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[225] and Edgar Allan Poe. It was toward the end of August that the Rev. Abiel Holmes, author of the Annals of America ,1 made a brief entry at the foot of a page in his almanac, ‘—29. son b.’ The son was named Oliver Wendell Holmes, the Wendell being the maiden name of his mother, descended from an Evert Jansen Wendell who had been one of the early settlers of Albany; and thus her son could claim a remote relationship with the Dutch poet Vondel:
And Vondel was a Wendell who spelt it with a V.

Through his father, the Calvinist minister, and his grandfather, a physician who had served in the Revolution with the Continental troops, Holmes was descended from Anne, daughter of Thomas Dudley, governor of Massachusetts Bay, and wife of Simon Bradstreet, twice governor of the province.2 The author of the Autocrat shared with R. H. Dana, author of Two years before the Mast, the honour of descent from this literary ancestress. Holmes was born in Cambridge, in an old gambrel-roofed house that had served as General Ward's headquarters at the outbreak of the Revolution: ‘The plan for fortifying Bunker's Hill was laid, as commonly believed, in the southeast room, the floor of which was covered with dents, made, it is alleged, by the butts of the soldiers' muskets.’ Holmes's mother, it may be recorded here, to account in a measure for the veracity and the vigour of his Grandmother's Story of Bunker-Hill Battle, was only a little girl of six when she was hurried off from Boston, then taken by the British, who were preceded by rumours that ‘the redcoats were coming, killing and murdering everybody as they went along.’

It was in Cambridge that Holmes grew to boyhood, playing under the Washington Elm. He was sent to what was then known as a ‘dame's school.’ He had an early inclination to verse, and composed rhyming lines in imitation of Pope and Goldsmith before he knew how to write; and Pope and Goldsmith remained his masters in metrical composition to the end of his long life. His father had a library of between one and two thousand volumes, and in this the son browsed at

1 See Book II, Chap. XVII.

2 For Anne Bradstreet, see Book I, Chap. IX.

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