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McKennan, Thomas McKean Thompson (31 March 1794–09 July 1852), lawyer, congressman, and railroad president, was born in Dragon Neck, New Castle County, Delaware, the son of Colonel William McKennan, a revolutionary war officer, and Elizabeth Thompson, a niece of Thomas McKean, a Pennsylvania chief justice and governor. His grandfather, the Reverend William McKennan, who emigrated from Scotland via northern Ireland and Barbados, ministered to the Presbyterians in Wilmington for over fifty years. When Thomas was just a boy, his family left Delaware, migrating to western Virginia and then western Pennsylvania. They settled in the town of Washington in 1803, and Colonel McKennan served in the administration of Pennsylvania’s governor McKean until the end of the governor’s term in 1808. Colonel McKennan died in 1810 from the effects of wounds suffered in the revolutionary war....

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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....