His parents were only barely, partially literate.
They made “markings” in place of signing their names. Their son, Will, unlike his peers, couldn’t write Greek or Latin, or follow them to school in the nation’s capital. Most folks said the boy, who wished to be a writer, needed an editor. His father, John, a maker and seller of gloves, and a Catholic, wisely posed as an Elizabethan Protestant. He had the paintings and icons of the local Catholic Church taken down. And then gradually had the Church destroyed. Covertly, he signed a Roman Catholic “Spiritual Testament,” and hid it in the rafters of the family home. This meant the family was Catholic at a time when being a Catholic priest was a capital crime, and all active Catholics were under suspicion.
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