Thornton Waldo Burgess (January 14, 1874 – June 5, 1965). Born in Sandwich, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, he was a conservationist and author of children's stories. Thornton Waldo Burgess loved the beauty of nature and its living creatures so much that he wrote about them for 50 years. By the time he retired, he had written more than 170 books and 15,000 stories for daily columns in newspapers.
Thornton Waldo Burgess – born on January 14, 1874, in Sandwich, Massachusetts – was the son of Caroline F. Haywood and Thornton W. Burgess Sr., a direct descendant of Thomas Burgess, one of the first settlers of Sandwich, Massachusetts, in 1637. Thornton W. Burgess, Sr., died the same year his son was born, and the young Thornton Burgess was brought up by his mother in Sandwich. They both lived in humble circumstances with relatives or paying rent. As a youth he worked year round in order to earn money. Some of his jobs included tending cows, picking trailing arbutus or berries, shipping water lilies from local ponds, selling candy and trapping muskrats. William C. Chipman, one of his employers, lived on Discovery Hill Road, a wildlife habitat of woodland and wetland. This habitat became the setting of many of Thornton's stories in which he refers to Smiling Pool and the Old Briar Patch.
Graduating from Sandwich High School in 1891, Burgess briefly attended a business college in Boston from 1892 to 1893, living in Somerville, Massachusetts at that time. But he disliked studying business and wanted to write. He moved to Springfield, Massachusetts, where he took a job as an editorial assistant at the Phelps Publishing Company. His first stories were written under the pen name "W.B. Thornton." (Francis X. Scully, "Sage of Sandwich Wrote Over 15,000 Animal Stories, Books," Bradford (PA) Era, 24 February 1977, p. 16).