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Attucks, Crispus (1723–05 March 1770), probably a sailor, was the first to be killed in the Boston Massacre of 5 March 1770. Generally regarded to have been of mixed ancestry (African, Indian, and white), Attucks seems to have hailed from a Natick Indian settlement, Mashpee (incorporated as a district in 1763, near Framingham, Massachusetts)....

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Castiglioni, Luigi (03 October 1757–22 April 1832), naturalist, author, and politician, was born in Milan, Italy, the son of Count Ottavio Castiglioni and Teresa Verri, both of distinguished families. In childhood, after the death of his father, Castiglioni and his older brother, Alfonso, were adopted by their mother’s brother, Pietro Verri, whose political ideas and writings placed him and his brother, Alessandro, among the central figures of the Italian Enlightenment. Although Verri provided his nephews with material comfort and intellectual guidance, their relationship was sometimes contentious....

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Crèvecoeur, J. Hector St. John de (31 January 1735–12 November 1813), writer and government official, was born in Caen, Normandy, where, in the parish of St. Jean, he was baptized Michel-Guillaume Jean de Crèvecoeur. He was the elder son of Guillaume-Augustin Jean de Crèvecoeur and Marie-Anne-Thérèse Blouet, his father a substantial landowner and his mother also of the provincial nobility of Normandy. Crèvecoeur grew up in the manor house of Pierrepont, near the village of Creully. At the Jesuit Collège Royal de Bourbon at Caen, Crèvecoeur studied practical mathematics, learned surveying and cartography, and was graduated with distinction in literature and languages in 1750. He continued his education in Salisbury, England, and probably visited Lisbon, about which he wrote several times....

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Morris, Edward Joy (16 July 1815–31 December 1881), legislator, author, and diplomat, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, of unknown ancestry. He attended the University of Pennsylvania and graduated from Harvard College in 1836. He studied law and was admitted to the Philadelphia bar in 1842, while serving in the Pennsylvania assembly, 1841–1843. Morris served one term as a Whig in Congress, 1843–1845. When his bid for reelection failed, he resumed his law practice. In 1847 he married Elizabeth Gatliff Ella of Philadelphia, with whom he had two daughters....

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Sandys, George (02 March 1578–04 March 1644), writer and official of colonial Virginia, was born at Bishopthorp near York, England, the son of Edwin Sandys, the archbishop of York, and his second wife, Cicely Wil(s)ford. Sandys entered Oxford University as a gentleman-commoner at the age of eleven in 1589, then at eighteen went to the Middle Temple, London. He remained at the Inns of Court only a year or two. Before the age of twenty-one, he married Elizabeth Norton of Ripon. The exact date of the family-arranged marriage is unknown, but it had ended, although it was never formally dissolved, by 1606. The couple had no children....

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Van Braam Houckgeest, Andreas Everardus (01 November 1739–08 July 1801), diplomat, art collector, and author of the first book about China by an American, was born in the province of Utrecht in the Netherlands, the son of François Thomas van Braam and Evardina Catherina van Nijmegen. After a brief term in the Dutch navy, he entered the service of the Dutch East India Company in December 1758 on a voyage to China. In 1763 he married Catharina C. G. van Reede van Oudtshoorn, a resident of Cape Town, South Africa, adding at that time Houckgeest to his name in honor of a line of artists on his mother’s side. Apart from two short voyages to Europe, he remained in Canton and Macao until 1773, when he returned to the Netherlands and established himself as a gentleman farmer in the province of Gelderland....

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West, Joseph (fl. 1669–1685), mariner and three-time governor of South Carolina, was of unknown ancestry. Little is known of his life before 1669. In July of that year the Lords Proprietors of Carolina chose Joseph West to command their fleet about to sail from London with the first settlers from England bound for the southern part of their grant. The proprietors entrusted to West’s care an expedition representing a large capital investment but failed to leave information about why they believed him capable of carrying out the mission. Moreover, no other sources have been uncovered that outline West’s early career. In 1669 he styled himself “merchant of London.” He was married to Joanna (maiden name unknown), who joined him in the New World. The couple left no offspring. He was probably a dissenter but of uncertain denominational affiliation. In his will recorded in 1691, he directed that his estate residue be given to London’s Quaker poor. If a Friend at the end of his life, he was not one in the 1660s, serving in the Royal Navy under James Carteret, a son of one of the proprietors. West’s association with the Carterets likely brought him to the attention of Lord Anthony Ashley Cooper (later the Earl of Shaftesbury), who was the prime mover of the proprietary in the late 1660s and 1670s. The earl became West’s patron and supporter....

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Young, John (17 March 1744–17 December 1835), seaman and adviser to King Kamehameha I of the Hawaiian Islands, seaman and adviser to King Kamehameha I of the Hawaiian Islands, was born in Liverpool, England. His parents’ identities are not known. Young had little or no formal education. At an early age he went to sea and before the American Revolution was aboard merchant ships sailing out of New York and Philadelphia. In 1789 he joined the ...