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Allerton, Samuel Waters (26 May 1828–22 February 1914), meat packer, was born in Amenia, New York, the son of Samuel Waters Allerton, Sr., a tailor and woolen mill operator, and Hannah Hurd. The youngest of nine children, he attended school for several years but received little formal education beyond that. The family experienced financial difficulties as a result of the 1837 panic and was forced to move several times, once as far west as Dubuque, Iowa, before settling on a farm in upstate New York in 1842. Eight years later Samuel and his older brother Henry rented a farm in Yates County and began raising and trading cattle and hogs. Shortly thereafter they bought a farm in Wayne County....

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Bennett, John Cook (03 August 1804–05 August 1867), physician, religious leader, and entrepreneur, was born in Fair Haven, Bristol County, Massachusetts, the son of John Bennett, a shipowner, and Abigail Cook. At his father’s death in 1817, he moved with his mother to Ohio to stay with relatives. In 1825, after a three-year apprenticeship with a physician and an oral examination by an Ohio medical society, Bennett received his M.D. and a license to practice. That year he married Mary Barker; they had three children. There is no evidence supporting his claim to have attended Ohio University or McGill College in Montreal; he did, however, become a Freemason in 1826....

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Charles Carroll of Carrollton. Lithograph on paper, 1832, by Albert Newsam. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

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Carroll of Carrollton, Charles (19 September 1737–14 November 1832), planter, businessman, investor, and the only Roman Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence, as well as the last of the signers to die, was born in Annapolis, Maryland, the son of Charles Carroll of Annapolis, a planter, and his common-law wife, Elizabeth Brooke. An only child, Carroll was sent at the age of ten to the Jesuit college of St. Omers, in French Flanders, where Maryland’s Catholic gentry sent their sons because the colony’s laws, which denied “papists” the right to vote, hold office, practice law, and worship publicly, also forbade them to maintain religious schools. Young Carroll studied abroad for sixteen years, ending with a thesis in philosophy at the college of Louis le Grand in Paris in 1757. After reading civil law in Bourges and Paris, he moved to London in September 1759 to pursue the common law at the Inns of Court. However, his antipathy for the discipline, which he regarded as “founded upon and still subsisting by villainy,” became so intense that he ultimately defied his father’s intention that he formally enter the Inner Temple, one of the four Inns of Court. Finding the paternal insistence on his acquiring the social graces more to his liking, he became adept at dancing, drawing, and fencing and mastered Italian, bookkeeping, and surveying, practical skills the elder Carroll deemed essential for success as a landowner and man of business....

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Forstall, Edmond Jean (07 November 1794–16 November 1873), merchant, banker, and sugar planter, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of Edouard Pierre Forstall and Celeste de la Villebeauve. The father’s occupation is uncertain, but in Edmond’s youth several members of the Forstall family, Edouard perhaps one of them, were active in Louisiana commerce. Record of Edmond’s education is lacking, but at the age of twelve he went to work for a merchant. In his adulthood he was fluent in English as well as French and read and wrote widely in both languages. As early as 1818 he was named a director of the Louisiana State Bank. By 1819 he was associated with the New Orleans firm of Gordon, Grant & Company, and in 1823 when the firm reorganized as Gordon & Forstall, Forstall became managing partner. In July 1823 he married Clara Durel; the couple had eleven children, one of whom died in infancy....

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Garey, Thomas Andrew (07 July 1830–20 August 1909), citriculturist and land developer, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of Samuel Garey, a physician, and Margaret Wringer. Little is known about his childhood, except that his family lived in Hagerstown, Maryland, for several years, eventually moving to Iowa in 1847. By age twenty Garey was living in Independence, Missouri, at which time he left with a group of travelers bound for California. In the fall of 1850, however, Garey abandoned the group in Albuquerque, New Mexico, when he met Louise Josephine Smith, whom he married on 27 October 1850. The couple had seven children who survived infancy....

