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Benjamin W. Arnett. Courtesy of the Ohio Historical Society.

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Arnett, Benjamin William (06 March 1838–09 October 1906), African-American religious, educational, and political leader, was born in Brownsville, Pennsylvania, the son of Samuel G. Arnett and Mary Louisa (maiden name unknown). Arnett was a man of “mixed Irish, Indian, Scots, and African ancestry” (Wright, p. 79). He was educated in a one-room schoolhouse in Bridgeport, Pennsylvania. Arnett worked as a longshoreman along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers and briefly as a hotel waiter. His career as a longshoreman and waiter ended abruptly when a cancerous tumor necessitated amputation of his left leg in 1858. He turned to teaching and was granted a teaching certificate on 19 December 1863. At that time, he was the only African-American schoolteacher licensed in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. For ten months during the academic year 1884–1885, Arnett served as a school principal in Washington, D.C. He returned to Brownsville in 1885, teaching there until 1887. Although largely self-educated, he attended classes at Lane Theological Seminary in Cincinnati. A man of many interests, he was an occasional lecturer in ethics and psychology at the Payne Theological Seminary at Wilberforce University, served as a historian of the AME church, was a trustee of the Archaeological and Historical Society of Ohio, served as a member of the Executive Committee of the National Sociological Society, and was statistical secretary of the Ecumenical Conference of Methodism for the western section from 1891 to 1901....

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Crary, Isaac Edwin (02 October 1804–08 May 1854), congressman and educator, was born in Preston, Connecticut, the son of Elisha Crary and Nabby Avery, farmers. He graduated from Trinity College in 1827 and spent two years practicing law in Hartford, Connecticut. In 1832 Crary moved to Marshall, Michigan, where he established that town’s first law firm. While law remained Crary’s profession, the advancement of education was his avocation, and he was instrumental in making Michigan a leader in the field of public education during the nineteenth century....

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Duer, William Alexander (08 September 1780–30 May 1858), politician, lawyer, and college president, was born in Rhinebeck, New York, the son of Catharine Alexander and William Duer, a patriot entrepreneur whose ventures collapsed in 1792. Duer’s maternal grandfather, Major General William Alexander of New Jersey, claimed the Scottish earldom of Stirling, and through his maternal great-grandfather, ...

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Frazier, Maude (04 April 1881–20 June 1963), educator and state legislator, was born in Sauk County near the town of Baraboo, Wisconsin, the daughter of William Henry Frazier and Mary Emma Presnall, farmers. Frazier began teaching as soon as she graduated from high school, having received a teaching credential through examination. Her determination to attain a higher education led her to attend college over her father’s objections, and she worked her way through the two-year course at the State Teachers College in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. She then accepted a teaching job in a small Wisconsin mining town, where she heard stories about opportunities for teachers in the West. The challenge of new experiences appealed to Frazier, who accepted a position in Nevada....

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Fuller, Thomas Oscar (25 October 1867–21 June 1942), educator, clergyman, and politician, was born in Franklinton, North Carolina, the son of J. Henderson Fuller and Mary Elizabeth (maiden name unknown). Fuller’s father was a former slave who had purchased his freedom and later his wife’s with money earned as a skilled wheelwright and carpenter. While a slave, the elder Fuller taught himself to read, and after the Civil War he became active in Republican politics. During Reconstruction he served as a delegate to the 1868 state Republican convention and as a local magistrate....

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Haddock, Charles Brickett (20 June 1796–15 January 1861), educator and legislator, was born in Salisbury (later Franklin), New Hampshire, the son of William Haddock, a tanner, currier, and shoemaker, and Abigail Eastman Webster, Daniel Webster’s older sister. He graduated first in his class from Dartmouth College in 1816. After spending two years at Andover Theological Seminary, Haddock returned to Dartmouth in 1819 as professor of rhetoric and oratory until 1838, when, declining the presidency of Bowdoin College, he became professor of intellectual philosophy and English literature. He married Susan Saunders Lang in 1819; they had nine children. Starting in 1844, he served as professor of intellectual philosophy and political economy at Dartmouth until his retirement in 1854. A successful and well-liked, if not inspiring, teacher, Haddock was an impressive figure who possessed elegant manners and a striking resemblance to his famous uncle....

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Hammond, Jabez Delano (02 August 1778–18 August 1855), politician and historian, was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, the son of Jabez Hammond and Priscilla Delano. He grew up in Woodstock, Vermont, where he was educated in the common schools. At age fifteen he began teaching school, and, after becoming eligible through a brief apprenticeship, began a medical practice in Reading, Vermont. Dissatisfied with the medical profession for unknown reasons, Hammond sought to improve his fortune in New York, moving to Newburgh and reading law in Jonathan Fiske’s office while supporting himself as a schoolmaster. Admitted to the bar in 1805, the young lawyer pursued further opportunity in the Susquehanna Valley in the town of Cherry Valley, building “within a short time a reputable and profitable legal practice” and entering politics....

