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TN History for Kids

Teacher's guide to Fire poured into our very faces

This page contains standards information, background and quiz answers for the booklet Fire poured into our very faces: The Volunteer State through Reconstruction.

Rather than buying a single classroom set, please consider buying one for every student. We sell these booklets for $2 and print them on non-glossy paper because we want students to write in their booklets and keep them.

Please do NOT copy the booklets. That is a violation of our copyright and makes it difficult for us to continue to exist. The reason we sell them for only $2 is so teachers will not be tempted to copy the booklets.

If you have any comments about the booklet or this teachers guide, please email Bill Carey at

Chapter One: Council house and blowgun

Standard: 8.56 (Note: Cherokee culture is actually part of 7th grade in the new standards. However, it seemed to make sense to have a chapter about Cherokee culture in a booklet that contains so much information about early Tennessee history).

1. Cherokee villages were always located near rivers, because rivers were a source of food, water and transportation.

2. Answers will vary. The idea is that by discussing this question, the students will better understand the differences.

Chapter Two: King George and the chiefs

Standards: 8.19 and 8.22

1. They were hunting more deer because deerskins were the main thing that they were trading for European-made goods such as weapons, gunpowder and metal tools.

2. Fort Loudoun was built to give the British government an outpost west of the Appalachian Mountains from where they could trade with the Cherokee.

3. We don't know this for certain, but it would appear as if the British government didn't have enough soldiers to enforce it. Another viable theory is that the British government didn't have the will to enforce it.

Chapter Three: Regulators and Longhunters

Standards: 8.20, 8.21 and 8.26

1. In both cases, colonists who had been loyal to the British crown armed themselves and rebelled against the government. In both cases, high taxes were a reason for the rebellion. In both cases, those who rebelled believed that the ruler they were rebelling against (Governor Tyron and King George III) had lost touch with them.

2. Longhunters had to be good at land navigation, building shelters, making fire, knowing how to survive in the woods for a very long period of time, and defending themselves. (Oh, and they also had to be great hunters).

Chapter Four: A dangerous example

Standards: 8.20, 8.21, 8.26 and 8.39

1. The idea here is to make students aware that history should not be carved in granite because we are learning more about it all the time. We have always assumed that Bean was the first, and he has always been cited in books as the first, but for all we know, someone got here before he did. Perhaps one day we will discover an old manuscript, or letter, or something that says otherwise. It is possible.

2. It is safe to say that the early Tennessee settlers were suspicious of too much power being placed in the hands of one person. Also, they weren't trying to challenge King George III's authority with the Watauga Compact. They just wanted to create a system under which lawbreakers were punished.

3. Since the colonial governor of Virginia is not here for to us to ask, we are making assumptions about why he said anything. But perhaps he understood that any "government" made by people who were igoring the king's authority by migrating in the first place was a first step toward a rebellion.

Chapter Five: Bloody Ground

Standards: 8.21, 8.26 and 8.39

1. Answers may vary. It should be pointed out that both the Virginia and North Carolina legislatures later declared the Transylvania Purchase invalid, but by that time it was too late to stop the migration.

2. The settlers obviously thought George Washington was a hero, and this was their way of taking sides in the American Revolution.

3. What it tells you is that the educational level was pretty high among Tennessee's early settlers (even though very few of them had actually been to organized schools)

Chapter Six: Soap from ashes

Standards: 8.26, 8.38 and 8.39

1. ANSWERS WILL VARY. Obviously, life on the frontier was nothing like it is for kids today.

2. This question requires students to refer back to Chapter One. The purpose of this question is to make students realize that although Native American life was different than that of the early settlers, our lifestyle today is far different than anything people back then could have foreseen. In other words, the settlers and the Native Americans had more in common with each other than we currently have in common with the settlers.

Chapter Seven: French Lick

Standards: 8.21 and 8.26

1. It was a harsh winter (it has to be really cold, and for a long time, for the Cumberland River to freeze over). They were attacked by Chickamaugans along the way. These are the two things your students will note.

2. They attacked the Middle Tennessee forts for various reasons, the main one being that they saw the forts as an illegal invasion onto their land.

