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Ransom, Matt Whitaker (08 October 1826–08 October 1904), U.S. senator, soldier, and diplomat, was born in Warren County, North Carolina, the son of Robert Ransom and Priscilla Whitaker, planters. In 1847 Ransom graduated from the University of North Carolina, where he had read law. Admitted to the bar the same year, he established what became a thriving practice in Warrenton, North Carolina. In 1852 the state legislature named him the state’s attorney general, a post from which he resigned three years later. In 1853 Ransom married Martha Anne Exum and thereafter resided on a plantation she owned in Northampton County. The couple would have eight children. Prior to emancipation, their holdings included more than eighty slaves....

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Young, Pierce Manning Butler (15 November 1836–06 July 1896), army officer, congressman, and diplomat, was born in Spartanburg, South Carolina, the son of Robert Maxwell Young, a physician and planter, and Elizabeth Caroline Jones. In 1838 the family moved to Cartersville, Cass County (renamed Bartow County in 1861), Georgia. Young attended Georgia Military Institute (1852–1857) in Marietta, where he excelled in Thomas McConnell’s cavalry class. Young entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1857. ...