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Adams, Henry Cullen (28 November 1850–09 July 1906), legislator and public servant, was born in Verona, Oneida County, New York, the son of Benjamin Franklin Adams, a professor of classical languages at Hamilton College, and Caroline Shepard. His parents moved to southern Wisconsin before the Civil War, and young Henry grew up on a farm, acquiring an attachment to agriculture that would permeate the remainder of his life. He was educated in country schools, at Albion College, and then spent three years during the 1870s at the University of Wisconsin, but fragile health forced him to quit before earning a degree. Adams returned to his father’s farm near Madison and in 1878 married Anne Burkley Norton, with whom he had four children....

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Austin, Jonathan Loring (02 January 1748–10 May 1826), government agent and state official, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Benjamin Austin, a merchant and politician, and Elizabeth Waldo. Austin graduated from Harvard College in 1766 and soon began a merchant career in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and neighboring Kittery, Maine....

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Cheatham, Henry Plummer (27 December 1857–29 November 1935), congressman and public official, was born near Henderson, Granville (now Vance) County, North Carolina, the son of a house slave about whom little is known. He attended local public schools and worked on farms during the 1860s and 1870s before graduating with honors from Shaw University in 1882. He became principal of the Plymouth Normal School for Negroes, a state-supported institution, and held this position from 1882 until 1884. He returned to Henderson and, after the retirement of the white Republican incumbent, won election as Vance County registrar of deeds, serving in this capacity from 1885 to 1888. During this time he also studied law, though he never established a practice....

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Daniel, Peter Vivian (24 April 1784–31 May 1860), lawyer, state official, and associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, was born at “Crow’s Nest,” in Stafford County, Virginia, the son of Travers Daniel, a planter, and Frances Moncure. His ancestors settled in Virginia early in the seventeenth century and founded a prominent gentry family. Daniel attended the College of New Jersey at Princeton for a time, but left in 1805 to read law in Richmond with ...

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Eastman, Joseph Bartlett (26 June 1882–15 March 1944), state and national regulator of business, was born in Katonah, New York, the son of John Huse Eastman, a Presbyterian minister, and Lucy King. He lived in Westchester County until he was fourteen, when his father moved the family to Pottsville, Pennsylvania. Eastman absorbed from his family experience the Puritan values, as his biographer described them, “of plain living and high thinking, simplicity, conscientiousness, and devotion to duty.” Reflecting an independence of thought that permeated his life, Eastman never practiced a formal religion. Never married, he lived with his older sister, Elizabeth, and devoted his energies to public service....

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Anna Arnold Hedgeman. Oil on canvas, 1945, by Betsy Graves Reyneau. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of the Harmon Foundation.

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Hedgeman, Anna Arnold (05 July 1899–17 January 1990), educator, policy consultant, and political activist, was born Anna Marie Arnold in Marshalltown, Iowa, the daughter and eldest child of William James Arnold II, an entrepreneur, and Marie Ellen Parker Arnold. The Arnolds subsequently moved to Anoka, Minnesota, becoming the only black family in that town. Young Anna graduated from high school in 1918 and went on to attend Hamline University in nearby Saint Paul, becoming the college's first black graduate in 1922....

Article

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....