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Howard, Timothy Edward (27 January 1837–09 July 1916), professor, legislator, and judge, was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the son of Martin Howard and Julia Beahan, farmers. Howard enrolled in the University of Michigan after attending “common schools” and a seminary in Ypsilanti but left during his sophomore year because of an illness in his family. He taught in rural Michigan schools for two years before entering Notre Dame in 1859. In February 1862, before he had graduated, he enlisted in the Twelfth Michigan Infantry. His friends would later recall that he had enlisted without telling anyone at Notre Dame. He served only two months before he was seriously wounded in the battle of Shiloh. Although he recovered, the wound was so severe that he was discharged as unfit for further service....

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Johnson, Edward Austin (23 November 1860–24 July 1944), educator, lawyer, and politician, was born near Raleigh, North Carolina, the son of Columbus Johnson and Eliza A. Smith, slaves. He was taught to read and write by Nancy Walton, a free African American, and later attended the Washington School, an establishment founded by philanthropic northerners in Raleigh. There he was introduced to the Congregational church and became a lifelong member. Johnson completed his education at Atlanta University in Georgia, graduating in 1883. To pay his way through college, he worked as a barber and taught in the summers. After graduation he worked as a teacher and principal, first in Atlanta at the Mitchell Street Public School (1883–1885) and then in Raleigh at the Washington School (1885–1891). While teaching in Raleigh he studied at Shaw University, obtaining a law degree in 1891. He joined the faculty shortly after graduation and became dean of the law school at Shaw two years later. He acquired a reputation as a highly capable lawyer, successfully arguing many cases before the North Carolina Supreme Court....

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Morris, Edward Joy (16 July 1815–31 December 1881), legislator, author, and diplomat, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, of unknown ancestry. He attended the University of Pennsylvania and graduated from Harvard College in 1836. He studied law and was admitted to the Philadelphia bar in 1842, while serving in the Pennsylvania assembly, 1841–1843. Morris served one term as a Whig in Congress, 1843–1845. When his bid for reelection failed, he resumed his law practice. In 1847 he married Elizabeth Gatliff Ella of Philadelphia, with whom he had two daughters....

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Steiner, Lewis Henry (04 May 1827–18 February 1892), physician, state senator, and librarian, was born in Frederick, Maryland, the son of Christian Steiner, a merchant, and Rebecca Weltzheimer. Steiner studied at the Frederick Academy and in 1846 graduated from Marshall College in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, where he was considered a particularly gifted student of chemistry. He went on to study medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, from which he received his M.D. in 1849. Returning home, he established a medical practice in Frederick. In 1852 he moved to Baltimore and thereafter devoted himself to teaching chemistry in relation to medicine....

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Warren, William Whipple (27 May 1825–01 June 1853), Ojibwa historian and legislator, was born in La Pointe, on Madeline Island, Wisconsin, in Lake Superior, the son of Lyman Marcus Warren, a fur trader, and Mary Cadotte, of French and Ojibwa descent. The oldest of eight children, William was raised in a home with an extensive library. According to the first missionary at nearby Leech Lake, Rev. William T. Boutwell, the children were given “the benefits of a Christian education.” At age seven William attended the mission school at La Pointe and, the following year, the mission school at Mackinaw. When he was eleven his grandfather took him to New York, where he studied from 1838 to 1841 at the Oneida Institute in Whitesborough, near Utica, a school run by Rev. ...

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George Washington Williams. Courtesy of the Ohio Historical Society.

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Williams, George Washington (16 October 1849–02 August 1891), soldier, clergyman, legislator, and historian, was born in Bedford Springs, Pennsylvania, the son of Thomas Williams, a free black laborer, and Ellen Rouse. His father became a boatman and, eventually, a minister and barber, and the younger Williams drifted with his family from town to town in western Pennsylvania until the beginning of the Civil War. With no formal education, he lied about his age, adopted the name of an uncle, and enlisted in the United States Colored Troops in 1864. He served in operations against Petersburg and Richmond, sustaining multiple wounds during several battles. After the war’s end, Williams was stationed in Texas, but crossed the border to fight with the Mexican republican forces that overthrew the emperor Maximilian. He returned to the U.S. Army in 1867, serving with the Tenth Cavalry, an all-black unit, at Fort Arbuckle, Indian Territory. Williams was discharged for disability the following year after being shot through the left lung under circumstances that were never fully explained....