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Adams, James Hopkins (15 March 1812–13 July 1861), planter and politician, was born in Richland District, South Carolina, the son of Henry Walker Adams and Mary Goodwyn, planters. At an early age, both of his parents died and James was placed in the care of his maternal grandfather, an early settler of South Carolina from Virginia. Prosperous, his grandfather, a plantation owner, was able to raise Adams in an atmosphere of wealth and education. Shortly after his graduation from Yale in 1831, Adams married Jane Margaret Scott, with whom he had eleven children....

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Allston, Robert Francis Withers (21 April 1801–07 April 1864), planter and statesman, was born on “Hagley Plantation” in All Saints Parish (Georgetown District), South Carolina, the son of Benjamin Allston, a planter, and Charlotte Anne Allston. Allston entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, in December 1817 and graduated tenth in his class on 1 July 1821. Appointed lieutenant in the Third Artillery and assigned to the Coast Survey, he participated in the surveying of the harbors at Plymouth and Provincetown, Massachusetts, and of the entrance to Mobile Bay. He resigned his commission on 1 February 1822 in response to his widowed mother’s plea for help on their plantations and returned to South Carolina, where he remained a rice planter for the rest of his life. As a planter, however, he continued his interest in civil engineering and in 1823 was elected to the first of two terms as surveyor general of South Carolina. In 1832 he married Adele Petigru, sister of Unionist ...

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Alston, Joseph (1779–10 September 1816), planter and statesman, was born in All Saints Parish (Georgetown District), South Carolina, the son of Colonel William Alston, a rice planter, and Mary Ashe. He attended the College of Charleston from 1793 to 1794, then entered Princeton in 1795, his junior year, but he withdrew without graduating. He read law in the office of ...

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Bowie, Robert ( March 1750–08 January 1818), planter and politician, was born near Nottingham, Prince Georges County, Maryland, the son of William Bowie, a and Margaret Sprigg. He was educated by the Reverend John Eversfield near Nottingham and then by the Reverend Thomas Craddock, the first rector of St. Thomas Parish in Garrison Forest, Baltimore County, Maryland. On the eve of the American Revolution, about 1773, tradition has Bowie eloping with Priscilla Mackall, a daughter of the richest man in Calvert County, James John Mackall. Bowie’s father gave them a farm near “Mattaponi,” the family plantation where Bowie had been born. They had five children who survived to adulthood....

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Carpenter, Cyrus Clay (24 November 1829–29 May 1898), politician and farmer, was born in Harford, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, the son of Asahel Carpenter, a farmer, and Amanda Thayer. Orphaned during his early teens and raised by relatives, Carpenter attended public school in Harford. Between 1848 and 1851 he alternated teaching jobs with attendance at Harford Academy. During these early years he developed the temperance and antislavery views that he held during his adult years....

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Lloyd, Edward (22 July 1779–02 June 1834), politician and farmer, was born in Maryland, the son of Edward Lloyd, a Maryland official and planter, and Elizabeth Tayloe. Lloyd received his education primarily from private tutors but also from exposure to his father’s political activities and plantation management. Upon his father’s death in 1796, Lloyd, as the only son, inherited all of his father’s land, principally over 11,000 acres in Talbot County, and more than two hundred slaves. In 1797 he married Sally Scott Murray; they had three sons and four daughters....

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Middleton, Henry (28 September 1770–14 June 1846), planter, politician, and diplomat, was born in London, England, the son of Arthur Middleton, signer of the Declaration of Independence, member of the Continental Congress, and governor of South Carolina, and Mary Izard. He was educated in classical studies by private tutors at Middleton Place, the family plantation near Charleston, and in England. While residing in Great Britain, on 13 November 1794 he married Mary Helen Hering, the daughter of Juliness Hering of Heybridge Hall, captain of his Majesty’s Thirty-Fourth Regiment. The couple had twelve children, eight of whom survived infancy. Upon Middleton’s permanent return to the United States in 1800, he inherited Middleton Place, where he planted the first camellias in the United States, and the family estate at Newport, Rhode Island....

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Murray, William Henry David (21 November 1869–15 October 1956), politician and agricultural advocate, was born in Toadsuck, Texas, near Collinsville, the son of Uriah Dow Thomas Murray and Bertha Elizabeth Jones, poor farmers. He grew up in north central Texas, running away from home at the age of twelve. For the next seven years he worked as an agricultural laborer, attending public schools sporadically. After matriculating at College Hill Institute, a secondary school at Springtown, he became a public school teacher in Parker County. There he became an activist in the Farmers’ Alliance....

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Ross, C. Ben (21 December 1876–31 March 1946), rancher, politician, and governor of Idaho, was born Charles Benjamin Ross in Parma, Idaho, the son of John M. Ross and Jeannette Hadley, ranchers. His parents were pioneers who went west from New York by way of Cape Horn. Ross’s first American ancestors emigrated from Scotland in the 1740s. His great-grandfather fought in the American Revolution, and his father went to sea as a young man, eventually following the gold rush to California. After marrying in 1864, his father abandoned the uncertain life of a prospector and purchased a homestead in what is now Canyon County, Idaho. The town of Parma, which sprouted nearby when the railroad went through in 1883, became the Ross family home....

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Williams, David Rogerson (08 March 1776–17 November 1830), politician, planter, and textile manufacturer, was born on the family plantation, on the Pee Dee River near Society Hill, South Carolina, the son of David Williams, a well-to-do planter, and Anne Rogerson. The elder Williams died a few months before his son’s birth and left an estate that had grown to some 4,300 acres and 70 slaves by David’s sixteenth birthday. Growing up in Charleston, where his widowed mother settled, Williams experienced the powerful influence of ...