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Dumont de Montigny, Jean-François-Benjamin (31 July 1696–1760), officer in the French colonial military in Quebec and Louisiana, historian, and memoirist, was born in Paris, France, to Jacques-François Dumont and Françoise Delamare. His father was a magistrate in the parlement of Paris, the most important of the French high courts of appeal. He was the youngest of six sons and something of a black sheep compared with his brothers, who achieved prominence as lawyers and priests....

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McElroy, John (25 August 1846–12 October 1929), journalist and author, was born in Greenup County, Kentucky, the son of Robert McElroy, an ironmaster, and Mary Henderson. The family background was Scotch-Irish. He left home at the age of nine, after his father’s death and his mother’s remarriage, dropping his middle name, Henderson, which was his mother’s maiden name. He worked his way to St. Louis, where he found a job as a printer’s devil. Befriended by journeymen printers, he learned how to set the type for popular songs and sold the songs on the streets of St. Louis. Through a program of reading and independent study he remedied the meagerness of his formal education. He was aided in this project by a photographic memory. He could recite most of Shakespeare’s plays, read French and German, and translate Greek and Hebrew. When the country was moving toward war, he traveled to Chicago. In 1862 he enlisted in ...