Henry David Thoreau, in 1845 at the age of 27, moved to the woods surrounding Walden Pond as an experiment in simple living for 2 years, during which time he worked on his book Walden
Facts about Thoreau:
He was a surveyor, pencil maker, naturalist, social reformer, writer, poet, philosopher, and teacher who took his students for nature walks.
Bought a shanty from an Irishman for its boards, along with supplies that he used to build the cabin, the entire cost of which was $28.
Locals believed Walden to be bottomless. Thoreau plumbed it with fishing line and a stone, finding it to be around 100ft at its deepest point.
While he enjoyed the vistors which frequented him for short periods, he liked being alone most of the time.
Heartily promoting hiking, canoeing, and natural resource conservation, Thoreau was a nature lover maybe above all else.
Cultivated a 2.5 acre bean farm and also grew potatoes, peas, and turnips to sustain himself. He liked to work the field in bare feet.
Friends said he was funny, shy, stoic, smart, and ingenious.
His brother died, from Tetanus, in his arms.
Purposely did not pay certain taxes which he disagreed with, and was jailed for one night because of it. That event became the inspiration for Civil Disobedience Thoreau style.
Could not see value in the progress of the Fitchburg Railroad and telecommunications cable from Maine to Texas.
Lectured against slavery, hid, guided, and actively helped slaves along the Underground Railroad through Concord to Cananda.
A foundational member of Transcendentalism, favoring intuition over reason.
Monumental figure in environmental conservation.
Did what he wanted and worked as little as possible towards that effort. Railed against the concept of a career.
Was a skilled instinctual fisherman.
Some Thoreau quotes:
Many go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.
Fishing is nature being carried out by man.
I can always outfish an Irishman.
The perch swallows the grub worm, the pickerel swallows the perch, and the fisherman swallows the pickerel. Ah the pickerel of Walden! I am always surprised by their rare beauty, as if they were fabulous fishes.
A lake is the Earth's eye.
Replica cabin interior
The cabin was removed shortly after Thoreau left and then sold for scrap wood. It wasn't until 1945 that an amateur archaeologist uncovered the location of the cabin when he found its chimney foundation after digging for 3 months.
Thoreau died from Tuberculosis at the age of 44, and according to witnesses, very acceptingly.
Thoreau's last words:
Now comes good sailing. Moose. Indian.
Site of original cabin
Thoreau quote at original site
Thoreau believed in reincarnation