LOUIS L'AMOUR Biography - Writers


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he man who would become Louis L'Amour grew up in the fading days of the American     
frontier. He was born Louis Dearborn LaMoore on March 22, 1908, the last of         
seven children in the family of Dr. Louis Charles LaMoore and Emily Dearborn         
LaMoore. His home, for the first fifteen years of his life, was Jamestown, North     
Dakota, a medium sized farming community situated in the valley where Pipestem       
Creek flows into the James River. Doctor LaMoore was a large animal veterinarian     
who came to Dakota Territory in 1882. As times changed he also sold farm             
machinery, bossed harvesting crews, and held several positions in city and state     
Though the land around Jamestown was mostly given to farming, Louis and his         
older brothers often met cowboys as they came through on the Northern Pacific       
Railroad, traveling to market with stockcars full of cattle or returning to         
their ranches in the western part of the North Dakota or Montana. For awhile Dr.     
L.C. LaMoore was a state Livestock Inspector, a post that required him to           
certify the health of all the cattle that came through the Jamestown area.           
When Louis was very young his grandfather, Abraham Truman Dearborn, came to live     
in a little house just in back of the LaMoore's. He told Louis of the great         
battles in history and of his own experiences as a soldier in both the civil and     
Indian wars. Two of Louis' uncles had worked on ranches for many years, one as a     
manager and the other as an itinerate cowboy. It was in the company of men such     
as these that Louis was first exposed to the history and adventure of the           
American Frontier.                                                                   
Louis at 12 years old.                                                               
Though the LaMoore household had a modest collection of books, it was at the         
nearby Alfred Dickey Free Library, where his eldest sister, Edna, was a             
librarian, that Louis spent many long hours exploring in depth subjects only         
touched on by the schools. He expanded his education by studying far afield of       
the local curriculum. In addition to the non-fiction study of history and the       
natural sciences, Louis was captivated by the fiction of Robert Louis Stevenson,     
Jack London, Edgar Rice Burroughs and others ... letting them carry him away to     
the south seas, the gold fields of the Yukon, the Spanish Main, the center of       
the earth and the dying red planet of Mars.                                         
By the beginning of the 1920s Louis and his adopted brother John were the only       
children left in the LaMoore household. Edna, had moved away to pursue a career     
as a schoolteacher. His eldest brother, Parker, was on his way to becoming a         
successful newspaperman and political aid. Second brother, Yale, managed a           
grocery store where John and Louis occasionally worked. The twins, Clara and         
Clarice, had died while infants and his beloved sister Emmy Lou had succumbed to     
the 1918 epidemic of Spanish influenza.