Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Fathers of Great Men and Women

Dr Abe V Rotor

 Greatness, they say, runs in the family. Not really. Many great men and women came from humble birth. Let's take these examples.


  • Abraham Lincoln's father was a poor farmer and laborer.
  • The father of the great explorer James Cook was a farm worker.
  • The father of France greatest heroine, Joan of Arc, was a farmer.
  • Sophocles, the Greek poet, was the son of a blacksmith.
  • Christopher Columbus was the son of a weaver.
  • Sigmund Freud's father was a wool merchant.
  • The father of Henry Ford was a farmer.
  • Marco Polo's father was a traveling merchant.
  • Sir Francis Drake was brought up a Puritan, his father Edmund Drake was a clergyman. 
  • David Livingstone's parents were poor, David had to work in a factory at age 10.
  • The father of Lech Walesa, leader of Solidarity that freed Poland, was a carpenter.
  • Daniel Webster was the son of a poor farmer.
  • Benjamin Franklin was the son of a soap maker.
  • The father of Charles Dickens was a wage earner, clerk in the Navy Pay Office.
  • Joseph Haydn's father made and repaired wheels of all kinds.
  • Emperor Diocletian was the son of a slave.
  • Pablo Picasso's father was a painter, but handed over his brushes and paints to his son after discovering his artistic genius.
  • The father of Shakespeare was a wool merchant.
  • Albert Einstein's father failed as a businessman.
  • Vergil's father was a porter and for years a slave.
  • Franz Schubert's father was a modest schoolmaster.
  • Nelson Mandela, South Africa's living hero, came from a family of herdsmen, born in a thatched hut.
  • The father of John Paul II was an army sergeant.
  • Mother Teresa (Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu) was a daughter of an Albanian grocer.
  • Maria Montessori, founder of the Montessori school, was the daughter of a civil servant
  • George Frederick Handel's father was a barber-surgeon.
  • Joseph Stalin's father was an alcoholic, beat the young Joseph, deserted the family.
  • Ludwig Beethoven's father was ruthless to the young Ludwig.
  • The father of Lyndon Johnson, US president, earned a teacher's certificate, went to farming and local politics.
  • Former US President Richard Nixon grew in poverty, family illness and endless work.
  • Mikhail Gorbachev, the man who "made the USSR disappear" was born from simple peasant parents, and grandparents.
  • Mao Zedong was the son of an obscure peasant from the vast hinterland of China.
  • Charles Darwin's father was a medical doctor, his grandfather Erasmus Darwin was a renown scientist.
  • The father of Florence Nightingale founder of the nursing profession was a rich man.  She was born in Florence (hence her name) but returned to England as a little girl.  
  • Leonardo da Vinci's father was a notary, or lawyer and his mother was a peasant girl.
  • Michelangelo's father, Ludovico, was a magistrate and proud of his noble ancestry.
  • The father of Renaissance painter Raphael, contemporary of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo  was an artist of some reputation, employed by the dukes of Urbino near Florence
  • The father of George Frederick Handel (1685-1759) was a prominent barber-surgeon in the town of Halle, Germany.
  • Austrian composer Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) was the second of twelve children born to a kindly couple of music-loving peasants.  His father Matias Haydn made and repaired wheels of all kinds. 
  • Franz Schubert (1797-1828) was born into a family that regarded music very highly.  His father was a modest schoolmaster.
  • The father of John Wesley, founder of Methodism, was a rector of Epworth Rectory
  • Captain James Cook was born of poor parents in 1728 in a village in Yorkshire where his father worked on a farm.  
  • Jesus Christ's father - St Joseph - was a carpenter.
References: Living with Nature  AVRJokes, Quotes and One-Liners for Public Speakers, Prochnow HV and HV Prochnow Jr, 1897, 1931; Ladyird Book Series

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