1-20 of 21 results  for:

  • Social welfare and reform x
  • city and town founder or benefactor x
Clear all

Article

Boott, Kirk (20 October 1790–11 April 1837), a founder of the industrial city of Lowell, Massachusetts, was born in Boston, the son of Kirk “Church” Boott, an importer and merchant who immigrated from Derbyshire, England, and Mary Love. The Bootts lived comfortably in a Boston mansion so elegant that it became a local landmark. Unruly as a young man, Kirk attended several schools in England and returned to the United States in 1806 to attend Harvard, from which he did not graduate. After briefly serving as a bookkeeper for his father’s business, Kirk Boott and Sons, Boott returned to England in 1811 to assume a commission as a lieutenant in the British army and served under the Duke of Wellington in Spain during the Peninsular War. In 1813 his regiment was ordered to New Orleans during the War of 1812, but Boott refused to fight against his homeland. He is believed to have enrolled instead at the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich, where he was trained in engineering and surveying; he remained in the British army until 1817. Boott married Anne Haden of Derby in 1818; the couple had six children....

Article

Coddington, William ( October 1603–01 November 1678), founder of Newport and governor of Rhode Island, was born in rural Lincolnshire, England, the son of Robert Coddington, a prosperous yeoman, and Margaret (maiden name unknown). As a result of his mother’s advantageous remarriages, William Coddington entered the uppermost commercial circles of the nearby city of Boston and learned some law. Steadily, his ambition and prosperity boosted his estimate of his importance, ultimately to gentry level. In 1625 or earlier, he married Mary (probably Burt), who bore two sons, both of whom died in infancy. He also heard the preaching of ...

Article

Graffenried, Christoph, Baron von (15 November 1661– November 1743), promoter of Swiss and German settlement in early North Carolina and founder of New Bern, was born in the village of Worb near Bern, Switzerland, the son of Anton von Graffenried, lord of Worb, and Catherine Jenner. After studying at the Universities of Heidelberg and Leyden, he visited England about 1680, where he met the duke of Albemarle, Sir John Colleton, and other Lords Proprietors of Carolina. In 1683 he returned home and in 1684 married Regina Tscharner, with whom he had thirteen children....

Article

Hagar, Jonathan (1714–06 November 1775), land speculator, assemblyman, and town developer, was born in the duchy of Westphalia, Germany; the names of his parents are unknown. Hagar (also spelled Hager) arrived as a freeman in Philadelphia from Rotterdam on the ship Harle on 1 September 1736, at the age of twenty-two. He was one of the many German-speaking settlers who began to migrate to the western areas of Maryland in the 1730s and 1740s. While most of these settlers first spent a few years in eastern Pennsylvania (sometimes as indentured servants to pay for their passage), high land prices in that settled land forced new arrivals to establish their own homes farther west and south....

Article

Harris, John (1726–30 July 1791), ferryman, Indian trader, and founder of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, was born in Paxton, Pennsylvania, the son of John Harris, a trader and brewer, and Esther Say. Harris, often designated “the founder” to distinguish him from his father, apparently had little formal education, although he was literate. Harris’s father arrived in Philadelphia from England in the early eighteenth century with very little in the way of financial resources. He worked for a time as a laborer, but through a friendship with Philadelphia’s first mayor, ...

Article

Heathcote, Caleb (06 March 1666–01 March 1721), merchant, manor lord, and Anglican activist, was born in Derbyshire, England, the son of Gilbert Heathcote, a trader in hides and iron who served as mayor of Chesterfield, England, and Anne Dickens. While living in England Heathcote became a merchant specializing in trade with New York, where he settled in 1692 after the woman to whom he was betrothed fell in love with his brother Samuel and married him instead....

Article

King, Roswell (03 May 1765–15 February 1844), builder, overseer, and manufacturer, was born in Windsor, Connecticut, the son of Timothy King and Sarah Anne Fitch, weavers. King’s parents were poor at his birth but prospered thereafter. The extent of his education is unknown, but some is presumed on account of his birth in New England, where schools were generally available, and to his writing ability. Like many New Englanders in the postrevolutionary period, he moved to the South. He settled in Darien, Georgia, in 1789 and married Catherine Barrington in 1792. The couple had nine children. In Darien, King became county surveyor, justice of the peace, justice of the county inferior court, and a member of the Georgia House of Representatives (1794–1795). Two brothers, Reuben and Thomas, also came to Darien after King. King and his brother Reuben entered into a partnership to tan leather and make shoes, with his brother doing the work and King apparently supplying the capital. Early in his stay at Darien, King was the builder of Thomas Spalding’s South End House on Sapelo Island, built of tabby....

