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Ashe, Samuel (1725–22 January 1813), judge and governor, was born in Beaufort County, North Carolina, the son of John Baptista Ashe and Elizabeth Swann. His father, Beaufort’s representative in the lower house of the assembly and its Speaker at the time of Samuel’s birth, was allied through marriage to a clique of planters who hoped to open the Cape Fear River to white settlement. In 1727 the elder Ashe moved his family of two sons, ...

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Baldwin, Simeon Eben (05 February 1840–30 January 1927), law professor, judge, and Connecticut governor, was born in New Haven, Connecticut, the son of Roger Sherman Baldwin, a lawyer and U.S. senator, and Emily Perkins. Baldwin entered Yale College in 1857 and graduated with a B.A. in 1861. After studying at Yale Law School and Harvard Law School from 1861 to 1863, he was admitted to the Connecticut bar and opened a solo law office in New Haven. He rapidly proceeded to build up the largest individual practice in the state by representing railroads, corporations, and wealthy individuals....

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Burnet, Jacob (22 February 1770–10 May 1853), Ohio lawmaker and U.S. senator, was born in Newark, New Jersey, the son of William Burnet, a doctor and farmer, and Mary Camp. His father was the son of Scottish Presbyterian immigrants and served in the Continental Congress and as surgeon general in the Continental army. Jacob Burnet graduated from Nassau Hall in September 1791, studied law, and gained admittance to the New Jersey bar in spring 1796. He promptly moved to Cincinnati in the Northwest Territory, where he married Rebecca Wallace, daughter of a former pastor of the Presbyterian church, in 1800. They had seven children....

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Cabell, William H. (16 December 1772–12 January 1853), judge and governor of Virginia, was born in Cumberland County, Virginia, the son of Colonel Nicholas Cabell and Hannah Carrington. In 1785 Cabell entered Hampden Sydney College, and in 1790 he attended the College of William and Mary, where he studied law under ...

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Collier, Henry Watkins (17 January 1801–28 August 1855), chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court and governor of Alabama, was born on a plantation in Lunenburg County, Virginia, the son of James Collier and Elizabeth Bouldin, planters. When he was one year old, his family moved to the Abbeville District of South Carolina. Collier received a classical education at ...

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Connor, Henry Groves (03 July 1852–23 November 1924), legislator and judge, was born in Wilmington, North Carolina, the son of David Connor, a carpenter, and Mary Catherine Groves. In 1855 the family moved to Wilson, North Carolina, where Connor’s father was employed in building the county courthouse. His father’s death in 1867 ended Connor’s schooling; following a brief stint as a shopkeeper’s assistant, he began the study of law in the office of George Howard and George W. Whitfield. After further study with William T. Dortch of Goldsboro, North Carolina, Connor was licensed to practice law in 1871, while still eighteen years old. It was later said of him that the only law he ever broke was the one requiring lawyers to be at least twenty-one. In November 1871 Connor married Katherine Whitfield, the daughter of his former mentor, with whom he had twelve children, nine of whom survived infancy. Leaving the Roman Catholic religion of his parents, Connor joined the Episcopal church, his wife’s denomination....

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Derbigny, Pierre Auguste Charles Bourguignon (1767–06 October 1829), governor and jurist, was born in Laon, France, the son of Auguste Bourguignon d’Herbigny and Louise Angeline Blondel. As members of the French nobility, the Derbigny family escaped the revolution by fleeing to the French West Indian colony on Santo Domingo. Subsequently, Derbigny moved to the mainland, probably because of the political unrest on the island. He lived in Pittsburgh, where he married Félicité Odile Dehault de Lassus. He moved to Missouri and then to Florida before settling permanently in New Orleans around 1800....

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Dickerson, Philemon (26 June 1788–10 December 1862), politician and jurist, was born in Succasunna, New Jersey, the son of Jonathan Dickerson, a landowner and owner of an iron mine, and Mary Coe. Philemon Dickerson graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1808 and immediately began studying law in Philadelphia at the instigation of his elder brother ...

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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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Fournet, John Baptiste (27 July 1895–03 June 1984), jurist and state legislator, was born in St. Martinville, Louisiana, the son of Louis Michel Fournet, a wealthy sugar planter, and Marcélite Gauthier. The first of ten children, Fournet attended public schools in St. Martin Parish and after graduating from high school in 1913 became a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse in a rural part of southwestern Louisiana. In 1915 he graduated with honors from the Louisiana State Normal College in Natchitoches and returned to his teaching career. After teaching in Vernon, Jefferson Davis, and Pointe Coupée parishes, he became the principal of Morganza High School at the age of twenty-one....

