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Early Delaware County Inhabitants – School Program

The Delaware County Historical Society Curriculum Support Committee announces a new program for elementary students about the early Delaware County Inhabitants
Early Settlers and the American Indian in Delaware County.

The initial programs were presented on Nov 21 and 22 to about 140 students, teachers and parent chaperones from Delaware City’s Schultz Elementary School. The half-day programs were held at The Barn at Stratford , the Society’s historic barn event venue.

In keeping with “We bring Delaware County history to life”, the program is an multi-modal active-learning program in which the students:

  • Play games developed by American Indians
  • Witness re-enactors who portrayed early settlers to the area
  • Participate in a corn grinding activity
  • Tour the Indigenous Peoples exhibit
  • Join Brent Carson as he tells stories of finding arrowheads, the history of Pluggy’s Town and other local Indian lore.

The Curriculum Committee devoted two years developing this local history program for the students of Delaware County.  Our volunteers researched the history of the early settlers who migrated from the east and the history of the American Indians in the area.  That research led the committee to Stacey Halfmoon, an American Indian consultant at the Ohio History Connection. Stacey provided input to the program content from the American Indian perspective.

Early Delaware County Inhabitants and the Presenters

After an introduction, students were divided into groups that experienced four different sessions. Each session provided a piece of history from Delaware and Central Ohio:

The story of the Cellar family, one of the first in Delaware County, portrayed by direct descendant T.K. Cellar.

Brent Carson interviewed a gunsmith, portrayed by Jim Siler, who lived among the Indians at Pluggy’s Town, now known as Mingo Park.

Another early settler was Moses Byxbe and his wife, Dolly, portrayed by Nancy Fleming, discussed frontier family life with the students.

Under the direction of Cindy Kerr, students toured the museum exhibits, models, maps and charts in the Indigenous Peoples gallery in the Meeker House. 

Next door to this exhibit, retired history teacher Ray Myers told students the agricultural and planting cycle “Legend of the Three Sisters”. Then Ray directed the students in a corn grinding activity so they could see how hard this work was.

In the session “The Experience of Everyday Life”, DJ Sanfillipo, Joe Dwenger, and Kerry Frazier led activities that included a hands-on display of animal pelts and bone tools, lacrosse sticks and equipment.  Thanks to Dick Sanfillipo’s woodworking talent, we had enough ring and pin games, corn husk wheels, and darts for students to try their hand at early games. The games led “frontier” children to develop the skills they would need later in wilderness life.

These were our first presentations of the Early Settlers and American Indians in Delaware County – our launch, so to speak.  Everyone involved worked so hard and the students’ response was so rewarding.  We look forward to working with any Delaware County school to share the experience with their students.