Bob and Holly Bearor Bring History to Life for Lake George Students
If the first language of most Americans today is English rather than French, it’s because the British, and not the French, were victorious in the French and Indian Wars of the 1750s, says Bob Bearor, the author of several books about the conflict.
And, as he told fourth graders at the Lake George Elementary School on February11, “This area where we live is perhaps the most historic area of the French and Indian Wars in North America. Schoolchildren all over the U. S. learn about Lake George and Lake Champlain and their importance, and here we are, lucky enough to live and work here!”
Bearor, a retired Troy firefighter who now lives in Schroon Lake, is the region’s leading interpreter of the French and Indian Wars.
With his wife Holly, he visits schools throughout New York State not merely explaining, but showing, how colonists living on the frontier became important actors in what is sometimes referred to as the first truly global war.
The presentations include weapons, food, accoutrements, snowshoe types, fire starting and wood skills in summer and winter, said Bearor, who’s frequently consulted about 18th century survival techniques by scholars and historians.
According to Bearor, Holly exhibits the different styles of dress, clothing of Canadian Habitant, Dutch, English and Native American women.
“Holly makes sure that the young female students feel the importance of the women and girls in the 18th century, and “one-ups” the boys’ fascination with firearms by proclaiming and documenting the famous 14-year-old Marie-Madeleine Jarret de Vercher, who is regarded as the heroine of the Canadians for her bravery and marksmanship, that saved a small fort from being overrun and taken by marauding Iroquois,” said Bearor.
According to Bearor, the couple adapts their presentations to the particular place where they are speaking so that students will come to better appreciate the historical significance of their own hometowns.
“Sharing our knowledge and love of history is our labor of love,” said Holly Bearor.