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Today's Featured Biography

Israel Putnam

      Israel Putnam, the redoubtable hero of Indian and French adventure in the old colonial wars, the survivor of many a revolutionary fight, was born at Salem, Mass., January 7, 1718. His grandfather, from the south of England, was one of the first settlers of the place. The boy was brought up with his father on the farm. He had little education in literature; much in the development of a hardy, vigorous constitution, in his contest with the soil and the actual world about him. He was fond of athletic exercises, an adept in running and wrestling, in which he proved himself more than a match for his village companions. The story is told of his being insulted for his rusticity, on his first visit to Boston, by a youth of twice his size, when he taught the citizen better manners by a sound flogging.

      Before he was of age, he was married to the daughter of John Pope, of Salem, and presently removed with his wife to a farm in the town of Pomfret, in Eastern Connecticut. His rugged powers were, no doubt, sufficiently taxed in the ordinary labors of the field. In those days the farmer had enemies to encounter, which have since vanished from the land.

      The well-known fable of AEsop, of the boy and the wolf, had then a literal application. Every child in the days of our fathers knew the story of Putnam, and the she-wolf which he dragged from its den. This and similar tales go far to make up the popular reputation of the hero, and it was as a man of the people that Putnam first appears...

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