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William J. Donovan. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-109385).

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Donovan, William Joseph (01 January 1883–08 February 1959), lawyer, soldier, and intelligence official, was born in Buffalo, New York, the son of Timothy Patrick Donovan, a railroad yardmaster, and Anna Letitia Lennon. After starting college at Niagara University, Donovan transferred to Columbia University from which he received an A.B. in 1905 and an LL.B. in 1907. He joined the law firm of Love and Keating in Buffalo. In 1912 he and Bradley Goodyear formed a partnership that merged with Buffalo’s leading firm, O’Brian and Hamlin, to become O’Brian Hamlin Donovan and Goodyear. Hamlin’s withdrawal led to the firm’s dissolution in 1920. Meanwhile, in 1914, Donovan married socially prominent Ruth Rumsey. They had two children....

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Ewing, Thomas, Jr. (07 August 1829–21 January 1896), soldier, lawyer, and congressman, was born in Lancaster, Ohio, the son of Thomas Ewing (1789–1871), a lawyer, and Maria Boyle. His foster brother was William T. Sherman, who had been raised by the Ewings. Ewing attended Lancaster Academy and later had a year of schooling in Brownsville, Pennsylvania, at the home of his cousin ...

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Hardin, Martin D. (21 June 1780–08 October 1823), lawyer, soldier, and U.S. senator, was born near the Monongahela River in southwestern Pennsylvania, the son of John Hardin, a revolutionary war soldier and Indian fighter, and Jane Daveiss. The Hardins were a somewhat prosperous Virginia family of French Huguenots who immigrated in 1706 and settled beyond the Virginia border on the Pennsylvania frontier about 1765. In 1786 John Hardin moved the family to Nelson County in the Kentucky District (now Washington County, Ky.) along Pleasant Run, a branch of Beech Fork, near the present-day county seat of Springfield. John Hardin was murdered by Shawnee Indians in May 1792, near present-day Hardin, Ohio, while serving as a peace emissary; he became a celebrated martyr and the namesake of counties in Kentucky and Ohio....

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Kershaw, Joseph Brevard (05 January 1822–13 April 1894), lawyer, soldier, and politician, was born in Camden, South Carolina, the son of John Kershaw, a judge, and Harriette Du Bose. The Kershaws were a distinguished South Carolina family. Joseph was named for his paternal grandfather, who had immigrated to America from England in 1748 and was prominent in the American Revolution. Joseph’s father was mayor of Camden for several years and served one term in the U.S. Congress. Joseph studied for a career in law in the offices of the distinguished South Carolina lawyer John M. De Saussure and passed the South Carolina bar at age twenty-one. In 1844 he married Lucretia Douglas; the couple had one son and four daughters. After practicing for several years, beginning in June 1844, he participated in the Mexican War as a volunteer, serving as a lieutenant in South Carolina’s Palmetto Regiment. In Mexico, he saw action in several battles but became ill and was evacuated back to the United States in June 1847. Kershaw was elected to the South Carolina state legislature in 1852 and 1854, and he was a member of the state’s 1860 secession convention that met in Charleston, South Carolina....

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Smyth, Alexander (14 September 1767–17 April 1830), lawyer, soldier, and congressman, was born on Rathlin Island, County Antrim, twelve miles off the northern coast of Ireland, the son of the Reverend Adam Smyth. His mother’s name is unknown. In 1775 his father relocated the family to Botetourt County, Virginia, where he served as rector of the Episcopal parish. Smyth read law and in 1787 was appointed deputy clerk of Botetourt County. He passed the bar in 1789, moved to Wythe County, and married Nancy Binkley in 1791. The couple had four children. A vigorous orator, Smyth entered politics and was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1792, 1796, 1801–1802, and 1804–1808. Success and a mercurial disposition garnered him powerful enemies, however. Foremost among these was John Preston of Wythe County, with whom Smyth dueled in 1795. The confrontation proved bloodless, but the two men and their respective families remained staunch political adversaries....

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Williams, John (29 January 1778–10 August 1837), soldier, lawyer, and legislator, was born in Surry County, North Carolina, the son of Joseph Williams and Rebecca Lanier. He attended schools in his home county and studied law in nearby Salisbury. He moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, soon after the turn of the century and was admitted to the bar in 1803. Two years later he married Malinda Lawson White, a daughter of General ...