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Banks, Nathaniel Prentiss (30 January 1816–01 September 1894), congressman and Civil War general, was born in Waltham, Massachusetts, the son of Nathaniel P. Banks, a textile mill foreman, and Rebecca Greenwood. He attended a school for factory children until he began work in the mills as a bobbin boy at age eleven. At seventeen he left factory work to assist his father in carpentry and to learn the machinist’s trade....

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Forrestal, James Vincent (15 February 1892–22 May 1949), secretary of the navy and first U.S. secretary of defense, was born in Matteawan, New York, the son of James Forrestal, a construction contractor, and Mary Ann Toohey, a schoolteacher. Raised in a small-town Irish-Catholic community, Forrestal attended Dartmouth College in 1911. In 1912 he transferred to Princeton University, where he developed social and business connections with the Protestant establishment. He withdrew before graduating with his class, possibly over a dispute with a professor. He held a number of sales jobs before a Princeton alumnus arranged for him to join the Wall Street investment firm of William A. Read and Company. The First World War interrupted Forrestal’s rising career as a bond salesman. During the war he served as a lieutenant junior grade in the Aviation Division of the newly created Office of the Chief of Naval Operations in Washington, D.C. In 1926 he married Josephine Ogden, a ...

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Hindman, Thomas Carmichael (28 January 1828–27 September 1868), general and congressman, was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, the son of Thomas Carmichael Hindman and Sallie Holt. His father moved to Jacksonville, Alabama, in 1832 as an Indian agent of the federal government and then to Ripley, Tippah County, Mississippi, in 1841, where he operated a large plantation. As the son of a well-to-do family, Hindman attended a variety of local private schools and graduated in 1846 from the Lawrenceville Classical and Commercial Institute located near Princeton, New Jersey....

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Hobson, Richmond Pearson (17 August 1870–16 March 1937), naval officer and congressman, was born in Greensboro, Alabama, the son of James Marcellus Hobson, a lawyer, and Sarah Croom Pearson. He received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis in May 1885. The youngest member of his class, he was put “in Coventry” (ostracism via the silent treatment) by his classmates for placing some of them on report and spent the balance of his second- and all of his first-class years under the ban. Never lower than third academically, he graduated in 1889 first in his class. The ostracism was to cast a long shadow on the active naval career of one who, in his own words, “ ...

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Jenkins, Albert Gallatin (10 November 1830–21 May 1864), congressman and Confederate general, was born at “Greenbottom,” Cabell County, Virginia (now West Virginia), the son of William A. Jenkins, businessman and planter, and Jeannette Grigsby McNutt. Before settling in western Virginia along the Ohio River on his Greenbottom plantation, William A. Jenkins had prospered as the owner of a shipping business that exported tobacco and cotton to South America in exchange for coffee. Albert received preparatory schooling at the Marshall Academy in nearby Huntington. In 1846 he and his two brothers enrolled at Jefferson College in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, graduating two years later. From 1848 to 1850 Jenkins attended Harvard Law School, earning his LL.B. degree in July 1850. Returning to his native state, he was admitted to the bar and began his legal practice in Charleston. In 1858 he married Virginia Southard Bowlin. The couple had three children who lived to adulthood and, according to family history, a fourth who died in infancy....

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Rosecrans, William Starke (06 September 1819–11 March 1898), soldier and congressman, was born in Delaware County, Ohio, the son of Crandall Rosecrans and Jemima Hopkins, farmers. His father died when Rosecrans was in his teens, forcing the boy to play a major role in supporting his family. Largely through his own efforts, he secured an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy, from which he graduated fifth in the 56-man class of 1842....

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Rousseau, Lovell Harrison (04 August 1818–07 January 1869), military officer and congressman, was born near Stanford, Lincoln County, Kentucky; his parents’ names are unknown. He briefly attended local schools and worked on neighboring farms before joining a construction crew to build a road from Lexington to Lancaster. Rousseau then studied law in Louisville. He moved to Bloomfield, Indiana, in 1840 and was admitted to the bar in February 1841. He took an immediate interest in politics and became affiliated with the Whig party. Rousseau was a member of the Indiana State House of Representatives in 1844 and 1845. Attached to the Second Indiana Infantry during the Mexican War, he held the rank of captain and in 1847 served with General ...

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Wise, Henry Alexander (03 December 1806–12 September 1876), congressman, governor, and Confederate general, was born on Virginia’s Eastern Shore in Drummondtown (now Accomac), the son of John Wise, a Federalist lawyer and legislator, and Sarah Corbin Cropper. Orphaned in 1812–1813, he was raised by relatives and had few resources other than a small inheritance. He received only a meager education until his admission in 1822 to Washington College (now Washington and Jefferson College) in Pennsylvania, where he graduated with first honors in 1825. He attended Chancellor ...