General Washington and his army secretly crossed the Delaware River in 1776 and surprised the British troops in Trenton. The American victory was a milestone in the Revolutionary War. A number of children’s books have been written about the event. Lynne Cheyney’s When Washington Crossed the Delaware: A Wintertime Story for Young Patriots is an excellent book. They can visit the Washington Crossing State Park site at: Washington Crossing.
Jean Pierre Blanchard made the first balloon flight in the United States in 1793. President George Washington and other officials watched the 46 minute flight, staged in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He landed in New Jersey. Children can read an extensive article on the flight at: Blanchard. Children could also read The First Air Voyage in the United States: The Story of Jean-Pierre Blanchard by Alexandra Wallner.
William Penn received the deed to Pennsylvania from King Charles II in 1681. The deed was in lieu of paying a debt of sixteen thousand pounds. Children can learn more about Wiliam Penn at: William Penn.
First railroad tunnel in the United States was completed in 1834. Slightly over 900 feet in length, the Staple Bend Tunnel, located in Southwestern Pennsylvania, is rock-bored and lined in stone. Engineers needed three years to dig the tunnel. Today it is a National Historic Landmark. Children can learn more at: Staple Bend Tunnel.
Pencil with eraser was patented in 1858 by Hymen Lipman of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He received patent number 19,783. Children can see the patent at: pencil with easer patent.
John Morton died in 1777. His date of birth is unknown. Active in politics, he was elected from Pennsylvania to serve in both the First Continental Congress and the Second Continental Congress. He signed the Declaration of Independence, and he was part of the committee that wrote the Articles of Confederation. He was the first Declaration of Independence signer to die.
The Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage was formed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1775. This group was America’s first abolition society. Some of the early members were Thomas Paine, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, and John Greenleaf Whittier. Renamed the Pennsylvania Abolition Society, the group still exists, working for racial justice.
Electron microscope was first demonstrated in 1940 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Idea: Children could compare the electron microscope with a traditional microscope.
National Pretzel Day is today! In 2003 then Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell proclaimed March 26 to be National Pretzel Day because the snack is an important source of revenue to the state. According to one source, Philadelphians eat twelve times the national average for pretzels!
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.