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Bennett, John Cook (03 August 1804–05 August 1867), physician, religious leader, and entrepreneur, was born in Fair Haven, Bristol County, Massachusetts, the son of John Bennett, a shipowner, and Abigail Cook. At his father’s death in 1817, he moved with his mother to Ohio to stay with relatives. In 1825, after a three-year apprenticeship with a physician and an oral examination by an Ohio medical society, Bennett received his M.D. and a license to practice. That year he married Mary Barker; they had three children. There is no evidence supporting his claim to have attended Ohio University or McGill College in Montreal; he did, however, become a Freemason in 1826....

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Blackstone, William (05 March 1595–26 May 1675), Anglican clergyman, horticulturist, and first European settler in what is now Rhode Island, was born in Whickham, Durham, England, the son of John Blackstone, a wealthy landowner and poultryman, and Agnes Hawley. At Emmanuel College, Cambridge, Blackstone (sometimes Blackston or Blaxton) took his B.A. in 1617 and his M.A. in 1621. He at once took orders in the Church of England....

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Bryan, Hugh (1699–31 December 1753), planter, assemblyman, and evangelical Christian, was born near Beaufort in South Carolina, the son of Joseph Bryan, an Indian trader and farmer, and Janet Cochran. Bryan’s father was an early settler on South Carolina’s southern frontier, and it was there that Hugh Bryan spent most of his life. As a boy he was taken prisoner by Indians during the Yamasee War (1715) and was carried to St. Augustine, where he was eventually released. According to tradition, Bryan “met with a Bible among the ...

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Heathcote, Caleb (06 March 1666–01 March 1721), merchant, manor lord, and Anglican activist, was born in Derbyshire, England, the son of Gilbert Heathcote, a trader in hides and iron who served as mayor of Chesterfield, England, and Anne Dickens. While living in England Heathcote became a merchant specializing in trade with New York, where he settled in 1692 after the woman to whom he was betrothed fell in love with his brother Samuel and married him instead....

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Ivins, Anthony Woodward (16 September 1852–23 September 1934), businessman, rancher, and church leader, was born in Toms River, New Jersey, the son of Israel Ivins, a pioneer physician and farmer, and Anna Lowrie. Shortly after Ivins’s birth, his family converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon). They moved west to the Salt Lake Valley, and in 1861 Israel Ivins was assigned by ...

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Other Day, John (1819?–30 October 1869), Christian farmer chief of the Wahpeton Dakotas, who became famous for leading white settlers to safety during the Dakota War of 1862, was born in southern Minnesota, the son of Scarlet Bird (Zitkadanduta), a war shaman. His mother’s name is not known. His Indian name was Anpetutokeca; he was also known as Good Sounding Voice, or Hotonhowaste....

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Penn, William (14 October 1644–30 July 1718), founder of Pennsylvania and eminent English Quaker, was born in London, England, the son of Sir William Penn, an admiral, and Margaret Jasper Vanderschuren, the daughter of a Rotterdam merchant. Penn was educated at Chigwell Free Grammar School, Essex, and Christ Church College, Oxford, where he studied from 1660 until 1662, when he was expelled for openly criticizing the Church of England. In an effort to prevent him from becoming a dissenter and to prepare him for the life of a gentleman, his father sent him to tour the Continent. In France the younger Penn studied Huguenot theology at L’Académie Protestante de Saumur. He returned to England in 1664 a more sophisticated man and the next year entered legal study at Lincoln’s Inn. He then assisted his father in business and military affairs. These activities required attendance at court, where he made acquaintances that would later prove useful, especially his friendship with Charles II’s brother, James, duke of York....

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William Penn. Print, c. 1897. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-106735).

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Perry, Edward (1630?–1695), farmer and Quaker leader, was born in England (parents and place unknown). Perry reached Sandwich, Massachusetts (then part of Plymouth Colony), by 1652 and took up land there. In 1654 he married Mary Freeman, the daughter of Edmund Freeman of Sandwich; the couple had nine children. Perry was punished for refusing to comply with the Plymouth Colony’s marriage regulations requiring that a magistrate preside over the wedding. The ceremony that Mary and Edward used apparently anticipated Quaker (Friends) marriage proceedings in which the couple exchanged vows publicly before witnesses, without the supervision of a minister or magistrate, after which all present signed the marriage certificate. When Quaker missionaries appeared in the colony in 1657, Perry was among the first to join their movement. While not as draconian in its persecution of Quakers as Massachusetts, Plymouth reacted negatively to their arrival by severely fining and disfranchising resident Quakers and expelling Quaker missionaries from the colony. Thus, Perry was fined and disfranchised and lost the chance for community leadership for over a decade, although he must have retained the respect of many town residents who defended their Quaker neighbors....

Article

Rosen, Joseph A. (15 February 1877–02 April 1949), agronomist and resettlement expert, was born in Moscow, Russia, and apparently raised 100 miles south in Tula. Nothing is known of his parents and early life. He once acknowledged being held in the Boutirka prison for two months at age fifteen for reading a book that said Czar Alexander was a drunkard. He attended Moscow University in 1894 but, because of anti-czarist activities, was exiled to Siberia for five years. Within six months Rosen escaped to Germany, where he supposedly enrolled at the University of Heidelberg to study philosophy and chemistry. He supported himself by writing for Russian journals....