Vocabulary for The Journal of Sean Sullivan
This is a basic vocabulary list to use with this book. There are other words and terms that your students may want to add in the space provided at the end.
bonnet: women’s hat
butte: a hill with steep sides and a flat top
caboose: the last car on a train with eating and sleeping rooms
coupling pin: a pin or bolt that connects one train car to another
cowcatchers (also known as the pilot): a metal device or set of rails attached to the front of the train to clear the tracks
depot: a railroad station or stop
dignitaries: people of importance
“Excursionists”: people who came west solely as tourists
gorge: deep rocky valley
handcar: small railroad car that consists of an arm like a seesaw which operators push down and pull up to move the car
“heathens”: a negative term for someone who is not a believer in God. Used as a way to describe Chinese immigrants.
maul: a hammer used to drive the spike onto a tie
Oregon Trail: a route used by settlers going from western Missouri to Oregon before the railroad was built
“Paddy”: negative term for Irish workers, probably short for Patrick, a common Irish name
pick and shovel: two tools used to break up the ground, a pick is sharp on both edges, a shovel allows you to pick up dirt
“Prairie Schooner”: a covered wagon used by settlers going west
ruffians: people who behave in a rough or violent way
sod hut: home made from dried squares of prairie grass
spike: large nail used to construct railroad tracks
stovepipe hat: tall tube-shaped man’s hat
survey: to make a map of an area
tie: large pieces of wood that support the rails
transcontinental railroad: a railroad that crosses and connects a continent
trestle: a system of support built to allow a train to go over a river or gap
Write down any additional words that you do not know the meaning of, and then look up their definitions and add them here.
This worksheet aligns to Common Core Literacy Standards in History/Social Studies:
RHSS.6-8.4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.
Creator | American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning
Rights | Copyright American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Item Type | Worksheet
Cite This document | American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning, “Vocabulary for The Journal of Sean Sullivan,” SHEC: Resources for Teachers, accessed April 14, 2021, https://shec.ashp.cuny.edu/items/show/1923.