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Flagler, Henry Morrison (02 January 1830–20 May 1913), businessman and railroad promoter, was born in Hopewell, just outside of Canadaigua, New York, the son of the Reverend Isaac Flagler, a Presbyterian minister, and Elizabeth Morrison. As a pioneer missionary preacher, Isaac Flagler earned no more than $300 to $400 a year. Henry attended the local district school until he was fourteen, when he decided to strike out on his own. He walked to the Erie Canal and worked his way west on a canal boat until he reached Buffalo, New York, where he took a lake boat to Sandusky, Ohio. South of Sandusky in the small town of Republic, Flagler joined a half brother, Daniel M. Harkness, who helped him get a clerkship in a country store at five dollars a month plus board. He saved his money both at Republic and at another store in Fostoria, Ohio. Having gained both experience and capital, Flagler in about 1850 moved to Bellevue, south of Sandusky, where he became a grain commission merchant. Some of the other Harknesses, relatives of his mother, lived in Bellevue. In 1853 Flagler married Mary Harkness, niece of Stephen V. Harkness, a leading citizen of Bellevue. The couple had three children. Flagler shipped grain to ...

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Mills, Darius Ogden (05 September 1825–03 January 1910), banker and mining and railroad entrepreneur, was born in North Salem, Westchester County, New York, the son of James Mills, a town supervisor of North Salem (1835), and Hannah Ogden. From a prominent family, Mills was educated at the North Salem Academy and then at the Mount Pleasant Academy at Ossining, New York. His father’s death in 1841 deprived Mills of a college education. Instead he became a clerk in a mercantile establishment in New York City. In 1847, at the invitation of a cousin, he became cashier of the Merchants’ Bank of Erie County in Buffalo, New York....

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O’Brien, John Joseph (04 November 1888–09 December 1967), business executive and sports administrator, was born in Brooklyn, New York, to John T. O’Brien, a construction superintendent, and Margaret Monohan. O’Brien’s love for sports started early. He played football, basketball, and baseball at Commercial High School in Brooklyn and continued to play for YMCA and other teams while pursuing further education through night school and correspondence courses in law and accounting. In 1910 he began officiating basketball games, an avocation he engaged in over the next twenty years at high school, college, and professional levels....

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Rogers, Henry Huttleston (29 January 1840–19 May 1909), oil tycoon, railroad builder, and capitalist, was born at Fairhaven, Massachusetts, the son of Rowland Rogers, a bookkeeper, and Mary Eldredge Huttleston. A high school graduate, Rogers worked in his hometown five years before leaving in 1861 for Pennsylvania, where oil had been discovered in 1859. Beginning with a $1,200 investment in a small refinery erected at McClintockville, Pennsylvania, Rogers and a partner, Charles Ellis, made $30,000 their first year. In 1866 Rogers met ...

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Smith, Francis Marion (02 February 1846–27 August 1931), mining and railroad entrepreneur, was born in Richmond, Wisconsin, the son of Henry Grovier Smith and Charlotte Paul, farmers. After completing grade school in Richmond, Smith attended high school in nearby Milton and Allen’s Grove. He worked on the farm until he reached the age of twenty-one, when he succumbed to the lure of the West. In 1867 he traveled to Montana Territory, where he tried prospecting and both placer and hard-rock mining. Unimpressed with the return, he resumed his travels, working at various jobs until he reached western Nevada, where he became a restaurateur. After a few months he decided that prospecting was more interesting, and for the next five years he followed various mineral rushes in the region....

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Tod, David (21 February 1805–13 November 1868), businessman, lawyer, and Civil War governor of Ohio, was born on a farm near Youngstown, Ohio, the son of George Tod, a lawyer and judge, and Sarah Isaacs. Although his father and maternal grandfather were Yale graduates, Tod’s hard-pressed father could only partially subsidize his schooling at Burton Academy and expenses while reading law in the office of Powell Stone of Warren, Ohio. In 1827, more than $1,000 in debt, Tod was admitted to the bar. He was not the ablest of the many lawyers in Warren, but his handsome appearance, musical voice, ready wit, and sociable manner made him effective with juries, and his practice flourished. The same attributes made him an excellent political campaigner. Attracted to ...