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Furnas, Robert Wilkinson (05 May 1824–01 June 1905), governor and agriculturist, was born near Troy, Ohio, the son of William Furnas and Martha Jenkins, farmers. Orphaned at the age of eight, Robert lived with his paternal grandfather until he was twelve and then went to work in a general store in Troy. At fourteen he began an apprenticeship with a Troy tinsmith, followed by four years as a printer’s apprentice in Covington, Kentucky. During his childhood, Robert attended school only irregularly, accumulating no more than twelve months of formal schooling....

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Lowden, Frank Orren (26 January 1861–20 March 1943), businessman, governor of Illinois, and agriculturist, was born near the village of Sunrise City, Minnesota, the son of Lorenzo Orren Lowden and Nancy Elizabeth Bregg, and grew up in central Iowa. His father, a restless and independent man, worked as blacksmith and farmer, then studied law while in his forties; he was also somewhat of a rebel and political activist, involved in the Grange and the Democratic and Greenback parties. Lowden studied at rural schools, became a teacher at the age of fourteen, and in 1881 entered the University of Iowa, where he graduated as valedictorian in 1885. He then moved to Chicago, where he studied law at the Union College of Law, graduating in 1887, and landed a position at a major law firm. In 1896 he married Florence Pullman, daughter of the extremely wealthy and powerful industrialist ...

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Ward, Joshua John (24 November 1800–27 February 1853), planter and legislator, was born in All Saints Parish (Georgetown District), South Carolina, the son of Joshua Ward, a planter, and Elizabeth Cook. He grew up in a rice planter’s world on the Waccamaw River and after graduating from South Carolina College began with one plantation (given to him by his father with 100 slaves), proving so successful at rice planting that he eventually became (with the exception of ...