Birth of James Whitcomb Riley
Author and poet James Whitcomb Riley was born on October 7, 1849, in Greenfield, Indiana.
Named after Indiana governor James Whitcomb, Riley was the third of six children. His mother taught him to read before he went off to school, but he had little interest in his classes. He developed an interest in poetry largely from his uncle who contributed poems to local newspapers. Though he disliked most of his teachers, one of them recognized his interest in poetry and encouraged him to write. Riley would attend school off and on, eventually graduating from grade eight at the age of 20.