Indiana Jones: The Inspiration behind the Legendary Explorer

One Lucky Boy

On January 26th, 1884, Roy Chapman Andrews was born in Beloit. He grew up exploring the streams and fields on the west side of town. As a child, Andrews taught himself taxidermy and used it to pay for tuition at Beloit College. While he was in school, Andrews almost died in a boating accident in Rock River. He was canoeing in flood-raised waters with a buddy when they both fell into the strong current.


from the left, Carl Akeley, Raymond Ditmars, Carl Lumholtz, and Roy Chapman Andrews. Owner Frank Seaman is standing. They were four of the era’s most prominent explorers and naturalists. Photo By Underwood Archives/UIG/Shutterstock

Sadly, his friend didn’t make it. Andrews couldn’t help him because he was swept away. He hung on to a submerged tree and made it to shore from there. Andrews later said that the reason he was so protected in his travels is that he was “born under a lucky star.” But, in reality, it was his attention to safety, instilled in him after this life-threatening incident.

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