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Bush, John Edward (15 November 1856–11 December 1916), businessman and politician, was born a slave in Moscow, Tennessee. In 1862 his master moved him and his mother to Arkansas to keep them from being freed when the Union army moved into western Tennessee. His mother died when Bush was only seven years old. He was educated in the freedmen’s and public schools of Little Rock and was considered a good student by his teachers. He paid his school tuition by molding bricks. In 1876 he graduated from high school with honors and was immediately appointed principal of Capital Hill School, a public institution for African Americans in Little Rock. In 1878 he moved to Hot Springs, where he was named to head that city’s African-American high school....

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Lawson, James (09 November 1799–24 March 1880), editor, author, and insurance broker, was born in Glasgow, Scotland, the son of James Lawson, a merchant. His mother’s identity is not known. Lawson entered the University of Glasgow at the age of thirteen but presumably did not graduate because he left Scotland in 1815. Settling in New York, he worked as an accountant in the firm of Alexander Thomson & Co., which was owned by and named for his maternal uncle. Lawson became a member of the firm in 1822 and remained there until 1826, when the company failed. This turned out to be a rather opportune event; Lawson had been sending submissions of his writing to his long-time friend James G. Brooks, one of the founders of the weekly ...