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Arrington, Alfred W. (17 September 1810–31 December 1867), minister, author, and judge, was born in Iredell County, North Carolina, the son of H. Archibald Arrington, a Methodist minister. (His mother’s maiden name was Moore; her first name is not known.) Arrington passed his childhood amid the picturesque scenery of the Blue Ridge Mountains. His early education consisted solely of reading from the Bible, until a family with a small library moved into the area and he was able to read more widely....

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Brackenridge, Hugh Henry (1748–25 June 1816), author and judge, was born Hugh Montgomery Breckenridge near Campbeltown, Scotland, the son of William Breckenridge, an impoverished farmer. His mother’s name is unknown, but apparently she was a person of great intellect. Seeking to escape poverty, the family moved to Pennsylvania when Hugh was five, later settling in rural York County. Eventually Hugh changed his middle name to Henry, and he altered the spelling of his last name “because I found the bulk of the same stock spelt it so.”...

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Collens, Thomas Wharton (23 June 1812–03 November 1879), Creole jurist and writer, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of John Wharton Collens and Marie Louise de Tabiteau. Collens’s father was descended from an English officer who had settled in Louisiana in the eighteenth century. His mother was a member of one of the city’s French-speaking, Creole families. Raised in a bilingual, Catholic household of modest means, Collens overcame a limited education during an apprenticeship in the print shop to which he was sent as a youth. By the age of twenty-one he had advanced to the position of associate editor of the ...

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Dale, Thomas (1700–16 September 1750), physician, jurist, and poet, was born in Hoxton, England, to a gentry family with medical interests. His parents’ names are unknown. He attended Brasenose College, Oxford University, from 1717 to 1720 and in 1721 began study at the University of Leyden, from which he received a medical degree on 23 September 1723 for ...

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Grant, Robert (24 January 1852–19 May 1940), novelist and jurist, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Patrick Grant, a patrician Boston commission merchant, and Charlotte Bordman Rice. Grant later sketched his early life on Beacon Hill in the first chapters of his juvenile novel ...

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Hanson, Alexander Contee (22 October 1749–16 January 1806), lawyer, jurist, and Federalist essayist, was born in Annapolis, Maryland, the son of John Hanson, a continental congressman and first president of the Continental Congress under the Articles of Confederation, and Jane Contee. Hanson was reared in Annapolis and educated at the College of Philadelphia. College records do not indicate that he received a degree. Upon leaving Philadelphia, Hanson returned to Annapolis, where he studied law, and was admitted to practice by the Maryland bar in 1772. By early 1776 he had pledged himself to the revolutionary effort, and in June of that year he became assistant secretary to General ...

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Hopkinson, Francis (02 October 1737–09 May 1791), author, composer, and judge, was born in Philadelphia, the son of Thomas Hopkinson, a lawyer and Pennsylvania councillor, and Mary Johnson. Hopkinson’s father emigrated from England in 1731. Hopkinson matriculated in the first class of the College of Philadelphia (later the University of Pennsylvania) in 1751; he graduated in 1757 and, with other members of his class, received an M.A. degree three years later....

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Hosmer, Hezekiah Lord (10 December 1814–31 October 1893), judge and author, was born in Hudson, New York, the son of Hezekiah Lord Hosmer and Susan Throop. He was educated in Oxford, New York, and in 1830 moved west to Cleveland, Ohio, to reside with his kinsman John W. Allen, under whose tutelage he read law. Hosmer was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1835 and began the practice of law in Willoughby, later moving to Painesville. Following the onrush of settlers to the Maumee Valley of northwestern Ohio, he moved to Maumee City and then to Perrysburg, where as a young lawyer he rode the circuit of seven or eight counties in northwestern Ohio. It was also during this time that Hosmer began to devote a portion of his time to journalistic pursuits....

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Hughes, Robert William (6 or 16 June 1821–10 December 1901), writer and judge, was born in Powhatan County, Virginia, the son of Jesse Hughes, a farmer, and Elizabeth Woodson Morton. In 1822 Hughes’s parents died and the infant was taken in and reared by General Edward C. Carrington and his wife. At the age of twelve Hughes was apprenticed to a carpenter in New Jersey but later attended the Caldwell Institute in Greensboro, North Carolina, and in the early 1840s taught school in Hillsboro (now Hillsborough), North Carolina. In the mid-1840s he read law in Fincastle, Virginia, and began his law practice in Richmond in 1846. In 1850 he married Eliza M. Johnston, daughter of Charles C. Johnston, a U.S. congressman; the couple had two children....

