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Aiken, D. Wyatt (17 March 1828–06 April 1887), agricultural editor and congressman, was born David Wyatt Aiken in Winnsboro, South Carolina, the son of David Aiken, a merchant and planter, and Nancy Kerr. Descended from an Irish family that had prospered in the United States, Aiken received an excellent education at Mount Zion Institute in his hometown and, as was common for the sons of planters, attended South Carolina College. He graduated in 1849 and taught mathematics for two years at Mount Zion. After traveling to Europe in 1851, he returned home to marry Mattie Gaillard in 1852. Before her death in 1855, they had two children. Aiken married Virginia Carolina Smith in 1857; they had eleven children. The following year he purchased a plantation from the estate of Virginia’s father in Cokesbury, Abbeville District. As the proprietor of “Coronaca” plantation, he became involved in the agricultural reform movement and in states’ rights politics. He fervently believed that “agriculture climbs high in the scale of science: it develops thought, matures judgment, and requires for the execution, untiring energy, perseverance, and industry.” He was instrumental in the formation of the Abbeville Agricultural Society and was a member of its executive committee. In 1858 he attended the Southern Commercial Convention in Montgomery, Alabama, a meeting that quickly became a forum for disunionist politics....

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Fisher Ames. Oil on wood, c. 1807, by Gilbert Stuart. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of George Cabot Lodge.

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Ames, Fisher (09 April 1758–04 July 1808), Federalist party leader, member of Congress, essayist, and renowned orator, was born in Dedham, Massachusetts, the son of Nathaniel Ames, Sr., a physician, tavern keeper, and almanac writer, and Deborah Fisher. Intellectually honed, Ames was admitted to Harvard at twelve. Steeped in the classics, he excelled in elocution and participated in a debating club, the Institute of 1770. Graduating in 1774, he served with the Dedham militia at the time of the battle of Bunker Hill but did not see combat. At home he pursued his scholarly interests, reading widely in classical literature and history. He also occasionally taught school. Under the tutelage of the prominent ...

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Arnold, Isaac Newton (30 November 1815–24 April 1884), congressman and biographer, was born in Hartwick, Otsego County, New York, the son of George Washington Arnold, a doctor, and Sophia Mason. His parents, natives of Rhode Island, had moved to Otsego County around 1800. Isaac attended local schools, including Hartwick Seminary. Between 1832 and 1835 he taught school and studied law, and in 1835 he was admitted to the bar. After practicing in Cooperstown for about a year, he moved in the fall of 1836 to Chicago, where he entered a partnership. In 1837 he was elected city clerk, a post he resigned in order to attend to his expanding practice....

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Barksdale, Ethelbert (04 January 1824–17 February 1893), editor and U.S. and Confederate congressman, was born in Smyrna, Rutherford County, Tennessee, the son of William Barksdale and Nancy Lester. Ethelbert Barksdale was the younger brother of William Barksdale (1821–1863), commanding general of the Mississippi brigade in the Army of Northern Virginia, who was killed at the battle of Gettysburg. Ethelbert Barksdale moved to Mississippi while still in his teens and soon followed his brother William into journalism and Democratic politics. He married Alice Harris in 1843. Whether they had any children is unknown....

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Bartholdt, Richard (02 November 1855–19 March 1932), congressman and newspaper editor, was born in Schleiz, Thuringia, Germany, the son of Gottlob Bartholdt, a liberal forty-eighter (i.e., a supporter of the liberal revolutions in the German states in 1848), and Carolina Louise Wagner. Following early education in the Schleiz Gymnasium, he immigrated in 1872 to Brooklyn, New York, and gained U.S. citizenship. He returned to Germany to study law in 1877–1878. He worked as a typesetter and printer (Brooklyn, Philadelphia, and St. Louis), reporter for the ...

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Brentano, Lorenz (04 November 1813–17 September 1891), German political leader, journalist, and congressman, was born in Mannheim, in the German state of Baden, the son of Peter Paul Bartholomaeus Brentano, a wholesale merchant, and Helene Haeger. He studied law at universities in Heidelberg, Freiburg, and Giessen and afterward practiced in Rastatt and Bruchsal before returning to Mannheim. In 1837 Brentano married Caroline Lentz; the fate of this union is unclear, but Brentano married a second time in later life. Elected to Baden’s chamber of deputies in 1845, Brentano fell in with a liberal faction clustered around ...

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Brown, Clarence J. (14 July 1895–23 August 1965), U.S. representative and publisher, was born in West Union, Ohio, the son of Owen Brown, a schoolteacher, and Ellen Barerre McCoppin. Brown was descended from early Ohio settlers, and his paternal grandfather, Jehu Brown, drove the first horse car over the streets of Cincinnati. Brown’s birth year is sometimes given incorrectly as 1893, and his middle name is occasionally given incorrectly as “James” rather than just the initial....

