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Study Guide

Ohio Social Studies Benchmarks and Grade-level Indicators that relate to our story appear after each section of our study guide. Entries include, in the following order, Standard, Benchmark, Grade-level andIndicator. For more connections to the Ohio Social Studies Standards use the other sections under "Teacher Resources." 

Background Information

In the late 1700s and early 1800s, Northwest Ohio was home to Native Americans from many nations, fur traders, soldiers and missionaries who shared this wilderness with the abundant wildlife of the region known as the Great Black Swamp (map – boundaries of swamp). After Ohio became a state in 1803, the frontier changed rapidly and in 1834, the first permanent settlement of Europeans arrived in the area just east of present day Sauder Village. More settlers quickly followed them. After draining a large portion of the swamp, these settlers eventually created some of the best farmland in the state.

Historic Sauder Village was opened in 1976 by Erie J. Sauder, founder of Sauder Woodworking, which is today the largest manufacturer of ready-to-assemble furniture in the country. Although he only completed the eighth grade, Erie valued education throughout his life. He created the Historic Village so that future generations of children would understand and admire the daily struggles and triumphs of their ancestors. Today, we continue Erie's plans in the more than 40 historic and craft buildings. The historic interpretation traces the growth of this region from 1799 to 1920. Our costumed interpretive staff shares information of rural life of the 19th and early 20th centuries while they demonstrate many activities common during that period. Our craft buildings are divided into two groups: historic craft and trades with craftsmen using traditional methods to produce goods common in pre-industrial American society, and contemporary craft with craftsmen use very modern methods to produce art inspired by traditional craft.

Early History

Natives & Newcomers

Europeans were not the first residents of this area. Long before they arrived, many different tribes of Native Americans made their homes in the Black Swamp and surrounding areas. When visiting the Museum Building, be sure to find the beginning of the Natives & Newcomers experience. The Council Oak tree, carving of Dresden Howard and Chief Winameg, timeline, video presentation, gardens, woodlands, Trading Post and wigwams will all transport you back in time when Ohio was first becoming a state.

As you head back to the Natives & Newcomers settlement, be sure to stop and read the information in the kiosk located by the Erie Express Depot. It will tell you about the gardens you will see along the way. What would be planted in the Natives' gardens? What are "three sisters" and why were they important?

The Trading Post is another important stop in Natives & Newcomers. This was a place where Indians and the Europeans could interact. The Indians brought in furs and pelts and bartered or traded these for the goods the European businessmen had including blankets, glass beads, flints and copper pots. This helped the Indians and Europeans learn more about each other. What type of things do you suppose they learned while at the Trading Post? Another item that was prized was called "trade silver." Look for examples of "trade silver" at the Trading Post. How did the barter system work? What were some of the most prized furs and pelts the traders took in? What did the traders do with those furs once they got them? Look for examples of items the Natives would have gotten from the trader in the wigwams.

Pioneer Settlement

Many of the earliest European settlers to this region were of the Mennonite faith. Other settlers came to the United States for a chance for a better life. Most immigrants came in steerage class on a long boat ride. Many of them faced persecution and discrimination in Europe for their faith. Others came seeking a more financially secure life. Others came to join family already here.

The Lauber party arrived in August of 1834 from the Alsace-Lorain region of Europe. They were lucky to get a few rough cabins built to house them during that first winter. The Lauber Settlement and first shelter tells the story of their first months here. Be sure to check out the corduroy road, covered wagon and crude shelter. This area will help students to experience the settlers' worries and concerns. How would it feel to start all over?

* People in Societies, B, 4th, 3c

* People in Societies, B, 5th, 5

* Geography, D, 6th, 8

Home Life, 1834–1920

The Village has five different homes that show the development of this area from the mid-1800s to 1920. The Lauber Settlement has a reproduction of one of the first cabins built in this area that housed the settlers during their first winter. The Anna Witmer-Roth Home represents the life of a growing family circa 1844. The Eicher Cabin is an original home from the 1850s. The Peter Stuckey Farm is a recreation of a typical farm from the 1870s. The 1920 Homestead brings the visitors into the early 20th century. As you tour all the homes, compare the differences not only in the items, but also in the architecture.

