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Ashe, Thomas Samuel (19 July 1812–04 February 1887), jurist and congressman, was born at “the Hawfields,” Orange County, North Carolina, the home of his maternal grandfather, where his parents regularly spent the summer. He was the son of Pasquale Paoli Ashe, the owner of a plantation in coastal New Hanover County, North Carolina, and a coal mine in Alabama, and Elizabeth Jane Strudwick. His father lost his entire fortune about 1829 as surety for the debts of a friend....

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Daniel Barnard. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-99337).

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Barnard, Daniel Dewey (11 September 1796–24 April 1861), lawyer, congressman, and diplomat, was born in East Hartford, Connecticut, the son of Timothy Barnard, a county judge, and Phebe Dewey. Barnard’s early years were spent on the family farm near Hartford, Connecticut. When he was twelve the family moved to Mendon, New York (near Rochester). His formal education started with a year at Lenox Academy, after which he transferred to Williams College, where he graduated in 1818....

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James M. Beck. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-94556).

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Beck, James Montgomery (09 July 1861–12 April 1936), lawyer, solicitor general, and congressman, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of James Nathan Beck, the owner of a small music publishing company, and Margaretta C. Darling. Coming from modest financial means, Beck inherited his father’s interest in music and the family’s Moravian antiwar and communitarian heritage, which contributed to his early pacifism and anticorporation viewpoints. Following matriculation at Philadelphia’s Episcopal Academy, Beck graduated from Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in 1880. After reading law, he began legal practice in 1884. From 1888 to 1892, he served as assistant U.S. attorney for eastern Pennsylvania. In 1890 he married Lilla Mitchell, daughter of a Philadelphia businessman, with whom he had two children....

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Thomas Hart Benton Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-71877).

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Benton, Thomas Hart (14 March 1782–10 April 1858), U.S. senator and congressman, was born near Hillsboro (now Hillsborough), North Carolina, the son of Jesse Benton, a lawyer and farmer, and Ann “Nancy” Gooch. Jesse Benton died in 1791, leaving eight children, considerable land, extensive debts, and an aristocratic lifestyle. The family suffered a further blow when Thomas Hart Benton, at age sixteen, was expelled from the University of North Carolina for misusing money entrusted to him by roommates. The future senator was known ever after for scrupulous honesty and belligerent defense of his honor; concern that the story of his expulsion might surface probably influenced his consistent refusals to be considered for the presidency....

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Bidlack, Benjamin Alden (08 September 1804–06 February 1849), lawyer, legislator, and diplomat, was born in Paris, Oneida County, New York, the son of Benjamin Bidlack, a pioneer farmer, and Lydia Alden Bidlack. After his family relocated to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Bidlack completed his education at local public schools and the Wilkes-Barre Academy. Intent on a career in law, he studied law in the office of Garrick Mallery, a local attorney, and was appointed deputy attorney for Luzerne County shortly after gaining admittance to the state bar. After an early marriage to Fanny Stewart ended shortly after it began (for reasons that are not known), Bidlack married Margaret Wallace on 8 September 1829. The couple had seven children....

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Blount, James Henderson (12 September 1837–08 March 1903), lawyer, congressman, and special diplomatic envoy, was born near the village of Clinton, Jones County, Georgia, the son of Thomas Blount and Mary Ricketts, planters. Blount, whose parents died during his childhood, was raised in the household of his older half-brother, David Blount. He attended private schools in Clinton, Georgia, and Tuscaloosa, Alabama, before graduating with honors from the University of Georgia in 1858. He read law and was admitted to the Georgia bar in 1859, and after a brief practice in Clinton, joined the firm of Anderson and Simmons in nearby Macon....

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Bosone, Reva Beck (02 April 1895–21 July 1983), judge and congresswoman, was born in American Fork, Utah, the daughter of Christian M. Beck, a hotel and livery stable owner, and Zilpha Ann Chipman, manager of the hotel. Descended both from Mayflower ancestors and early Utah Mormon pioneers, she was born into a family that emphasized education for both boys and girls. She graduated from Westminster Junior College in 1917 and from the University of California at Berkeley in 1919. She taught speech, drama, and debate in several Utah high schools for seven years before entering the University of Utah College of Law in 1927. There she met and married, in 1929, fellow student Joseph P. Bosone. She received an LL.B. in 1930, shortly before the birth of her daughter....

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Bourne, Benjamin (09 December 1755–17 September 1808), U.S. congressman and jurist, was born in Bristol, Rhode Island, the son of Shearjashub Bourne and Ruth Bosworth Church. Bourne began a career in law and public service after graduating from Harvard with an A.B. in law in 1775. In January 1776 he became the quartermaster for the Second Regiment of Rhode Island. He left military service in January 1777 and returned to Bristol. In 1778 Bourne married Hope Child Diman, the widow of Captain Benjamin Diman of Bristol; they had four children....

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Boyle, John (28 October 1774–28 January 1834), congressman and state and federal judge, was born at “Castle Woods,” near Tazewell, Botetourt County, Virginia, the son of John Boyle, a farmer, and Jane (maiden name unknown). An 1878 encyclopedia describes Boyle as “descended from a sound but humble stock, he was the carver of his own fortune, and the ennobler of his own name” ( ...

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Bradbury, Theophilus (13 November 1739–06 September 1803), lawyer, jurist, and congressman, was born in Newbury (now Newburyport), Massachusetts, the son of Theophilus Bradbury, a wealthy sea captain, and Ann Woodman. Graduated from Harvard College in 1757, he moved to Falmouth (now in Maine but a part of Massachusetts until 1820), where he briefly taught school. When courts were organized in Cumberland and Lincoln counties in 1761, Bradbury was the first man admitted to the bar. Bradbury’s knowledge of the law and effective, dignified courtroom manner led to his appointment as collector of the excise on liquor, tea, coffee, and china in Maine for the province. In 1762 he married Sarah Jones; they had seven children....

