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Charles Francis Adams. Albumen silver print, c. 1860, by Mathew B. Brady. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

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Adams, Charles Francis (18 August 1807–21 November 1886), politician and diplomat, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of John Quincy Adams (1767–1848) and Louisa Catherine Johnson (Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams). In 1827, two years after graduating from Harvard, Adams read law at the office of ...

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Adams, James Hopkins (15 March 1812–13 July 1861), planter and politician, was born in Richland District, South Carolina, the son of Henry Walker Adams and Mary Goodwyn, planters. At an early age, both of his parents died and James was placed in the care of his maternal grandfather, an early settler of South Carolina from Virginia. Prosperous, his grandfather, a plantation owner, was able to raise Adams in an atmosphere of wealth and education. Shortly after his graduation from Yale in 1831, Adams married Jane Margaret Scott, with whom he had eleven children....

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Sherman Adams Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-100619).

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Adams, Sherman Llewelyn (08 January 1899–27 October 1986), public servant, was born in East Dover, Vermont, the son of Clyde H. Adams, a grocer, and Winnie Marion Sherman. Through his father he was descended from a collateral branch of the famous Quincy Adams clan. In 1901 the family moved to Providence, Rhode Island, but Adams’s parents divorced soon thereafter. In 1916 Adams enrolled at Dartmouth College. His academic record there was solid, but he was best remembered for the gusto with which he threw himself into extracurricular activities. For Adams, physical fitness was practically a religion....

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Addicks, John Edward O’Sullivan (21 November 1841–07 August 1919), promoter and aspiring politician, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of John Edward Addicks, a politician and civil servant, and Margaretta McLeod. Addicks’s father achieved local political prominence and arranged for his son to take a job at age fifteen as a runner for a local dry goods business. Four years later Addicks took a job with a flour company and, upon reaching his twenty-first birthday, became a full partner in the business. Like many Quaker City merchants, Addicks speculated in local real estate in the booming port town, avoided service in the Civil War, and achieved a modicum of prosperity in the postwar period. He became overextended, as he would be most of his career, however, and went broke in the 1873 depression....

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Alexander, James (27 May 1691–02 April 1756), political leader, was born in Muthil, Perthshire, Scotland, the son of David Alexander. His mother’s identity is not known. Although his grandfather was related to the first earl of Stirling, his own branch of the family did not rank among the nobility. His father provided him with a practical education as an engineer and surveyor, professions more appropriate for the middle class than the aristocracy....

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Henry Justin Allen. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-96805).

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Allen, Henry Justin (11 September 1869–17 January 1950), politician and newspaper editor, was born in Pittsfield, Pennsylvania, the son of John Allen, a farmer, and Rebecca Goodwin. In 1870 the Allens settled on a farm in Clay County, Kansas, which they lost in 1879. The family relocated in Osage County, Kansas, where Allen graduated from Burlingame High School. Working as a barber to attend Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas, he excelled at forensics, which led to his first newspaper job and forecast his later stature as one of America’s most popular public speakers. While at Baker, he met Elsie Jane Nuzman, and they were married in 1892. Only one of their four children survived to adulthood....

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Allen, Ira (01 May 1751–15 January 1814), frontier entrepreneur and Vermont political leader, was born in Cornwall, Connecticut, the son of Joseph Allen and Mary Baker, farmers. Little is known of his youth, but in 1770 he followed his five elder brothers north to the New Hampshire Grants region and joined the Yankee versus Yorker struggle, which stemmed from the 1764 Crown decree that New York rather than New Hampshire owned the area that would become Vermont. While brother ...

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Allen, James (25 December 1697–07 January 1755), merchant and politician, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Jeremiah Allen, the longtime treasurer of the province, and Mary Caball. Ranked fifth by social status in a class of seventeen at Harvard College, he graduated in 1717. Allen then entered his father’s merchant business, importing dry goods from England and exchanging New England fish for West India sugar. In 1725 he married Martha Fitch, daughter of Colonel Thomas Fitch. They had no children. Allen belonged to Boston’s Congregational West Church but was not a bigot: he contributed £20 to the Anglican King’s Chapel for the purchase of bells....

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Allston, Robert Francis Withers (21 April 1801–07 April 1864), planter and statesman, was born on “Hagley Plantation” in All Saints Parish (Georgetown District), South Carolina, the son of Benjamin Allston, a planter, and Charlotte Anne Allston. Allston entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, in December 1817 and graduated tenth in his class on 1 July 1821. Appointed lieutenant in the Third Artillery and assigned to the Coast Survey, he participated in the surveying of the harbors at Plymouth and Provincetown, Massachusetts, and of the entrance to Mobile Bay. He resigned his commission on 1 February 1822 in response to his widowed mother’s plea for help on their plantations and returned to South Carolina, where he remained a rice planter for the rest of his life. As a planter, however, he continued his interest in civil engineering and in 1823 was elected to the first of two terms as surveyor general of South Carolina. In 1832 he married Adele Petigru, sister of Unionist ...

