By every account he [Baron Stow] was a precocious child who was said to have made use of a large boulder known as “the pulpit” near his house for exactly that purpose for the edification of his playmates. When he was eight, his parents moved from Croydon [New Hampshire] to a farm in nearby Newport, and at fourteen he is said to have read every book in the library of that (admittedly small) town. At fifteen his father died, and his hunger for knowledge was compromised by the responsibilities, as the eldest son, of running the farm. In later years, prompted by his reading of the life of Thomas Scott, the well-known commentator on the Bible, Stow in his journal offered some candid musings about the tensions he had felt at that time:
"I am aware that I never loved manual labor—generally avoided it when practicable. This was not occasioned by any love of idleness. It was owing to an unconquerable thirst for knowledge. I loved books better. But for a whole year previous to my first thoughts about the ministry, I had fully made up my mind to seek a livelihood, yea, even wealth, by agriculture. I formed plans which are now fresh in my memory, and I became quite ambitious to carry them into splendid execution. There are, probably, a hundred persons in Newport who will never think otherwise than that I entered this most holy work because I was too indolent to labor on a farm. In this, however, I honestly aver that they were mistaken."
---J. Ramsey Michaels