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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Chapter 2: birth, childhood, and youth (search)
family, was William Longfellow, who was born in Hampshire County, England, in 1651, and came in early life to this country, where he engaged in mercantile pursuits. Thus much for the paternal ancestry. To turn to the spindle side, Mr. Longfellow's mother was Zilpah Wadsworth, eldest daughter of General Peleg Wadsworth, who was the son of Deacon Peleg Wadsworth, of Duxbury, Mass., and was the fifth in descent from Christopher Wadsworth, who came from England and settled in that town before 1632. The Peleg Wadsworth of military fame was born at Duxbury, and graduated from Harvard in 1769; he afterward taught school at Plymouth, and married Elizabeth Bartlett of that town; he then took part in the Revolution as captain of a company of minutemen, and rose to a major-general's command, serving chiefly on the eastern frontier. He was captured, was imprisoned, escaped, and had many stirring adventures. When the war was over he purchased from the State no less than 7500 acres of wild la