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Bloomfield, Joseph (18 October 1753–08 October 1823), lawyer, soldier, and politician, was born in Woodbridge, New Jersey, the son of Moses Bloomfield, a physician, and Sarah Ogden. The family was one of the most prominent in colonial New Jersey. His father had received a first-rate medical education in Edinburgh, Scotland, and had a thriving practice in Middlesex County by the time Joseph was born. Joseph’s mother was a member of a wealthy and influential family of Elizabethtown, which further assured Joseph’s upper-class pedigree. His education and choice of occupation were in line with his social standing. While in his early teens, he attended the Reverend Enoch Green’s classical academy in Deerfield, Cumberland County, at the opposite end of the province from Woodbridge. Upon graduation, Bloomfield returned to East Jersey, determined to be a lawyer. He entered the profession at the top, studying in Perth Amboy with Cortlandt Skinner, attorney general of New Jersey, and was admitted to the bar in November 1774. Setting up practice in Bridgeton, Cumberland County, he soon became known and respected in all of New Jersey’s southern counties. The future seemed secure, had not the American Revolution intervened....

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Brooks, John (04 May 1752–01 March 1825), revolutionary war officer and governor of Massachusetts, was born in Medford, Massachusetts, the son of Caleb Brooks and Ruth Albree, farmers. John Brooks studied medicine with Dr. Simon Tufts of Medford from 1766 to 1773, leaving at age twenty-one to establish his own practice in Reading, Massachusetts. In 1774 he married Lucy Smith; they had three children....

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Caswell, Richard (03 August 1729–10 November 1789), revolutionary militia general and state governor, was born in Baltimore County, Maryland, the son of Richard Caswell, a merchant, and Christian Dallam. Educated in the Anglican parish school, Caswell at an early age was involved in his family’s mercantile business. In 1745 he moved with his family to North Carolina, and within two years he secured a position as deputy surveyor general. Caswell married Mary Mackilwean, the daughter of his mentor James Mackilwean, the surveyor general, on 21 April 1752. From this marriage he had one surviving son, William. Since he had lived with the Mackilwean family on the Neuse River adjacent to the present city of Kinston, Caswell located his plantation seat nearby and began accumulating property, eventually owning more than 3,000 acres. Following Mary’s death in 1757, Caswell married on 20 June 1758 Sarah Heritage, the daughter of William Heritage, under whose tutelage Caswell read law and passed the bar. Eight children were born to this marriage....

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George Clinton. Portrait by Ezra Ames. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-110647).

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Clinton, George (26 July 1739–20 April 1812), soldier, governor of New York, and vice president of the United States, was born in Little Britain, New York, the son of Charles Clinton, a farmer and surveyor, and Elizabeth Denniston. After schooling with a private tutor, George left home in 1757 to serve as a steward’s mate on the ...

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Davie, William Richardson (20 June 1756–05 November 1820), statesman and soldier, was born in Egremont, Cumberlandshire, England, the son of Archibald Davie, a manufacturer of damask fabric, and Mary Richardson. In 1763 he was brought by his father to Waxhaw, South Carolina, to be adopted by his mother’s brother, the Reverend William Richardson, a Presbyterian clergyman. He was educated at an academy in Charlotte, North Carolina—Queen’s Museum College. He then studied at Princeton, from which he graduated in 1776 with first honors. He subsequently studied law in Salisbury, North Carolina. Although he was licensed to practice law in 1780, his service in the revolutionary war deferred his becoming a jurist until 1782....

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Elbert, Samuel (1740–01 November 1788), American Revolution soldier and governor of Georgia, was born in Savannah, Georgia, or Prince William Parish, South Carolina, the son of William Elbert, a Baptist minister, and Sarah (maiden name unknown). As a young man he settled in Savannah, Georgia, where he prospered as a merchant and Indian trader. By the outbreak of the Revolution Elbert had risen from obscurity to become one of Savannah’s leading citizens. In addition to a thriving import business, he possessed several tracts of land and numerous slaves. In 1769 he married Elizabeth Rae, daughter of a prominent merchant. They had six children. The marriage enhanced his social and economic standing....

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Houstoun, John (1750?–20 July 1796), lawyer, soldier, and politician, was born in St. George’s Parish, Georgia, the son of Sir Patrick Houstoun, a baronet, registrar of grants and receiver of quit rents for the colony, and Priscilla Dunbar. He studied law in Charleston and practiced in Savannah, where he early became involved in the protests against Great Britain prior to the Revolution and was probably a member of the Sons of Liberty. In 1775 he married Hannah Bryan, the daughter of Jonathan Bryan, a prominent planter, a former member of the governor’s council, and one of the leaders of Georgia’s Whig movement; they apparently had no children. In July 1774 he joined ...

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Howard, John Eager (04 June 1752–12 October 1827), revolutionary soldier, governor of Maryland, and U.S. senator, was born at “The Forrest,” in Baltimore County, Maryland, the son of Cornelius Howard and Ruth Eager. His English ancestor, Joshua Howard, had emigrated to Maryland after serving in the army of James II during Monmouth’s Rebellion in 1685 and had received a grant of land in Baltimore County. Because subsequent generations had added to this plantation, Cornelius could provide John with a good education under private tutors. John served in Maryland’s militia for the duration of the War of Independence, first as captain in the “Flying Camp” of 1776, as major of the Fourth Regiment from late February 1777 onward, then as lieutenant colonel of the Fifth Regiment after early March 1778, until transfer to the Second Regiment in October 1779. He served in the battles of White Plains, Germantown, and Monmouth in the North and Camden, Guilford Court House, Hobkirk’s Hill, Cowpens, and Eutaw Springs in the South, where he was severely wounded on 8 September 1781 and was forced to resign his commission and return home. Singled out for a heroic charge at Cowpens, Congress awarded him a silver medal, which he wears in a portrait by ...

