1795 – Poet and Geologist James Percival Born

On this date poet, doctor, geologist, and linguist was born. A highly intelligent man, Percival graduated from Yale at the age of 20 and medical school at 25. He spoke ten languages and loved reading. While he failed in his medical practice, he faithfully served the states of Connecticut and Wisconsin as their State Geologist. His poetry, for the most part, was ignored by the public. However, one of his poems was set to music and sung before President Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address in 1863. Percival’s thirst for knowledge replaced social relationships, and he died alone and poor in 1856 in Hazel Green, Wisconsin. [Source: by Fred L. Holmes]