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Armstrong, John (13 October 1717–09 March 1795), soldier, surveyor, and member of the Continental Congress, was born in County Fermanagh, Ulster, Ireland. The identities of his Scotch-Irish parents and circumstances of his youth are unclear, but his father may have been named James. A trained surveyor, John Armstrong evidently received some education fairly early in life. Sometime in the mid-1740s Armstrong immigrated to America, settling initially in Delaware and then in Pennsylvania, where he worked as a surveyor. It was probably at some point after his arrival in America that he married Rebeckah Armstrong. The couple had two sons (the younger, ...

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Armstrong, John, Jr. (25 November 1758–01 April 1843), soldier and politician, was born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, the son of John Armstrong and Rebecca Lyon. His father, a surveyor and a prominent figure on the Pennsylvania frontier, achieved fame as the “Hero of Kittanning” during the Seven Years’ War when he destroyed a particularly troublesome Indian village; he later served as an officer in the revolutionary war. Armstrong attended the College of New Jersey (later Princeton) for two years but left in 1776 to join the Continental army. He served successively as aide-de-camp to Brigadier General Hugh Mercer and Major General ...

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Ashe, John Baptista (1748–27 November 1802), member of the Continental Congress and U.S. Congress, soldier, and state politician, was born in Rocky Point, New Hanover County, North Carolina, the son of Samuel Ashe, a jurist, and Mary Porter. His grandfather John Baptista Ashe, for whom he was named, served on His Majesty’s Council of North Carolina; his father was assistant attorney for the Crown, the first judge for the state of North Carolina, and later governor. Ashe, who grew up on the “Neck,” his father’s tobacco plantation, learned about tobacco cultivation and received his education from a private tutor. There is no indication that he pursued a college education....

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Edward D. Baker. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-90165).

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Baker, Edward Dickinson (24 February 1811–21 October 1861), statesman and soldier, was born in London, England, the son of Edward Baker, an educator, and Lucy Dickinson. The family emigrated to the United States in 1815 and lived in Philadelphia for about ten years. The elder Baker ran a school that young Edward attended until he secured employment as a hand loom weaver. Attracted by ...

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Battle, Cullen Andrews (01 June 1829–08 April 1905), politician and soldier, was born in Powelton, Georgia, the son of Cullen Battle, a wealthy planter, and Jane A. Lamon. He moved with his parents to Irwinton (now Eufaula), Alabama, in 1836. After graduating from the University of Alabama in 1850, he studied law with John G. Shorter, who was later state governor, and was admitted to the bar in 1852. Battle soon entered a partnership with former Alabama chief justice William P. Chilton. The year before his admittance to the bar he married Georgia F. Williams, with whom he had four children....

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Frank P. Blair. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-B8172-1704).

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Blair, Francis Preston, Jr. (19 February 1821–09 July 1875), statesman and Union army officer, was born in Lexington, Kentucky, the son of Francis Preston Blair, the influential editor of the Congressional Globe, and Eliza Violet Gist Blair. He was a brother of Montgomery Blair...

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Bloomfield, Joseph (18 October 1753–08 October 1823), lawyer, soldier, and politician, was born in Woodbridge, New Jersey, the son of Moses Bloomfield, a physician, and Sarah Ogden. The family was one of the most prominent in colonial New Jersey. His father had received a first-rate medical education in Edinburgh, Scotland, and had a thriving practice in Middlesex County by the time Joseph was born. Joseph’s mother was a member of a wealthy and influential family of Elizabethtown, which further assured Joseph’s upper-class pedigree. His education and choice of occupation were in line with his social standing. While in his early teens, he attended the Reverend Enoch Green’s classical academy in Deerfield, Cumberland County, at the opposite end of the province from Woodbridge. Upon graduation, Bloomfield returned to East Jersey, determined to be a lawyer. He entered the profession at the top, studying in Perth Amboy with Cortlandt Skinner, attorney general of New Jersey, and was admitted to the bar in November 1774. Setting up practice in Bridgeton, Cumberland County, he soon became known and respected in all of New Jersey’s southern counties. The future seemed secure, had not the American Revolution intervened....

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Blunt, James Gillpatrick (21 July 1826–25 July 1881), physician, soldier, and politician, was born in Trenton, Hancock County, Maine, the son of John Blunt. Blunt spent his early youth in Ellsworth, Maine, but at age fifteen enlisted as a merchant seaman. Leaving the sea at age twenty, Blunt studied medicine at the Starling Medical College in Columbus, Ohio, earning a medical degree in 1849. He set up a practice in New Madison, Ohio, where he married Nancy Carson Putnam. In 1856 he migrated to the frontier, settling at Greeley, Kansas. There he continued his medical practice but soon became actively interested in politics, becoming deeply involved in the antislavery movement and aiding ...

