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Alden, John (1599?–12 September 1687), farmer and magistrate, was one of the original settlers of Plymouth Colony, arriving in New England on the Mayflower in 1620. No definite information exists about his birth, parentage, childhood, or education. In 1620 he lived at Southampton, England, where the migrating Pilgrims stopped for provisions on their way from the Netherlands to the New World. There he was hired as the ship’s cooper in charge of its supply of beer and drinking water. Upon landfall, Alden joined in signing the now famous Mayflower Compact. After the colonists’ arrival in Plymouth, Governor ...

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Hilgard, Theodor Erasmus (07 July 1790–26 January 1873), jurist and "Latin farmer", jurist and “Latin farmer,” was born in Marnheim near Kirchheimbolanden in the Rhenish Palatinate, the son of Jakob Hilgard, a Protestant clergyman, and his wife, Maria Dorothea Engelmann. Growing up in wartime in a family that strongly sympathized with the principles of the French Revolution, he spent part of his childhood with his maternal grandparents in Bacharach; his uncle Peter Engelmann continued to take a special interest in the boy’s education. Hilgard read law at the universities of Heidelberg (1807), Göttingen (1808–1809), and Paris (1810), completing his studies at the law academy at Koblenz in 1811 as ...

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Rost-Denis, Pierre Adolphe (? 1797–06 September 1868), jurist and planter, was born in Garonne, France. His parents’ names and occupations are unknown. Little is known of his early years, except that he attended the Lycée Napoléon and the École Polytechnique in Paris. He participated in the defense of Paris in 1814 and then became a member of Napoléon Bonaparte’s army. After the defeat at Waterloo, Rost came to the United States in 1816, landing at Natchez, Mississippi. There he learned English and became a protégé and student in the law office of Joseph E. Davis, brother of ...

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Ruffin, Thomas (17 November 1787–15 January 1870), planter and judge, was born in King and Queen County, Virginia, the son of Sterling Ruffin, a planter, and Alice Roane, who was the first cousin of Spencer Roane, one of the leading figures of early Virginia jurisprudence. Thomas Ruffin was also a relative of the later southern firebrand, ...