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Alden, John (1599?–12 September 1687), farmer and magistrate, was one of the original settlers of Plymouth Colony, arriving in New England on the Mayflower in 1620. No definite information exists about his birth, parentage, childhood, or education. In 1620 he lived at Southampton, England, where the migrating Pilgrims stopped for provisions on their way from the Netherlands to the New World. There he was hired as the ship’s cooper in charge of its supply of beer and drinking water. Upon landfall, Alden joined in signing the now famous Mayflower Compact. After the colonists’ arrival in Plymouth, Governor ...

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Raymond Pace Alexander At his desk in his law office, circa 1935-1940. Collections of the University of Pennsylvania Archives.

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Alexander, Raymond Pace (13 October 1898–24 November 1974), lawyer, judge, and civil rights leader, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the third son of Hillard Boone and Virginia Pace Alexander, both slaves in Virginia who were freed in 1865 and migrated to Philadelphia in 1880. His background was working-class poor and he grew up in Philadelphia's seventh ward, an all-black community made famous by W. E. B. Du Bois's seminal study ...

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Allen, Macon Bolling (1816–15 October 1894), lawyer and judge, was born A. Macon Bolling in Indiana; the names of his parents and exact date of birth are unknown. He changed his name to Macon Bolling Allen by act of the Massachusetts legislature on 26 January 1844. Details of Allen’s early life and education are sketchy and contradictory. His birth name is given in some sources as Malcolm B. Allen, and his birthplace as South Carolina. Evidence suggests that he lived in Maine and Massachusetts as a young man. Maine denied his initial application to the Maine bar because of allegations that he was not a state citizen, but he purportedly ran a Portland business before 1844. It is known that he read law in the Maine offices of two white abolitionist lawyers, Samuel E. Sewell and General Samuel Fessenden, and that the latter promoted his admission to the Maine bar in 1844....

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Allen, William (05 August 1704–06 September 1780), chief justice of colonial Pennsylvania, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of William Allen, a wealthy merchant. His mother’s maiden name was Budd; her first name is unknown. Both parents emigrated from Dungannon, Ireland. Through close ties to ...

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Amidon, Charles Fremont (17 August 1856–26 December 1937), federal judge, was born in Chautauqua County, New York, the son of the Reverend John Smith Amidon and Charlotte Ann Curtis. Raised in rural poverty, he worked his way through high school and Hamilton College, from which he graduated in 1882 with honors. He then moved to Fargo, Dakota Territory, as the principal and sole teacher in the city’s newly established high school but soon gave up teaching to read law. Admitted to the bar in 1886, Amidon established himself as a successful lawyer and civic reformer in the growing frontier city. In 1892 he married Beulah Richardson McHenry, who, in addition to caring for their five children, became a prominent civic reformer and feminist....

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Anderson, Joseph Inslee (05 November 1757–17 April 1837), jurist, U.S. senator, and Treasury official, was born near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of William Anderson and Elizabeth Inslee (occupations unknown). When not yet twenty, Anderson enlisted in the Continental army as a private and rose to the rank of major by the war’s end. He was regimental paymaster during much of the war, and his experience in that capacity served him well in positions he held later. He was with ...

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Appleton, John (12 July 1804–07 February 1891), lawyer and judge, was born in New Ipswich, New Hampshire, the son of John Appleton and Elizabeth Peabody, farmers. After graduating from Bowdoin College in 1822, Appleton taught school briefly, then studied law in the offices of George F. Farley of Massachusetts and Nathan Dane Appleton, a relative and prominent attorney in Maine....

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Arrington, Alfred W. (17 September 1810–31 December 1867), minister, author, and judge, was born in Iredell County, North Carolina, the son of H. Archibald Arrington, a Methodist minister. (His mother’s maiden name was Moore; her first name is not known.) Arrington passed his childhood amid the picturesque scenery of the Blue Ridge Mountains. His early education consisted solely of reading from the Bible, until a family with a small library moved into the area and he was able to read more widely....

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Ashe, Samuel (1725–22 January 1813), judge and governor, was born in Beaufort County, North Carolina, the son of John Baptista Ashe and Elizabeth Swann. His father, Beaufort’s representative in the lower house of the assembly and its Speaker at the time of Samuel’s birth, was allied through marriage to a clique of planters who hoped to open the Cape Fear River to white settlement. In 1727 the elder Ashe moved his family of two sons, ...

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Ashe, Thomas Samuel (19 July 1812–04 February 1887), jurist and congressman, was born at “the Hawfields,” Orange County, North Carolina, the home of his maternal grandfather, where his parents regularly spent the summer. He was the son of Pasquale Paoli Ashe, the owner of a plantation in coastal New Hanover County, North Carolina, and a coal mine in Alabama, and Elizabeth Jane Strudwick. His father lost his entire fortune about 1829 as surety for the debts of a friend....

