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Candler, Allen Daniel (04 November 1834–26 October 1910), politician and compiler of records, was born in Auraria, Georgia, the son of Daniel Gill Candler and Nancy Caroline Matthews, farmers. Candler worked on the family farm, taught school, and attended Mercer University, where he earned an A.B. in 1859 and an M.A. in 1866. During the Civil War he served in the Confederate Army of Tennessee. A wound in 1864 resulted in the loss of one eye. That same year he married Eugenia Thomas Williams; they would have eleven children. At the war’s end he said, “I counted myself quite wealthy [with] … one wife, and baby, one eye, and one silver dollar.”...

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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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Ford, Thomas (05 December 1800–03 November 1850), governor of Illinois and historian, was born near Uniontown, Pennsylvania, the son of Robert Ford and Elizabeth Logue, farmers. His father died in 1803, and Ford’s remarkable mother moved her numerous family to Spanish Louisiana the next year, only to learn upon arrival at St. Louis that the free land she expected to find there was not available after the Louisiana Purchase. The Ford family located across the Mississippi at New Design, Illinois, where Thomas Ford received his first schooling and hired himself out to labor....

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Hadley, Herbert Spencer (20 February 1872–01 December 1927), politician, lawyer, and educator, was born in Olathe, Kansas, the son of John Milton Hadley and Harriett Beach, farmers. He earned an A.B. in 1892 from the University of Kansas and an LL.B. in 1894 from Northwestern University. In 1901 he married Agnes Lee; they had three children....

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Larrazolo, Octaviano Ambrosio (07 December 1859–07 April 1930), politician, lawyer, and schoolteacher, was born in Allende, Chihuahua, Mexico, the son of Octaviano Larrazolo, a prosperous landowner, and Donaciana Corral. The Larrazolo family lost everything in the 1860s, when the French invasion force under the emperor Ferdinand Maxmilian crushed the Mexican revolt led by Benito Juarez. An old family friend, the Reverend J. B. Salpointe, the Catholic bishop of Arizona, offered in 1870 to ease the family’s financial burdens by taking Larrazolo (who had assisted Salpointe as an altar boy) to the United States. After five years in Tucson, Salpointe, who in the interim had become archbishop of Santa Fe, New Mexico, enrolled Larrazolo in that community’s Christian Brothers’ preparatory program known as St. Michael’s College....

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Northen, William Jonathan (09 July 1835–25 March 1913), politician and educator, was born in Jones County, Georgia, to Peter Northen, a planter, and Louisa Maria Davis. In 1840 the family moved to Penfield in Greene County, Georgia, where Peter Northen directed Mercer University’s manual labor program and farmed a modest plantation. William Northen attended Mercer University, graduating with a B.A. in 1853. That same year he experienced Christian conversion, joined the Baptist church, and suffered his first emotional and physical breakdown. Like many driven individuals, Northen struggled with depression and exhaustion several times during his life....

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Pillsbury, John Sargent (29 July 1827–18 October 1901), businessman, politician, and "father" of the University of Minnesota, businessman, politician, and “father” of the University of Minnesota, was born in Sutton, New Hampshire, the son of John Pillsbury and Susan Wadleigh. He grew up in Sutton, where his father had a small manufacturing business. There he attended primary school and became an apprentice printer. In 1853 he moved to Warner, New Hampshire, where he worked as a store clerk for his brother and later went into business as a tailor and cloth merchant. It was there he met Mahala Fisk, whom he married in 1856; they had three children and adopted a fourth. In 1853, like many from the East, he traveled to the West Coast in search of greater opportunity and passed through Minnesota. He returned in 1855 and settled in St. Anthony, later incorporated into Minneapolis, and opened a hardware store that he operated for the next two decades. His business was almost wiped out during the panic of 1857 and by a disastrous fire the same year that burned his store to the ground. By living in near poverty for the next several years he paid his debts, restored his business, and eventually prospered....

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Terry Sanford [left to right] President-elect John F. Kennedy and Terry Sanford, 1960. Photograph by the Associated Press. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

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Sanford, Terry (20 August 1917–18 April 1998), governor, college president, and U.S. senator, was born James Terry Sanford in Laurinburg, North Carolina, the son of Cecil LeRoy Sanford, hardware merchant, and Elizabeth Terry Martin, schoolteacher. After receiving his early education in local public schools, he attended Presbyterian Junior College and then the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, graduating with a B.A. in 1939. After serving as a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation for two years (1941–1942), Sanford resigned and enlisted in the U.S. Army. He married Margaret Rose Knight in July 1942; the couple had two children. Sanford saw service as a paratrooper in several European campaigns (including the invasion of southern France and the Battle of the Bulge) and was decorated with both the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. Discharged as a first lieutenant in December 1945, he returned to his alma mater and received an LL.B. in 1946. Admitted to the bar that same year, he remained in Chapel Hill and served as assistant director of the Institute of Government until 1948....

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Snow, Wilbert (06 April 1884–28 September 1977), college professor, poet, and politician, was born Charles Wilbert Snow on White Head Island, St. George, Maine, the son of Forrest Alwin Snow, a coast guardsman, and Katherine Frances Quinn, the Canadian-born daughter of Irish immigrants. When he was seven the family moved to Spruce Head on the mainland so that four of the six children could attend the village school. Before attending high school in Thomaston, Maine, Snow worked for three years as a lobsterman, deepening his acquaintance with the tasks and rhythms of the coastal life that were to figure in his poetry. After high school he worked in a stone quarry. Fired for trying to organize the laborers there, he taught for two short periods in rural schools. Seeing in both settings the plight of people who worked hard and faced retirement with no pensions and little savings motivated Snow to improve social conditions through political action....

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Swain, David Lowry (04 January 1801–27 August 1868), North Carolina governor and university president, was born near Asheville, North Carolina, the son of George Swain, a farmer and hatmaker, and Caroline Lane Lowry. Upon George Swain’s appointment as postmaster of Asheville in 1807, he moved his family into town, where he continued his previous occupations and served also as justice of the peace and self-taught physician. David Lowry Swain (named for his mother’s first husband) was educated at home and at a local academy. Thus trained, he entered the junior class at the University of North Carolina in 1822, only to drop out almost immediately to read law with Chief Justice ...

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Thompson, Hugh Smith (24 January 1836–20 November 1904), educator and governor, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of Henry Tazewell Thompson and Agnes Smith, slaveowning farmers. He grew up on the family farm in the Greenville District. In 1852 Thompson enrolled at the South Carolina Military Academy in Charleston (the Citadel) and graduated in 1856. In 1858 he married Elizabeth Clarkson; they had seven children....