3. There is no definitive right or wrong answer to this question, since some of the first-person accounts of the Battle of the Bluffs didn't make their way into the history books until 2012! Nevertheless it is interesting to speculate on why so many history books and children's stories about the Battle of the Bluffs don't tally with the first-person accounts (which can be found in the book Chronicles of the Cumberland Settlements by Paul Clements). This is a good chance for students to confront the idea that history is not what happened, but what someone has written about what happened.

Sidebar on "The good boat Adventure" - Standards: 8.26 and a primary document required after standard 8.27

Chapter Eight: Fire and Sword

Standards: 8.22, 8.25 and 8.39

1. They invaded the South because they thought that there were more tories in the South. They hoped that as their army worked its way through the South, it would gain support as it went.

2. This is a VERY IMPORTANT POINT. According to the current books about Kings Mountain, and according to the information presented at the Kings Mountain National Military Park, Ferguson was the ONLY person at the Battle who was actually trained to fight in England. This was a battle between southerners allied to King George III and southerners who were rebelling against the king.

3. It was obviously a big mistake for Ferguson to have issued the written warning, because it galvanized fighting men from as far away as present-day Tennessee to come fight him.

Chapter Nine: The state that never was

Standards: 8.30 and 8.39

1. The answer to this question is not obvious. Books about the Lost State of Franklin devote entire chapters to why it was that the state of North Carolina opposed the creation of the state of Franklin. The safest answer is that the leaders in North Carolina weren't ready to see its western frontier be split off into another state yet. Some of North Carolina's leaders also probably thought that they could continue to raise money through the sale of land in the western frontier.

2. The reason deerskins rather than "cash" was legal tender at that time is that "cash" as we know it did not exist yet.

3. We can assume that the people in the western settlement would have picked someone that they knew (such as John Sevier) rather than someone they didn't know.

Chapter 10: Holston and Nickajack

Standards: 8.20, 8.21 and 8.39

1. Since the stated purpose of the Treaty of the Holston was that "there shall be perpetual peace and friendship between all citizens of the United States of America and the individuals comprising the whole Cherokee nation of Indians," then the treaty has to be regarded as a failure. Practically every term of the treaty was violated within a few years, most notably, the territorial boundaries.

2. It was called the Treaty of the Holston because at that time, the river adjacent to the fort was called the Holston River. At a later time it was renamed the Tennessee River.

3. Blount did not "authorize" the Nickajack Expedition because the U.S. government had not told him that he could. The U.S. government was worried that its settlements in the Southwest Territory would drag the young nation into a war against Spain..

Chapter 11: A separate room

Standards: 8.39

1. Farms grew a little of everything because households had to provide just about everything for themselves at that time.

2. This is good question, and there were people in those days who would rather have slept outside than stay at an inn. But if you slept outside, you might be attacked by a wild animal, hostile Native American or criminal. Also, in the days before waterproof pup tents, it could freeze to death in the rain or the snow.

3. This is a very important point. You would have travelled much faster in the spring than in the fall. Also, some rivers moved so much slower in the fall than in the spring that going upstream was only possible in the fall.

Sidebar: Land of the Shakes - Standards: 8.53

Chapter 12: Revenge of the dirty shirts

Standards: 8.29 and 8.43

1. It is wrong to simply say that an American army defeated Native Americans at Horseshoe Bend because there were Native Americans on both sides at Horseshoe Bend, including some Cherokee fighting for Jackson.

2. They did not know that a peace treaty had already been signed because in those days, it took weeks, even months, for news to travel that far.

3. The clearest result is that Andrew Jackson became a national hero, and this eventually helped him become president. Some historians have speculated that the lopsided nature of the Battle of New Orleans convinced the British that they did not want to fight another war against the United States. Also, the Battle of New Orleans gave Tennesseans a reputation for toughness.

Chapter 13: The place where they cried

Standards: 8.39, 8.43, 8.56 and 8.57

1. By 1825, most Cherokee were farmers, blacksmiths, tailors, or other occupations--similar to the types of occupations done by other Americans. Most Cherokee had adopted the American religion. Some Cherokees had fought for the U.S. Many Cherokee had also learned how to read!

