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He liked to watch the canal barges move along the Concord River, loaded with bricks or iron ore, and was thrilled when the boatmen let him leap aboard for a short passage.
His great-grandmother’s name was Marie le Galais; and his grandfather, John Thoreau, was baptized April 28, 1754, and took the Anglican sacrament in the parish of St. Thus near to old France and the Church was our Yankee boy.” The Thoreau family left the farm where Henry David was born when he was about a year old and moved to Chelmsford, Mass for two years and then moved to Boston for three years before finally returning to Concord.Henry David Thoreau was born on July 12, 1817 in a farmhouse, known as the Minot house, on Virginia Road in Concord, Mass.Thoreau was actually born David Henry Thoreau but began calling himself Henry David after finishing college, although he never legally changed his name.After finishing his final year at Concord Academy in 1833, Thoreau reluctantly began to prepare to go to Harvard University.Although his father suggested he become an apprentice to a carpenter or cabinet-maker, his mother insisted that he get the best education he could.After Charlie lost interest and dropped out of the business it became the John Thoreau & Co.The pencils were high acclaimed and won awards for their high quality, bringing the Thoreau family financial stability.John Thoreau, Sr, was the son of a French Protestant immigrant, Jean Thoreau. Helier, Isle of Jersey, in 1754 and immigrated to America in 1773.Henry David Thoreau’s maternal family, the Dunbar family, were of English descent, according to the book The Personality of Thoreau: “On the Thoreau side they were French and English, – the two races having mingled in the Channel Islands – with a sprinkling of Scotch ancestry; while on the Dunbar side they were Scotch and English, filtered through many generations of New England colonists, some of whom took the English or Tory side in the Revolution of Washington and the Adamses.” A close friend of Henry David Thoreau, fellow writer William Ellery Channing, wrote in his 1871 biography of his friend, titled Thoreau: The Poet-naturalist, that Thoreau sometimes spoke with a faint French accent, which Channing suggested was due to his French ancestry: “Henry retained a peculiar pronunciation of the letter r, with a decided French accent.He stood aside and watched when the others played games.Even when the townsfolk turned out for street parades and the rollicking music of bands, he would stay home.