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Auchmuty, Robert, Jr. (1725–11 December 1788), lawyer and Loyalist, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Scottish-born Robert Auchmuty, a judge of admiralty in Massachusetts, and Mary Julianna. As a youth Robert attended Boston Latin School and was admitted to Harvard, class of 1746, but never matriculated. He benefited from growing up in an upper-class family and learned law from his father. In 1762 he became a barrister, and many considered him the third best lawyer in Massachusetts, just behind ...

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Ayllón, Lucas Vázquez de (1480?–18 October 1526), Spanish judge and founder of the first Spanish colony in North America, was born at Toledo, Spain, the son of Juan Vázquez de Ayllón, a member of a distinguished Mozarabic family, and Inés de Villalobos. Lucas was educated in the law, earning the ...

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Bedford, Gunning, Jr. (1747–30 March 1812), revolutionary statesman, signer of the U.S. Constitution, and federal district judge, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Gunning Bedford and Susannah Jacquett. His upper-middle-class father was associated with the Philadelphia Carpenter’s Company, a labor combination of master workers. Bedford referred to himself as Gunning Bedford, Jr., probably to avoid being confused with his notable cousin and contemporary, Colonel ...

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Benson, Egbert (21 June 1746–24 August 1833), jurist and founding father, was born in New York City, the son of Robert Benson and Catherine Van Borsum. After graduating from King’s College (now Columbia) in 1765, Benson served his legal clerkship in the New York City office of the revolutionary leader ...

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Bollan, William (1710?–1782), colonial agent and lawyer, was born in England and emigrated from there to America while a teenager. He pursued a legal career by studying as an apprentice under the tutelage of Massachusetts attorney Robert Auchmuty. Little is known of Bollan’s early life and career. However, by 1733 he had begun to gain prominence as an attorney, as evidenced by his acquisition of Harvard College and Boston’s Anglican parish, King’s Chapel, as clients. Bollan was an Anglican, which placed him in a religious minority in Congregational-dominated Boston. By the mid-1730s he had begun to venture into land speculation in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island....

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Browne, William (27 February 1737–13 February 1802), Massachusetts Superior Court judge and Loyalist, was born in Salem, Massachusetts, the son of Samuel Browne, Jr., a merchant, and Catherine Winthrop. Both families had lived in Salem for five generations. On the matrilineal side William could trace his lineage back to four colonial governors, the Winthrops and the Dudleys. On the patrilineal side one of William’s great-grandfathers was Gilbert Burnet, bishop of Salisbury, England. When William was only five years old, his father died, and when William was seven, his mother married Colonel Epes Sargent. Because the Browne family was the most distinguished and popular in Salem, when William entered Harvard at age fourteen, he was ranked third in his class. He lived in Massachusetts Hall, held a scholarship, and was noted as “an excellent scholar.” He graduated in 1755 as valedictorian of his class. Classmate ...

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Bulloch, Archibald (1730–1777), lawyer and revolutionary war leader, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of James Bulloch, a clergyman, member of the South Carolina Assembly, merchant, and Colleton County planter, and Jean Stobo. Although little is known about his early years, it is believed that he received a liberal education and studied law. Prior to his move to Georgia in 1758, he was admitted to the bar and acquired a rice plantation near Purrysburg on the Savannah River. In 1764 he married Mary De Veaux; they had four children. President ...

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Burnet, William (?Mar. 1688–07 September 1729), attorney and royal governor of New York and New Jersey and of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, was born in the Hague, the Netherlands, the son of Gilbert Burnet, a bishop of Salisbury, and his second wife, Mary Scott. William was named for his godfather William of Orange, who became William III of England after the 1688 Glorious Revolution. William entered Trinity College, Cambridge, was expelled, and was then privately instructed by tutors. He was admitted to the bar and in May 1712 married a daughter of Dean Stanhope (her first name and the number of their children is unknown). His wife died three years later. In 1722 Burnet married Anna Maria Van Horne, who died in 1728; the couple had three children....

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Burnet, William (02 December 1730–07 October 1791), physician, judge, and member of the Continental Congress, was born in Lyon’s Farms, a town located between Newark and Elizabethtown, New Jersey, the son of Ichabod Burnet, a physician who emigrated from Scotland, and Hannah (maiden name unknown). He was educated at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) when it was located in Newark under Rev. ...

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Dana, Francis (13 June 1743–25 April 1811), public official, diplomat, and jurist, was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts, the son of Richard Dana, a lawyer, and Lydia Trowbridge. Francis entered Harvard College in 1758 and graduated in 1762. He received an M.A. from Harvard in 1765 at the same time that he was studying law in Cambridge with his uncle Edward Trowbridge. Dana was admitted to the Massachusetts bar in 1767 and became successful in his practice. In 1773 he married Elizabeth Ellery, daughter of ...