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Aiken, George David (20 August 1892–19 November 1984), farmer and U.S. senator, was born in Dummerston, Vermont, the son of Edward W. Aiken and Myra Cook, farmers. He attended high school in Brattleboro. In 1914 he married Beatrice M. Howard; they had four children. His first wife died in 1966, and a year later Aiken married one of his Senate aides, Lola Pierotti....

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Carpenter, Cyrus Clay (24 November 1829–29 May 1898), politician and farmer, was born in Harford, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, the son of Asahel Carpenter, a farmer, and Amanda Thayer. Orphaned during his early teens and raised by relatives, Carpenter attended public school in Harford. Between 1848 and 1851 he alternated teaching jobs with attendance at Harford Academy. During these early years he developed the temperance and antislavery views that he held during his adult years....

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Colden, Cadwallader, II (26 May 1722–18 February 1797), farmer, public official, and Loyalist, was born in New York City, the son of Cadwallader Colden, a physician, scientist, and colonial official, and Alice Christie. In 1727 the family moved to the Ulster County, New York, estate of “Coldengham,” where Colden received an informal education from his mother. He also learned surveying, which enabled him to serve later as deputy to his father, the surveyor general of the colony. But Cadwallader neither showed the intellectual brilliance that distinguished his father and younger siblings David and ...

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Dummer, William (1677–10 October 1761), politician, lieutenant governor of Massachusetts, and farmer, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Jeremiah Dummer, a silversmith, and Anna (or Hannah) Atwater. Born to wealthy parents, he was part of Boston’s Puritan elite. On 20 April 1714, he married Catherine Dudley, the daughter of Governor ...

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Favill, Henry Baird (14 August 1860–20 February 1916), physician, civic leader, and farmer, was born in Madison, Wisconsin, the son of John Favill, a physician, and Louise Sophia Baird. Through his mother, Favill descended from the Ottawa chief, Kewinoquot (“Returning Cloud”), and took pride in this ancestry. Henry received his early education in the Madison schools, graduating from high school in 1876. He entered the University of Wisconsin that fall, took the classical course, and received his B.A. in 1880. Although his father had taken his M.D. at the Harvard Medical School, Favill entered Rush Medical College in the fall of 1880. For two years he served as prosector to Charles T. Parkes, professor of anatomy. His grades were so high that in his senior year he filled in at Cook County and St. Luke’s hospitals for several interns when they were ill or on vacation and so obtained valuable practical experience. He received his M.D. in 1883....

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George William Featherstonhaugh. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-114323).

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Featherstonhaugh, George William (09 April 1780–27 September 1866), gentleman-farmer, scientist, and diplomat, was born in London, England, the son of George Featherstonhaugh, a manufacturer, and Dorothy Simpson, a shopkeeper. Educated at Stepney House, a private school near Scarborough, Featherstonhaugh spent his youth traveling in Europe and until 1804 was the commercial agent on the Continent for several British import-export firms. After two years working in the London office of Thomas Dickason & Co., Featherstonhaugh moved in 1806 to New York City, where he met Sarah Duane, daughter of a former mayor of New York and owner of a large estate near Schenectady. After their marriage in November 1808, they moved to a country mansion on the estate—now named “Featherston Park”—at Duanesburg, where Featherstonhaugh farmed 2,000 acres, concentrating on sheep and cattle breeding. He and Duane had two sons and two daughters....

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Lewis, John Francis (01 March 1818–02 September 1895), politician and farmer, was born at his family home, “Lynwood,” near Port Republic in Rockingham County, Virginia, the son of Samuel Hance Lewis and Nancy Lewis, farmers. An active youth, he found his studies in an old-field school confining, and his father applied the son’s energies to work on the large family farm. Lewis excelled in this area and became an innovative, successful, and wealthy farmer himself. His interests expanded into other ventures as well. He became superintendent of the Mount Vernon Iron Works in Rockingham County before the Civil War, and he apparently continued in the iron business for many years. He married Serena Helen Sheffey in 1842, and they raised seven children....

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Lloyd, Edward (22 July 1779–02 June 1834), politician and farmer, was born in Maryland, the son of Edward Lloyd, a Maryland official and planter, and Elizabeth Tayloe. Lloyd received his education primarily from private tutors but also from exposure to his father’s political activities and plantation management. Upon his father’s death in 1796, Lloyd, as the only son, inherited all of his father’s land, principally over 11,000 acres in Talbot County, and more than two hundred slaves. In 1797 he married Sally Scott Murray; they had three sons and four daughters....

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Newton, Isaac (31 March 1800–19 June 1867), farmer and first commissioner of agriculture, was born in Burlington County, New Jersey, the son of Isaac Newton and Mary Newton, farmers. Following his father’s early demise, the infant Isaac and his mother lived in Burlington County with his paternal grandfather, a well-established farmer. There Newton learned the agricultural trade....

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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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Weare, Nathaniel (1631–13 May 1718), farmer-lumberer and politician, was born at Wear-Gifford in Devon County, England, the son of Nathaniel Weare and Sarah (maiden name unknown), farmers. By 1638 the family and a paternal uncle’s family had migrated to Newbury, Massachusetts, where Nathaniel grew up learning to farm. The scarcity of arable land in Newbury led young Nathaniel and his brother-in-law, Benjamin Swett, to take out a seven-year lease on a farm there in 1655. In 1656 he married Elizabeth Swain, daughter of Richard Swain of Hampton, Massachusetts, across the Merrimack River—an act that fundamentally changed his life; they would have seven children....

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Whitehill, Robert (24 July 1735–05 April 1813), farmer and member of the House of Representatives, was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the son of James Whitehill, a blacksmith and farmer, and Rachel Cresswell. His father had migrated from Ireland in 1723. Robert Whitehill acquired 440 acres and erected the first stone house in Lowther Manor, Cumberland County. In 1758 he married Eleanor Reed; they had five sons and four daughters....