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Malone, Walter (10 February 1866–18 May 1915), judge and poet, was born in De Soto County, Mississippi, the youngest of the twelve children of Franklin Jefferson Malone, a surgeon, and Mary Louisa Hardin. His father was an army surgeon during the Mexican War and later was a member of the Mississippi Constitutional Convention in 1868. As a boy Malone showed an interest in writing, publishing several articles in the Louisville ...

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Pryor, Roger Atkinson (19 July 1828–14 March 1919), journalist, Confederate soldier and jurist, was born in Dinwiddie County, Virginia, the son of Theodorick Bland Pryor, a lawyer, and Lucy Eppes Atkinson. His mother died before Pryor was two years old, so he was raised by his father, who had become a Presbyterian minister. Pryor attended the Classical Academy in Petersburg before entering Hampden-Sidney College in 1843, where he graduated as class valedictorian in 1845. He went on to study law at the University of Virginia for two years, taking his degree in 1847....

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Sewall, Samuel (28 March 1652–01 January 1730), colonial merchant, judge, and philanthropist, was born at Bishop Stoke, Hampshire, England, the son of Henry Sewall, a pastor, and Jane Dummer. Sewall’s father had immigrated to Newbury, Massachusetts, in 1634, and although he was admitted to freemanship in 1637, he returned to England in 1646 and subsequently took the pulpit of North Baddesley. The family returned to Massachusetts in 1659....

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Tourgée, Albion Winegar (02 May 1838–21 May 1905), activist, judge, and author, was born in Williamsfield, Ohio, the son of Valentine Tourgée and Louisa Emma Winegar, farmers. His mother died when Tourgée was five. He grew up both in Kingsville, Ohio, in the Western Reserve, a center of antislavery sentiment, and in Lee, Massachusetts, where he spent two years with an uncle....

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John Trumbull. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-107077).

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Trumbull, John (24 April 1750–11 May 1831), poet and judge, was born in Watertown, Connecticut, the son of the Reverend John Trumbull and Sarah Whitman, a remarkably well-educated woman for her time. Taught by his parents, Trumbull was considered an intellectual prodigy and was admitted to Yale College at age seven, but he delayed entry until 1763. After graduating in 1767 he remained in New Haven until 1770, beginning his career as a poet in 1769 with “Epithalamion” and “The Meddler.” These began the career of one of the most prominent figures in early American writing....

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Tucker, St. George (29 June 1752–10 November 1827), jurist, author, and poet, was born near Port Royal, Bermuda, the son of Henry Tucker, a merchant, and Anne Butterfield. Educated locally, he left the island in 1771 to attend the College of William and Mary in Virginia. Shortly after his arrival in Williamsburg, Tucker was accepted as a law student by the eminent attorney ...

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Tyler, Royall (18 July 1757–26 August 1826), author and jurist, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Royall Tyler, a prominent merchant and revolutionary patriot, and Mary Steele. He was originally named William Clark Tyler, but in 1772 his mother, widowed the previous year, had his name officially changed to that of his father. Tyler, like his father, attended Harvard, graduating with a B.A. degree in 1776 (and he was awarded one from Yale ...

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Van Ness, William Peter (1778–06 September 1826), politician, pamphleteer, and jurist, was born in Claverack (later Ghent), New York, the son of Peter Van Ness, a revolutionary soldier and county judge, and Elbertie Hogeboom. After attending the Kinderhook Academy, Van Ness graduated from Columbia College in 1797. Following several years of legal studies in ...

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Ward, Nathaniel (1578–1652), jurist, author, and clergyman, was born in Haverhill, Suffolk, England, the son of John Ward, a preacher, and Susan (maiden name unknown). He took his B.A. at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, in 1600 and his M.A. in 1603. Although his father and two brothers were clergymen, Nathaniel chose a career in law and became an utter barrister in London. He also spent many years traveling in the Protestant areas of Europe, consorting with important political and ecclesiastical figures. While in Heidelberg, Ward had many discussions with David Pareus, a professor at the university there, and, according to ...