- Michael L. Oberg
Wirt, William (08 November 1772–18 February 1834), attorney general of the United States and anti-Masonic candidate for president, was born in Bladensburg, Maryland, the son of Jacob Wirt, a Swiss tavernkeeper, and Henrietta (maiden name unknown). The youngest of six children, Wirt was orphaned by the age of eight and entrusted to the care of an aunt for his upbringing. Wirt worked hard to raise himself up from this inauspicious beginning. Much of his youth was spent in a succession of boarding schools in the Georgetown area. By the time Wirt was fifteen, the small inheritance left him by his parents was nearly exhausted. He spent the next few years earning a small livelihood as a private tutor but was ambitious and wanted to make more for himself. In 1792, after moving to Culpeper County, Wirt was admitted to the Virginia bar....