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Maxwell, William (1766 or 1767?–10 September 1809), pioneer printer, newspaper editor, and office holder, was long thought, based on statements made by his descendants, to have been born about 1755 in New York or New Jersey, the son of William Maxwell, an immigrant from Scotland. Current scholarship infers a probable birth date of 1766 or 1767 from a contemporary newspaper obituary and suggests several additional mid-Atlantic states (Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland) as possible places of origin. Little is known of Maxwell’s early life, including his mother’s identity. Although he is reputed to have served as a revolutionary war soldier, his participation has not been confirmed by extant military records....

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McLemore, Jeff (13 March 1857–04 March 1929), journalist, state legislator, and congressman, was born Atkins Jefferson McLemore near Spring Hill in Maury County, Tennessee, the son of Robert Anderson McLemore and Mary Howard McEwen, farmers. He had an “aversion to teachers” and recalled that he “never saw the inside of a schoolroom after he was fourteen years of age” ( ...

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O’Sullivan, John Louis (13 November 1813–24 March 1895), lawyer, journalist, and legislator, was born aboard a British man-of-war off the coast of Gibraltar, the son of John Thomas O’Sullivan, a U.S. diplomat and sea captain, and Mary Rowly. Descended from a long line of colorful Irish expatriates and soldiers of fortune, in childhood O’Sullivan eagerly absorbed tales of the family’s adventures. The romantic twist of his birth aboard an enemy ship during the War of 1812 was repeated throughout his life’s uneven course. ...

Article

Rosewater, Edward (28 January 1841–30 August 1906), journalist and politician, was born Edward Rosenwasser in Bukovan, Bohemia (now the Czech Republic), the son of Herman Rosenwasser and Rosalia Kohn, farmers. In 1854 the Rosenwasser family, which consisted of parents and eight children at that time, emigrated to the United States, settling in Cleveland, Ohio. Educated in Hebrew, German, and Czech in his native land, upon arriving in America Edward was sent to work peddling “notions and wares.” Subsequent jobs selling tinware and stoves, and then drygoods, were followed by a three-month term at Hollister and Felton’s Commercial College in Cleveland, where he learned penmanship, bookkeeping, and accounting, and in 1859 by an apprenticeship in telegraphy. Upon attaining proficiency as a telegrapher, he took a job in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and then moved to Stevenson, Alabama, where his responsibilities included splicing and repairing the line, maintaining batteries, and personally delivering telegrams....

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Russell, Benjamin (13 September 1761–04 January 1845), printer, newspaper editor, and politician, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of John Russell, a mason. By his fourteenth year he had learned the rudiments of typesetting by working around Isaiah Thomas’s Boston printing house. Benjamin’s career as a newspaperman was determined, in part, by his boyish curiosity when he followed British troops marching toward what turned out to be the battle of Concord on 19 April 1775. But British forces closed off travel between Boston and the outlying areas, preventing him from returning home....

Article

Turner, Josiah, Jr. (27 December 1821–26 October 1901), editor and legislator, was born in Hillsboro (now Hillsborough), North Carolina, the son of Josiah Turner, Sr., a sheriff, and Eliza Evans. He attended the Caldwell Institute in Greensboro and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he studied law under the chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. He was admitted to the bar about 1845. In 1852 his career in public life began with his successful campaign for the state house of commons. During this period Orange County was aligned with the Democratic party, but Turner joined the governor and other Hillsboro political leaders in the Whig movement. In the next election in August 1854 Turner was returned to the house of commons but was defeated in 1856 when he sought a state senate seat by Paul C. Cameron, a former Whig who had joined the Democratic party. In 1858 Turner returned to the house of commons and was reelected in 1860. In 1856 he married Sophia Devereux, daughter of a prominent Raleigh attorney, Thomas Devereux; they had five children....