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Dargan, Edmund S. (15 April 1805–24 November 1879), legislator and judge, was born near Wadesboro, in Montgomery County, North Carolina, the son of a Baptist minister, whose given name is unknown, and a woman whose maiden name was Lilly. Dargan’s full middle name is listed in a number of sources as either Strother or Spawn. His father died when Dargan was very young. There was no adequate estate, and to earn a livelihood he became an agricultural laborer. Dargan was a self-educated young man who studied the law in typical nineteenth-century fashion, in the law office of a local practitioner in Wadesboro. After a year of study he was admitted in 1829 to the North Carolina bar. The following year he walked to Alabama, where he settled in Washington in Autauga County. He was admitted to the Alabama bar and served as a justice of the peace in Autauga County for a number of years....

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Edward Everett. After a painting from Alonzo Chappel. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-107689).

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Everett, Edward (11 April 1794–15 January 1865), statesman and orator, was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, the son of Oliver Everett, a clergyman and judge who died when Edward was eight years old, and Lucy Hill, a woman of inherited means. Everett attended Harvard College, graduating in 1811 with highest honors at what was (even for then) a young age. He took an M.A. in divinity in 1814 and was installed that year as minister to the Unitarian Brattle Street Church, then the most distinguished pulpit in Boston....

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Haynes, Elizabeth Ross (30 July 1883–26 October 1953), social scientist, politician, and community leader, was born in Mount Willing, Lowndes County, Alabama, the daughter of Henry Ross and Mary Carnes. Elizabeth Ross’s parents were hard workers who amassed some wealth through the purchase of land that eventually grew to become a 1,500-acre plantation. Little is known about her parents beyond their commitment to their only child’s well-being and success. Elizabeth attended the State Normal School in Montgomery and later won a scholarship to Fisk University, where she was awarded an A.B. degree in 1903. She taught school in Alabama and Texas for several years after graduation, and during 1905 and 1907 she attended summer school at the University of Chicago....

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Watson, Thomas Edward (05 September 1856–26 September 1922), political leader, orator, and author, was born about three miles north of Thomson, Georgia, the son of John Smith Watson, a planter, and Ann Eliza Maddox. At birth, he was christened Edward Thomas, but he eventually switched the two names as he grew older. Watson was educated at a local field school near Thomson and studied for two years (1872–1874) at Mercer University, a small Baptist school in Macon, Georgia. Although family finances made it impossible to complete his degree at Mercer, Watson did develop an intense appreciation for oratory as a member of the Phi Delta debating society. Leaving Mercer after his sophomore year, Watson taught for two years at Central Warrior Academy, a country school in rural Scriven County, Georgia; but he returned to Thomson to study law privately in the nearby city of Augusta. He was licensed to practice law on 19 October 1875....