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Calhoun, William Barron (29 December 1796–08 November 1865), lawyer, writer, and politician, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Andrew Calhoun, a merchant, and Martha Chamberlain. His father was one of the founders of Boston’s Park Street Church. Calhoun was prepared for college by Harvard graduate William Wells, then he attended Yale, graduating in 1814. While a senior at Yale, Calhoun was one of the editors of a student publication, the ...

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Case, Francis Higbee (09 December 1896–22 June 1962), journalist and politician, was born in Everly, Iowa, the son of Rev. Herbert L. Case, a Methodist minister, and Mary Ellen Grannis. In 1909 his family moved to Sturgis, in South Dakota’s Black Hills. Entering Dakota Wesleyan University in 1914, he displayed skills as an orator and writer. Upon graduation in 1918, Case enlisted in the Marine Corps and served eight months but saw no service in World War I. Following the war he resumed his studies and in 1920 earned an M.A. degree in history from Northwestern University. While at Northwestern, Case served as assistant editor of the ...

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Copley, Ira Clifton (25 October 1864–02 November 1947), newspaper publisher, congressman, public utilities executive, and philanthropist, was born in Copley Township, Knox County, Illinois, the son of Ira Birdsall Copley and Ellen Madeline Whiting, farmers. When Copley was two he was struck with scarlet fever, which left him blind. When he was three, the family moved to Aurora, Illinois, where he received treatment for his eyes. Even with the care of an eye specialist, his complete blindness lasted five years. With the move to Aurora, his father and his mother’s brother assumed ownership of the Aurora Illinois Gas Light Company, the beginning of a large utility company that Ira would one day manage....

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Daggett, Rollin Mallory (22 February 1831–12 November 1901), journalist, congressman, minister to Hawaii, and author, was born in Richville, New York, the son of Eunice White and Gardner Daggett, farmers. Daggett was the youngest of seven children, the other six being girls. After his mother’s death in 1833, the family moved to Defiance, Ohio, in 1837. In 1849 Daggett became a printer, learning a trade which endowed him with an education and influenced his later choice of a journalistic career....

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English, William Hayden (27 August 1822–07 February 1896), congressman, vice presidential candidate, and historian, was born in Lexington, Indiana, the son of Elisha G. English and Mahala Eastin. Elisha, a landowner and railroad vice president, was a Democrat who served in the Indiana legislature for nearly twenty years and was friends with many important politicians. William benefited from his father’s contacts and status and was influenced by his views....

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Farrington, Joseph Rider (15 October 1897–19 June 1954), newspaperman and delegate to Congress, was born in Washington, D.C., the son of Wallace Rider Farrington, a newspaper publisher, and Catherine McAlpine Crane. He was brought to Hawaii in 1898 when his father was appointed editor of the Honolulu ...

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Giles, William Branch (12 August 1762–04 December 1830), congressman, senator, and political writer, was born in Amelia County, Virginia, the son of William Giles and Ann Branch. He attended Hampden Sydney College, then the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University), from which he graduated in 1781. He studied law under ...

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Hanson, Alexander Contee (27 February 1786–23 April 1819), lawyer, newspaper editor, and U.S. representative and senator, was born in Annapolis, Maryland, the son of Alexander Contee Hanson, a jurist and legislator, and Rebecca Howard. After graduating from St. John’s College in 1802, he practiced law in Annapolis, married Priscilla Dorsey, the daughter of a prominent planter, in 1805, and established his home, “Belmont,” near Elkridge. The couple probably had six children, three of whom survived until adulthood. In 1808 he founded the ...

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Felix Hébert Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-115437).

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Hébert, Felix Edward (12 October 1901–29 December 1979), journalist and congressman, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of Felix J. Hébert, a trolley car conductor, and Lea Naquin, a schoolteacher. Hébert attended Tulane University (1920–1924, no degree), and throughout high school and college, he covered sports for local newspapers. His journalistic experience resulted in Hébert’s appointment in 1929 as the political editor of the ...

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Hitt, Robert Roberts (16 January 1834–20 September 1906), journalist, congressman, and diplomat, was born in Urbana, Ohio, the son of Thomas Smith Hitt, a Methodist minister, and Emily John. The family moved to Mount Morris, Illinois, in 1837. Hitt studied at the Methodist Rock River Seminary, which his father helped to establish. In 1855 Hitt graduated from Indiana Asbury University (now DePauw University) and two years later began working as a shorthand reporter in the Chicago court system and for area newspapers. In 1874 he married Sallie Reynolds; they had two sons....

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Ingersoll, Charles Jared (03 October 1782–14 May 1862), attorney, author, and congressman, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Jared Ingersoll, Jr., an attorney, judge, and colonial official, and Elizabeth Pettit. Ingersoll spent his childhood in Philadelphia, then entered Princeton University in 1796. He left Princeton in his third year and returned to Philadelphia, where he took up writing. Ingersoll published poetry and wrote a play, ...