Anytime I bring up to anybody that William Shakespeare was from Kalamazoo. I get looks like I’m crazy. That is until I tell them about the fact that there is not just one William Shakespeare, but multiple. The one we know worldwide is nothing compared to the one that we know from here in Kalamazoo.

In fact, the one from here may be just as interesting as there are more things about this man that I’ve just found out for myself. William Shakespeare was born on April 7, 1844, in Ohio and as a youngster moved to Kalamazoo with his parents. But it was what happened at such a young age that made him pretty incredible.

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Find A Grave talks about his unique involvement in the Civil War:

He graduated from here in 1859, at the age of fifteen. He then clerked in a store for a short time, and was only seventeen when he enlisted in Company K, Second Michigan Infantry, on April 12,1861, and was mustered into the United States service on May 25. After more than three years of hard service he was mustered out on account of wounds received in service. He was shot in the charge at Jackson, Miss., and both thighs were broken. Not until he reached the hospital at Cincinnati, thirty-three days later, did these terrible wounds receive attention.

So this kid damn near had his legs blown off, yet was able to save them. On top of all that his injuries from the Civil War didn’t even seem to phase him as he would go on to be the editor and proprietor of the Kalamazoo Gazette, only 21 years old.

His son, William Shakespeare Junior, as we all know, would grow to become an inventor and entrepreneur forming the Shakespeare Company. That’s one hell of a legacy he left behind.

Michigan's Involvement in the Civil War, 1860s

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