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Odd Wisconsin Archive

Wisconsin's First Poet

Dateline: Hazel Green, Grant County, May 2, 1856. On this day died one of Wisconsin's great eccentrics, the poet and scientist James Gates Percival. Utterly lacking in ambition and confidence, the outcast scholar mastered a dozen languages and the emerging science of geology while huddled in seclusion among his books. Named the first state geologist in middle age, he spent his days crouched in holes and caves and returned home “with weary knees to a supperless cottage to feast on moonshine.” Read more about him in our collection of Wisconsin Local History & Biography Articles.
:: Posted in Odd Lives on August 16, 2004
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