2. Crockett believed that he lost his re-election bid because he opposed Jackson on the matter of Indian removal.

3. There is a Cherokee Indian Reservation in North Carolina because about a thousand Cherokee simply refused to leave, and hid in the ravines and caves of the Great Smoky Mountains. The American army eventually let them stay in exchange for the arrest and execution of Tsali.

Chapter 14: Old, young hickory

Standards: 8.39, 8.55 and 8.61

1. Polk and Jackson were both born in the Carolinas, both migrated to Tennessee, both were U.S. Representatives from Tennessee, and they agreed on many things. However, Polk had a formal education; Jackson did not. Polk had a supportive family; Jackson did not. Polk was never a soldier; Jackson was a war hero. Polk did not get in any duels (at least we don't think he did). Jackson got into many fights and duels throughout his life.

2. A dark horse candidate is one that achieves unexpected success, especially during a political convention.

Sidebar on the Alamo - Standard : 8.59

Chapter 15: Mr. Bell and Worley

Standards: 8.66 and 8.71

1. West Tennessee had the most slaves, and East Tennessee had the fewest numbers of slaves.

2. One of Tennessee's wealthiest slaveowners, Montgomery Bell, decided toward the end of his life that slavery was wrong.

3. Embree published The Emancipator to be entirely devoted to the antislavery cause. His purpose, therefore, was to spread the anti-slavery point of view.

Chapter 16: Railroads and tunnels

Standards: 8.46 and 8.73

Note: We didn't have room to publish a quiz for this chapter... so here it is:

1. Why did railroads have to have to power of eminent domain?

Answer: Without the power for force people to sell land, there is no way that a railroad could have acquired all the land needed to create direct lines from one part of the state to the other. Some people would sell, but others would refuse.

2. When the Nashville and Chattanooga railroad was built, how much did it reduce travel time from Nashville to Charleston?

Answer: According to railroad promoter John Overton, from 280 hours (nearly 12 days) to 28 hours.

Chapter 17: Waste no more powder

Standards: 8.75, 8.77 and 8.80

1. East Tennessee has a very small slave population and very few slave owners. Since there were very few slaves and slaveholders in East Tennessee, people there did not want to fight a war to defend slavery.

2. Answers to this question may vary. But the article implies that good Southerners will prepare for war. It also implies that Southerners would fight better and harder than Northerners because their intentions are more true and honest.

3. The fall of Fort Donelson allowed Union Army gunboats to move unopposed up the Cumberland River to Nashville. It also meant that no goods or people could leave Nashville anymore without having to pass the union-occupied fort.

Sidebar on Farragut - Standard: 8.77

Chapter 18: Place of Peace

Standards: 8.75, 8.76, 8.79, 8.80 and 8.83

1. One reason is shook Americans was the high death count, since more Americans were killed at Shiloh than at all the American battles in all the American wars fought prior to that time.

2. The Emancipation Proclamation was a war time act largely meant to incite slaves behind Confederate lines to rebel. It did not free slaves in Union-held Tennessee, or in border states where slavery existed such as Kentucky and Maryland.

3. Disease was the greatest cause of death during the Civil War.

Chapter 19: Death on home ground

Standards: 8.77, 8.78 and 8.80

1. General Hood hoped that by moving his army back to Tennessee that General Sherman would order his army follow him. If Sherman's large army didn't follow him, Hood thought he could retake Nashville and cut off Sherman's supply lines.

2. Tod Carter had left home, fought in and survived dozens of battles all over the South, only to come home and be killed in a battle that took place in his parents' yard.

Chapter 20: The klan and the poll tax

Standards: 8.85, 8.86, 8.87 and 8.90

1. Most Tennesseans were pro-Confederate. Governor Brownlow was a staunch Unionist who thought Confederates should be punished.

2. A poll tax is a tax on the act of voting. (Answers to the follow-up question will obviously vary).

3. Fourteen different African Americans served in the Tennessee General Assembly in the 1870s and 1880s. Throughout most of the 1880s there were four black House members at any one time.

Sidebar on the Exoduster movement - Standard: 8.89