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Bouligny, Dominique (23 August 1773–05 March 1833), soldier, planter, and U.S. senator, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of Francisco Bouligny, the lieutenant governor of Louisiana, a colonel in the Fixed Louisiana Regiment, and the acting governor of Louisiana, and Marie Louise le Sénéchal d’Auberville. He spent his childhood in the comfort that his father’s influence and wealth provided. Surrounded by a large extended family and a full complement of house servants, Bouligny developed a strong attachment to his family, an even stronger admiration for the military that commanded his father’s devotion, and pride in being a citizen of Spain. Louisiana offered few opportunities for the sons of army officers outside of military service. Sons of officers entered the army at an early age, and as a senior officer in the Fixed Louisiana Regiment, Bouligny’s father arranged an appointment for his twelve-year-old son as a cadet in the regimental school in March 1786. His father’s influence assured Bouligny’s rapid promotion to the first officer rank of sublieutenant at the age of fourteen....

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Cooper, Joseph Alexander (25 November 1823–20 May 1910), farmer and army officer, was born near Cumberland Falls, Whitley County, Kentucky, the son of John Cooper, a farmer. His mother’s name is unknown. While Cooper was still a child, his family moved to a farm on Cove Creek in Campbell County, Tennessee. In 1846 he married Mary J. Hutson; the number of their children, if any, is unknown. The following year he joined the Fourth Tennessee Volunteer Infantry Regiment to fight in the Mexican War. After returning from the war, he took up farming near Jacksboro, Tennessee....

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Cortina, Juan Nepomuceno (16 May 1824–30 October 1892), revolutionary, politician, Mexican governor, and rancher, was born in Camargo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, the son of Trinidad Cortina, the town mayor and an important landowner, and María Estéfana Goseascochea. Little is known of Juan Cortina’s early life and education. Upon the death of his father in the early 1840s, his family moved to the Espíritu Santo grant, part of the area between the Nueces and Río Grande claimed by both Mexico and Texas and the future site of the city of Brownsville, Texas. This land belonged to Cortina’s mother. Cortina associated with ...

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Hampton, Wade (1754?–04 February 1835), planter, military commander, and congressman, was born (according to different sources) in either Halifax County, Virginia, or Rowan County, North Carolina, the son of Anthony Hampton, a farmer, land jobber, and trader, and Elizabeth Preston. He is often known as Wade Hampton I to distinguish him from two noted descendants of the same name. Hampton’s history prior to the American Revolution is largely mysterious. He must, however, have received some sort of formal education. Early in 1774 the Hampton family followed the example set by other backcountry residents and moved to South Carolina. Wade Hampton joined several of his brothers in a mercantile enterprise before the American War of Independence intervened....

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McIntosh, Lachlan (05 March 1727–20 February 1806), planter and Continental army officer, was born in Badenoch, Inverness-shire, Scotland, the son of clan chieftain John McIntosh Mohr and Margaret (or Marjorie) Fraser. McIntosh arrived in Georgia in January 1736 as part of a shipload of Highland Scots sent to guard the colony’s southern frontier. Led by McIntosh’s father, the expedition founded the Altamaha River town of Darien, which was a military center during the War of Jenkins’s Ear. In 1748 McIntosh went to Charleston, South Carolina, where he met ...

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McMinn, Joseph (22 June 1758–17 November 1824), soldier, planter, and governor of Tennessee, was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, the son of Robert McMinn and Sarah Harlan, farmers. He grew up in Pennsylvania, but as a young man he moved with his wife, Hannah Cooper, whom he had married in 1785, and their only child to Hawkins County, North Carolina (later Tennessee), where at least one other member of his family had settled. He established himself as a planter and soon was commissioned a militia captain in the Southwest Territory, which was created in 1790 to prepare Tennessee for statehood. He was a member of the territorial legislature in 1794 and of the constitutional convention that assembled in Knoxville in 1796 to draft a constitution and a petition to Congress for Tennessee’s admission to the Union. McMinn was entrusted by the assembly to deliver the document and petition to national leaders in Philadelphia. Having presented the documents to the secretary of state, he remained in Philadelphia long enough to sit for a portrait by ...

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McNeill, John Hanson (12 June 1815–10 November 1864), soldier and farmer, was born in Hardy County, Virginia (now W.Va.), the son of Strother McNeill and Amy Pugh, farmers. McNeill’s childhood and youth were made difficult by the death of his father when McNeill was only four years old. The dire circumstances of his family forced him to abandon school after only a few years and assist his mother in farming while he was still a child. In 1837 he married Jemima Harness Cunningham; they had four sons and one daughter....

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Pickens, Andrew (19 September 1739–11 August 1817), militia leader and planter, was born in Paxton Township, Pennsylvania, the son of Andrew Pickens, Sr., and Anne Davis, farmers. Moving into Virginia in the early 1740s and into the Waxhaw area of South Carolina in the early 1750s, Pickens later wrote of his early years that he “had not an opportunity of receiving even a good english education.” Despite his many moves, Andrew Sr., the father, became a fairly well-to-do landowner, a magistrate, and a militia captain, and his son, our Andrew Pickens, eventually developed an eloquent, if not elegant, command of the language....

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Pillow, Gideon Johnson (08 June 1806–08 October 1878), soldier, lawyer, and planter, was born in a log cabin in Williamson (now Maury) County, Tennessee, the son of Gideon Pillow, a pioneer planter, and Annie Payne. Gideon graduated from the University of Nashville in 1827 and, after reading law for three years in the offices of two judges, was admitted to the Tennessee bar in 1830. He hung out his shingle in Columbia, and, possessed of a “quick mind and a powerful speaking voice,” his civil and criminal practice flourished. In 1831 Pillow married Mary Elizabeth Martin. The union was blessed with ten children. The Martins were an affluent Middle Tennessee family, and Mary was a good manager, capable of overseeing family and business interests during her husband’s long absences from home....

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Shelby, Joseph Orville (12 December 1830–13 February 1897), planter and soldier, was born at Lexington, Kentucky, the son of Orville Shelby and his second wife, Anna Boswell. “Jo” Shelby studied at Transylvania University (1845–1848), followed by one year in Philadelphia. At age nineteen he moved to Lafayette County, Missouri, taking up planting and the manufacture of rope. He acquired a fortune but was increasingly distracted by the slavery controversy in “bleeding Kansas.” The slaveholding Shelby led proslavery volunteers in several raids but resumed his economic pursuits when antislavery forces triumphed in Kansas. In 1858 he married a distant cousin, Elizabeth Shelby; they had seven children....