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Elliott, Stephen (11 November 1771–28 March 1830), planter and botanist, was born in Beaufort, South Carolina, the son of William Elliott and Mary Barnwell. Orphaned as a child, he grew up in Beaufort in the home of his brother William. He graduated from Yale College on 14 September 1791, being elected to Phi Beta Kappa and selected to deliver an oration. He spoke “On the Supposed Degeneracy of Animated Nature in America,” challenging some ideas of Georges de Buffon, a French naturalist....

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Ravenel, Henry William (19 May 1814–17 July 1887), planter and botanist, was born in St. John’s Parish, South Carolina, the son of Henry Ravenel, a planter and physician, and Catherine Stevens. Upon the death of his mother in 1816, Henry went to live with his grandparents on the family plantation, “Pooshee,” in South Carolina. He was educated locally at Pineville Academy and then studied privately in Columbia for a few months before entering South Carolina College in 1830. He married Elizabeth Gaillard Snowden in 1835; they had four children. Henry wanted to study medicine, but his father dissuaded him, emphasizing the rigors of life as a physician. So the elder Ravenel gave to his son a 600-acre plantation, “Northampton,” along with slaves and equipment to operate it. By 1839 Ravenel was well established as a South Carolina planter....