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Glidden, Joseph Farwell (18 January 1813–09 October 1906), farmer, inventor, and capitalist, was born in Charlestown, Sullivan County, New Hampshire, the son of David Glidden and Polly Hurd, farmers. His family moved west to Orleans County, New York, when he was an infant. After attending local district schools, he studied at Middlebury Academy in Genesee County and at the seminary in Lima, New York. He taught school in the area for several years, but farming was always his first love. In 1837 he married Clarissa Foster in Clarendon, New York. Lacking funds to buy land in New York, he headed west in about 1840 with two crude threshing machines, doing custom threshing and general farm work. In 1842 he settled in De Kalb County, Illinois, where he purchased 600 acres of prairie land on the edge of De Kalb village. The death of the Gliddens’ three young children, followed by the death of his wife in 1843, left Glidden alone until 1851, when he married Lucinda Warne of De Kalb. They had one daughter....

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Greene, William Cornell (26 August 1853–05 August 1911), rancher, mineowner, and investor, was born at Duck Creek, Wisconsin, the son of Townsend Greene and Eleanor Cornell, farmers. His father died when William was very young, leaving his mother apparently little choice but to split up the family of two sons and two daughters. As a result, Greene was brought up by his great aunt in Chappaqua, New York. He apparently obtained a decent education, given the standards of that day, then moved to New York at age seventeen to begin his business career as a clerk in a tea store. In 1872 Greene moved west, apparently working in the Dakotas, then in Texas, and finally drifting to Arizona, where he became a prospector in the Bradshaw Mining District in 1877. He was then twenty-four years old, brave to a fault, given to gambling, short in temper, and modest of means....

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Heard, Dwight Bancroft (01 May 1869–14 March 1929), investment banker, farmer, and publisher, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Leander Bradford Heard, a wholesale grocer, and Lucy Bancroft. His father died in 1882. After Heard finished high school in Brookline, Massachusetts, his mother moved the family to Chicago, where Heard began work at the hardware sellers Hibbard, Spencer & Bartlett. The wife of the firm’s president, Adolphus Bartlett, was a distant relative of Heard, who quickly became Bartlett’s protégé. Heard was the company’s specialist in credit sales in Wisconsin and much of the Midwest. In 1893 he married Maie Pitkin Bartlett, Adolphus Bartlett’s daughter; they had one child....

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Hoffmann, Francis Arnold (05 June 1822–23 January 1903), German-American political leader, businessman, and agricultural writer, was born in Herford, Westphalia, Prussia, the son of Frederick William Hoffmann, a bookbinder, and Wilhelmina Groppe. Educated at the Gymnasium in Herford, he left home in 1840 to emigrate to the United States. He traveled first to Chicago, where he worked briefly as a hotel porter then took a position as teacher for a German congregation in Addison township, Du Page County, Illinois, west of Chicago. He also led hymns and read sermons in the church services. In 1841 he went to Michigan to study under clergy of the Lutheran Michigan Synod and was ordained. He returned to Addison to serve as pastor and also served other congregations in northeastern Illinois. In 1844 he married Cynthia Gilbert, a native of Ohio. The exact number of their children is unknown; four survived Hoffmann. He acquired citizenship by naturalization in 1846....

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Ivins, Anthony Woodward (16 September 1852–23 September 1934), businessman, rancher, and church leader, was born in Toms River, New Jersey, the son of Israel Ivins, a pioneer physician and farmer, and Anna Lowrie. Shortly after Ivins’s birth, his family converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon). They moved west to the Salt Lake Valley, and in 1861 Israel Ivins was assigned by ...

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Ladejinsky, Wolf Isaac (15 March 1899–03 July 1975), agricultural economist, was born in Ekaterinopol, Ukraine, then part of the Russian empire, the son of a prosperous Jewish miller and trader. His parents’ names are unknown. Attracted to learning from an early age, Ladejinsky completed his secondary studies at a nearby Gymnasium. Further university studies were interrupted by the outbreak of the Russian revolution in 1917....

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Lasater, Edward Cunningham (05 November 1860–20 March 1930), rancher, dairyman, and land developer, was born at “Valley Farm,” near Goliad, Texas, the son of Albert H. Lasater, a rancher, and Sarah Jane Cunningham. The Texas frontier offered Edward only a meager education, but he had dreams of becoming a lawyer. Those dreams were shattered when, his father’s health failing, he had to leave school to help with the family’s sheep business in Atascosa County. His father purchased a ranch near Oakville in Live Oak County, and after his father’s death in 1883, Lasater began buying and selling cattle and establishing his credit. In 1892 he married Martha Patti Noble Bennett. They had two children before Martha died in childbirth in 1900. In 1902 Lasater married Mary Gardner Miller; they had five children....

