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Burpee, David (05 April 1893–24 June 1980), businessman and horticulturist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of W. Atlee Burpee, the founder of the W. Atlee Burpee Seed Company, and Blanche Simons. His father founded the company in Philadelphia in 1878 as a catalog and mail-order retailer of poultry and livestock. The company met with success when it shifted its emphasis from animals and fowl to seeds. Burpee’s father actively encouraged his sons to follow him in the seed business. When his father became ill with a liver ailment, Burpee ended his studies in agriculture at Cornell University and served as his assistant until the elder Burpee’s death in 1915....

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Lasater, Edward Cunningham (05 November 1860–20 March 1930), rancher, dairyman, and land developer, was born at “Valley Farm,” near Goliad, Texas, the son of Albert H. Lasater, a rancher, and Sarah Jane Cunningham. The Texas frontier offered Edward only a meager education, but he had dreams of becoming a lawyer. Those dreams were shattered when, his father’s health failing, he had to leave school to help with the family’s sheep business in Atascosa County. His father purchased a ranch near Oakville in Live Oak County, and after his father’s death in 1883, Lasater began buying and selling cattle and establishing his credit. In 1892 he married Martha Patti Noble Bennett. They had two children before Martha died in childbirth in 1900. In 1902 Lasater married Mary Gardner Miller; they had five children....

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Sanford, Henry Shelton (15 June 1823–21 May 1891), diplomat and businessman, was born in Woodbury, Connecticut, the son of Nehemiah Curtis Sanford, a merchant and manufacturer, and Nancy Bateman Shelton. The elder Sanford’s prosperous mercantile ventures enabled Henry to attend the Episcopal Academy in Cheshire, Connecticut, from which he graduated in 1839, and Washington College in Hartford, from which he withdrew for reasons of health during his sophomore year in 1840. Sanford spent much of the ensuing eight years traveling and studying in Europe, where he learned several languages and earned a doctor of laws degree from the University of Heidelberg in 1849....

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Vick, James (23 November 1818–16 May 1882), publisher of horticultural journals and mail-order seed merchant, was born in Chichester, England, the son of James Vick and Elizabeth Prime. His father, whose principal occupation is unknown, is reported to have been an enthusiastic amateur gardener; Vick’s English boyhood is otherwise obscure. He moved to New York City with his parents in 1833, learned the printing trade, and worked on publications including the ...