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Fuller, Thomas Oscar (25 October 1867–21 June 1942), educator, clergyman, and politician, was born in Franklinton, North Carolina, the son of J. Henderson Fuller and Mary Elizabeth (maiden name unknown). Fuller’s father was a former slave who had purchased his freedom and later his wife’s with money earned as a skilled wheelwright and carpenter. While a slave, the elder Fuller taught himself to read, and after the Civil War he became active in Republican politics. During Reconstruction he served as a delegate to the 1868 state Republican convention and as a local magistrate....

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Garrard, James (14 January 1749–19 January 1822), governor and minister, was born in Stafford County, Virginia, the son of William Garrard, a moderately wealthy planter and militia colonel, and Mary Naughty. The Garrards descended from French Huguenots. James was probably educated in one of the local schools of the Fredericksburg–Stafford County area. He learned surveying and was an active member of a “Regular” Baptist church. He assisted his father in farming. In 1769 Garrard married Elizabeth Mountjoy; they had twelve children, three of whom died in infancy....

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George Washington Williams. Courtesy of the Ohio Historical Society.

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Williams, George Washington (16 October 1849–02 August 1891), soldier, clergyman, legislator, and historian, was born in Bedford Springs, Pennsylvania, the son of Thomas Williams, a free black laborer, and Ellen Rouse. His father became a boatman and, eventually, a minister and barber, and the younger Williams drifted with his family from town to town in western Pennsylvania until the beginning of the Civil War. With no formal education, he lied about his age, adopted the name of an uncle, and enlisted in the United States Colored Troops in 1864. He served in operations against Petersburg and Richmond, sustaining multiple wounds during several battles. After the war’s end, Williams was stationed in Texas, but crossed the border to fight with the Mexican republican forces that overthrew the emperor Maximilian. He returned to the U.S. Army in 1867, serving with the Tenth Cavalry, an all-black unit, at Fort Arbuckle, Indian Territory. Williams was discharged for disability the following year after being shot through the left lung under circumstances that were never fully explained....