Author. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, he, like many adolescents before him, he attempted to establish his life work by attending Edinburgh University pursuing the wrong vocation. While studying engineering, Stevenson soon realized writing was his real passion. However, he was handicapped by being frail and tubercular. Although many remember him merely as a childrens book writer because of "Treasure Island," he was, however, a prolific writer with many novels, Essays and not least of all poetry. Robert Louis Stevenson, because of his illness, sought any refuge that would give him relief. From Europe to America mainly California where he married his much older wife, Fanny, in Oakland. They spent their honeymoon in Northern California in what today is known as the Robert Louis Stevenson State Park. Most of his finest works were written during his nomadic travels, 'Kidnapped, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde, A child's Garden of Verses and The Master of Ballantae.' While searching the South Pacific for the perfect climate, he stopped in Honolulu leading to his famous visit to the leper settlement at Molokai. He had great empathy for the lepers and walked freely among them. The recently deceased Father Damien was under severe criticism for his methods of caring for the lepers. This visit produced Louis Stevenson vindication of the memory of Father Damien with publication of an open letter entitled "Father Damien." He finally found his paradise on the Island of Samoa, high on the slope of Vaca Mountain where he constructed a large house and dubbed the estate "Vailima" (Five Rivers). At the age of 44, while sitting on the veranda with his wife, he suffered a brain hemorrhage which took his life. Local Samoans constructed a hardwood coffin. The following day, they in relay teams took him to the summit of Vaca and buried him while conducting a Presbyterian service. Later a crude sarcophagus was constructed over the grave inscribed with his most famous poem "Requiem," ending with the verse, 'Home is the sailor, home from the sea, and the hunter home from the hill' After his death, his wife Fanny returned to California. She died in 1914 was cremated and her ashes were returned to Samoa and buried beside her husband.
Bio by: Donald Greyfield
Frances Matilda Van De Grift Stevenson
1840–1914 (m. 1880)