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Aiken, William (28 January 1806–06 September 1887), planter and congressman, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of William Aiken, Sr., an Irish immigrant, and Henrietta Wyatt. At the time of his death, the elder Aiken was president of the South Carolina Canal and Railroad Company and a wealthy merchant. Aiken attended the South Carolina College, from which he graduated in 1825. He then traveled to Europe. Upon returning to Charleston, he married Harriet Lowndes in 1831. They had one child....

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Van Rensselaer, Stephen (01 November 1764–26 January 1839), patroon, congressman, and founder of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, was born in New York City, the son of Stephen Van Rensselaer and Catherine Livingston. Born into one of New York’s wealthiest families, he was the eighth and last patroon of a vast estate in Rensselaer and Albany counties. With rights that were a legacy of the Dutch patroon system, he was to receive rents and tithes perpetually from his tenants. He received a bachelor’s degree from Harvard in 1782. The next year he married Margaret Schuyler, daughter of General ...