Civil War. Confederate General Robert E. Lee led his troops across the Mason-Dixon Line, heading for Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. However, the northern troops, led by General George Mead, met the Confederate troops at Gettysburg. The battle lasted for three days. On the last day of the battle, the rebel troops commenced Picket’s Charge. Fifteen thousand troops tried to assail the Union’s position. The northern troops held, and Lee lost the battle. Idea: Children could make a timeline of the battle. Michael Shaara’s book, Killer Angels, offers in-depth looks at the people fighting on both sides. Children could visit a website at: http://www.nps.gov/gett/index.htm.
Declaration of Independence was read publicly for the first time in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1776 by Colonel John Nixon. The Liberty Bell tolled to bring citizens to hear the reading. Children can read a copy of the Declaration of Independence at: Declaration.
Liberty Bell cracked in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for the second time in 1835. It was ringing to mark the funeral of Chief Justice John Marshall. The 2080-pound bell was originally cast in England in 1752. However, it cracked soon after arrival. The bell’s metal was melted and re-cast in 1753. Children can learn more at: Liberty Bell.
James Smith, signer of the Declaration of Independence, died in 1806. He represented Pennsylvania. His exact date of birth is unknown, but he was born in Ireland around 1719. A fire in 1803 destroyed many documents by and about Smith, so little is known about him.
Thomas FitzSimons died in 1811 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His exact date of birth is unknown. He was a delegate from Pennsylvania to the Constitutional Convention. Once wealthy, he contributed to the Revolutionary War. However, by 1805 he was bankrupt.
Petroleum was discovered in Titusville, Pennsylvania, in 1859. W. A. Smith found oil as he was sinking a shaft in Pennsylvania. The rig was soon producing twenty barrels of crude oil a day. Children can learn more about oil production and refinement at: Petroleum.
Annapolis Convention was held from September 11 through September 14, 1786, in Annapolis, Maryland. The formal name of the meeting was The Meeting of Commissioners to Remedy Defects of the Federal Government. Delegates from New York, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia met to discuss economic interests. They concluded the meeting by calling for another meeting of all the states. This new group ended up being the Constitutional Convention.