Article

Lamothe Cadillac, Antoine Laumet de (05 March 1658–15 October 1730), founder of Detroit and governor of French Louisiana, was born at Les Laumets, department of Tarn-et-Garonne, France, the son of Jean Laumet, a provincial magistrate, and Jeanne Péchagut. Born a commoner, Antoine Laumet invented a noble pedigree, complete with the particle ...

Article

Lane, John (08 April 1789–10 October 1855), Methodist clergyman and a principal founder of Vicksburg, Mississippi, was born in Fairfax County, Virginia, the son of William Lane and Nancy (maiden name unknown), farmers. His father was a revolutionary war soldier who in 1791 moved his family to Elbert County, Georgia. John was the youngest of ten children. His mother died in 1804 but not before she had made a strong impression on him to live a sober and responsible life. Placed in the home of an elder brother until he gained maturity, he subsequently taught school to earn money to attend Franklin College (later the University of Georgia). In this period he resided with the Reverend Hope Hull, a Methodist preacher who influenced Lane toward the ministry and introduced him to the South Carolina Methodist Conference, 12 January 1814....

Article

Lorimier, Louis ( March 1748–26 June 1812), trader, Indian agent, and founder of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, was born probably in Lachine, Canada, the son of Claude-Nicolas de la Rivière de Lorimier, a French colonial officer and commander of La Présentation (Ogdensburg, N.Y.), and Marie-Louise Lepailleur de Laferté. Louis came west with his father in 1769 and at the outbreak of the American Revolution was trading with the Miami Indians on the Wabash. Because of his influence with and knowledge of the Indians, he was employed by the British to rally the tribes to the king’s cause and to direct them against American settlements in Kentucky and elsewhere. At Christmas 1776 he moved to the Shawnee country in present-day Ohio and soon established a trading post on Lorimier’s Creek at the headwaters of the Great Miami River. He acquired a facility with the Shawnee language and established an unusual rapport with the tribesmen. In February 1778 Lorimier was one of two Frenchmen who accompanied ...

Article

Menéndez de Avilés, Pedro (15 February 1519–17 September 1574), captain general of the armada of the Indies and adelantado of Florida, was born in northern Spain, in the Asturian seaport of Avilés, the son of Juan Alfonso Sánchez and María Alonso de Arango. A descendant of minor hidalgos, he was connected by blood and marriage to several noble families, but as one of the youngest of twenty children, he could count on little else. Raised by relatives after his father died and his mother remarried, Pedro married a distant cousin, María de Solís, with whom he would have four children; invested his patrimony in a small, rapid sailing vessel; and became an unlicensed privateer....

Article

Montgomery, Isaiah Thornton (21 May 1847–06 March 1924), African-American planter and founder of Mound Bayou, Mississippi, was born on the “Hurricane” plantation of Joseph Davis at Davis Bend, Mississippi, the son of Benjamin Montgomery, the plantation business manager and later a planter and owner of a mercantile store, and Mary Lewis. As a result of his father’s prominent position among the slaves, Montgomery was chosen at the age of nine or ten to serve as Davis’s personal secretary and office attendant. Davis, the older brother of Confederate president ...

Article

Pastorius, Francis Daniel (26 September 1651–30 December 1719?), founder of Germantown, Pennsylvania, and author, was born in Sommerhausen, Germany, the son of Melchior Adam Pastorius, a lawyer, and Magdalena Dietz Johenn. Francis Daniel Pastorius was educated in the manner conventional for a Continental gentleman. He attended Latin school and studied public law as well as French and Italian at the Universities of Altdorf, Strassburg, Basel, Jena, and Regensburg. After taking his examinations at the University of Altdorf and defending his dissertation in 1676, he practiced law among the landed gentry of Windsheim, Germany. The experience proved unsatisfying for the young lawyer, who was sensitive to the tensions that existed between the ordinary citizens of Windsheim, who longed for more consideration of their concerns, and the government of that imperial city, in which his father was one of the leading magistrates. In reaction, Francis Daniel Pastorius in 1679 moved to Frankfurt am Main, Germany, where he practiced and tutored law before accompanying a young nobleman on his grand tour through the Netherlands, England, France, Switzerland, and Germany from 1680 to 1682....

