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Lacock, Abner (09 July 1770–12 April 1837), state and national leader and canal builder, was born on Cub Run, near Alexandria, Virginia, the son of William Lacock and Lovey (maiden name unknown), farmers. Around 1780 his family settled in Washington County in western Pennsylvania; there they bought a 120-acre farm in Amwell Township, and Abner helped his parents in planting and in harvesting crops. Between 1782 and 1786 Lacock attended Thaddeus Dodd’s Academy in Amity, Pennsylvania, and studied mathematics, surveying, and the classics. In 1788 he married Hannah Eddy, and the couple had three sons and four daughters....

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Van Winkle, Peter Godwin (07 September 1808–15 April 1872), lawyer, businessman, and politician, was born in New York City, the son of Peter Van Winkle, a merchant, and Phoebe Godwin. Van Winkle attended local elementary and secondary schools. One of his interests was writing poems, which were published in several literary journals. In 1831 he married Juliette Rathbun of Paramus, New Jersey; they had six children, three of whom died in infancy. Van Winkle remained a widower after his wife’s death in 1844....