My Brother Sam is Dead By: James Collier & Christopher collier My Brother Sam is Dead tells about the struggles of Sam, Tim, Eliphalet, and Susannah Meeker. The Meeker’s ran a tavern in the small Tory town of Redding, Connecticut. Their story begins in April of 1775 during the American Revolution. Sam was Tim’s older brother. Sam had been away at Yale University for a year, but he decided to join the Patriots army. This caused any problems for the Meeker family, especially since they are Loyalists and side with King George the Third.
When Sam left for the war everything got harder on the family and the tavern wasn’t making enough money. Sam came back and visited Tim and Betsy Reed, his girlfriend, a few times but his parents didn’t know about it. In the winter of 1776 Tim and his father had to go on a cattle drive to sell the cows in Verplancks, New York. On the way back, Eliphalet was captured and put into an English prison ship even though he was a Loyalists.
He died in a prison ship from cholera but the Meekers didn’t find out until months later.
In December of 1778 Sam returned to Redding with General Putnam and other troops. Tim had kept eight cattle for his mother and him to eat and to sell. Sam had been warning Tim to butcher their cows and hide the meat before some of the soldiers stole them, but his warning came too late. Late one night two soldiers stole six cattle and Sam went out to catch them before they butchered them all and ate them. When Sam caught them, they knew that General Putnam would hang them to make an example to all the other soldiers.
So, they beat Sam and took him to the training camp and told the guards that he stole cattle and they arrested him, never mind that it was his own family’s cows. Sam was tried in front of court-martial and found guilty. He was shot on February 16th, 1778. The authors published this book to give us an understanding of the prices paid for our freedom and, of course, a good story to read and learn something from. Tim’s life helps us to learn that many bad things can happen but time heals wounds and we can go on living.
Learning from our experiences, we can make the best out of life just like Tim. Tim grew up and became a wealthy surveyor when he left Redding and lived a long happy life full of children and grandchildren. He opened a store, bank, and another tavern where he and his mother worked until she passed away. I would recommend this book to everyone because of the values and the history it teaches. All people should be aware of the prices paid back then and the prices being paid now for our freedom. Tim’s father always said, “in war the dead pay the debts of the living”. They have paid us well.
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