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Howell, Richard (25 October 1754–28 April 1802), revolutionary war officer and governor of New Jersey, was born in Newark, Delaware, the son of Ebenezer Howell and Sarah Bond, farmers. The parents emigrated from Wales. Richard Howell was one of eleven children; his twin brother, Lewis, was an army regimental surgeon. Richard attended school in Newark until a short time after his family moved to a farm near Bridgeton, New Jersey, in 1774. Howell excelled in sports as a youth, particularly boxing and leaping. He did not attend college. Before the war, however, he began the study of law. Originally a Quaker, Howell became an Episcopalian....

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Lewis, Morgan (16 October 1754–07 April 1844), soldier and politician, was born in New York City, the son of Francis Lewis (1713–1802), a merchant, and Elizabeth Annesley. Lewis’s father, a prominent political figure in New York, served in the Second Continental Congress and was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Young Lewis’s early life showed promise of a brilliant future. He graduated with high honors in 1773 from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University). Afterward, he studied law in the offices of ...

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Martin, Alexander (1740–02 November 1807), revolutionary soldier and political leader, was born in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, the son of Hugh Martin, a Presbyterian minister, and Jane Hunter. Both parents were of Irish descent. Educated at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), he received A.B. and A.M. degrees in 1756 and 1759, respectively. After a sojourn in Virginia as a tutor, he settled in Salisbury, Rowan County, North Carolina, about 1760. He acquired property there and in Guilford County (now Rockingham County) along the Dan River. He became a merchant and, by appointment of Governor ...

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Mathews, George (30 August 1739–30 August 1812), soldier, frontiersman, and governor of Georgia, was born in Augusta County, Virginia, the son of John Mathews, an Irish immigrant. His mother’s name is not available. Little is known of his early life, but in 1757 he commanded a company of volunteers fighting against the Indians on the Virginia frontier. In 1762 he married Anne Paul, with whom he is thought to have had eight children. That same year he established himself as a merchant in Staunton, Virginia, and during the next decade he served as a vestryman, justice of the peace, tax collector, and sheriff in Augusta County. In 1776 he was elected to the House of Burgesses. Later that year he joined the army under ...

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Mifflin, Thomas (10 January 1744–20 January 1800), merchant, soldier, and politician, was born in Philadelphia, the son of John Mifflin and Elizabeth Bagnell, Quakers. His father, a wealthy merchant, held numerous significant political posts including that of provincial councilor. Thomas graduated from the College of Philadelphia in 1760 and then spent four years learning the merchant trade with William Coleman. After visiting England and France during 1764 and 1765, Mifflin formed a mercantile partnership with his brother George and in March 1767 married Sarah Morris, a cousin. The couple quickly took a prominent place in Philadelphia’s elite social circle. Contemporaries described Mifflin as an affable gentleman and fine sportsman. Elected to membership in the American Philosophical Society in 1768, he actively participated in that organization thereafter....

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William Moultrie. Engraving from a painting by Alonzo Chappel. Courtesy of the National Archives (NWDNS-148-GW-133).

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Moultrie, William (23 November 1730–27 September 1805), revolutionary war general and governor, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of John Moultrie, a physician, and Lucretia Cooper. The elder Moultrie had emigrated from Scotland and settled in Charleston in about 1729. Nothing is known of William Moultrie’s youth, but he certainly had a basic education. In 1749 he married Elizabeth Damaris de St. Julien; they had two children before Elizabeth died. In 1779 Moultrie married Hannah Motte Lynch, widow of ...

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Ogden, Aaron (03 December 1756–19 April 1839), soldier, public official, and entrepreneur, was born in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, the son of Robert Ogden II, a lawyer, and Phebe Hatfield. He attended the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University) and graduated with the class of 1773. Over the next three years he taught school, first in Princeton, then in Elizabethtown, but with the outbreak of hostilities between Great Britain and its American colonies, he was quickly drawn into the revolutionary confrontation....

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Thomas Pinckney. Nineteenth-century print. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-101386).

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Pinckney, Thomas (23 October 1750–02 November 1828), soldier and statesman, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of Charles Pinckney and Elizabeth “Eliza” Lucas. Members of South Carolina’s low-country landed aristocracy, his parents prepared him, his older brother, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, and his sister, Harriott, for expected leadership roles in the colony’s society. Because of limited educational opportunities, the parents moved to England in 1753, enrolling the boys in local academies. Threats of war with France, however, forced the elder Pinckneys to return with Harriott to South Carolina in 1754, leaving their sons in England. Unfortunately, the elder Charles Pinckney died two months after arriving at Charleston....

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Scott, Charles ( April 1739–22 October 1813), revolutionary war general and governor of Kentucky, was born in what is now Powhatan County, Virginia, near Richmond, the son of Samuel Scott, a farmer. His mother’s name is unknown.

Scott, orphaned in 1755 and placed under a guardian, ran away to join the Virginia regiment as a private under ...