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Allerton, Samuel Waters (26 May 1828–22 February 1914), meat packer, was born in Amenia, New York, the son of Samuel Waters Allerton, Sr., a tailor and woolen mill operator, and Hannah Hurd. The youngest of nine children, he attended school for several years but received little formal education beyond that. The family experienced financial difficulties as a result of the 1837 panic and was forced to move several times, once as far west as Dubuque, Iowa, before settling on a farm in upstate New York in 1842. Eight years later Samuel and his older brother Henry rented a farm in Yates County and began raising and trading cattle and hogs. Shortly thereafter they bought a farm in Wayne County....

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Manigault, Gabriel (21 April 1704–05 June 1781), merchant and planter, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of Pierre Manigault and Judith Giton. Manigault’s father, an immigrant Huguenot, had engaged in farming in the Georgetown area before moving to Charleston. There, after several years as a cooper and victualer, he turned to distilling brandy and rum and then to merchandising, laying the foundation before his death in 1729 of what was to become, under Gabriel Manigault, the largest fortune in South Carolina (and quite possibly in America) before the Revolution. Manigault (without formal college training) became a wealthy merchant, operating in a number of markets, especially the West Indies and the northern mainland colonies. He exported in his own fleet of ships regional items such as rice, naval stores, lumber, shingles, leather, deerskins, corn, beef, peas, and pork and imported such commodities as rum, sugar, wine, oil, textiles, and wheat flour. He was also a private banker, lending vast sums from his great personal resources....

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Morris, Nelson (21 January 1838–28 August 1907), cattle trader, breeder, and meatpacker, was born in Hechingen, Germany, a province of Hohensollern; his parents’ names are unknown. His father had raised cattle in the Black Forest but, implicated in a plot to unite the area with Switzerland, fled to America. Morris thus arrived with his family in 1851 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, utterly poor, without formal education, and speaking no English. He had already worked in Germany selling rags, skins, and copper for his father; in America he took whatever odd jobs he could find and peddled for two years. In 1853 he headed north, working as a charcoal hauler in Lakerville, Connecticut; he then traveled west, working on boats on the Erie Canal and the Great Lakes. When he arrived in Chicago, he took a job cleaning animal pens at John B. Sherman’s Bull’s Head Yard (Sherman later founded and promoted the Union Stock Yards). In winter he would work all night, watching hogs to ensure against their crowding together and suffocating. By the time Sherman moved his operations to his Lake Shore Yards, Morris was the feedmaster....