My Brother Sam Is Dead
by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
Where It All Goes Down
Colonial America and Redding, Connecticut
My Brother Sam Is Dead paints quite the picture of Colonial America. From colonial farms to colonial taverns, Tim's story gives us a look at a place where messages are hand-delivered and people walk almost everywhere. (The horror!)
We get to see a couple different colonies throughout Tim's adventures (drive your wagon on over to "Visions of America" for more about that), but most of this book takes place in Redding, Connecticut, home to the Meeker family. And get this: Redding is a real place. Today, you can check out Putnam Park, where General P's encampment was located back in the day. Field trip, anyone?
Behind the Scenery
Even before General Putnam arrives in Redding, our setting is already a super political one. In fact, people in Redding are already taking sides based on where they live:
Redding was divided into two parts—Redding Center and Redding Ridge, which was where we lived. Our tavern was at a corner where the Danbury—Fairfield Road met Cross Highway. Across the Danbury—Fairfield Road from us was the church and the graveyard. Next to the church, on the other side of Cross Highway was an empty field where the trainband practiced drilling. Next door to us was the Betts' house, and scattered around were a dozen more houses—the Sanford's house and the Rogers' house and Mr. Heron's house and some others. […]
Our Church in Redding Ridge was the Anglican Church. "Anglican" meant English Church. […] Over at Redding Center there was a Presbyterian Church; naturally, if you were a Presbyterian, you built your house over there and if you were an Anglican, you built here on the Ridge […]
Because our church was the England Church, the people here on the Ridge seemed to be more on the Tory side and wanted to be loyal to the King. (2.3-5)
Sheesh, a little distance can make a big difference. It's not just about looks and landscapes; it's about church and politics, too.
Quick Guide to the American Revolution
For all the deets on Tories, Rebels, and the rest of the conflict, check out everything Shmoop has to say about the Revolutionary War.