The UCLA Institute on Primary Resources
Holling C. Holling carving of Native American with canoe; UCLA Young Research Library Department of Special Collections
About The Institute
What Are Primary Resources?
Institute Programs
Directory
In The Classroom
K - 12 Lesson Plans
What's New
Additional Resources

In the Classroom
Lesson Plans | Guidelines for Writing Teaching Units | Examples of Student Work

Examples of Student Work

Our Fall is Written Plain and in Cursive: A Mexican War Epilogue in the Gold Rush Postscript

Unit created by Hector A. Ruiz, Luther Burbank Elementary School
Summer Institute 2001

In September of 1847, John Brown, or as he was called by the Californios, "Juan Flaco", rode wildly through Californio lines in the Pueblo of Los Angeles in an unsuccessful effort to summon help from U.S. Naval forces in the northern part of Alta California for the besieged American garrisons in the pueblo. As part of his compensation, Brown's commanding officer in Los Angeles, Marine Lt. Archibald Gillespie, had promised the dispatch rider $500. According to several published histories of the ride, Brown never received his promised money. Through the use of primary resources, chosen from the Archibald H. Gillespie Papers in the Department of Special Collection, students learned how Brown's fate, and that of his promised $500, was tied to his Mexican War commanding officer, Archibald Gillespie. By 1858, long after the events of the war had ended, "Juan Flaco" was a destitute, broken man in dire need of any form of financial assistance. He writes to Gillespie claiming to have lost his military pay voucher for his famous ride and discharge papers for his services during the Mexican War.

Through receipts and letters, students learned of Gillespie's own activities after the close of the war, and how Brown's decision to write the former Marine for help was rife with irony. Students also questioned whether or not Brown did receive his money, challenging many assumptions about this California historical legend.

In the photographs shown, the students are consolidating the information that they learned about both Gillespie and Brown, and establishing a historical timeline of the events which take place prior to Brown's 1858 letter to Gillespie asking him for help. Assuming the personae of Gillespie, students then used that information to help them compose a reply to Brown.


ABOUT THE INSTITUTE · ABOUT PRIMARY RESOURCES · INSTITUTE PROGRAMS · DIRECTORY · IN THE CLASSROOM
WHAT'S NEW · ADDITIONAL RESOURCES · PHOTO CREDITS · SITE INFO · EMAIL · HOME

Copyright© 1999 Regents of the University of California. UCLA®,
University of California Los Angeles® and all related trademarks are
the property of the Regents of the University of California
UCLA HOME