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My Brother Sam Is Dead Essay, Research Paper

My Brother Sam Is Dead

James Lincoln Collier & Christopher Collier

Historical Fiction

A book response by Stacy Olson


A small family of four, living in the Tory town of Redding. Life was great Mr. and Mrs. Meeker owned a small tavern that supplies their town with food, rum, and supplies. Their son Timmy helped around the tavern and did chores, because his older brother Sam was off at college. Everyone in Redding was close and knew the Meeker family, they all admired how they had raised Sam and Timmy. Every year after college was over, Sam would come home and visit, except one.

The one-year Sam came home in a fancy military suit. He amazed everyone in his family; he was fighting for the rebels. Timmy had always admired Sam, and was very jealous. He also didn’t know if he agreed with what Sam was doing, because his father didn’t. Sam hadn’t come home to visit like all the other times; he came to get his father’s gun to fight. He and his father ended up fighting over the whole situation and Sam stole the gun and ran away.

After Sam left everything started going down hill. Food and supply prices started going up and people started running out of money. Timmy had to go with his dad to trade some cattle to a friend so he could sell them to the British and on the way back Tim’s dad was captured by cow-boys and was put on a prison ship. Tim had to get everything home safely and was forced to take over all of his father’s duties. By this time many soldiers had come through Redding and killed many people, mostly friends. It was very hard for Tim and his mother to keep the tavern and chores up by themselves. Sam ended up being wintered in a town close to Redding and his mother begged him to come home but he insisted on staying in the military and fighting for freedom.

One night Sam had snuck over to the tavern to visit Tim and his mom. They had been trying to decide what to do with the cattle when Sam heard something like someone was messing with their cattle, so he went running after them. Tim got all of their remaining cattle back into the barn but the two men who had stolen the cattle beat up Sam and blamed him for stealing the cattle, which the penalty for that was to be executed. Tim and his mom fought to get Sam released but nothing they did worked and he ended up being shot to death February 16, 1778.


My Brother Sam Is Dead. What is it about that statement that develops the book so much? I think that when you start reading the book that the title interests you and draws you to read it more. There are so many different ways that it can be interpreted you don’t know what to expect until your done with the book and all the pieces fit together. The statement ends up telling everyone that Tim’s brother Sam died.


“In war the dead pay the debts of the living.” This was Mr. Meeker’s favorite quote. I think that he meant that not always the guilty die but the people that do die, die for the guilty and people who have sinned. That quote explained what happened to Sam and his father both eventually dying for no reason because someone didn’t like them or didn’t care. This reminded me about how fast people can turn on you and you don’t really have to do anything to deserve it.


This book shows how life was in the 1700’s and how we should be thankful for what we have now and don’t always know how good we have it. It also tells how life isn’t always fair and how other people pay for our mistakes. A lot of the time we think that we’re always right no matter what. No one can ever tell us that we aren’t, but that’s not always true. Sometimes we don’t have our priorities straight and that eventually ends up getting you into trouble.

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