* History, C, 1st, 5

* History, C, 3rd, 3

Once settled, early Black Swamp farms provided most of what a family needed. Initially, there was little money and travel was difficult. Black Swamp women grew many different types of plants in their gardens. Almost all had an herb garden near the house such as our Herb Garden near our Herb Shop. Also, check the kitchen gardens at the 1920 Homestead, the Eicher Log Home, Witmer-Roth Home and the Peter Stuckey Farm. Most farm families in the early 19th century were self-sufficient. Your students will be able to to discover how the following items were made or where they came from: mittens, eggs, cloth and clothes, pots, pans and dishes, butter and cheese, door latches, water buckets, candle holders, and lamps.

* Economics, A, 2nd, 1

* Economics, B, 3rd, 2

Children of the Black Swamp didn't have television, computers, radios or boxes of toys and games to keep them busy. They had to entertain themselves with things found around their own homes and with the few toys they might have had. As you tour the five historic homes, look for ways that the families entertained themselves. Students can see how many musical instruments, stereoscopes and toys they can find.

* People in Societies, A, 3rd, 1

* People in Societies, A, 4th, 1c

Artifacts are man-made items. Historians use artifacts to learn more about the people who used them and the time period in which they lived. While you tour Historic Sauder Village, ask students to find a spinning wheel, butter churn, wash board, covered wagon, school slate, apple peeler or wash tub. What do these items tell us about the people who used them and the time during which they lived?

* People in Societies, A, 5th, 1

* Social Studies Skills and Methods, B, K, 3

Community Life

Going to town was a highlight for Black Swamp residents. It was the opportunity not only to purchase items from stores and craftsmen but also a chance to see friends and neighbors and to catch up on the news and current events. Which buildings do your students think these activities would have happened in?

Communication: Explore how people communicated information in the era before Internet, television and daily newspapers. Throughout our Village there are many modes of communication represented. Discuss how modern technological changes helped to make the world a smaller place. The arrival of trains to the area in the early 1850s, advances in printing, and the inventions of the telegraph, radio and televisions had enormous impact.

* History, C, 2nd, 6

* Geography, D, 3rd, 8

Church: Worship was very important to the Black Swamp families of all denominations. In St. Mark's Church at the Village, students can learn some of the reasons families went to church and what the length of the typical church service was. Ask students how the organ in the church was powered. The Holdeman Church in Pioneer Settlement explores the Mennonite faith.

* People in Societies, A, 3rd, 1b

* People in Societies, A, 4th, 1c

* People in Societies, A, 5th, 1b

General Store: Besides a place to obtain needed supplies, the General Store was also the place to pick up your mail. The arrival of train service to the region significantly changed how people obtained goods. Students can discover the types of goods available at the General Store and how barter may have been used to obtain those goods.

* Economics, B, 1st, 2

* Economics, C, 1st, 3

Doctor: The doctor was a very important part of the community. How different does this early 1900s office look compared to one of today? Students can learn about the concept of house calls being made by the doctor and discover how much the profession has changed in the last 100 years.

Rural residents of this area did not have electricity to run machines or gasoline-powered cars to take them places. They had to rely on other sources of power and transportation. Look for examples of different ways to provide power. Don't forget to find examples of water, animal, candle, steam, oil and people power.

* Geography, D, 3rd, 8

At Historic Sauder Village, you will be able to tour two different school buildings. The Log School is a representation of one of the earliest schools in the area dating from the 1840s; the District 16 School would be similar to the kind some people still remember attending in the early 1900s. Rural students didn't go to school as many days as students today. There, of course, have been many other changes in how we educate our students over the last 170 years that your students will enjoy learning about.

* History, C, 3rd, 3


What items might the following craftspeople in your town have supplied for you: cooper, tinsmith, potter, glassblower and miller?

* History, C, 2nd, 5

In the 1800s and early 1900s young people usually did not go to school to learn a craft or a trade. Instead, they became an apprentice to a working craftsman who would teach what he knew while the apprentice worked for him.

* Economics, B, 3rd, 2

* History, C, 3rd, 3e

There are many people working with textiles and fibers at the Village. Learn how clothing was made starting from the fiber source to making the thread and cloth through to the finished garment. Since Black Swamp residents did not want to be wasteful, clothing was passed down from one member of the family to the next. Even after it was no longer wearable, the cloth was recycled. What are some things that could have been done with an old piece of cloth?

Unlike the other craftspeople, the potter, glassblower and blacksmith who work at the Historic Village use contemporary methods to create original works of art. What are some of the things a potter or glassblower WOULD have made in the 19th century? Would these things have been primarily functional, decorative or both? How is the process these contemporary artists use different or the same from those used by craftsmen of earlier centuries?

* History, C, 2nd, 5