Monday, November 18, 2013
Sidney Lanier 3.2.1972
Born in Macon, Georgia, Sidney Lanier was a teacher at Johns Hopkins University and an American poet noted for writing about the beauty of the American South. Lake Sidney Lanier, located on the Chattahoochee River in northern Georgia, is named in his honour. This 8¢ stamp was issued on 3.2.1972 in Macon, GA, that is in Lanier’s hometown on the anniversary of his birthday.
Sidney Clopton Lanier was born February 3, 1842, in Macon, Georgia, to parents Robert Sampson Lanier and Mary Jane Anderson; he was mostly of English ancestry. His distant French Huguenot ancestors immigrated to England in the 16th century fleeing religious persecution. He began playing the flute at an early age, and his love of that musical instrument continued throughout his life. He attended Oglethorpe University near Milledgeville, Georgia, where he was a member of theSigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. He graduated first in his class shortly before the outbreak of the American Civil War.
He fought in the Civil War, primarily in the tidewater region of Virginia, where he served in the Confederate signal corps. Later, he and his brother Clifford served as pilots aboard English blockade runners. On one of these voyages, his ship was boarded. Refusing to take the advice of the British officers on board to don one of their uniforms and pretend to be one of them, he was captured. He was incarcerated in a military prison at Point Lookout in Maryland, where he contracted tuberculosis (
generally known as "consumption" at the time). He suffered greatly from this disease, then incurable and usually fatal, for the rest of his life.