If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

September Interviews

9/2 Dianne Freeman, A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Murder

9/9 Ellen Byron, Murder in the Bayou Boneyard

9/16 Marilyn Levinson, writing as Allison Brook, Checked Out for Murder

9/23 Rhys Bowen, The Last Mrs. Summers

9/30 Sherry Harris, From Beer To Eternity

September Guest Bloggers

9/19 Judy Alter

WWK Weekend Bloggers

9/5 V. M. Burns

9/12 Jennifer J. Chow

9/26 Kait Carson


Keenan Powell recently signed with agent Amy Collins of Talcott Notch. Congratulations, Keenan!

KM Rockwood's "Secrets To The Grave" will appear in the new SinC Chesapeake Chapter's new anthology Invitation To Murder, which will be released by Wildside Press on 10/6.

Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!

Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!

Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.

KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.

Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!

Look Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."

Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, was released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here from April 29th.

Annette Dashofy's 10th Zoe Chambers mystery, Til Death, will be released on June 16th. Look for the interview here on June 17.


Thursday, April 19, 2018


When I was teaching third grade in Hiram Ohio near the college, I decided to research the history of this small college town. I went to the college library and checked out some books about the early settlers in this town with only two traffic lights. Then I put them in chapters and with a binder made them into books the size of a printer paper. I drew a picture for each chapter I wrote relating to the chapter.

CHAPTER ONE:  “This is Hiram.” In this chapter I wrote about this beautiful town in Portage County and when the first settlers came and where they came from and how the town grew and how the earliest people were Native Americans, and many were soldiers from the Revolutionary War who were given rights to the land. I named the soldiers who got the rights to the land. I also printed maps out on several pages, too.

When we gathered together to discuss what we found.

CHAPTER TWO: “First Settlers.” I wrote about the first settlers who came and their families with their names. I drew a picture at the top of the page with a settler an oxen plowing a field.

This is the one that turned up well when I snapped a picture.

CHAPTER THREE: I wrote about them settling in, how they built their cabins, clearing the land for planting and before the cabins were done the three-sided shelters they built with a place for a fire in front of it. They were called half-camps. At the bottom half of the last page, I drew a picture of the inside of a cabin with fireplace, a woman working at a spinning wheel, a boy sitting on a bench carving a piece of wood, a girl using a brush to clean sheep’s wool for her mother, and another little girl with a doll. The father is at the table working on something. It was an interesting chapter.

Two students making a rubbing,.

CHAPTER FOUR:  Food of the pioneer, what they grew and the hand mills many of them had to grind their corn and other grains. Sometimes they would take a wagon load of grains to a grain mill in Parkman north of them. At the top of the first page I drew a woman milking a cow sitting on a little stool with a bucket and the cow eating a pile of hay.

CHAPTER FIVE:  Hiram’s first school, and the first post office. In 1813 the first schoolmaster came to Hiram with his family, bought some land and started teaching. People had to pay at least a dollar for each student. The school masters were strict and often used a switch to keep students in order. I wrote quite a bit about those early school houses. I drew a picture of the back of a school master holding a switch facing four little children reading their books.

A student who found who he wrote about.

CHAPTER SIX;   Life in Early Hiram is when I started bringing in the names of early settlers, and what the children would be doing to help their parents and what they would do if they had free time, the games children would play, the weddings that were performed and other things done in those days. I drew a picture at the end of the 3 pages of this chapter of a blacksmith shoeing a horse.
CHAPTER SEVEN;  Hiram Continues to Grow. More people came; a blacksmith, a cooper, a tanner, currier and shoemaker. In 1820 the first store was opened, but there still was no doctor. Most of the inhabitants relied on home remedies like chamomile tea and other things like garlic. It was the job of the housewife to care for the sick and usually a neighbor woman would help out. A family was lucky if all their children lived. The little village organized their own Military Company, too. During the Civil War 74 men went to fight including James A. Garfield who lived in Hiram.

A mother helping some students.

CHAPTER EIGHT;  Religion in Hiram. Almost every community had a church, but like the Amish many met on Sundays in someone’s home. In 1850 The Disciples of Christ chose Hiram to build a school for higher education. They called it Western Reserve Eclectic Institute which later became Hiram College. James A. Garfield taught there, too. Hiram’s religious history wasn’t always good. In 1830 Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigden came to Hiram with a new religion called Latter Day Saints or Mormonism, and they recruited new members. However, a rumor started that they were going to take away people’s land, so one night a dozen men came and dragged Joseph Smith from his home, where he was resting after caring for his sick baby,  and tarred and feathered him. Later friends spent the night scraping the tar and feathers off him. The next morning he still preached to his congregation. I did draw a picture of this but when I took a picture of it it didn't come out well.