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Atkinson, Theodore (20 December 1697–22 September 1779), chief justice of New Hampshire, was born in New Castle, New Hampshire, the son of Theodore Atkinson, a provincial councilor, and Mary (maiden name unknown). He was the fourth of five linearly descended Theodore Atkinsons and as long as his father lived was known as Theodore Atkinson, Jr. After graduating from Harvard College in 1718 he returned to New Castle and succeeded his father, who died the following year, in several minor public offices. Atkinson also traded, gained election to the General Court, and used his position as clerk of common pleas to learn law. In 1731 he was admitted to the New Hampshire bar....

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Auchmuty, Robert (1687–28 April 1750), lawyer and Massachusetts vice admiralty judge, was born in Newtown Flood, County Longford, Ireland, of a Scottish family of noble lineage. He was the son of Captain John Auchmuty, a member of Parliament, and Isabella Stirling.

Auchmuty received his legal training in London at the Middle Temple beginning in 1705 and was called to the bar in 1711. He emigrated to Massachusetts in 1716, apparently as a protégé of the new royal governor, ...

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Axtell, Samuel Beach (14 October 1819–06 August 1891), politician, lawyer, and jurist, was born near Columbus, Ohio, the son of Samuel Loree Axtell and Nancy Sanders, farmers. Axtell graduated from Western Reserve College in Hudson, Ohio, and, after studying law, was admitted to the bar. He married Adaline S. Williams in 1840, and in 1843 they moved to Mount Clemens, Michigan, where Axtell established a law practice. The couple had at least one child. In 1851 Axtell migrated to California, where he invested in the booming mining industry and practiced law. Politically active as a Democrat, he helped organize Amador County east of Sacramento in 1854 and was elected as the new county’s first district attorney, a post to which he was reelected in 1856 and 1858....

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Ayllón, Lucas Vázquez de (1480?–18 October 1526), Spanish judge and founder of the first Spanish colony in North America, was born at Toledo, Spain, the son of Juan Vázquez de Ayllón, a member of a distinguished Mozarabic family, and Inés de Villalobos. Lucas was educated in the law, earning the ...

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Baker, Harvey Humphrey (11 April 1869–10 April 1915), juvenile court judge, was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, the son of James Baker, a merchant, and Harriet M. Humphrey. The child of a prosperous New England family with deep roots in the region, Baker did his college preparatory work at the Roxbury Latin School before entering Harvard University, where his scholarship earned him an A.B. in political science with Phi Beta Kappa honors in 1891. In college he worked as a friendly visitor for the Boston Children’s Aid Society and continued to do so while attending Harvard Law School. He received his law degree and a master’s in 1894, commenced the practice of law, and shortly thereafter began a lifelong connection with the Brookline law firm (later known as) Hayes, Williams, Baker & Hersey. Baker spent his first year clerking in the township’s police court and then served as a special justice from 1895 until 1906, when Massachusetts governor Curtis Guild selected him to become the first judge of the newly created Boston juvenile court....

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Baldwin, Simeon (14 December 1761–26 May 1851), lawyer and jurist, was born in Norwich, Connecticut, the son of Ebenezer Baldwin, a blacksmith and farmer, and Bethiah Barker. His mother died when he was a few weeks old. After a period of study with his brother the Reverend Ebenezer Baldwin in Danbury and additional schooling in Coventry and Lebanon, Baldwin attended Yale University from 1777 to 1781, a period that was interrupted by the fighting of the revolutionary war. After graduation from Yale, he taught school in New Haven and in Albany, New York, in order to support himself while deciding on a career. He became a close friend of ...

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Baldwin, Simeon Eben (05 February 1840–30 January 1927), law professor, judge, and Connecticut governor, was born in New Haven, Connecticut, the son of Roger Sherman Baldwin, a lawyer and U.S. senator, and Emily Perkins. Baldwin entered Yale College in 1857 and graduated with a B.A. in 1861. After studying at Yale Law School and Harvard Law School from 1861 to 1863, he was admitted to the Connecticut bar and opened a solo law office in New Haven. He rapidly proceeded to build up the largest individual practice in the state by representing railroads, corporations, and wealthy individuals....

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Barry, William Taylor (05 February 1784–30 August 1835), politician, jurist, and postmaster general, was born in Lunenburg County, Virginia, the son of John Barry, a revolutionary war veteran and farmer, and Susannah Dozier. The family moved to Kentucky, apparently in 1796, and settled in Fayette County. Following a course of study in law at William and Mary College, Barry was admitted to the Kentucky bar and set up practice in Lexington in 1805. That same year he married Lucy Waller Overton, with whom he would have two children before her premature death....

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Battle, William Horn (17 October 1802–14 March 1879), jurist and law professor, was born in Edgecombe County, North Carolina, the son of Joel Battle, a planter and manufacturer of cotton goods, and Mary Johnson. He graduated second in his class at the University of North Carolina in 1820 and studied law under Chief Justice ...