Daniel P. Thompson was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts on October 1, 1795. He was the son of Daniel and Rebecca (Parker) Thompson. On his father's side he was descended from James Thompson, who settled in Massachusetts before 1632; on his mother's he was apparently descended from Ezekiel Cheever, seventeenth-century educator. In 1800 his father, being unsuccessful in business, moved to a small farm at Berlin, Vt. Thus Daniel grew up in a frontier settlement in which there was neither a library nor an adequate school. At sixteen, however, he chanced upon a volume of English poetry, and this book opened a new world to him.