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TRIP BACK IN TIME: Hoosier re-enactor adds authenticity to lessons

January 27, 2012

Kevin Stonerock as Jacob McClendon puts his blanket coat on David Phillips, a fifth grade student at South Whitley Elementary School. — Post & Mail photo / Robin R. Plasterer

SOUTH WHITLEY — History came alive for fifth-grade students at South Whitley Elementary School earlier this week.
Kevin Stonerock gave the students a living history lesson.
Stonerock hails from central Indiana and has given more than 3,000 presentations since 1978.
Dressed in authentic period clothing, he had a high degree of historic authenticity with attention to detail and dialect.
The students studied the mid-1700s in their history classes.
“They studied the first contacts between Native American groups and the Europeans, which were basically the French and the British in Indiana,” said fifth-grade teacher Terrill Brown.
“The European traders found one way to make money was to trade things the Native Americans wanted — iron, cooking pots, cloth, wool blankets, guns and steel axes for example,” Brown said.
“It made some aspects of the Native American life easier but also introduced diseases and caused a disruption in the traditional way Native Americans governed themselves and the social aspects of dealing with others.
“After the Native Americans were conquered and later removed from Indiana, settlers would trap animals during the winter and sell the furs for extra income.”
Stonerock entered the classroom portraying Jacob McClendon, a Scottish fur trader that left his country to move to France.
In a thick Scottish brogue, he told the students he was a young man needing a job.
“I worked as a merchant in the New France. Do you know where that is?” asked McClendon (Stonerock).
The pupils did know that it was Canada.

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