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Gary, Elbert Henry (08 October 1846–15 August 1927), lawyer and steel industrialist, was born near Wheaton, Illinois, the son of Erastus Gary and Susan Valette, farmers. Raised in a strict Methodist home that stressed the value of education, Gary attended the local public schools and for a time Illinois Institute, later renamed Wheaton College. After a two-month army stint during the Civil War and a term teaching school, Gary turned to the study of law with his maternal uncle, Colonel Henry Valette, and his uncle’s partner, Judge Hiram H. Cody, in Naperville, Illinois. He subsequently attended Union College of Law in Chicago, graduating first in the 1868 class. While clerking for the Illinois Superior Court, he married Julia E. Graves in 1869; they had two children. The couple lived in Wheaton from whence he commuted to Chicago during the subsequent thirty years of his legal career. (After his first wife’s death in 1902, Gary married Emma Townsend in 1905. They had no children)....

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Mondell, Frank Wheeler (06 November 1860–06 August 1939), congressman, mine operator, and lawyer, was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Ephraim Wheeler Mondell, a laborer, and Nancy Brown. Orphaned at the age of six, Frank lived for a short time with relatives in Iowa. When he was eight, he moved with an itinerant Congregational minister named Upton to Dickinson County, Iowa. Mondell did not graduate from high school and, at the age of eighteen, held various jobs in Chicago for a year, then migrated to Colorado in 1879. For the next eight years, he pursued employment in engineering and construction projects, roaming over a ten-state area. In 1887 the Kilpatrick Brothers and Collins, railroad contractors from Beatrice, Nebraska, hired Mondell to prospect for coal in northeastern Wyoming. His discovery in 1886 of a major bituminous coal deposit at Cambria altered his life. Mondell became the mine manager at Cambria. In 1889 the town of Newcastle, Wyoming, was surveyed, and Mondell became Newcastle’s first mayor, 1889–1895. Concurrently with his mayoralty, he served two terms in the Wyoming State Senate, 1890–1894; he was elected president of the senate in 1893 and declined that position in 1894....

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Willkie, Wendell Lewis (18 February 1892–08 October 1944), corporation lawyer and executive, politician, and civil rights activist, was born in Elwood, Indiana, the son of Herman F. Willkie and Henrietta Trisch. His father was a lawyer and local reformer, and his mother was one of the first female lawyers in Indiana. Willkie attended local schools and Indiana University, graduating in 1913. After teaching high school in Kansas (Sept. 1913–Nov. 1914), he returned to Indiana University to complete a law degree in 1916....