Stockton Story — California Campaign 1846

November 13, 2009 by  
Filed under California History, Kids and Teens

The story of how Commodore Stockton turns his ship of sailors into soldiers during the California Campaign in 1846 is told through the eyes of twelve-year-old Sven Johnsson.

Sven does not remember his father; he died at sea before Sven was born. Sven’s Mexican mother takes Sven to live on her family’s land next to Rio Nueces. Though she tries to help him fit in, Sven, with his mother’s brown eyes and father’s fair skin and blonde hair, suffers in the small village.

In 1846, with the dream of finding a home where he truly belongs, Sven boards the USS Congress as scribe to Commodore Stockton.

He quickly learns that the American commander is sailing under secret presidential orders to Alta California to capture the territory from the Mexicans. Fearful of being outcast as the enemy, Sven keeps his full identity a secret. He despairs that he will never find a place he fits in.

The treacherous Cape Horn crossing leaves Sven’s dreams of a life at sea in tatters. He plans to escape when they finally reach their destination. Once there, Sven is swept up in the dramatic events involving the leaders of both sides of the Mexican War.

Sailing with Commodore Stockton is a coming of age story about a young boy in search of his place in the world and what he ultimately finds in Alta California.

As a fifth-generation Californian and descendent of Commodore Robert Stockton I have been granted access to stories about the man who came from a long-line of patriots in New Jersey and later went on to conquer California in 1846-47.

This book meets the California Content Standards requirement that every student study the economic, social, and political life in California from the establishment of the Bear Flag Republic through the Mexican-American War.

I currently give lectures about Stockton in classrooms all over California along with plot workshops for children and their teachers. Staff and the administration from the most recent public school district I visited – Stockton Unified – encouraged me to finish this project.

LONG TERM GOAL for this Blog

November 13, 2009 by  
Filed under School Visits, Teachers Only

Martha Alderson’s long-term goal for this blog and her school visits is to expand students’ understanding of California History. Her desire is to bring Commodore Stockton’s name recognition to the same level as John C. Fremont.

Stockton took part in nearly every major historical event during his lifetime = War of 1812, Algerian War, founding of Liberia, Raritan and Camden Canal, the first screw-propelled battleship for the US Navy, the Conquest of California, The Peace Conference. For California students, he provides the most exciting part of the California Conquest.

I love any opportunity to share my passion about this great American patriot.

School Visits Include…

November 13, 2009 by  
Filed under School Visits, Teachers Only


> 4th & 5th GRADE

What happened after the Bear Flag Revolt in California? Historic pictures bring 1846 California alive to show the final conquest. Achieve U.S. History content standards. 


> 6th – 8th GRADES

U.S. History as seen through the eyes of a famous American patriot — Commodore Robert Field Stockton.  Achieve U.S. History content standards.



>Reading and Writing Plot Workshops for Kids

All Grade Levels

>Teacher Plot Inservice

All grade levels


November 13, 2009 by  
Filed under School Visits, Teachers Only

“Martha Stockton Alderson made Commodore Robert Stockton more than just a name to me as well as to my students. After her presentation we felt as if we knew him — his dreams, his shortcomings, his successes.” Gayle Watkins, Program Specialist Commodore Stockton Skill School


“I found the background information on Robert Stockton helpful. I took forward to your book on Robert Stockton both for the historical value and its connection to the namesake. Thank you!” 6th Grade Teacher


“I was very impressed with Martha Alderson’s ability to engage a roomful of 120 2nd graders in creating and constructing a story from scratch. The management and engagement strategies she uses were very effective.” Stockton Unified School District Elementary Counselor


“Martha Alderson was a California Association of Library Trustees and Commissioners nominee for her outstanding contribution in developing and providing annual Young Writers Workshops for children and youth of the Santa Clara County Children’s Shelter.” California Association of Library Trustees and Commissioners


“The astonished look of accomplishment on the kids’ faces is a wonderful testament of your gift to teach. We are forever grateful for the time you shared and are anxiously awaiting your next visit. The Children’s Shelter is a temporary placemnt facility for abused, neglected, and d abandoned children. Thanks gain for making a difference in the lives of our children.” Mark Forrest, Recreation Director


“Amazing revelations of intuitive knowledge. Very useful to schools and libraries. Excellent!” California School Library Association Conference


“Great! All of it!” Santa Cruz County Reading Association, Grades K – 5


“Excellent! Helps to break down the mystery of how good books form.” Asilomar Regional Reading Conference, Grade 6