The Free lance. (State College, Pa.) 1887-1904, January 01, 1900, Image 6

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    July 4th, 1804, "The rarest genius .A,tnerica has given to lit
erature. " 'He was, in a great measure, extremely fortunate
in his ancestry; not for the rugged ways and gross injustice
of these hardy pioneers, but'for the best Puritan traits
modified and combined into 'a noble manhood. The family
was of English origin and one of the oldest in Salem, tie
first Hawthorne being William who came over in 1630 and
figured in the Quaker persecutions. His son was John,
judge of the witchcraft trials in Salem. Of his ancestors
Hawthorne tells us:
"Planted deep in the town's earliest infancy and child
hood, by those two earnest and energetic men, the race has
ever since subsisted here; always, too, in respectability;
never, so far as I have known, disgraced by a single un
worthy member. From father to son, for about a
hundred years, they followed the sea; a grayheaded ship
master, in each generation, retiring from the quarter deck
to the homestead, while a boy of fourteen took the hereditary
place before the mast, confronting the salt spray and the
gale which had blustered against his sire and grandsire."
His father, Nathaniel, also was a sea-captain and died of
fever at Surinan, South America, in 1808, leaving a widow
and three children of whom Nathaniel was the second child.
He was two years younger than Elizabeth and four years
older than Louisa. After this calamity befell his mother,
she withdrew into seclusion and remained a strict hermit till
her death, and this fact alone would have a great influence
over her children. She removed to a house, belonging to
her brother, in Herbert street, and it was here that Haw
thorne's early boyhood was spent.
When but a mere boy he had a keen sense of the ludicrous
and was more precocious, we might say, than most boys of
his years. He had a certain ascendency over his playmates,
"which could be enforced, at need, by his personal strength
and pugnacity. He was daring but never reckless; he' did