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The War of 1812
Stuck a Feather in His Cap — Joshua Barney: American Hero, Part 1



Stuck a Feather in His Cap — Joshua Barney: American Hero, Part 1
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   3.59

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    commodore, dingy, jaunty, mid-voyage, sloop, sprightly, cramped, mere, naval, stuffy, finding, rank, costly, command, bravery, bushel
     content words:    Yankee Doodle, Joshua Barney, William Barney, Captain Drysdale, Fourteen-year-old Joshua, West Indies, Hyder Ally, General Monk


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Stuck a Feather in His Cap — Joshua Barney: American Hero, Part 1
By Toni Lee Robinson
  

1     
Yankee Doodle went to town, riding on a pony.
Stuck a feather in his cap and called it "Macaroni!"

Yankee Doodle keep it up; Yankee Doodle dandy.
Mind the music and the step, and with the girls be handy!

 
2     Many heroes came forth as America was born. There were many acts of bravery. People went above and beyond the call of duty. The spirit of the American hero was summed up in the song "Yankee Doodle." U.S. soldiers marched to the sprightly tune. The jaunty words pepped up the country in the dark days of war.
 
3     Joshua Barney was a true American hero. At a young age, Joshua reached inside and found a bushel of courage. He used it to make a name for himself and to serve his country. Here is his story.
 
4     At age ten, it was clear that Joshua Barney wouldn't grow up a farmer. Plowing and planting left him cold. He knew what he wanted to do. Joshua wrote a letter to his father. "I have learned all I can in school," he said. "I want to go to sea."
 
5     William Barney called his son to him. "A man's life—that's what you need," the elder Barney declared. "But a poor sailor will be a poor sailor all his life. You must learn about money. Let's try this: I will send you to train in a counting house. Go and learn business. Then you can take to the sea and make your fortune as more than a mere sailor."
 
6     Joshua hated the thought of the stuffy counting house. But he loved his father. He went to carry out his father's wishes. He spent days at the master's elbow. He ran here and there. He fetched and carried. He sat for hours in the dim rooms and toted up columns of numbers. But his heart ached for the sea.
 
7     Sitting at the cramped desk, Joshua peered out through the dingy windows. His physical eyes saw the dirty streets of the city. His mind's eye saw the ocean. He longed for the vast horizon, open and free, stretching into the distance. He thought he might die for a chance to savor the salt wind in his face.
 
8     Finally, Joshua could stand it no longer. He left the counting house. He came home to plead with his father. William Barney sighed and gave in. Joshua went to work on a pilot ship in the city's harbor. He learned all he could about the great sailing ships.
 
9     Soon his life's dream took flight. An older sister's husband was captain of a merchant vessel. William allowed twelve-year-old Joshua to sign on as ship's boy. At last, Joshua Barney went to sea.

Paragraphs 10 to 19:
For the complete story with questions: click here for printable



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