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Sevier, John (23 September 1745–24 September 1815), soldier, governor, and congressman, was born near the present town of New Market, Virginia, the son of Valentine Sevier, a farmer, trader, and merchant, and Joanna Goade. He attended school briefly when the family lived in Fredericksburg and in Staunton and at the age of sixteen was married to fifteen-year-old Sarah Hawkins; the couple had ten children. Very shortly after her death in 1780, he married Catherine Sherrill, with whom he had eight children. For a decade after his first marriage, Sevier moved about in the Shenandoah Valley, operating a tavern and store, and farming, trading, and speculating in land. In 1773, joined by his parents and several brothers, he moved to the southwest and settled on the Holston River. Why Sevier and family members would leave the rich lands of the valley is unknown, except perhaps that the valley lands rapidly were filling and the Holston area offered cheap land certain soon to become more valuable....

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Thomas, David (11 June 1762–27 November 1831), soldier, congressman, and New York politician, was born in Pelham, Massachusetts, the son of David Thomas and Elizabeth Harper. David’s early schooling consisted of the traditional preparatory studies, but he did not go to college. In 1777 he joined an expedition of Massachusetts troops engaged in the relief of Rhode Island. Following this action, he worked as an apprentice to a shoemaker in Worcester, Massachusetts. In 1781 Thomas joined the Fifth Massachusetts Regiment as a corporal. He later served as a sergeant in the Third Massachusetts Regiment, in which he continued for the remainder of the revolutionary war....