The farm owned by Zaccheus Greeley
when his son Horace was born, was four or five miles from the village of Amherst
It consisted of eighty acres of land—heavy land to till—rocky, moist, and uneven, worth then eight hundred dollars, now two thousand.
The house, a small, unpainted, but substantial and well-built farmhouse, stood, and still stands, upon a ledge or platform, half way up a high, steep, and rocky hill, commanding an extensive and almost panoramic view of the surrounding country.
In whatever direction the boy may have looked, he saw rock
. Rock is the feature of the landscape.
There is rock in the old orchard behind the house; rocks peep out from the grass in the pastures; there is rock along the road; rock on the sides of the hills; rock on their summits; rock in the valleys; rock in the woods;—rock, rock, everywhere rock.
And yet the country has not a barren look.
I should call it a serious
looking country; one that would be congenial to grim covenanters and exiled round-heads.
The prevailing colors are dark, even in the brightest month of the year.
The pine woods, the rock, the shade of the hill, the color of the soil, are all dark and serious.
It is a still, unfrequented region.
One may ride along the road upon which the house stands, for many a mile, without passing a single vehicle.
The turtles hobble across the road fearless of the crushing wheel.
If any one wished to know the full meaning of the word country
, as distinguished from the word town
, lie need do no more than ascend the hill on which Horace Greeley
saw the light, and look around.
Yet, the voice of the city is heard even there; the opinions of the city influence there; for, observe, in the very room in which our hero was born, on a table which stands where, in other days, a bed stood, we recognize, among the heap of newspapers, the well known heading of the weekly Tribune
Such was the character of the region in which Horace Greeley
passed the greater part of the first seven years of his life.
His father's neighbors were all hard-working farmers—men who worked their own farms—who were nearly equal in wealth, and to whom the idea of social inequality, founded upon an inequality in possessions, did not exist, even as an idea.
Wealth and want were alike unknown.
It was a community of plain people, who had derived all their book-knowledge from the district school, and depended