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Daniel Decatur Emmett


     One of the most famous of Knox County's historical persons was Daniel Decatur Emmett. He is most often remembered as a musician-performer, but he was, in fact, an important writer. He was born in Mount Vernon, Ohio, on October 29, 1815. He was the son of Abraham and Sally (Zerrick) Emmett. Daniel's grandfather, John Emmett, had come to Ohio from Virginia to claim a land grant for his services in the Revolutionary War. John had been a farmer, trapper, and Methodist circuit rider. Daniel's father, Abraham, was a blacksmith.

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Paul Kester


  Paul Kester was an internationally popular writer of plays and dramatizations during the early 20th century. He was born in Delaware County, Ohio in 1870, the son of Franklin and Harriet (Watkins) Kester. Not much detail about the family is known. Biographers report that Paul spent his early years in Mount Vernon, Ohio. He was educated by tutors in Mount Vernon and Cleveland. The family also spent some time in Florida.
   In about 1892 he moved east with his older brother Vaughn. Most of his adult life he lived in New York and Virginia, with a few years spent in England. Paul died in 1933 in Lake Mohegan, New York.
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John Crowe Ransom


   John Crowe Ransom was a renowned American poet and literary critic. He was born in 1888 in Pulaski, Tennessee, to James and Ella (Crowe) Ransom. His father was a Methodist minister. John entered Vanderbilt University in Nashville in 1903 at the age of fifteen. After graduation in 1909 he studied classics as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford until 1913. After serving in World War I, he married Robb Reavill and became a teacher of English at Vanderbilt University, where he remained until 1937. While at Vanderbilt Ransom became a leader of a group of poets who shared a belief in the South and its regional traditions.

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Eva Sparks Taylor


   Eva Sparks Taylor was an enthusiastic writer of poetry. Eva Sparks was born in Licking County, Ohio, in 1903 to Forest and Lulu Sparks. The family moved to Knox County, where Eva spent most of the rest of her life. After graduating from high school, she attended Bowling Green State University in Kentucky. Having decided on a business career, she returned to Mount Vernon where she worked as a secretary at The Cooper-Bessemer Corporation. In 1931 Eva married Laurence Taylor, and the couple lived in other locations in Ohio where Laurence, a civil engineer, was working on Muskingum River dam projects. In 1938 the Taylors moved back to Mount Vernon.

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Robert Lowell, Jr.


   Robert Trail Spence Lowell, Jr. was an important poet with a Knox County, Ohio, connection. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1917 where his father, Robert Trail Spence, Sr. was a naval officer. Robert, Jr. spent most of his youth in Boston, except for periods of time in Washington and Philadelphia when the family was following Robert, Sr., in his naval assignments. Robert attended St. Mark’s School in Boston and studied for two years at Harvard University. He transferred to Kenyon College in order to study under John Crowe Ransom. He graduated from Kenyon in 1940 with a B.A. in classical studies. That same year he married Jean Stafford.

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Knox County Historical Society

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Mount Vernon, OH 43050

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