Willa Cather was born in Back Creek Valley near Winchester, Virginia, on December 7, 1873. She was the first of seven children born to Charles F. and Mary Virginia Boak Cather. Her family had emigrated to the United States shortly after the Revolutionary War from Ireland by way of Wales. The combination of unsuccessful sheep farming and a family history of tuberculosis prompted the family to move nine years later to Nebraska. The family traveled west by train to homestead in Webster County. Her father moved the family from the homestead farm to the town of Red Cloud, where he pursued a career in insurance. Although Red Cloud could claim only 2,500 inhabitants, Cather received a public education as well as the benefit of her German neighbor's extensive library. In addition, she took Latin and Greek lessons from an English immigrant and music lessons from a Norwegian woman. Among her many interests as a young woman was science. Aspiring to be a doctor, Cather followed
This is the end of the preview. Sign up
access the rest of the document.