Image

Francis Daniel Pastorius. Bas-relief, c. 1897. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-96916).

Article

Pierson, Abraham (1609–09 August 1678), colonial minister, missionary, leader of Branford, Connecticut, and cofounder of Newark, New Jersey, was born in Yorkshire, England. Nothing is known about his parents or his youth. He prepared for the ministry at Trinity College, Cambridge University, graduated in 1632, and was subsequently ordained as pastor at Newark, Nottinghamshire, before emigrating to America in 1639 or 1640. Pierson settled in Southampton, Long Island, which at the time was part of the Connecticut Colony. However, he preferred the religious climate of the New Haven Colony, which required prospective church members to present evidence of spiritual conversion and undertake a public profession of faith. Consequently, sometime after 1643 he, his wife, Abigail (Wheelwright), and their children crossed Long Island Sound to the New Haven Colony, which, under the influence of Puritan divine ...

Article

Powell, James Robert (07 December 1814–09 December 1883), businessman and founder of Birmingham, Alabama, was born in Powellton, Brunswick County, Virginia, the son of Addison Powell and Sarah Gholson, planters. Powell was tutored at home for a few years before leaving in 1833 to work a short-lived job as an assistant teacher at Loundesboro Academy in Montgomery, Alabama. Having received a $1,000 loan from Angus McGehee, a distant relative, Powell leased the Planters’ Hotel in Montgomery, where he was able to move his family in 1834. The Powells subsequently moved to Wetumpka, where Addison Powell died in 1840....

Article

Pynchon, William (26 December 1590–29 October 1662), fur trader, magistrate, and founder of Springfield, Massachusetts, was born at Springfield, in Essex, England, the son of John Pynchon and Frances Brett, wealthy gentry. William was educated to read and write Latin, Greek, and Hebrew and served as a warden of Christ Church from 1620 to 1624. Like many members of his class, he supported the Puritans. In 1629 Pynchon invested £25 in the Massachusetts Bay Company and the following year accompanied Governor ...

Article

Scholte, H. P. (25 September 1805–25 August 1868), Reformed cleric, journalist, and founder of the Pella, Iowa, Dutch colony, was born Hendrik Pieter Scholte in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, the son of Jan Hendrik Scholte, a sugar box factory owner, and Johanna Dorothea Roelofsz. The Scholte family for generations operated sugar refineries in Amsterdam, and young Hendrik, called “H. P.,” was destined to carry on the business tradition. Religiously, the family members were “outsiders” who belonged to a pietistic German Lutheran congregation rather than the national Dutch Reformed church, headed by the monarchy. The death of his father, grandfather, only brother, and mother, all within six years (1821–1827), freed Scholte to use his inheritance to enroll as a theology student at Leiden University. In 1832 he married Sara Maria Brandt. They would have five children before her death in 1844....

Article

Stevens, John Harrington (13 June 1820–28 May 1900), Minnesota pioneer and founder of Minneapolis, was born to Gardner Stevens and Deborah Harrington when they were living temporarily in Brompton Falls, Lower Canada, near the Vermont border. He was reared mainly in Vermont, where he attended common schools before leaving home at age fifteen to join an older brother in Wisconsin’s lead mining region. In 1840, when serving in the Wisconsin territorial militia during the removal of the Winnebago west of the Mississippi River, he became acquainted with territorial governor ...

Article

Stilwell, Arthur Edward (21 October 1859–26 September 1928), railroad builder and urban promoter, was born in Rochester, New York, the son of Charles Herbert Stilwell, a merchant, and Mary Augusta Pierson. At age sixteen, following his father’s failure in business, Arthur Stilwell ran away from home to become a traveling salesman. With only a few years of formal education and tutoring at home, Stilwell’s drive and ambition surmounted his lack of training as he sold advertising in railroad timetables. In 1879, while in Virginia, he met and married Jennie A. Wood, and they moved to Kansas City, where he operated briefly a printing shop. Following a short stint as an insurance salesman for Travelers Insurance Company in Chicago, he returned to Kansas City in 1886 and embarked on a career as a railroad and urban promoter....