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Howard, Oliver Otis (08 November 1830–26 October 1909), soldier, government official, and educator, was born in Leeds, Maine, the son of Rowland Bailey Howard and Eliza Otis, farmers. As a boy Howard worked in the company of a young black farmhand, an experience to which he later attributed his broadmindedness in racial matters. Howard graduated from Bowdoin College in 1850 and entered the U.S. Military Academy. He graduated from West Point in 1854, ranked fourth in his class. In 1855 Howard married Elizabeth Ann Waite; the couple had seven children. He first served at the federal arsenals in New York and Maine and then as an ordnance officer in Florida. In 1857 Howard returned to West Point to teach mathematics. The same year he experienced the religious conversion that would earn him such sobriquets as “the Christian Soldier.” His distaste for alcohol and profanity hardly endeared him to many of his fellows. ...

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Myer, Albert James (20 September 1828–24 August 1880), army officer, first chief signal officer, and first head of the National Weather Service, was born in Newburgh, New York, the son of Henry Beeckman Myer and Eleanor Pope McClanahan. After his mother’s death in 1835, Albert lived with his aunt, Serena Nixon McClanahan, in Buffalo, New York. Myer learned telegraphy as a boy. He graduated from Geneva (now Hobart) College in 1847....