Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 30.djvu/710

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688
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

SKETCH OF EDWARD L. YOUMANS.
By HIS SISTER.

EDWARD LIVINGSTON YOUMANS was born at Coeymans, Albany County, New York, June 3, 1821. His parents, Vincent Youmans and Catherine Scofield Youmans, were natives of the same county. Livingston, as he was then called, was the first-born of seven children. When he was six months old the family removed to Greenfield, Saratoga County, within a short distance of Saratoga Springs. His parents were in narrow circumstances, and belonged to the hardworking class. Vincent Youmans had worked on his father's farm when a boy, but, having some mechanical capacity, he resolved to learn a trade, and accordingly, at the age of sixteen, was indentured for five years as an apprentice to a carriage-maker in Sheffield, Massachusetts. He was to be taught the business, and have some schooling. But 'Boss' Burrill was a hard master, and his apprentice got neither the schooling nor any proper instruction in the business. In all the five years, he attended school not more than three months, and seldom on consecutive days, while most of his time was spent in slavish toil on the Burrill farm. The boy felt outraged by this treatment, and showed signs of restiveness, when the wily wagon-maker lost no time in having the indentures revised, making the father liable for damage if the son ran away. Filial affection made Vincent submit to his lot, but he can not speak of this period of his life without indignation. Although his means were limited, yet, feeling deeply his own lack of knowledge, he was full of sympathy with the mental aspirations of his children, and made extreme sacrifices in furtherance of their education. He was, moreover, a clear-headed man, of fearless, independent spirit, who took an earnest and intelligent interest in all public questions. Before her marriage Livingston's mother was a school-teacher. Well endowed in body and mind, her long life has been spent in unwearied devotion to her family, and never had mother a more loving and dutiful son than was the subject of this sketch. She made home duties paramount, but she had opinions of her own, was frank in their avowal and spirited in their defense; and the lively, good-tempered canvassing of differences between father and mother were not lost upon their little ones, who early learned to respect and to defend their own sentiments. Whatever else may be said of it, the family circle was certainly never dull.

Livingston was a vigorous, active-minded boy, remarkable from a very early age for his desire to know, and for his readiness in learning. He took to books from the first, and read everything he could find to read. He was also fond of play, and especially of hunting, when old enough to handle a gun; and he used often to refer, in his