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Delafield, John (22 January 1786–22 October 1853), merchant, banker, and farmer, was born in New York City, the son of John Delafield, a merchant, and Ann Hallett. The younger Delafield grew up in the city and on his father’s summer residence, “Sunwick,” on the East River, opposite Blackwell’s Island. Because of his father’s success in the merchant trade, Delafield enjoyed every privilege in his youth and attended Columbia College. Upon his graduation in 1802, he set out at once in his father’s footsteps by becoming a confidential agent and supercargo aboard a merchant vessel....

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Glidden, Joseph Farwell (18 January 1813–09 October 1906), farmer, inventor, and capitalist, was born in Charlestown, Sullivan County, New Hampshire, the son of David Glidden and Polly Hurd, farmers. His family moved west to Orleans County, New York, when he was an infant. After attending local district schools, he studied at Middlebury Academy in Genesee County and at the seminary in Lima, New York. He taught school in the area for several years, but farming was always his first love. In 1837 he married Clarissa Foster in Clarendon, New York. Lacking funds to buy land in New York, he headed west in about 1840 with two crude threshing machines, doing custom threshing and general farm work. In 1842 he settled in De Kalb County, Illinois, where he purchased 600 acres of prairie land on the edge of De Kalb village. The death of the Gliddens’ three young children, followed by the death of his wife in 1843, left Glidden alone until 1851, when he married Lucinda Warne of De Kalb. They had one daughter....

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Perdue, Frank (09 May 1920–31 May 2005), chicken farmer and merchant, was born Franklin Parsons Perdue in Salisbury, Maryland, the son of Arthur W. Perdue, an agent for Railway Express and part-time egg farmer descended from seventeenth-century Huguenot settlers of the area, and Pearl Parsons. Frank helped out on the farm as a child and became familiar with all aspects of caring for chickens, at the age of ten raising to productive maturity some culled hens that had been intended for destruction. Perdue graduated from Salisbury High School in 1939 and spent two years at Salisbury State Teachers College, but family financial problems and a lack of interest in teaching led him to return to his father's farm once he had earned a two-year degree in 1941. As the market for meat increased during World War II, the family began to focus on the production of broiler chickens rather than eggs, and Perdue made a serious study of the nutrition and care of poultry. The business began to prosper, and when he became president of Perdue Farms after his father's death in 1952 it was averaging some $6 million in annual sales. In 1945 he married Madeline Godfrey, a college classmate, with whom he had four children. They divorced in 1976. Although some sources, including his obituary in the ...

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Sanford, Henry Shelton (15 June 1823–21 May 1891), diplomat and businessman, was born in Woodbury, Connecticut, the son of Nehemiah Curtis Sanford, a merchant and manufacturer, and Nancy Bateman Shelton. The elder Sanford’s prosperous mercantile ventures enabled Henry to attend the Episcopal Academy in Cheshire, Connecticut, from which he graduated in 1839, and Washington College in Hartford, from which he withdrew for reasons of health during his sophomore year in 1840. Sanford spent much of the ensuing eight years traveling and studying in Europe, where he learned several languages and earned a doctor of laws degree from the University of Heidelberg in 1849....

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Ward, Samuel (27 May 1725–26 March 1776), farmer, merchant, and governor of Rhode Island, was born in Newport, Rhode Island, the son of Richard Ward and Mary Tillinghast. Ward’s Newport family was wealthy and politically and socially prominent. His father, secretary or recorder of the colony from 1714 to 1732 and governor from 1740 to 1743, was an opponent of the Rhode Island faction that favored paper money. In 1745 Samuel Ward married Anna Ray of Block Island. They had eleven children. After their marriage her father gave the couple a farm at Westerly, in the southwestern corner of the colony. There Ward prospered, expanding his holdings and trading his and his neighbors’ products to Newport and Boston. In 1752, for example, he shipped 2,000 pounds of cheese to Boston....

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Wolfskill, William (20 March 1798–03 October 1866), frontiersman, trader, and rancher, was born in Boonesborough, Madison County, Kentucky, the son of Joseph Wolfskill, Jr., and Sarah Reid, farmers. In late 1809 the family moved to Boone’s Lick, Howard County, Missouri. William was sent back to Kentucky in 1815 to attend school for two years and then returned to Missouri, where he remained. In May 1822 he joined William Becknell’s second Santa Fe trade expedition. In New Mexico, Wolfskill and fellow Kentuckian ...

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Yount, George Concepción (04 May 1794–05 October 1865), fur trapper and farmer, was born in Dowden Creek, North Carolina, the son of Jacob Yount and Amarilla (maiden name unknown), farmers. George’s grandfather changed the family name from Jundt, its original German spelling, when he immigrated from Alsace in 1731. The Yount family moved often during George’s early years and left North Carolina to settle eventually in the White River region of southwestern Missouri. Young George received no formal education but became well versed in frontier living. He fought in the War of 1812, after which he started his own farm. In 1818 he married Eliza Wilds from Kentucky. Ill feelings developed between Yount and his father-in-law after a neighbor took Yount’s savings—his father-in-law believed him less than competent as a husband. In an effort to recoup his fortune and reputation, Yount joined a Santa Fe caravan as a teamster (the same caravan with which young runaway ...