CHAPTER NINE;   Early Life of President James A. Garfield. It was about three pages long, and I drew a picture of him with a mule pulling a boat loaded with stuff down the Erie Canal, something he did as a young man.

CHAPTER TEN; Garfield As A Young Man. I drew a picture of him in military uniform on a horse.
Two more checking out a tombstone.

CHAPTER ELEVEN;   James A. Garfield as president. I drew a picture at the top of the chapter of him and his wife, and on the 2nd page of him being assassinated.
We would do a chapter of this each day, and my students would fill in a paper of questions for each chapter to be graded. Also, I made a list of nine early settlers for my students to choose from to write about in the journals I made that looked like leather booklets using gray plastic for the covers that I sewed down the middle over several or more pages of typewriter size paper, and the children would write in their journal as if they were that person as we went through the history. 

This is the grave stone of Mahitable Loomis.

The last week of school I took my class with parent volunteers to Hiram Cemetery and gave each a clip board with questions to fill in like what kind of stones were the tombstones. Also a line to write an epitaph they thought was interesting. I kept them with the parents in the lower part of the cemetery at first and then we went up to the upper part that had the tombstones of all the settlers I had on the list and we had discussed. I still remember when one my little girl students, who had chosen Mehitable Loomis, a young girl who came to Hiram when she was ten years old. When she found her tall tombstone, she screamed “I’m buried right here, and I had all these children.

I had brought large sheets of paper and black crayons so they could do rubbings of the tombstones of the person they had chosen to be in their journals. After we finished in the graveyard we walked to a local park where other parents had arranged a picnic lunch for us and the kids could play games after they ate lunch.
I would have included more of my drawings but taking pictures of them they didn't show up as well, and I thought seeing my students would be better.

What history classes in school do you remember that you enjoyed?


Tina said...

Thanks for making history come alive for so many children--it's the only way we know who we are as a community and state and nation.

Gloria Alden said...

Thank you Tina, I had as much fun teaching it as the kids had learning it. I wanted to teach 5th or 6ixth grade after I graduated from college - which I didn't go to until I was 42, a year after my son died of cancer. I was offered the third grade position after I graduated at the age of 48, and it was supposed to be a temporary position because the teacher who had it went on sick leave, but she never came back and by that time I found third graders are fun to teach.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

What a great curriculum! In Hudson, the library had similar children's summer programs on local history, including tombstone rubbing.

KM Rockwood said...

A great project! Kids can be so interested in history if it's presented in such a dynamic fashion. They need to be aware of the past, and of all the progress we've made.

I remember having a Thanksgiving project on "what would you bring if you were sailing of the Mayflower?" It was a group project. I was so proud of them when they decided money would be useless, since there were no stores. Most of them wanted to bring seeds. However, they also thought it would be essential to bring a TV--battery operated, of course, since there was no electricity.

Gloria Alden said...

Margaret, that is good. As small as Hiram was they didn't have anything like that. As I'm sure you know it's a college town, and every year I usually had at least one student whose parent was connected with the college.

KM aren't they funny. When I taught the Pilgrims coming over on the Mayflower, I again gave them journals to write in if they were some of the children who came over. When we were on the ship during storms they had to sit on their desks and rock back and forth as if they were on the ship in a horrible storm. They continued to write as the child they chose or I assigned to them that first year in Plymouth as I continued reading from a book that went on to the first Thanksgiving. Earlier I had shown them an easier book that I had ordered as a series for my children when they were young, and inside the front cover my son had signed his name John Alden and at the next parent teacher conference a parent told me that their child had said my son came over on the Mayflower.You can see why I loved teaching third grade.

Warren Bull said...

What fun the course must have been for the students

Gloria Alden said...

Warren, it was a fun for me, too.

Shari Randall said...

Your students must have loved you, Gloria! What a great approach to teaching history. It's sad that so many schools don't offer this kind of in depth - and really fun -- approach. They're too busy teaching to the standardized tests.

Gloria Alden said...

Shari, you are so right about that. It's not always the teacher's fault, but the people in government who make those laws and probably have never taught in their life.