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Alexander, De Alva Stanwood (17 July 1845–30 January 1925), congressman and historian, was born in Richmond, Maine, the son of Stanwood Alexander and Priscilla Brown. When his father died in 1852, Alexander and his mother moved to Ohio, where he lived until his enlistment, at the age of sixteen, in the Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. After the war he completed his education at the Edward Little Institute in Auburn, Maine, and graduated from Bowdoin College in 1870. He later served for several years on Bowdoin’s board of overseers. In 1871 he married Alice Colby; their childless union ended with her death in 1890....

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Burdick, Usher Lloyd (21 February 1879–19 August 1960), author, educator, and legislator, was born in Owatonna, Minnesota, the son of Ozias Burdick and Lucy Farnum, farmers. In 1882 the family settled in Graham’s Island in the Dakota Territory, where Burdick attended local public schools and learned the Sioux Indian language and customs. Following his graduation from the State Normal School at Mayville, North Dakota, in 1900, he worked for two years as deputy superintendent of schools in Benson County, North Dakota. In 1901 he married Emma Rassmussen, and they had two sons and a daughter. Frustrated by local politics, Burdick changed career objectives and moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he taught in a business college while attending the University of Minnesota’s law program, from which he graduated in 1904. He also played football at the university, which won the Big Ten championships in 1903 and 1904. After graduating he returned to Munich, North Dakota, where he was admitted to the bar and began practicing law....

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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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Hammond, Jabez Delano (02 August 1778–18 August 1855), politician and historian, was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, the son of Jabez Hammond and Priscilla Delano. He grew up in Woodstock, Vermont, where he was educated in the common schools. At age fifteen he began teaching school, and, after becoming eligible through a brief apprenticeship, began a medical practice in Reading, Vermont. Dissatisfied with the medical profession for unknown reasons, Hammond sought to improve his fortune in New York, moving to Newburgh and reading law in Jonathan Fiske’s office while supporting himself as a schoolmaster. Admitted to the bar in 1805, the young lawyer pursued further opportunity in the Susquehanna Valley in the town of Cherry Valley, building “within a short time a reputable and profitable legal practice” and entering politics....

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John Roy Lynch. Albumen silver print, c. 1883, by Charles Milton Bell. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

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Lynch, John Roy (10 September 1847–02 November 1939), U.S. congressman, historian, and attorney, was born on “Tacony” plantation near Vidalia, Louisiana, the son of Patrick Lynch, the manager of the plantation, and Catherine White, a slave. Patrick Lynch, an Irish immigrant, purchased his wife and two children, but in order to free them, existing state law required they leave Louisiana. Before Patrick Lynch died, he transferred the titles to his wife and children to a friend, William Deal, who promised to treat them as free persons. However, when Patrick Lynch died, Deal sold the family to a planter, Alfred W. Davis, in Natchez, Mississippi. When Davis learned of the conditions of the transfer to Deal, he agreed to allow Catherine Lynch to hire her own time while he honeymooned with his new wife in Europe. Under this arrangement, Catherine Lynch lived in Natchez, worked for various employers, and paid $3.50 a week to an agent of Davis, keeping whatever else she earned....

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Murphy, Henry Cruse (05 July 1810–01 December 1882), lawyer, U.S. congressman, and historical scholar, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of John G. Murphy, a skilled mechanic, and Clarissa Runyon. Murphy attended Columbia University, graduating in 1830, and studied law. In 1833 he married Amelia Greenwood; they had two children....

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Richardson, James Daniel (10 March 1843–24 July 1914), congressman, was born in Rutherford County, Tennessee, the son of John Watkins Richardson, a physician and state legislator, and Augusta Mary Starnes. After attending local schools, he pursued studies at Franklin College near Nashville but withdrew before earning a degree to enlist in the Confederate army as a private. Richardson served throughout the duration of the Civil War, participating in the battles of Vicksburg, Baton Rouge, Murfreesboro (Stones River), Chickamauga, and Missionary Ridge. He left military service in 1865 as adjutant of the Forty-fifth Tennessee Volunteer Infantry. In 1865 he married Alabama Pippin; they raised five children....