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Carl August Sandburg born Jan 6 1878 was a poet writer and folk musician He was born in Galesburg Illinois He had six siblings and his father August Sandburg was a railroad blacksmiths helper His parents were hardworking Swedish immigrants Carls father used to work on the Chicago Burlington and Quincy railroads in Galesburg Carls mother Clara Mathilda Anderson was employed as a hotel maid in Bushnell Illinois The prudent couple taught and instilled in their seven children the necessity of hard work and education as well as a respect for the American dream Carl Sandburg Americanized his Swedish name when he entered the first grade thereafter signing his school papers and his early work as Charles A Sandburg He ended his public school education after eighth grade and worked in his hometown shining shoes delivering milk and newspapers and performing other odd jobs His thirst for travel and adventure along with a railroad pass borrowed to him from his father led to his first significant journey in 1896 a trip to Chicago the city he later covered as a reporter and celebrated as a poet During 1897 Sandburg stowed away atop and inside railroad boxcars working his way west by train through Iowa Missouri Kansas Nebraska and Colorado in search of jobs After a few months Sandburg returned to Galesburg for a brief restless stint as a housepainter before enlisting in Company C of the Sixth Infantry Regiment of the Illinois Volunteers for service in the Spanish-American War He was assigned to duty in Puerto Rico from July until late August 1898 In October 1898 although he lacked a high school diploma Sandburgs status as a war veteran qualified him for admission with free tuition to Lombard College in his hometown He also received a conditional appointment to the US Military Academy in 1899 He traveled to West Point to take the entrance examinations but failed the required mathematics and grammar tests He returned
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