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Briggs, George Nixon (12 April 1796–12 September 1861), lawyer, congressman, and governor, was born in Adams, Massachusetts, the son of blacksmith Allen Briggs, a veteran of the revolutionary war, and Nancy Brown. As with many settlers in the Berkshire area of Massachusetts, the Briggses had moved north from Rhode Island and were earnest Baptists (although Nancy Briggs had come from a Huguenot family). At age thirteen Briggs, one of twelve siblings, was apprenticed to Quaker John Allen, a hatter in White Creek, New York. He returned home in 1811 to help his father and attended grammar school for about a year. In 1813 he studied law with Ambrose Kasson (also spelled Kapen) of Adams, Massachusetts; the following year he moved to the office of Luther Washburn in Lanesboro. During his apprenticeship in White Creek, Briggs, then a Quaker, had experienced a conversion at a revival and thereby became a Baptist. While studying law in Lanesboro and helping to found a Baptist church there, he met Harriet Hall, whom he married in May 1818; they would have at least two children....

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Brooks, Preston Smith (06 August 1819–27 January 1857), U.S. congressman, was born in Edgefield, South Carolina, the son of Whitfield Brooks, Sr., a planter, and Mary Parsons Carroll. Brooks was an eldest son born into one of the most influential planter families in antebellum South Carolina. Connected by marriage to the leading families in Edgefield District and upcountry South Carolina, the Brooks line stood proudly among the state’s ruling elite. The sons of planters, as befitting their status and wealth, were socialized to live by a code of honor that placed a premium on absolute loyalty to family, kin, and section. Manliness of spirit in defense of honor, the direct antithesis of the presumed submissiveness of the docile slave, was the highest and most esteemed male virtue. This was one of the most important lessons Brooks learned in his private education, first at the Moses Waddel school in Willington and then at the College of South Carolina, the training ground for the state’s future leaders....

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Brown, John (12 September 1757–28 August 1837), lawyer, congressman, and U.S. senator from Kentucky, was born in Staunton, Virginia, the son of John Brown, a prominent Presbyterian minister in the Shenandoah Valley, and Margaret Preston, whose brother William Preston held a number of important government posts in western Virginia. Schooled at his father’s Liberty Hall Academy, which later became Washington and Lee University, the younger John Brown continued his education at Princeton, his father’s alma mater. Brown’s tenure at Princeton was interrupted by the Revolution. When ...

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Burke, Aedanus (16 June 1743–30 March 1802), congressman and judge, was born in County Galway, Ireland. His parentage is unknown, although he acknowledged that his grandfather served in the Irish army of James II. Burke attended a Jesuit seminary in St. Omer, France, and had he completed his studies there would have been destined for the priesthood. Never renouncing Catholicism or affiliating with any religious denomination in America, Burke, in order to be eligible to hold public office in South Carolina, became a nominal Protestant. After a brief stay in Bermuda, Burke showed up in 1766 at ...

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Butterworth, Benjamin (22 October 1837–16 January 1898), lawyer and congressman, was born in Hamilton, Butler County, Ohio, the son of William Butterworth, a farmer and schoolteacher, and Elizabeth Linton. After completing preparatory training at local public schools and the Lebanon Academy in Maineville, Butterworth attended Ohio University. He studied law with Durbin Ward and William M. Ramsey in Cincinnati and graduated from the Cincinnati Law School in 1861. A Quaker who fought in the Civil War with the rank of major, Butterworth in 1863 married Mary E. Seiler. They had four children. Butterworth was appointed assistant U.S. district attorney for southern Ohio in 1868, serving under Warner Bateman. Although he was appointed district attorney in 1870, he resigned the position shortly thereafter to resume his law practice with a cousin, George S. Bailey. Living in a strongly Democratic district, Butterworth in 1871 was nominated by local Republicans for the Ohio Senate, and he came within 126 votes of winning the election. Two years after this narrow defeat, he carried the same district by a majority of eighty-six votes and represented Warren and Butler counties in the state senate from 1873 to 1875....

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Calhoun, William Barron (29 December 1796–08 November 1865), lawyer, writer, and politician, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Andrew Calhoun, a merchant, and Martha Chamberlain. His father was one of the founders of Boston’s Park Street Church. Calhoun was prepared for college by Harvard graduate William Wells, then he attended Yale, graduating in 1814. While a senior at Yale, Calhoun was one of the editors of a student publication, the ...

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Campbell, John Wilson (23 February 1782–24 September 1833), Ohio congressman and judge, was born in Augusta County, Virginia, the son of William Campbell and Elizabeth Wilson, pioneer farmers. His parents, immigrants from northern Ireland, moved to Kentucky in about 1791. Disliking farm work, young Campbell left home and became an apprentice carpenter in Cincinnati, but this so distressed his mother that he returned home and later moved to southern Ohio with the family. He paid for his schooling by clearing land and teaching school, becoming an excellent Latin scholar, although he had no college education. After studying law in Morgantown, Virginia, with his uncle, Thomas Wilson, he was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1808 and took up practice in West Union. Appointed prosecuting attorney for Adams and Highland counties, he built a profitable practice dealing mainly with disputed land titles in Ohio’s Virginia Military District, where he also acted as land agent for nonresident proprietors. In 1811 he married Eleanor W. Doak. They adopted one child....