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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/565

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SKETCH OF JOHN B. STALLO.

his uncle, Franz Joseph Stallo, who, while a prosperous book printer and binder at Damme, made a number of useful discoveries in physics and mechanics. He is accredited with having introduced peat-burning and the cultivation of buckwheat into his district, and with having promoted the irrigation of the heaths and the sowing of fir-seeds upon them, whereby they were transformed from barren moors into profitable pine-woods. He finally, however, began to advocate views that brought him into conflict with the authorities, and emigrated, followed by a number of his countrymen, in 1831, to the United States, where he attempted to found a colony at a place to which he gave the name of Stallotown, in Auglaize County, Ohio. His career and the prosperity of the colony were cut off, two years afterward, by the ravages of the cholera.

Mr. Stallo's grandfather, an honorable old Friesian, although he had passed his seventieth year when he became his grandson's teacher, took a great interest in the child's development, and rejoiced not a little when he found him, before the end of his fourth year, able to read and to work out simple arithmetical examples. His father gave him particular instruction in mathematics, his favorite study, and took care that he should learn the ancient languages, and French as well—which, out of respect to the old gentleman's national prejudices, had to be taught secretly from the grandfather. In his fifteenth year, young Stallo was sent as a free pupil to the normal school at Vechta, where he also enjoyed the advantage of the instructions of the professors in the gymnasium—an institution in high repute. In a short time he had gained sufficient knowledge of the languages and mathematics to fit him for entrance into the university, but his father had not the means to send him there. The alternative was then presented to him of continuing the chain of schoolmasters in his family, or of emigrating to America. He chose the latter.

He came to this country in 1839, bearing letters of introduction from his father and grandfather to clergymen and teachers in Cincinnati. He at once found a position in a private school in that city, and there he composed and published his first literary work, a German spelling and reading book, which appeared without an author's name. There had been great need of such a book in the lower school classes, and, as this one seemed admirably adapted to its purpose, it soon became popular and passed through many editions. It attracted the attention of the directors of the newly founded Roman Catholic St. Xavier's College, and they, finding also how good a mathematician the author was, appointed Stallo Professor of the German Language, to the duties of which post were added also those of teaching mathematics and the ancient languages. Physical and chemical sci-