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Crocker, Alvah (14 October 1801–26 December 1874), manufacturer, railroad promoter, and congressman, was born in Leominster, Massachusetts, the son of Samuel Crocker and Comfort Jones. His parents were among the founders of the Baptist church in Leominster, and they imparted a strong work ethic to their seven sons, of whom Alvah was the eldest. He went to work at the age of eight in a Leominster paper mill, where he earned twenty-five cents for each twelve-hour day. He received little formal education (one year at Groton Academy at age sixteen), but he read widely on his own, and his letters displayed a bent toward literature and rhetoric. He subsequently worked in other paper mills in Franklin, New Hampshire, and Fitchburg, Massachusetts, before he started his first industrial concern, a paper manufactory in Fitchburg in 1826....

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Kimball, Dan Able (01 March 1896–30 July 1970), businessman and secretary of the navy, was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of John Harney Kimball, occupation unknown, and Mary Able. He received his early education in the public schools of St. Louis, although accounts differ as to whether he graduated from Soldan High School or dropped out to take a job as a mechanic in a local garage that specialized in the repair of electrically powered automobiles. All sources agree, however, that he took correspondence courses in engineering to further his education....

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Richmond, Dean (31 March 1804–27 August 1866), businessman and politician, was born Elkanah Dean Richmond in Barnard, Vermont, the son of Hathaway Richmond, a manufacturer, and Rachel Dean. He never used his first name. He received only a few years of formal education during childhood, and after 1816, when the family moved to Salina (now Syracuse), New York, he learned the skills of salt production from his father and three uncles, who together operated a salt manufacturing concern. In 1821 Richmond’s father died, and Richmond took his father’s place in the salt business. Richmond married Mary Elizabeth Mead in 1833, and the couple had eight children. In 1842, after twenty-two years as a moderately successful businessman in Syracuse, Richmond moved to Buffalo, New York, and opened a new concern as a grain transporter. He also cofounded and directed the Buffalo & Rochester Railroad....