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Garreau, Armand (13 September 1817–28 March 1865), Romantic writer, journalist, and educator, was born Louis-Armand Garreau in Cognac, France, the son of Louis-Armand Garreau, a lawyer and veteran of the Napoleonic wars, and Marie Rose Dumontet, a native of Saint-Pierre, Martinique. Apparently Garreau left home at a very early age to receive a classical education in Paris at the Lycée Henri IV. Financial difficulties prevented him from completing law school, but before he left Paris to take up a teaching position in the department of Gironde he encountered a New Orleanian who impressed him with talk of opportunity in Louisiana....

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Porter, Andrew (24 September 1743–16 November 1813), teacher and revolutionary war soldier, was born in Worcester, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, the son of Robert Porter, a farmer. His mother’s name is unknown. At an early age he showed a taste for reading and mathematics, and although he was apprenticed to his elder brother to learn carpentry at the age of eighteen or nineteen, he failed after a few months. Under the guidance of a teacher, Patrick Mennon, who lived about twelve miles from his home, he learned about sundials. Carving one from soapstone, he destroyed his brother’s carpentry tools. His father then tried to teach him farming, but Porter’s aversion to labor and his love for books caused him to spurn that profession as well. Thereupon, his father determined that he should become a schoolmaster and enrolled him in Mennon’s school. After quickly mastering the curriculum, Porter established a small school of his own and began to teach. He struck up an acquaintance with ...

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Webster, John White (20 May 1793–30 August 1850), university professor and murderer, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Redford Webster, an apothecary, and Hannah White. Soon after Webster’s birth, his family moved to Amesbury, Massachusetts, where his father achieved great financial success in his business. Webster enrolled at Harvard College, where he was more mischievous than studious; still, he earned a bachelor’s degree there in 1811 and a medical degree in 1815. That same year he continued his training at Guy’s Hospital Medical School in London, where John Keats, also a student there, became his friend and fellow “dresser” for a hospital surgeon. Completing his course of instruction, Webster went on a scientific tour through England. On his way back to Boston during 1817 and 1818, he vacationed in the Azores, where he fell in love with Harriet Fredrica Hickling, the daughter of the American consul stationed at Fayal. They got married in May 1818, established their residence in Boston, and became the parents of four daughters....