Thoreau's father was a pencil-maker (source). That's kind of perfect, considering his son became a writer.
Thoreau died of tuberculosis at the age of 44. His last words? "Moose" and "Indian" (source).
One of Thoreau's most important essays is "Civil Disobedience," an essay that advocated peaceful resistance. This work has inspired everyone from Gandhi to Martin Luther King, Jr. In the essay, he famously wrote, "The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think is right […] All men recognize the right of revolution; that is the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist, the government, when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable." Pretty heavy stuff.
Thoreau's cabin didn't survive through the years, but the folks at Walden Pond have created a replica so that you can get an idea of where and how he lived.