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Perle Mesta Right, with U. S. Senate candidate Marjorie Bell Hinrichs at the Democratic party jubilee in Chicago. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-92423).


Mesta, Perle (12 Oct. 1889 or 1891–16 March 1975), political activist, businesswoman, diplomat, and hostess, was born Pearl Skirvin in Sturgis, Michigan, the daughter of William Balser Skirvin, a salesman, and Harriet Reid. The actual year of her birth was one of her best-kept secrets. Early in the twentieth century her father left Michigan for the oil fields of South Texas, where he made a fortune in the famed Spindletop field. The feisty “Billy” Skirvin moved to Oklahoma City, where he founded the American Oil and Refinery Company and built the luxurious fourteen-floor Skirvin Hotel. Pearl was educated in private schools in Galveston and studied voice and piano at the Sherwood School of Music in Chicago. In 1917 she married 54-year-old George Mesta, founder and president of the Mesta Machine Company located in Pittsburgh. During her years living in the nation’s steel capital she changed her name to the distinctive “Perle.”...


Norton, Joshua Abraham (1818 or 1819–08 January 1880), merchant and self-proclaimed emperor of the United States and protector of Mexico, was born in London, England, the son of John Norton, a farmer and merchant, and Sarah Simmonds Norton. In 1820 the Nortons immigrated to Algoa Bay, Cape of Good Hope (now South Africa)....


Scott, Walter Edward (1870?–05 January 1954), prospector and publicist, also known as “Death Valley Scotty,” was born in Cynthiana, Kentucky, the son of a prosperous horse breeder. The names of his parents are not known. Dates suggested for his birth range from 1868 to 1876 (the date Scott himself claimed). At an early age Scott allegedly followed his older brother Warner to Nevada, where he was employed by a rancher, John Sparks. From there he went to Death Valley and reportedly drove a borax team at the Harmony Works in 1885. His subsequent job was as a sharpshooter and bronco rider for ...