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When john muir was a young man, few would have predicted that he would become a celebrated preservationist, founder of the Sierra Club, and advocate for national parks. Born in Dunbar, Scotland, Muir showed an early proclivity for mechanical work. His family immigrated to rural Wisconsin, near the town of Portage, in 1849. His father was a strict Calvinist and instructed Muir, the eldest male child, in Biblical teachings, but did not allow any of his eight children to attend school. Muir obtained books from friends and soon developed an interest in science. His mechanical abilities won him recognition at the Wisconsin State Fair where he displayed some of his ingenious devices, one of which was an intricately carved alarm clock attached to a bed ...

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