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Gamble, Hamilton Rowan (29 November 1798–31 January 1864), judge and provisional governor of Missouri, was born in Winchester, Virginia, the son of Joseph Gamble and Ann Hamilton, Irish immigrants. Although self-educated, the father wrote extensively on various political and historical topics and, being a staunch Presbyterian, reared his family in the Calvinist tradition. Educated at Hampden-Sydney College (1812–1816), Hamilton studied law and was admitted to the Virginia bar at age eighteen. He left Virginia in 1818 to join his brother Archibald, who was serving as clerk of the St. Louis Circuit Court. After a short time as his brother’s deputy, Gamble moved to the thriving frontier town of Franklin, Missouri, in the heart of the Boonslick Country, to establish his law practice....

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Gayle, John (11 September 1792–21 July 1859), Alabama governor, U.S. congressman, and Alabama jurist, was born in Sumter District, South Carolina, the son of Mary Rees and Matthew Gayle, farmers. Originally from Virginia, Matthew Gayle moved to South Carolina about the time of the American Revolution and served with ...

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Gaynor, William Jay (02 February 1848–10 September 1913), jurist and mayor, was born in Whitesboro, New York, the son of Keiron K. Gaynor, a blacksmith and farmer, and Elizabeth Handwright. After attending Assumption Academy and De La Salle Institute, both run by the Christian Brothers, a Roman Catholic teaching order, Gaynor entered the order as a novice in 1863 and for four years taught in parochial schools in Baltimore and Saint Louis. In 1868 he gave up teaching and studied law in Utica, New York; he was admitted to the bar in 1871. After a brief stay in Boston, Gaynor moved in 1873 to Brooklyn, New York, and the following year he married Emma Vesta Hyde. The childless marriage ended in divorce in 1881; Gaynor wed Augusta Cole Mayer in 1886 and with her had eight children, seven of whom lived to adulthood....

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Griswold, Matthew (25 March 1714–28 April 1799), jurist, deputy governor, and governor of Connecticut, was born in Lyme, Connecticut, the son of John Griswold and Hannah Lee, farmers. A fourth generation descendant of Lyme’s founders, Griswold received his only formal education in one of the town’s two district schools. In his late twenties he studied law and was admitted to the bar in New London County in 1742. In 1743 he married Ursula Wolcott, daughter of Governor ...

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Hamtramck, John Francis (19 April 1798–21 April 1858), soldier, mayor, and jurist, was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the son of John F. Hamtramck, Sr., a soldier, and Rebecca Mackenzie. When his father died in Detroit in 1803, Hamtramck fell under the guardianship of ...

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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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Jenkins, Charles Jones (06 January 1805–14 June 1883), judge and governor of Georgia, was born in Beaufort, South Carolina, the only child of Charles J. Jenkins, a planter and the ordinary of the district. His mother’s name is unknown. In 1816 the family moved to Jefferson County, Georgia. Jenkins attended the famous school of ...

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Johnston, Peter (06 January 1763–08 December 1831), jurist, legislator, and soldier, was born at Osborne’s Landing on the James River, Virginia, the son of Peter Johnston, a merchant and farmer, and Martha Rogers. At two years of age Johnston moved with his parents to a large farm in Prince Edward County, Virginia, where he was educated by tutors before enrolling in Hampden-Sydney College (established on land donated by Johnston’s father). In late 1779, in a decision that displeased his Loyalist father, Johnston quit college to join the cavalry legion of Lieutenant Colonel ...

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Jones, Thomas Goode (26 November 1844–28 April 1914), lawyer, politician, and judge, was born in Macon, Georgia, the first son of Samuel Goode Jones, a railroad builder and promoter, and Martha Ward Goode Jones; his parents were cousins. At the age of five he was brought by his family to Montgomery, Alabama. Educated there by private tutors, he then attended preparatory schools in Virginia prior to enrolling in the fall of 1860 at the Virginia Military Institute....

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Kent, Edward (08 January 1802–19 May 1877), lawyer, politician, and judge, was born in Concord, New Hampshire, the son of William Austin Kent, a well-to-do merchant and politician, and Charlotte Mellen. After graduating with honors from Harvard University in 1821, Kent studied law briefly with Chancellor ...