In observance of the Ides of March, here is an old offering from the Coolidge family album: a photo of Julius Caesar Coolidge (far left) as a boy, the President’s uncle, taken with his family: father, Calvin Galusha; mother, Almeda Brewer; and brother, John Calvin (far right). While Calvin Coolidge never met Julius, who died two years before the future President was born, he experienced much the same mixture of joy and sorrow, play and hard work of which Calvin later summarized from his own experience:
“It would be hard to imagine better surroundings for the development of a boy than those which I had. While a wider breadth of training and knowledge could have been presented to me, there was a daily contact with many new ideas, and the mind was given sufficient opportunity thoroughly to digest all that came to it. Country life does not always have breadth, but it has depth. It is neither artificial nor superficial, but is kept close to the realities” (The Autobiography, p.33).
Like many families of the early nineteenth century, the courageous deeds of heroes from antiquity intermixed with the unshakeable convictions of religious heroes from the Reformation and Great Awakening to be perpetuated in the choice of names for babies born to those early pioneers of Vermont and beyond. What better way to evoke great things for new lives than to name one for the brave conqueror and another for the stalwart reformer?