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Comer, Braxton Bragg (07 November 1848–15 August 1927), industrialist and governor of Alabama, was born at Spring Hill in Barbour County, Alabama, the son of John Fletcher Comer, a planter and lumberman, and Catherine Drewry. Comer was one of the cadets at the University of Alabama who fired on federal troops before they burned the university in the Civil War. He later completed his college training at Emory and Henry, graduating in 1869. In 1872 he married Eva Jane Harris; they had eight children including Donald (born James MacDonald) and Hugh, the sons who took over the family’s textile mills. After a brief foray in plantation management, Comer moved to Anniston and organized a wholesale grocery and commission business. Five years later, in 1890, he moved to rapidly growing Birmingham. In the “Magic City” he built a grist mill, became a banker, and organized Avondale Mills, which was to become the basis of his fortune....

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Crane, Winthrop Murray (23 April 1853–02 October 1920), industrialist, governor of Massachusetts, and U.S. senator, was born in Dalton, Massachusetts, the son of Zenas Marshall Crane, a paper manufacturer, and Louise Fanny Laflin. A member of a wealthy and politically prominent western Massachusetts family, Crane attended Wesleyan Academy (later Wilbraham Academy) in Wilbraham, Massachusetts, and Williston Seminary in Easthampton. He left school in 1870 to work in his family’s paper mills. After trying every job from floor sweeper to mill superintendent, he found his niche in sales....

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Romney, George (08 July 1907–26 July 1995), industrialist and politician, was born George Wilcken Romney in Chihuahua, Mexico, the son of Gaskell Romney, a construction contractor, and Anna Pratt. From the beginning, Romney’s Mormon faith strongly influenced his life. His parents had moved to Mexico to escape American laws discriminating against Latter-day Saints. After Mexican revolutionary leader ...