The document, excerpt from "Vicissitudes in the Wilderness" the journal of Peggy Dow, is a first hand account of what life was like on the frontier in early Alabama. Make copies of document and distribute to students. Read the diary excerpt aloud as students follow along. Ask students to identify the person who wrote the diary and those who traveled along with her. Ask students to make a list of the landscape, accommodations, traveling conditions, and acquaintances met along the way. Ask students to describe the writer, i.e. educated, poor, adventurous, resourceful, etc. Discuss why the author was anxious while moving through Creek Indian territory. Using a current highway map of Alabama, ask students to locate the path of the writer. Using a map of the region, ask students to compare the geographic features of the Alabama towns from the authors diary to those today. Ask students to assume the role of one of the author of the diary and compose a diary similar to the example given of a trip they took and to write a letter describing his/her experiences while traveling in Alabama. Students should compare and contrast the experiences of the diary's author and their experiences on a trip. In conclusion, students should make a sketch of their view of what Alabama looked like during the early frontier days of Alabama.
Creator: Randy McGlaun