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Chapter 7: Age of Empresarios
"The Diary of Thomas J. Pilgrim"

In Chapter 7, students are introduced to the empresarios who initially encouraged Anglo American settlement in Texas, including Moses and Stephen F. Austin, Green DeWitt, and others. In this lesson, students will take a closer look at the experience of people who made the decision to travel to Texas to establish the settlement at DeWitt Colony.

Lesson Description
Students will visit the Web site of the Sons of DeWitt Colony, which is hosted by Texas A & M University. Here, they will read a short biography of Thomas Jefferson Pilgrim as well as excerpts from his journal. Students will answer questions about what they read and then read about another settler, Elias R. Wightman. Finally, students will make connections between the two men by developing correspondence between them as they made plans to travel to and settle in Texas.

Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills

7.2 History
(B) identify important individuals, events, and issues related to European exploration and colonization of Texas, including the establishment of Catholic missions
(C) identify the contributions of significant individuals including Moses Austin, Stephen F. Austin, and Juan Seguín during the colonization of Texas
(D) identify the impact of the Mexican federal Constitution of 1824 on events in Texas

7.21 Social studies skills
(A) differentiate between, locate, and use primary and secondary sources such as computer software, databases, media and news services, biographies, interviews, and artifacts to acquire information about Texas
(C) organize and interpret information from outlines, reports, databases, and visuals including graphs, charts, timelines, and maps

7.22 Social studies skills
(B) use standard grammar, spelling, sentence structure, and punctuation
(D) create written, oral, and visual presentations of social studies information

Instructional Objectives

  1. The student will be able to describe Thomas J. Pilgrim's actions in helping establish a settlement in Texas.
  2. The student will be able to describe some goals of the settlers as well as obstacles they faced and assistance they received.
  3. The student will be able to write letters between two key leaders in the settlement of DeWitt Colony.

Student Web Activity Answers

  1. in the fall of 1828
  2. the biography says that Pilgrim was "devoted to education and religious work." He may have wanted to move to Texas to help other settlers by teaching them about his religion or by setting up a school to educate them.
  3. At different points of the journey, Native Americans gave the travelers both shelter and food.
  4. Pilgrim wanted to set up a school. Austin was in favor of that saying "this subject is a very important one, it has always been a favorite one with me, and I think an effort should be now made to get the school under way…"
  5. Student's letters will vary but could include reference to the fact that both men were originally from New York, that Wightman was one of the original "Old 300" colonists who returned to New York to recruit more settlers. Students should recognize that the men traveled together in 1828, and may want to refer to the fact that Wightman was a surveyor and Pilgrim was a teacher.

Go To Student Web Activity


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