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Baer, George Frederick (26 September 1842–26 April 1914), lawyer and railroad president, was born in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, the son of Major Solomon Baer and Anna Baker, farmers. George spent his early years on the family farm until the Baers moved to the village of Somerset in 1848. Family resources enabled him to acquire his early education at the Somerset Institute. At age thirteen he served as an apprentice at the ...

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Billings, Frederick (27 September 1823–30 September 1890), lawyer and railroad president, was born in Royalton, Vermont, the son of Oel Billings, a farmer and later register of probate, and Sophia Wetherbee. In 1835 Billings’s father, a debtor, was instructed by the court to move to Woodstock, Vermont, as the law required that he live within a mile of a jail. Frederick Billings found schooling in Woodstock inadequate and persuaded his parents to send him to Kimball Union Academy. In 1840 he entered the University of Vermont, graduating in 1844. He studied law as an apprentice to Oliver Phelps Chandler in Woodstock and in 1846 became secretary of civil and military affairs to Horace Eaton, the Whig governor of the state. Eaton and Billings pressed in particular for school reform....

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Calhoun, Patrick (21 March 1856–16 June 1943), railroad attorney and streetcar syndicator, was born on the family plantation, “Fort Hill,” near Pendleton, South Carolina, the son of Andrew Pickens Calhoun, a prosperous antebellum plantation owner who was later ruined by the war, and Margaret Maria Green. He was a grandson of U.S. vice president ...

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Evans, George (12 January 1797–06 April 1867), lawyer, politician, and businessman, was born in Hallowell, Maine, the son of Daniel Evans and Joanna Hains. After attending Hallowell and Monmouth academies, Evans went to Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, graduating in 1815. He remained so interested in Bowdoin that for the rest of his life he attended each subsequent commencement except for one. Evans read law in the office of Frederick Allen, was admitted to the bar in 1818, and began his law practice in Gardiner, Maine, before returning briefly to Hallowell. He won distinction as a criminal lawyer who could discern immediately the point on which his case would be decided and who appealed to the jury through reason rather than passion. In 1820 he married Ann Dearborn; they had three children....

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Gibbons, Thomas (15 December 1757–16 May 1826), planter, lawyer, and steamship owner, was born near Savannah, Georgia, the son of Joseph Gibbons and Hannah Martin, planters. Gibbons was schooled at home and in Charleston, South Carolina, where he also read law. He married Ann Heyword, but the date of the marriage is unknown. They had three children. Throughout his life Gibbons demonstrated a determined spirit. Contemporaries described him as a “high liver,” possessing a “strong mind, strong passions, strong prejudices, and strong self-will” (Halsted, pp. 16–17)....

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Gowen, Franklin Benjamin (09 February 1836–14 December 1889), lawyer and railroad executive, was born in Mount Airy, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, the son of James Gowen, a wealthy merchant and farmer, and Mary Miller. Despite his father’s wealth, Gowen never completed his formal education. He attended a Roman Catholic school in Maryland and a Moravian school in Pennsylvania, before his father apprenticed him to a storekeeper in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, at age thirteen....

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Jewett, Hugh Judge (01 July 1817–06 March 1898), lawyer, railroad president, and Democratic politician, was born at his family’s homestead, “Landsdowne,” in Deer Creek, Harford County, Maryland, the son of John Jewett and Susannah Judge, farmers. A graduate of Hopewell Academy in Chester County, Pennsylvania, Jewett attended Hiram (Ohio) College and studied law in the office of Colonel John C. Groome in Elkton, Maryland. In 1838 he was admitted to the Maryland bar and moved to St. Clairsville, Ohio. Jewett was married in 1841 to Sarah Jane Ellis of St. Clairsville, with whom he had four children. After briefly practicing law with Judge William Kennon, he removed to Zanesville, Muskingum County, in 1848. In Zanesville Jewett gained a reputation as an honest but astute lawyer with an ability to handle cases involving complex financial questions. Jewett’s talent for financial problem solving impressed local banking interests and led to his election as president of the Muskingum County branch of the State Bank of Ohio in 1852. After the death of his first wife, Sarah Jane, Jewett married Sarah Elizabeth (Guthrie) Kelly in 1853, with whom he had three children....

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Joy, James Frederick (02 December 1810–24 September 1896), lawyer and railroad builder, was born in Durham, New Hampshire, the son of James Joy, a manufacturer of farm implements, and Sarah Pickering. Joy attended the local schools before clerking in a store for several years. He graduated from Dartmouth College at the head of his class in 1833. Joy then entered Harvard Law School but left after a year to become the principal of an academy in Pittsfield, New Hampshire, and a tutor of Latin at Dartmouth College. He returned to Harvard, where he completed his law course in 1836, and was admitted to the bar. In the same year Joy moved west to Detroit and gained admission to the Michigan bar. In 1837 he entered into a law partnership with George F. Porter that lasted for nearly twenty-five years....

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McKennan, Thomas McKean Thompson (31 March 1794–09 July 1852), lawyer, congressman, and railroad president, was born in Dragon Neck, New Castle County, Delaware, the son of Colonel William McKennan, a revolutionary war officer, and Elizabeth Thompson, a niece of Thomas McKean, a Pennsylvania chief justice and governor. His grandfather, the Reverend William McKennan, who emigrated from Scotland via northern Ireland and Barbados, ministered to the Presbyterians in Wilmington for over fifty years. When Thomas was just a boy, his family left Delaware, migrating to western Virginia and then western Pennsylvania. They settled in the town of Washington in 1803, and Colonel McKennan served in the administration of Pennsylvania’s governor McKean until the end of the governor’s term in 1808. Colonel McKennan died in 1810 from the effects of wounds suffered in the revolutionary war....

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Ogden, Aaron (03 December 1756–19 April 1839), soldier, public official, and entrepreneur, was born in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, the son of Robert Ogden II, a lawyer, and Phebe Hatfield. He attended the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University) and graduated with the class of 1773. Over the next three years he taught school, first in Princeton, then in Elizabethtown, but with the outbreak of hostilities between Great Britain and its American colonies, he was quickly drawn into the revolutionary confrontation....