The John Slyder farm is located on the western side of Big Round Top. John had moved from Maryland and bought the 75 acre farm in 1849. By the 1860’s it included a two story stone house, barn, blacksmith and carpenter shops, an orchard of peach and pear trees, thirty acres of timber and eighteen acres of meadow. This family, which included John, Katherine, and 5 children (two were grown and had moved away) were busy farming the land, doing chores, and being a family. On July 2, 1863 their world was turned upside down as the Battle of Gettysburg descended upon them. The crops and orchards were trampled and destroyed and the farm buildings became a Confederate field hospital, with the family’s possessions looted or spoiled. Two months later, they sold the farm and moved to Ohio.
Decisions: What would you have done? Would you have taken your family and moved when you found out that the war was moving close to you? What about when you came back after the battle? Would you have started over after seeing the devastation to your farm? They had built their lives there and now had to make decisions on what to do next. Everything that they had, they worked for themselves.
STEM Challenge: What did you eat for dinner this week? Think about where this food came from. Your STEM Challenge is to design a farm that would allow you to have those same foods every night. For example: If you had ice-cream and hamburgers, you would need to design a farm that would raise cattle for the milk and the meat. How would you get the sugar? Would you need to raise sugar cane? Would you grow something else and barter for it? What about the bread? What crop would you raise to make that bread? How many acres would you need? What types of buildings would be on the farm? You can use an online sketching software to draw out your plans or use paper/pencil. Remember- everything that you ate for dinner must be accounted for when you design your farm.
Reflection: Be thankful for what you have. Work hard for what you need. Help those who have nothing.
Our National Parks Expedition Challenge video will be up soon! I hope you enjoy the stories that are told at the Slyder Farm.
Traveling Along, Dacia & Steve