Autobiography of Andrew Dickson White - Vol. 1

By Andrew Dickson White | Go to book overview

AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF ANDREW DICKSON WHITE

CHAPTER I
BOYHOOD IN CENTRAL NEW YORK--1832-1850

A T the close of the Revolution which separated the colonies from the mother country, the legislature of New York set apart nearly two million acres of land, in the heart of the State, as bounty to be divided among her soldiers who had taken part in the war; and this "Military Tract," having been duly divided into townships, an illinspired official, in lack of names for so many divisions, sprinkled over the whole region the contents of his classical dictionary. Thus it was that there fell to a beautiful valley upon the headwaters of the Susquehanna the name of "Homer." Fortunately the surveyor-general left to the mountains, lakes, and rivers the names the Indians had given them, and so there was still some poetical element remaining in the midst of that unfortunate nomenclature. The counties, too, as a rule, took Indian names, so that the town of Homer, with its neighbors, Tully, Pompey, Fabius, Lysander, and the rest, were embedded in the county of Onondaga, in the neighborhood of lakes Otisco and Skaneateles, and of the rivers Tioughnioga and Susquehanna.

Hither came, toward the close of the eighteenth century, a body of sturdy New Englanders, and, among them, my grandfathers and grandmothers. Those on my father's side: Asa White and Clara Keep, from Munson, Massachusetts

-3-

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