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Dane, Nathan (29 December 1752–15 February 1835), lawyer, legislator, and legal writer, was born in Ipswich, Massachusetts, the son of Daniel Dane and Abigail Burnham, prosperous farmers. Dane, one of twelve children, received a common school elementary education. He worked on his father’s farm until he entered Harvard College at the unusual age of twenty-two. Dane’s college career from 1774 to 1778 was interrupted by the American Revolution; he apparently performed militia service in Boston during the British siege of the city in 1775–1776. In his academic studies Dane displayed an aptitude for mathematics, which later bore fruit when, as a legislator, he took special interest in taxation, government finance, and census issues. Throughout his life Dane retained the studiousness that marked his college years....

Article

Iredell, James (05 October 1751–20 October 1799), statesman and jurist, was born in Lewes, England, and raised in Bristol, the son of Francis Iredell, a merchant, and Margaret McCulloh. Little is known of Iredell’s early education. The family’s circumstances were modest, and when his father suffered a paralytic stroke in 1766, the Iredells were forced to appeal to their well-connected relatives for assistance. In February 1768 one of these relatives, Sir George Macartney, secured for James a position as comptroller of customs for Port Roanoke in Edenton, North Carolina. Aided by his friendly disposition and his family connection to Henry Eustace McCulloh, one of the largest landholders in the colony, Iredell soon entered into Edenton society. He took up the study of law with ...

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Leigh, Benjamin Watkins (18 June 1781–02 February 1849), lawyer, court reporter, and politician, was born in Chesterfield County, Virginia, the son of William Leigh, an Episcopalian minister, and Elizabeth Watkins. Benjamin attended the College of William and Mary, where he studied under St. George Tucker...

Article

Munford, William (15 August 1775–21 June 1825), court reporter, poet, and politician, was born in Mecklenburg County, Virginia, the son of Robert Munford, a planter, playwright, and poet, and Anne Beverley. William began his education at the grammar school at William and Mary, then attended the college. His talents and intelligence impressed his teachers, including ...

Article

Toulmin, Harry (07 April 1766–11 November 1823), clergyman, statesman, and judge, was born in Taunton, England, the son of Joshua Toulmin, a Unitarian clergyman, and Jane Smith, a bookstore proprietor. Toulmin attended Hoxton Academy, but much of his education came from spending time in his mother’s bookstore....