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David Crockett. Engraving after a portrait by John Gadsby Chapman. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-93521).

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Crockett, Davy (17 August 1786–06 March 1836), frontiersman, Tennessee and U.S. congressman, and folk hero, was born David Crockett in Greene County, East Tennessee, the son of John Crockett, a magistrate, unsuccessful land speculator, and tavern owner, and Rebecca Hawkins. John Crockett hired his son out to Jacob Siler in 1798 to help on a cattle drive to Rockbridge County, Virginia, and Siler tried forcibly to detain young Crockett after the completion of the job. The boy ran away at night, however, and arrived home in late 1798 or early 1799. Preferring to play hooky rather than attend school, he ran away from home to escape his father’s wrath. His “strategic withdrawal,” as he called it, lasted about thirty months while he worked at odd jobs and as a laborer and a wagon driver. When he returned home in 1802, he had grown so much that his family at first did not recognize him. He soon found that all was forgiven and reciprocated their generosity by working for a year to settle the debts that his father had incurred....

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LeFlore, Greenwood (03 June 1800–31 August 1865), chief of the Choctaws, planter, and member of the Mississippi legislature, was born near the present site of the old state capitol in Jackson, Mississippi, the son of Louis LeFlore, a French Canadian who lived among the Choctaws as an agent and trader, and Rebecca Cravat, a young girl from an important Choctaw family. When Greenwood was twelve years old, Major John Donley, who handled mail along the Natchez Trace, took the boy to his home near Nashville, Tennessee, where he stayed for five years attending school. At seventeen Greenwood asked permission to marry Donley’s fifteen-year-old daughter, Rosa, but Donley did not consent to the marriage because they were too young. Greenwood and Rosa slipped away to a friend’s home to get married, and Greenwood thereafter took his bride home to Mississippi, where two children were born....

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Maxwell, William (1766 or 1767?–10 September 1809), pioneer printer, newspaper editor, and office holder, was long thought, based on statements made by his descendants, to have been born about 1755 in New York or New Jersey, the son of William Maxwell, an immigrant from Scotland. Current scholarship infers a probable birth date of 1766 or 1767 from a contemporary newspaper obituary and suggests several additional mid-Atlantic states (Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland) as possible places of origin. Little is known of Maxwell’s early life, including his mother’s identity. Although he is reputed to have served as a revolutionary war soldier, his participation has not been confirmed by extant military records....

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Morris, Edward Joy (16 July 1815–31 December 1881), legislator, author, and diplomat, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, of unknown ancestry. He attended the University of Pennsylvania and graduated from Harvard College in 1836. He studied law and was admitted to the Philadelphia bar in 1842, while serving in the Pennsylvania assembly, 1841–1843. Morris served one term as a Whig in Congress, 1843–1845. When his bid for reelection failed, he resumed his law practice. In 1847 he married Elizabeth Gatliff Ella of Philadelphia, with whom he had two daughters....

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Warren, William Whipple (27 May 1825–01 June 1853), Ojibwa historian and legislator, was born in La Pointe, on Madeline Island, Wisconsin, in Lake Superior, the son of Lyman Marcus Warren, a fur trader, and Mary Cadotte, of French and Ojibwa descent. The oldest of eight children, William was raised in a home with an extensive library. According to the first missionary at nearby Leech Lake, Rev. William T. Boutwell, the children were given “the benefits of a Christian education.” At age seven William attended the mission school at La Pointe and, the following year, the mission school at Mackinaw. When he was eleven his grandfather took him to New York, where he studied from 1838 to 1841 at the Oneida Institute in Whitesborough, near Utica, a school run by Rev. ...