I read an entry on Benjamin Banneker from the book, “The Freedmen’s Book” (1865). This entry is about a man born in Ellicott City (then Ellicott Mills), MD in 1732. He built the first clock in America, after only having seen a watch. Then taught himself astronomy and developed an Almanac (again, first in the country):

“When he was fifty-nine years old, he made an Almanac. It is a very difficult job to calculate all about the changes of the moon, and the rising and ebbing of the tides, and at what time the sun will rise and set every day, all the year round; and it was a much more difficult task then than it is now; because now there is a great improvement in astronomical books and instruments.”

I so would have liked to meet him!

Many other passages in the above book are great; I just started reading it…

I found the above after reading a letter sent by a former slave, on the Letters of Note blog. These interWebs are just great for finding information you didn’t even know you were interested in!