Sharing the Environment


Instructor: Discuss the idea of proximity with your students. How does sharing an environment influence how different groups interact? Use the chalkboard for the discussion. As a class, make a list of the types of things different cultures living together tend to share. The list might include foods, place names, technology, games, art, etc. See how many items your students can come up with and record the list for later review. Use the Timeline to give students a frame of reference.

Introduction: This activity is intended to introduce students to some of the characters who would have participated in a typical Treaty Gathering during the mid 1700s. These characters are representative of the types of people who would have had routine contact with each other on the North American frontier. After completing this activity you should have a better understanding of frontier life.

Directions: Working in teams, select one of the characters below to research. Imagine that you have been selected to play the role of this character in an Historical Reenactment. To do this effectively, you must know all you can about this character. Follow the links for each character to learn all you can about them and then write a biographical sketch about this character. Remember... as one of these characters you are living on the frontier, it is the middle of the 18th century, and the other characters are the people you interact with on a daily basis. These are your neighbors!

Here are some questions you might want to consider when you are researching your character:

  1. What is your name?
  2. Why are you living on the frontier?
  3. What is your daily life like?
  4. What work do you do?
  5. What is your community like?
  6. What are some of the important issues in your community?
  7. What do you think about your neighbors?
  8. How does your community interact with other groups?


Frontier Characters


Note: The table below is adapted from information available on the Colonial Williamsburg History Website. <>


These are averages from the

mid- to late-1700s

  women 5' 2" (161.0 cm.)
  men 5' 6" (172.6 cm.)
  women 22
  men 27
  nonslaveholder family 3 whites
  slaveholder family 4.5 whites
slaves per household 5 blacks
  women 50%
  men 66%
  women 42
  men 45


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© 1 October 2001, Portland State University