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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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Fitch, Thomas (1700–18 July 1774), lawyer and colonial governor, was born in Norwalk, Connecticut, the son of the well-to-do Thomas Fitch and Sarah (maiden name unknown). His great-grandfather, also named Thomas Fitch, was one of the founders of the town. Three years after he graduated from Yale College (1721), Fitch married Hannah Hall of New Haven; they had ten children. By 1726, Fitch was serving occasionally as the substitute minister for the Norwalk Congregational church, although there is no record of his ever being formally ordained....

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Morris, Lewis (15 October 1671–21 May 1746), chief justice of New York and royal governor of New Jersey, was born in New York City, the son of Richard Morris, who had recently migrated from Barbados to pursue a career as a merchant, and Sarah Pole. A member of a Welsh gentry family, Richard Morris had fought for Parliament during the English Civil War and then became a sugar planter on Barbados. Orphaned by the deaths of his parents less than a year after his birth, Lewis Morris was raised by his father’s brother Lewis, a strict Cromwellian Quaker and also a sugar planter, who moved from Barbados to New York to care for his nephew. Morris was educated by at least two tutors, one of whom was ...

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Pitkin, William (30 April 1694–01 October 1769), lawyer and governor of the colony of Connecticut (1766-1769), lawyer and governor of the colony of Connecticut (1766–1769), was born in Hartford, Connecticut, the son of William Pitkin, a lawyer, and Elizabeth Stanley. Pitkin, elected governor of Connecticut in 1766 during the Stamp Act crisis, was a third-generation member of one of Connecticut’s most illustrious families. Four generations of William Pitkins, including Pitkin’s son, served on the Governor’s Council, one of the highest elected offices in the state. A dozen or so other members of the family in Hartford held a myriad of political, judicial, and military offices. To be properly understood, Governor Pitkin’s career must be placed in the context of this extraordinary family....

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Smith, James Francis (28 January 1859–29 June 1928), colonial administrator and judge, was born in San Francisco, California, the son of Patrick Smith (occupation unknown) and Ann (maiden name unknown). Smith graduated from Santa Clara College in 1878, attended Hastings Law School, and was admitted to the bar in 1881. In 1885 he married Lillie A. Dunnigan; the couple had at least one child....