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Thompson, Zadocklocked

(23 May 1796–19 January 1856)
  • J. Kevin Graffagnino

Extract

Thompson, Zadock (23 May 1796–19 January 1856), naturalist and Vermont historian, was born at Bridgewater, Vermont, the son of Barnabas Thompson and Sarah Fuller, farmers. The Thompsons eked out a subsistence from Bridgewater’s stony soil, and as a sickly youth Zadock rejected the prospect of a lifetime of farming, giving instead, as his brother Salmon put it, “early evidence that he liked to read better than to work.” He spent his late teens and early twenties studying and teaching school in eastern Vermont and western New York, but he had to return home when a severe illness kept him bedridden the first six months of 1818. Looking for other means of making a living, Thompson compiled and published four almanacs for 1819 and 1820, filling them with his self-calculated astronomical data, moral maxims drawn after Poor Richard, and “a great variety of original and selected instructive and entertaining matter” that included selections of his own turgid verse....

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