Tall Tales: Mose Humphries

Grades: 3 | Nonfiction Mini Book | 6 pages


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Tall Tales: Mose Humphries

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Guided Reading Level N, Grade Level Equivalent 3. Mose Humphreys, America’s first urban folk hero, was, fittingly, born on a Broadway stage.

Mose was the hero of A Glance at New York by Benjamin A. Baker, which opened at the Olympic Theater in 1848. The star of the show, Mose, the “Bowery B’hoy,” was based on an actual man, Moses Humphreys. Much like the character and legend he was to become, Moses was a printer on The New York Sun, a fire boy on the Lady Washington No. 40, and a notorious Bowery brawler.


Discuss with students how Mose Humphreys was just one of many people who were, in some ways, replaced by machines. (You may want to discuss “John Henry” here also.) Ask students to brainstorm a list of jobs done by machines that were previously done by humans. Then ask each student to pick one machine and imagine they are the person who is being replaced by that machine. Have them write a diary entry telling that person’s feelings about being replaced and what they plan to do next.