John Geary was a giant of a man, standing over 6-foot-6 and weighing 250 pounds. His stature, however, barely measures up to his accomplishments, for he ruled over more territories, cities and states in his short life than befalls the most ambitious politician. Undoubtedly his size, penetrating gaze and mercurial temper intimidated friends and foes alike. But his ability to lead was never in question; John Geary was as bright as he was tough, a true maven of politics and duty, a titan in every respect. Mt. Pleasant, Pa., was his home from his birth in 1819 to 1833, when he left to study law at Jefferson College. But a year later his father, a teacher, was crushed to death by an overturned carriage, leaving the family in debt. Geary, already large for his age, returned to Mt. Pleasant and assumed his father's teaching position. Students who questioned his authority or competency to teach were physically rebuffed.