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Capers, Ellison (14 October 1837–22 April 1908), Confederate soldier and Episcopal clergyman, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of William Capers, a Methodist bishop, and Susan McGill. After attending the private schools of his native city, he was graduated in 1857 from the South Carolina Military Academy. He taught mathematics at his alma mater and for a year was on the staff of a college in Winnsboro, South Carolina. Early in 1859 he married Charlotte Palmer; they had nine children....

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Duffy, Francis Patrick (02 May 1871–26 June 1932), Catholic military chaplain, editor, and teacher, was born in Cobourg, Ontario, Canada, the son of Irish immigrants Patrick Duffy and Mary Ready. The third of six children who lived to maturity, Duffy received his early Catholic education from the Sisters of St. Joseph but had to leave school at the age of thirteen to work in a mill. At fourteen, however, he was thought to be too frail to work, so he returned to school. Duffy earned a teacher’s certificate from the Cobourg Collegiate Institute in 1888. Feeling a call to the priesthood, he attended St. Michael’s College in Toronto, studying with the Basilian Fathers and graduating with a baccalaureate degree in 1893. In 1894 he accepted a position at St. Francis Xavier College in New York City, where he earned a master’s degree and applied for formal entry into the seminary. Archbishop ...

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Higginson, Thomas Wentworth (22 December 1823–09 May 1911), minister, reformer, soldier, and author, was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the son of Stephen Higginson, Jr., a Boston merchant, and Louisa Storrow. Higginson enrolled at Harvard in 1837 and graduated second in his class. Unsure about his future, he matriculated in Harvard Divinity School, dropped out, and then reenrolled. He graduated in 1847. In the same year he married his second cousin, Mary Elizabeth Channing, the daughter of the dean of the Harvard Medical School....

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Holt, David Eldred (27 November 1843–05 November 1925), Confederate soldier, salesman, writer, and minister, was born on the family plantation at Athlone, Mississippi, the son of Dr. David Holt, physician, and Juliette White. The plantation was located between Natchez and Woodville, the Wilkinson County seat. In 1844 David's family moved to Natchez. There, Dr. Holt's medical practice thrived, and he built a new home called "Oddity Hall" due to its unique and unusual construction. Growing up in that house helped to forge the David's sense of devotion to family. Association with slaves and relatives, attendance of camp meetings and baptisms in the local river, and childhood pranks with friends all molded David's perceptions of life and religion. David was particularly close to his physician brother, Joseph Jackson Holt. His memoirs and correspondence later in life revealed the special bond and relationship the two shared....

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Kane, Thomas Leiper (27 January 1822–26 December 1883), lawyer, soldier, philanthropist, entrepreneur, and defender of the Mormons, was born in Philadelphia, the son of John Kintzing Kane, a jurist, and Jane Duval Leiper. He attended school in Philadelphia and from 1839 to 1844 traveled in England and France, studying and visiting relatives. While in Paris he served for a time as an attaché of the American legation. Small in stature and never robust, he would spend most of his life struggling with ill health. In Paris he met Auguste Comte and others who surely encouraged his social conscience, which would be manifested later in his concern for philanthropic causes. In 1844 Kane returned to Philadelphia, where he studied law with his father. Although he was admitted to the bar in 1846 and clerked briefly for his father, who was a federal judge, his interests and activities generally moved in other directions....

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McCabe, Charles Cardwell (11 October 1836–19 December 1906), Civil War chaplain and Methodist Episcopal bishop, was born in Athens, Ohio, the son of Robert McCabe, a tailor, and Sarah Robinson. At age fifteen, McCabe worked on a small farm in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, and, by age sixteen, clerked in a store in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In 1854 he enrolled at Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, Ohio, where his uncle, Lorenzo Dow McCabe, was a distinguished professor; he withdrew from school in 1858 but graduated with a B.A. in 1860 and was accorded on honorary M.A. in 1864....

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Albert Pike. Photoprint, c. 1886. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-100590).

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Pike, Albert (29 December 1809–02 April 1891), lawyer, soldier, and Masonic scholar, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Benjamin Pike, a cobbler, and Sarah Andrews. The boy was torn between his father, whose irreverence and drinking scandalized neighbors, and his mother, who read the Bible to her only son daily and planned on his entering the ministry. In 1813, seeking to supplement his income by farming, Benjamin Pike moved the family to Newburyport, Massachusetts. In 1825 Albert was sent to live with his uncle, a teacher at Framingham Academy, who soon learned that Pike had a prodigious memory that enabled him to digest large volumes and recall their contents at will; the boy learned Hebrew, Latin, and Greek almost effortlessly. Eight months after his arrival in Framingham, Pike passed the entrance examination for Harvard College. He could not afford the tuition, however, so, instead of enrolling at Harvard, he taught common school at Gloucester. The following year Harvard agreed to admit him as a junior, but school officials insisted that he pay the first two years’ tuition. Outraged, Pike abandoned his dreams of a formal education....

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Plummer, Henry Vinton (31 July 1844–08 February 1906), Baptist clergyman and U.S. Army chaplain, was born in Prince George’s County, Maryland, the son of Adam Francis Plummer and Emily Saunders. His parents were slaves on “Goodwood,” the plantation of George H. Calvert, a direct descendant of Lord Baltimore. When he was still young, he was sold to people living in Washington, D.C., and then to Colonel Thompson in Howard County, Maryland....

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Leonidas Polk. In ecclesiastical vestments. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-B8172-3826).

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Polk, Leonidas (10 April 1806–14 June 1864), clergyman and army officer, was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, the son of William Polk, a revolutionary war veteran and prosperous planter, and Sarah Hawkins. He entered the University of North Carolina in 1821 but left for West Point in 1823. Despite an alleged cheating incident, he graduated eighth in the class of 1827. Having professed faith in Christianity, he resigned his commission shortly thereafter and entered Virginia Theological Seminary. In 1830 he married Frances Ann Devereux, daughter of a wealthy North Carolina planter. The union produced eight children....

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Shoup, Francis Asbury (22 March 1834–04 September 1896), Confederate soldier, clergyman, and educator, was born in Laurel, Indiana, the son of George Grove Shoup, a merchant and politician, and Jane Conwell. He attended Asbury College (now DePauw University), before deciding on a military career. Given his family’s local prominence, he easily secured an appointment to West Point, from which he was graduated in 1855. As an artillery subaltern, he did garrison duty in Florida and South Carolina and served in the Seminole War of 1856–1858. During these formative tours of duty, Shoup forged close friendships with many southern-born soldiers and civilians, whose aristocratic pretensions he shared; apparently he came to consider himself a southerner at heart if not by birthright. When he resigned from the army in 1860, he returned to his native state but the following year settled in St. Augustine, Florida, where he practiced law....

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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....