Lewis Wallace was born at Brookville, Indiana, the son of David and Esther French (Test) Wallace. His mother, to whom he was deeply attached, died during his boyhood. He early displayed a love of adventure; his father tried to keep him in school, but the boy was irked by ordinary tasks and preferred to draw caricatures or to play truant. As he grew older, however, he carried his books to the woods as often as his gun and rod. When his father was elected governor of Indiana in 1837 and the family moved to Indianapolis, Lew's zest for reading was stimulated by the advantages of the state library. Before he was sixteen he began to support himself by copying records in the county clerk's office. About the same time, Prescott's Conquest of Mexico made such a deep impression upon him that he determined to write upon the theme. Thus The Fair God of later years had its inception.