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Cist, Jacob (13 March 1782–30 December 1825), anthracite coal pioneer, naturalist, and inventor, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Charles Cist, a journalist and publisher, and Mary Weiss. The eldest son of a large, prominent family, Cist proved responsible, practical, and curious from a young age. After completing elementary school in Philadelphia, he studied for three years at the Moravian Academy (Nazareth Hall) in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, where he exhibited particular interests in geography, manufacture, and illustration. Cist became proficient at sketching in ink and in oils, landscapes and factories being among his prominent themes. He also showed a knack for writing, publishing short pieces of prose and verse in magazines and newspapers....

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Gibbons, Euell Theophilus (08 September 1911–29 December 1975), author and naturalist, was born in Clarksville, Texas, the son of Ely Joseph Gibbons, a carpenter, blacksmith, grocer, and rancher, and Laura Augusta Bowers. Gibbons’s mother taught him much about identifying edible wild plants. In 1922 the Gibbons family moved to New Mexico, where extreme poverty forced the family to live on scavenged roots and small game. Leaving home at age fifteen, Gibbons worked as a farmhand and carpenter in Texas and New Mexico. From the Navajo Indians in northern New Mexico he further broadened his knowledge of wild foods....