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Cheves, Langdon (17 September 1776–26 June 1857), lawyer, congressman, and financier, was born in Bull Town Fort, South Carolina, the son of Alexander Chivas (or Chivis) of Buchan, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, and Mary Langdon. It is not known when or why he changed the spelling of his last name. Alexander Chivas had migrated to America in 1762 and established himself as a frontier trader. A Loyalist supporter, he lost his livelihood during the Revolution and moved to the low country. Cheves’s mother, daughter of supporters of the colonial rebellion, died in 1779, and Langdon’s aunt, Mrs. Thomas Cheves, cared for young Langdon. He attended Andrew Weed’s school, and in 1785 his father took him to Charleston. He continued his formal schooling briefly but then pursued vigorous independent study. He apprenticed in a shipping merchant’s office, gaining experience in business and finance by keeping the firm’s accounts. He read for the law with Judge William Marshall and was admitted to the bar in 1797. Successful as a Charleston lawyer, he moved into the political arena. His first elected office was as warden of his city ward in 1802; he then served from 1802 to 1809 in the state legislature and became attorney general in 1809. He won national office in 1810 when he ran for Congress on the Republican ticket. In 1806 he married Mary Elizabeth Dulles; they had fourteen children. In addition to the law and politics, Cheves enjoyed success in designing and building houses and in farming....

Article

Dexter, Andrew, Jr. (28 March 1779–02 November 1837), attorney, financier, real estate speculator, and swindler, was the eldest child of Andrew Dexter, a Boston dry goods merchant, and Mary Newton. He was born in Brookfield, Massachusetts, where his parents had fled during the British siege of Boston, and grew up in Providence, Rhode Island. Dexter graduated from Rhode Island College (later Brown University) in 1798. His salutatory address expressed the heady combination of reverence for the leaders of the Revolution, anxiety about the future, and soaring ambition that marked the Revolutionary generation....

Article

Lay, Ken (15 April 1942–05 July 2006), businessman, was born Kenneth Lee Lay in Tyrone, Missouri, the son of Omer Lay, a feed store owner, traveling agricultural equipment salesman, and lay Baptist pastor, and Ruth Reese Lay. After his father’s store failed, the family was reduced to poverty, sometimes staying with relatives on a farm, and Ken did not live in a house with indoor plumbing until he was eleven years old. He helped support his parents by delivering newspapers, mowing lawns, and baling hay for neighboring farmers....

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Lewis, Reginald Francis (07 December 1942–18 January 1993), arbitrager and business executive, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Clinton Lewis, a skilled worker and small businessman, and Carolyn Cooper. Lewis was strongly influenced by his mother, especially since his African-American parents divorced during his childhood. His mother married Jean S. Fugett, Sr., in 1951. An elementary school teacher, he was a graduate of Morgan State College and had five sons and daughters....

Article

Mellon, Thomas (03 February 1813–03 February 1908), jurist and financier, was born at Camp Hill Cottage near Omagh, County Tyrone, Ireland, to Andrew Mellon and Rebecca Wauchob, farmers. Despite the relative comfort of their 23-acre farm, Andrew Mellon chose to follow his parents and siblings and emigrate to the United States with his wife and five-year-old Thomas. They arrived in Baltimore in early October 1818 and traveled by Conestoga wagon to Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Andrew Mellon purchased a farm in Franklin Township, twenty-one miles east of Pittsburgh....