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Carroll of Carrollton, Charles (19 September 1737–14 November 1832), planter, businessman, investor, and the only Roman Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence, as well as the last of the signers to die, was born in Annapolis, Maryland, the son of Charles Carroll of Annapolis, a planter, and his common-law wife, Elizabeth Brooke. An only child, Carroll was sent at the age of ten to the Jesuit college of St. Omers, in French Flanders, where Maryland’s Catholic gentry sent their sons because the colony’s laws, which denied “papists” the right to vote, hold office, practice law, and worship publicly, also forbade them to maintain religious schools. Young Carroll studied abroad for sixteen years, ending with a thesis in philosophy at the college of Louis le Grand in Paris in 1757. After reading civil law in Bourges and Paris, he moved to London in September 1759 to pursue the common law at the Inns of Court. However, his antipathy for the discipline, which he regarded as “founded upon and still subsisting by villainy,” became so intense that he ultimately defied his father’s intention that he formally enter the Inner Temple, one of the four Inns of Court. Finding the paternal insistence on his acquiring the social graces more to his liking, he became adept at dancing, drawing, and fencing and mastered Italian, bookkeeping, and surveying, practical skills the elder Carroll deemed essential for success as a landowner and man of business....

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Charles Carroll of Carrollton. Lithograph on paper, 1832, by Albert Newsam. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

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Forstall, Edmond Jean (07 November 1794–16 November 1873), merchant, banker, and sugar planter, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of Edouard Pierre Forstall and Celeste de la Villebeauve. The father’s occupation is uncertain, but in Edmond’s youth several members of the Forstall family, Edouard perhaps one of them, were active in Louisiana commerce. Record of Edmond’s education is lacking, but at the age of twelve he went to work for a merchant. In his adulthood he was fluent in English as well as French and read and wrote widely in both languages. As early as 1818 he was named a director of the Louisiana State Bank. By 1819 he was associated with the New Orleans firm of Gordon, Grant & Company, and in 1823 when the firm reorganized as Gordon & Forstall, Forstall became managing partner. In July 1823 he married Clara Durel; the couple had eleven children, one of whom died in infancy....

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Heard, Dwight Bancroft (01 May 1869–14 March 1929), investment banker, farmer, and publisher, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Leander Bradford Heard, a wholesale grocer, and Lucy Bancroft. His father died in 1882. After Heard finished high school in Brookline, Massachusetts, his mother moved the family to Chicago, where Heard began work at the hardware sellers Hibbard, Spencer & Bartlett. The wife of the firm’s president, Adolphus Bartlett, was a distant relative of Heard, who quickly became Bartlett’s protégé. Heard was the company’s specialist in credit sales in Wisconsin and much of the Midwest. In 1893 he married Maie Pitkin Bartlett, Adolphus Bartlett’s daughter; they had one child....

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Hoffmann, Francis Arnold (05 June 1822–23 January 1903), German-American political leader, businessman, and agricultural writer, was born in Herford, Westphalia, Prussia, the son of Frederick William Hoffmann, a bookbinder, and Wilhelmina Groppe. Educated at the Gymnasium in Herford, he left home in 1840 to emigrate to the United States. He traveled first to Chicago, where he worked briefly as a hotel porter then took a position as teacher for a German congregation in Addison township, Du Page County, Illinois, west of Chicago. He also led hymns and read sermons in the church services. In 1841 he went to Michigan to study under clergy of the Lutheran Michigan Synod and was ordained. He returned to Addison to serve as pastor and also served other congregations in northeastern Illinois. In 1844 he married Cynthia Gilbert, a native of Ohio. The exact number of their children is unknown; four survived Hoffmann. He acquired citizenship by naturalization in 1846....

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Littlefield, George Washington (21 June 1842–10 November 1920), cattle dealer, banker, and philanthropist, was born in Panola County, Mississippi, the son of Fleming Littlefield and Mildred Terrell Satterwhite White, plantation owners. At the age of nine he moved with his family to a 1,500-acre plantation on the Guadalupe River, north of Gonzales, Texas. A year after his father’s death in 1853, George’s mother inventoried the family’s holdings and divided them among her children. Consequently, George received five slaves, mules, horses, cattle, oxen, hogs, tools, and a carriage at the young age of twelve. After attending Baylor University in Independence, Texas, in 1857 and 1858, Littlefield returned to work on his mother’s expanding plantation. He then joined the Eighth Texas Cavalry, also known as Terry’s Texas Rangers, in August 1861. He fought as a lieutenant at Shiloh and as a captain in both Tennessee and Kentucky, most notably at the battle of Chickamauga. While returning to battle from a recruiting trip to Texas, Littlefield married Alice P. Tiller, whom he had known in Gonzales, in January 1863 in Houston. The couple had no children. He became major of his regiment, but while replacing a wounded lieutenant colonel at Mossy Creek, he sustained a life-threatening wound in December 1863. Acting on the advice of a surgeon, Littlefield resigned from service in late summer of the next year....

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Lowden, Frank Orren (26 January 1861–20 March 1943), businessman, governor of Illinois, and agriculturist, was born near the village of Sunrise City, Minnesota, the son of Lorenzo Orren Lowden and Nancy Elizabeth Bregg, and grew up in central Iowa. His father, a restless and independent man, worked as blacksmith and farmer, then studied law while in his forties; he was also somewhat of a rebel and political activist, involved in the Grange and the Democratic and Greenback parties. Lowden studied at rural schools, became a teacher at the age of fourteen, and in 1881 entered the University of Iowa, where he graduated as valedictorian in 1885. He then moved to Chicago, where he studied law at the Union College of Law, graduating in 1887, and landed a position at a major law firm. In 1896 he married Florence Pullman, daughter of the extremely wealthy and powerful industrialist ...