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Brayton, Charles Ray (16 August 1840–23 September 1910), soldier and politician, was born in the village of Apponaug in the town of Warwick, Rhode Island, the son of William Daniel Brayton, a Republican congressman (1857–1861), and Anna Ward Clarke. He traced his Rhode Island roots back to 1643 and the founding of Warwick. He first attended nearby East Greenwich Academy, then studied at the Fruit Hill Classical Academy in North Providence, and finally entered Brown University in 1859. He was scheduled to graduate in the class of 1863 but left college in 1861 to organize a Warwick company for the Third Rhode Island Volunteers, a heavy artillery unit. As an artillery officer Brayton served in such sieges and battles as those at Fort Pulaski, Fort Sumter, Fort Wagner, Drury’s Bluff, Laurel Hill, Fort Burnham, and Petersburg. In March 1864 he was appointed chief of artillery for the Department of the South, a post he held until his discharge in 1865, when he was allowed to retire with the rank of brigadier general of volunteers. In March 1865 he married Antoinette Percival Belden, daughter of Brayton’s headmaster at Fruit Hill Classical Academy; the couple had one child....

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Campbell, Arthur (03 November 1743–08 August 1811), frontiersman, soldier, and politician, was born in Augusta County, Virginia, the son of David Campbell and Mary Hamilton, immigrant Scotch-Irish Presbyterian farmers. He was not quite fifteen when, during the French and Indian War, he joined a company of Virginia rangers stationed in western Augusta County. At Fort Young on the Jackson River in September 1758, Campbell was captured by Wyandot Indians and spent two years in captivity in the vicinity of Detroit before escaping....

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Joshua L. Chamberlain. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-B8172-1859).

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Chamberlain, Joshua Lawrence (08 September 1828–24 February 1914), soldier, politician, and educator, was born in Brewer, Maine, the son of Joshua Chamberlain, a farmer and shipbuilder, and Sarah Dupee Brastow. After attending a military academy in Ellsworth, Chamberlain entered Bowdoin College in 1848, graduating in 1852. Three years later, after graduating from the Bangor Theological Seminary, he joined Bowdoin’s faculty and taught a broad range of subjects, including logic, natural theology, rhetoric, oratory, and modern languages. In 1855 he married Frances Caroline Adams; of the couple’s five children, three survived to adulthood....

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Champion, Henry (19 January 1723–23 July 1797), political and military leader who played an important role in provisioning the Continental army, was born in East Haddam, Connecticut, the son of Lieutenant Henry Champion and Mehitable Rowley. Little is known about his early life and education....

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Churchill, Thomas James (10 March 1824–14 May 1905), soldier and politician, was born near Louisville in Jefferson County, Kentucky, the son of Samuel Churchill and Abby Oldham, farmers. After graduating from St. Mary’s College in Bardstown in 1844, Churchill attended Transylvania University and studied law. He joined the First Kentucky Mounted Riflemen Regiment as a lieutenant at the beginning of the Mexican War. Enemy cavalrymen captured Churchill in January 1847, and he remained a prisoner in the city of Mexico until the war had almost ended. Churchill purchased a plantation near Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1848 and began raising cotton. In 1849 he married Ann Sevier; they had four children. He received an appointment as postmaster at Little Rock in 1857....

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Cilley, Joseph (1734–25 August 1799), soldier and politician, was born at “Ledge Farm” in Nottingham, New Hampshire, the son of Joseph Cilley and Alice (or Elsie) Rawlins (or Rollins), farmers. During his youth Cilley worked alongside his father, learning how to farm. A self-taught lawyer, he also was a businessman. In 1756 he married Sarah Longfellow; they had ten children and established a farm, “The Square,” near Nottingham....

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Clark, William Thomas (29 June 1831–12 October 1905), soldier and politician, was born in Norwalk, Connecticut, the son of Levi Clark and Fanny (maiden name unknown). Little is known of his family except that they were poor, and he was forced to leave the common schools of Norwalk at the age of thirteen. Afterward he did odd jobs, taught school, and studied law. In 1854 he moved to New York City, where he was admitted to the bar in 1855. In 1856 he married Laura Clark (no relation) from Hartford, Connecticut....

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Alfred H. Colquitt. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-113057).

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Colquitt, Alfred Holt (20 April 1824–26 March 1894), Confederate military officer and politician, was born in Walton County, Georgia, the son of Walter T. Colquitt, an attorney and later a judge, congressman, and U.S. senator, and Nancy Lane. Graduating from Princeton University in 1844, Colquitt studied law and was admitted to the bar in Georgia in 1846....