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Alston, Joseph (1779–10 September 1816), planter and statesman, was born in All Saints Parish (Georgetown District), South Carolina, the son of Colonel William Alston, a rice planter, and Mary Ashe. He attended the College of Charleston from 1793 to 1794, then entered Princeton in 1795, his junior year, but he withdrew without graduating. He read law in the office of ...

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Andrews, Israel DeWolf ( May 1813?–17 February 1871), diplomat and politician, was born either in Eastport, Maine, or on Campobello Island, New Brunswick, the son of Israel Andrews and Elizabeth DeWolf. His paternal grandfather had emigrated to Nova Scotia from Danvers, Massachusetts, in 1738. By the time Andrews was four, his family lived in Eastport. Thomas Keefer reported that Andrews was a frontier trader, mostly of contraband, as a young man and that experience sparked his interest in reciprocal trade between the provinces and the United States. His schooling is unknown, but he was a clear, persuasive writer at ease with statistical data, and he moved easily in the journalistic, commercial, and political circles of his time....

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Armstrong, Anne Legendre (27 December 1927–30 July 2008), politician and diplomat, was born Anne Legendre in New Orleans, Louisiana, the daughter of Armant Legendre, a coffee importer of Creole heritage, and Olive Legendre. Anne attended the Foxcroft School in Middleburg, Virginia, where she was class president and valedictorian, and graduated from Vassar College in 1949. In 1950 she married Tobin Armstrong after meeting him on a visit to the King Ranch in south Texas. Tobin was a prominent rancher, and Anne moved to Kenedy County, Texas, following the marriage, which produced five children. Throughout her career, she maintained a role in the ranch’s affairs....

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Armstrong, John (13 October 1717–09 March 1795), soldier, surveyor, and member of the Continental Congress, was born in County Fermanagh, Ulster, Ireland. The identities of his Scotch-Irish parents and circumstances of his youth are unclear, but his father may have been named James. A trained surveyor, John Armstrong evidently received some education fairly early in life. Sometime in the mid-1740s Armstrong immigrated to America, settling initially in Delaware and then in Pennsylvania, where he worked as a surveyor. It was probably at some point after his arrival in America that he married Rebeckah Armstrong. The couple had two sons (the younger, ...

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Armstrong, John, Jr. (25 November 1758–01 April 1843), soldier and politician, was born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, the son of John Armstrong and Rebecca Lyon. His father, a surveyor and a prominent figure on the Pennsylvania frontier, achieved fame as the “Hero of Kittanning” during the Seven Years’ War when he destroyed a particularly troublesome Indian village; he later served as an officer in the revolutionary war. Armstrong attended the College of New Jersey (later Princeton) for two years but left in 1776 to join the Continental army. He served successively as aide-de-camp to Brigadier General Hugh Mercer and Major General ...

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Ashe, John Baptista (1748–27 November 1802), member of the Continental Congress and U.S. Congress, soldier, and state politician, was born in Rocky Point, New Hanover County, North Carolina, the son of Samuel Ashe, a jurist, and Mary Porter. His grandfather John Baptista Ashe, for whom he was named, served on His Majesty’s Council of North Carolina; his father was assistant attorney for the Crown, the first judge for the state of North Carolina, and later governor. Ashe, who grew up on the “Neck,” his father’s tobacco plantation, learned about tobacco cultivation and received his education from a private tutor. There is no indication that he pursued a college education....

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Ashley, William Henry (1778–26 March 1838), fur trader and politician, was born in Chesterfield County, Virginia. His parents are unknown, and there is no definitive record of his early years. In 1798 Ashley moved west to Kentucky. Four years later he crossed the Mississippi and took up residence in the lead-mining community of St. Genevieve (now in Missouri). From that time until his death, Ashley energetically and successfully pursued profits and power in the fluid frontier society....

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Aspinwall, William (1605–?), tract writer and public figure, was born in Manchester, Lancashire, England, the son of William Aspinwall and Marie (maiden name unknown), and was christened on 10 December 1605 at Burnley. Aspinwall probably grew up in Toxeth Park near Liverpool. He entered Brasenose College at Oxford University on 2 November 1621 and graduated with a bachelor of arts degree on 25 February 1625. In 1627 he married Elizabeth Goodier or Goodyear; they had four children....