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Langston, Charles Henry (1817–14 December 1892), abolitionist, temperance advocate, and educator, was born in Louisa County, Virginia, the son of Captain Ralph Quarles, a white plantation owner, and Lucy Langston, Quarles’s slave whom he manumitted and with whom he maintained an open relationship. Langston and his brothers were educated by Quarles in their youth. After the death of their parents in 1834 the Langston children were taken by William Gooch, a friend of Quarles and Lucy Langston, to Chillicothe, Ohio, where they were reunited with their half brother and two half sisters, the children of Lucy Langston who were born before her involvement with Quarles. Langston and his brothers took with them to Ohio considerable money bequeathed to them by Quarles. In 1835 Langston and his brother Gideon became the first African Americans enrolled in the preparatory department of Oberlin Collegiate Institute, then a hotbed of abolitionism. After leaving the preparatory department in 1836, Langston worked as a teacher at black schools in Chillicothe and Columbus, Ohio. He reenrolled in the Oberlin preparatory department in 1841 and studied there until the spring of 1843....

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Lewis, Dioclesian (03 March 1823–21 May 1886), temperance reformer and pioneer in physical education, was born near Auburn, New York, the son of John C. Lewis and Delecta Barbour, farmers. A product of the “Burned-Over District,” America’s most fertile ground for revivalism and reform during the Second Great Awakening (1800–1830), Dio Lewis absorbed revivalism’s lesson of individual improvement through self-discipline and applied it to social problems created or exacerbated by urbanization and industrialization. His first exposure to the new world of industry came as a boy, when he was hired by a cotton mill near his home. After spending several years in his late teens as a teacher, Lewis turned to the study of medicine, at first with a local doctor, then for a short time at Harvard. While practicing in Port Byron, New York, he was converted by his partner to homeopathy, and as a result of his efforts in publicizing homeopathic principles Lewis was awarded an honorary M.D. in 1851 by the Homeopathic Hospital College of Cleveland, Ohio....

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Miller, Emily Clark Huntington (22 October 1833–02 November 1913), author, Methodist temperance worker, and educator, was born in Brooklyn, Connecticut, the daughter of Thomas Huntington, a physician and Baptist minister, and his second wife, Paulina Clark. Receiving her early education at local schools, she graduated from Oberlin College in 1857 and stayed on briefly to teach in the college. While at Oberlin she met John Edwin Miller, a graduate of the Oberlin Theological Institute and a teacher, whom she married in 1860; they had four children....

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Frances Willard. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ61-790).

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Willard, Frances Elizabeth Caroline (28 September 1839–17 February 1898), educator and international temperance leader, was born in Churchville near Rochester, New York, the daughter of Josiah Willard, a businessman and farmer, and Mary Hill, a schoolteacher. When she was two her father sold his substantial farm and business interests and moved his family to Ohio, where both parents studied at Oberlin College. In 1846 the family moved to Wisconsin, where Frances spent the rest of her childhood on their large frontier farm near Janesville. Except for brief stints in rural schools, Willard was tutored by her mother until 1857, when she studied for a year at Milwaukee Female College (later Milwaukee-Downer College) and then at North Western Female College (later part of Northwestern University), receiving a “Laureatte of Science” in 1859. In 1861 she was engaged to ...