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de Vries, David Pietersen (1593–1655?), merchant adventurer and colonizer, was born in La Rochelle, France, the son of Pieter Jakobszoon de Vries, a ship captain, and a Dutch mother (name unknown). His father was from Hoorn, a northern Dutch province, and his mother from Amsterdam. They moved to La Rochelle in 1584 and back to Hoorn when David was four. He attended Latin school, obtained a knowledge of geography and astronomy, and learned French, Dutch, and English as a result of his family’s contact with the international Calvinist community....

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Hayes, Bully (1829– March 1877), trader, adventurer, and blackbirder, was born William Henry Hayes in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Henry Hayes, a bargeman in and around the Great Lakes; his mother’s name is unknown. Little is known about Hayes’s early life. His first maritime experience came as a saltwater sailor on voyages around Cape Horn to California. Hayes commanded a total of fifteen vessels over his lifetime....

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Panton, William (1745?–26 February 1801), merchant-adventurer, was born on the family farm on the Mains of Aberdour some eight miles west of Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, the son of John Panton and Barbara Wemyss, farmers. Nothing is known about his education in Scotland. Panton came to America in 1765 and served as an apprentice with John Gordon and Company, merchants and Indian traders, of Charleston. In 1774 he and Philip Moore formed a partnership that lasted for several years. He next joined with Thomas Forbes in the firm of Panton, Forbes and Company, with offices in South Carolina and Georgia. Panton and Forbes, however, were Loyalists, and the American Revolution soon forced them to move to St. Augustine, British East Florida....