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Cortina, Juan Nepomuceno (16 May 1824–30 October 1892), revolutionary, politician, Mexican governor, and rancher, was born in Camargo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, the son of Trinidad Cortina, the town mayor and an important landowner, and María Estéfana Goseascochea. Little is known of Juan Cortina’s early life and education. Upon the death of his father in the early 1840s, his family moved to the Espíritu Santo grant, part of the area between the Nueces and Río Grande claimed by both Mexico and Texas and the future site of the city of Brownsville, Texas. This land belonged to Cortina’s mother. Cortina associated with ...

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Digges, Thomas Attwood (04 July 1742–06 December 1821), gentleman, confidential agent, ne'er-do-well, and novelist, gentleman, confidential agent, ne’er-do-well, and novelist, was born in Warburton, Maryland, the son of William Digges and Ann Attwood, the owners of “Warburton Manor.” Digges was sent abroad to be educated. Family tradition holds that he attended Oxford University, but his Catholic faith and the absence of his name in university records make this unlikely. In 1767, after being disowned by his family for reasons that are not known, Digges purportedly went to live in Portugal, where he stayed until 1773 or 1774. In a subsequent letter to ...

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Fannin, James Walker (01 January 1804–27 March 1836), Texas revolutionary leader, was the son of Dr. Isham Fannin, a Georgia planter. His mother’s identity is unknown, but apparently she was a member of the Walker family. James was adopted and raised by his maternal grandfather, James W. Walker, on a plantation near Marion, Georgia, following a dispute over his legitimacy. Little is known about Fannin’s years in Georgia....

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Hecker, Friedrich Karl Franz (28 September 1811–24 March 1881), German revolutionary and American politician and soldier, was born in Eichtersheim, Grand Duchy of Baden, German League, the son of Joseph Hecker, a civil servant, and Wilhelmine von Lüder. Born a Catholic, he was educated at the humanistically oriented Gymnasium at Mannheim, finishing in 1830. He studied law at Heidelberg University from 1830 to 1833, taking the summer semester of 1833 at Munich before returning to Heidelberg to complete his doctorate in law in June 1834. Although Hecker underwent training to be a civil servant (including half a year studying legal procedures in Paris in 1835–1836), he entered private practice as an attorney. In 1839 he married Josephine Eisenhardt; they had nine children, five of whom survived infancy....