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Littlefield, George Washington (21 June 1842–10 November 1920), cattle dealer, banker, and philanthropist, was born in Panola County, Mississippi, the son of Fleming Littlefield and Mildred Terrell Satterwhite White, plantation owners. At the age of nine he moved with his family to a 1,500-acre plantation on the Guadalupe River, north of Gonzales, Texas. A year after his father’s death in 1853, George’s mother inventoried the family’s holdings and divided them among her children. Consequently, George received five slaves, mules, horses, cattle, oxen, hogs, tools, and a carriage at the young age of twelve. After attending Baylor University in Independence, Texas, in 1857 and 1858, Littlefield returned to work on his mother’s expanding plantation. He then joined the Eighth Texas Cavalry, also known as Terry’s Texas Rangers, in August 1861. He fought as a lieutenant at Shiloh and as a captain in both Tennessee and Kentucky, most notably at the battle of Chickamauga. While returning to battle from a recruiting trip to Texas, Littlefield married Alice P. Tiller, whom he had known in Gonzales, in January 1863 in Houston. The couple had no children. He became major of his regiment, but while replacing a wounded lieutenant colonel at Mossy Creek, he sustained a life-threatening wound in December 1863. Acting on the advice of a surgeon, Littlefield resigned from service in late summer of the next year....

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Lowden, Frank Orren (26 January 1861–20 March 1943), businessman, governor of Illinois, and agriculturist, was born near the village of Sunrise City, Minnesota, the son of Lorenzo Orren Lowden and Nancy Elizabeth Bregg, and grew up in central Iowa. His father, a restless and independent man, worked as blacksmith and farmer, then studied law while in his forties; he was also somewhat of a rebel and political activist, involved in the Grange and the Democratic and Greenback parties. Lowden studied at rural schools, became a teacher at the age of fourteen, and in 1881 entered the University of Iowa, where he graduated as valedictorian in 1885. He then moved to Chicago, where he studied law at the Union College of Law, graduating in 1887, and landed a position at a major law firm. In 1896 he married Florence Pullman, daughter of the extremely wealthy and powerful industrialist ...

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Stearns, Abel (09 February 1798–23 August 1871), California pioneer merchant and ranchero, California pioneer merchant and ranchero, was born in Lunenburg, Massachusetts, the son of Levi Stearns and Elizabeth Goodrich (occupations unknown). When his parents died within three months of each other in 1810, Stearns went to sea and rose from merchant sailor to supercargo before acquiring his own trading schooner in 1822. By then, a failed marriage to Persis (maiden name unknown) between 1817 and 1820 had resulted in the birth of a child in 1819. In the meantime, Stearns traveled to the East and West Indies, China, and South America before abandoning the sea, the United States, and apparently his own child in 1826. Settling in Mexico City, Stearns became a naturalized Mexican citizen in 1828 and moved to Monterey, California, the following year....

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Vann, Joseph (1800–26 October 1844), Cherokee leader, planter, and businessman, was born in the Cherokee Nation (in what is now Murray County, Ga.), the son of James Vann, a Cherokee leader, and Margret Scott. Vann, known as “Rich Joe,” has often been confused with his cousin and contemporary Joseph Vann (1798–1877). As was common among nineteenth-century Native American leaders, Vann had white and Cherokee ancestors. His father, a wealthy Cherokee of mixed blood, left his son much of his wealth when he died in 1809, including a large plantation, many black slaves, and a handsome federal house at Spring Place, Georgia. Vann continued to live at Spring Place until the Cherokee removal began in the 1830s. The house, which was built in 1804, was later designated a state historic site. In addition to his landholdings and slaves, Vann owned a ferry and engaged in various business ventures. He married Jennis Springston (date unknown); they had at least five children....

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Walker, Thomas (25 January 1715–09 November 1794), planter and land speculator, was born in Virginia, the son of Thomas Walker, Sr., and Susanna Peachy. Because his father died when Thomas was young, he lived with his sister Mary in Williamsburg. Her husband instructed Thomas in medicine and may have sent him to attend William and Mary College. By the early 1740s his reputation as a surgeon was being established. In 1741 he married Mildred Thornton, a relative of ...