Matt’s Get Up and Go-Go Day

June 14, 2010
You are Bearly far from my heart! 🙂

One look at this title will explain a lot of the day. We were up and running before the break of dawn. It was so early that the rooster was still asleep. I mean, “Holy bus tour Batman,” who’s idea was this 7:00 am departure anyway? Don’t you realize that 7 am is 5:00 am Mountain Standard Time and after all, isn’t that what really matters! So to get up and ready for a 7 am (I mean 5 am) I had to wake by 5:30 am which after all is really 3:30 am. Now the way I see it that’s just way too early for anyone in their right mind! So coming to the conclusion that nobody on this “Magical History Bus Tour” is really in a proper state of mind,  I got up and got on my way!  

King Hutch supporting Women's rights 🙂

Our 1st stop was at Seneca Falls where Elizabeth Cady Stanton challenged Americans in 1848 to social revolution with a list of demands that touched just about every aspect of life. This convention was intended to bring clarity and purpose to the lack of rights that women held during this time. They wrote a document called “The Declaration of Sentiments” in which they took the Declaration of Independence, selectively changed the wording, and attempted to show that women were unjustly injured and held down by the males held the traditional role of dominance in the world.

I was somewhat disappointed by this site. Part of the problem was that the church where the convention actually happened is undergoing repairs and was not open for us. So close and yet so far. Just that one thing, not being able to walk into and see and touch for myself this important part of American Civil Right’s history was sad.  Next we were off to the Elizabeth Cody Stanton house. Again I was somewhat disappointed in the lack of historical impact this place made with me. It was just a house with very little in it.  Next we traveled to the M’Clintock House and another round of disappointment. Maybe I was just expecting too much. But the morning just seemed like not much was learned and there was such little impact for such an important part of American history!  

Inside the Elizabeth Cady Stanton House



After a box lunch on the bus we arrived at the William H. Seward. House which was loaded with historical stuff! There were pictures covering every wall almost top to bottom. Seward was the Secretary of State for both Presidents Lincoln and Johnson. He was the man responsible for buying Alaska from Russia. He believed in peaceful, negotiated settlements. There were historical artifacts such as a bloody cloth from Steward’s near assassination. And there were seemingly meaningless (unless you are an historian) stuff like hundreds of ½ smoked cigars. The problem was we were not allowed to take any pictures in the house. This picture taking nonsense has been an issue for much of the trip and I want to thank the trusting institutions who have allowed us to photograph within their walls. It is the photographs that help teachers to connect the events with our students! But the guide who took us through this house was extremely knowledgeable and I would have loved to spend more time here.       

William H. Seward House









After leaving the Seward House we traveled to the Harriet Tubman Home. She was a black woman born into slavery around the year 1822. In 1849 she escaped north to Philadelphia. From there she made her way to New York and into Canada. But she was very concerned with her brethren still enslaved. She decided that something had to be done to help. So she made many trips into the south to help rescue them. Mostly done under the cover of darkness at night, she had no protection other than her awareness and wits. She was so hated by many southern slave-owners who offered rewards for her. All her rescue trips were done through the “Underground Railroad” and method of helping free slaves by using continuously changing hiding places. She even served as a union spy, cook, scout, and nurse during the civil war. What a terrific American hero! Again we had issues with no pictures inside the home even though I think I noticed a few people sneeking pictures anyway!

Harriet Tubman Home


And so finally we made our way to the Erie Canal. This is a waterway that stretches 363 miles from Albany New York to Buffalo New York at Lake Erie. The canal completes a navigable water route that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes. It took over 8 years to complete due largely to the fact that most of the work was backbreaking hard labor. The canal opened in 1825 and allowed transportation costs to drop by 95%. It also led to a population boom in western New York as well as migration into formerly wilderness parts of what is now the Midwest. It was incredible to see these locks of the canal at work. They open and the boat enters. Next the lock is flooded. It takes about 5-6 minutes to complete this process and then the gates open and the boat is on it’s way! Ow great it was to experience this and I wish my students could have been here with me. There is a great web site that Dr. Harris recommended we look at before the trip. I had my students work on the site for two days. It is very user friendly and the kids really liked the primary source documents and the inquiry questions that went with them. The only drawback was that there is no place to save your work so you better finish and print the papers in one setting or you lose it all!    

Here is the link to the Erie Canal web site that Dr. Harris recommended:




  1. Women’s rights… You’d better support!!! I know one that will gladly reward your sense of support… If you know what I mean..oh and I have the right to see mt baby.

  2. You might also like to know that Harriet Tubman often carried a weapon on her while escorting others to safety–this would be used to “further encourage” participants who suddenly got cold feet; she also carried “medicines” to use on crying babies (if need be)so that she and her travelers would not cause notice from excessive noise.

    Clearly,this woman had ALL contingencies covered!

  3. Funny comments, John! And I’m glad you found the Erie Canal website useful!-Matt

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