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Ramsey, Alexanderlocked

(08 September 1815–22 April 1903)
  • William E. Butler


Ramsey, Alexander (08 September 1815–22 April 1903), governor, U.S. congressman, U.S. senator, and cabinet officer, was born in Hummelstown, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, the eldest of five children of Thomas Ramsey and Elizabeth Kelker (at one time Kölliker or Köllker). Made insolvent by having endorsed the note of a friend, Alexander's father died at an early age; the family split up to live with relatives, Alexander moving in with an uncle in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. There he came under the tutelage of Israel Daniel Rupp, the preeminent Presbyterian and local historian of Pennsylvania, whom Ramsey later credited for his love of books and study. In 1834 he entered the recently founded Lafayette College, initially studying carpentry, but he left during his third year. Returning to Harrisburg in 1837, Ramsey decided to read law with a local practitioner, Hamilton Altrick, and enrolled at the Dickinson School of Law. He received a B.L. in 1839 and was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar that same year....

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