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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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Daniel Barnard. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-99337).

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Barnard, Daniel Dewey (11 September 1796–24 April 1861), lawyer, congressman, and diplomat, was born in East Hartford, Connecticut, the son of Timothy Barnard, a county judge, and Phebe Dewey. Barnard’s early years were spent on the family farm near Hartford, Connecticut. When he was twelve the family moved to Mendon, New York (near Rochester). His formal education started with a year at Lenox Academy, after which he transferred to Williams College, where he graduated in 1818....

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James M. Beck. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-94556).

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Beck, James Montgomery (09 July 1861–12 April 1936), lawyer, solicitor general, and congressman, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of James Nathan Beck, the owner of a small music publishing company, and Margaretta C. Darling. Coming from modest financial means, Beck inherited his father’s interest in music and the family’s Moravian antiwar and communitarian heritage, which contributed to his early pacifism and anticorporation viewpoints. Following matriculation at Philadelphia’s Episcopal Academy, Beck graduated from Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in 1880. After reading law, he began legal practice in 1884. From 1888 to 1892, he served as assistant U.S. attorney for eastern Pennsylvania. In 1890 he married Lilla Mitchell, daughter of a Philadelphia businessman, with whom he had two children....

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Thomas Hart Benton Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-71877).

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Benton, Thomas Hart (14 March 1782–10 April 1858), U.S. senator and congressman, was born near Hillsboro (now Hillsborough), North Carolina, the son of Jesse Benton, a lawyer and farmer, and Ann “Nancy” Gooch. Jesse Benton died in 1791, leaving eight children, considerable land, extensive debts, and an aristocratic lifestyle. The family suffered a further blow when Thomas Hart Benton, at age sixteen, was expelled from the University of North Carolina for misusing money entrusted to him by roommates. The future senator was known ever after for scrupulous honesty and belligerent defense of his honor; concern that the story of his expulsion might surface probably influenced his consistent refusals to be considered for the presidency....

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Bidlack, Benjamin Alden (08 September 1804–06 February 1849), lawyer, legislator, and diplomat, was born in Paris, Oneida County, New York, the son of Benjamin Bidlack, a pioneer farmer, and Lydia Alden Bidlack. After his family relocated to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Bidlack completed his education at local public schools and the Wilkes-Barre Academy. Intent on a career in law, he studied law in the office of Garrick Mallery, a local attorney, and was appointed deputy attorney for Luzerne County shortly after gaining admittance to the state bar. After an early marriage to Fanny Stewart ended shortly after it began (for reasons that are not known), Bidlack married Margaret Wallace on 8 September 1829. The couple had seven children....

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Blount, James Henderson (12 September 1837–08 March 1903), lawyer, congressman, and special diplomatic envoy, was born near the village of Clinton, Jones County, Georgia, the son of Thomas Blount and Mary Ricketts, planters. Blount, whose parents died during his childhood, was raised in the household of his older half-brother, David Blount. He attended private schools in Clinton, Georgia, and Tuscaloosa, Alabama, before graduating with honors from the University of Georgia in 1858. He read law and was admitted to the Georgia bar in 1859, and after a brief practice in Clinton, joined the firm of Anderson and Simmons in nearby Macon....

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Bosone, Reva Beck (02 April 1895–21 July 1983), judge and congresswoman, was born in American Fork, Utah, the daughter of Christian M. Beck, a hotel and livery stable owner, and Zilpha Ann Chipman, manager of the hotel. Descended both from Mayflower ancestors and early Utah Mormon pioneers, she was born into a family that emphasized education for both boys and girls. She graduated from Westminster Junior College in 1917 and from the University of California at Berkeley in 1919. She taught speech, drama, and debate in several Utah high schools for seven years before entering the University of Utah College of Law in 1927. There she met and married, in 1929, fellow student Joseph P. Bosone. She received an LL.B. in 1930, shortly before the birth of her daughter....