About this Famous Person
14th President of the United States
Source : Tim DOWLING
Franklin Pierce was born in a log cabin in Hillsborough, New Hampshire, as the first President of the United States born in the 19th century. The site of his birth is now under Franklin Pierce Lake. Pierce's father was Benjamin Pierce, a frontier farmer who became a Revolutionary War soldier, a state militia general, and a two-time Democratic-Republican governor of New Hampshire. He was a direct descendant of Thomas Pierce (1623–1683), who was born in Norwich, Norfolk, England and settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Franklin Pierce's mother was Anna B. Kendrick. The fifth of eight children, he had four brothers and three sisters. Former First Lady of the United States Barbara Pierce Bush is a distant cousin.
Pierce attended school at Hillsborough Center and moved to the Hancock Academy in Hancock at the age of 11; he transferred to Francestown Academy in the spring of 1820. Friends recalled that just after he entered the school, he became homesick and returned home barefoot. The boy trudged the remaining seven miles back to school. Later that year he transferred to Phillips Exeter Academy to prepare for college. In fall 1820, he entered Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, where he joined literary, political, and debating clubs.
There he met writer Nathaniel Hawthorne, with whom he formed a lasting friendship, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He also met Calvin E. Stowe, Seargent S. Prentiss, and his future political rival, John P. Hale, when he joined the Athenian Society, a group of students with progressive political leanings.
In his second year of college his grades were the lowest of his class, but he worked to improve them and ranked third among his classmates when he graduated in 1824. In 1826 he entered a law school in Northampton, Massachusetts, studying under Governor Levi Woodbury, and later Judges Samuel Howe and Edmund Parker, in Amherst, New Hampshire. He was admitted to the bar and began a law practice in Concord, New Hampshire, in 1827.