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Adair, John (09 January 1757–19 May 1840), soldier, politician, and governor of Kentucky, was born in Chester County, South Carolina, the son of Baron William Adair and Mary Moore. Little is known about his childhood. As a young man, he fought in the revolutionary war and was captured by the British. During his imprisonment he suffered many cruelties, which apparently did little to deter him from becoming a career soldier. After the war Adair traveled west, eventually settling in Mercer County, Kentucky, in 1786. In 1784 he had married Katherine Palmer; they had twelve children....

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Bloomfield, Joseph (18 October 1753–08 October 1823), lawyer, soldier, and politician, was born in Woodbridge, New Jersey, the son of Moses Bloomfield, a physician, and Sarah Ogden. The family was one of the most prominent in colonial New Jersey. His father had received a first-rate medical education in Edinburgh, Scotland, and had a thriving practice in Middlesex County by the time Joseph was born. Joseph’s mother was a member of a wealthy and influential family of Elizabethtown, which further assured Joseph’s upper-class pedigree. His education and choice of occupation were in line with his social standing. While in his early teens, he attended the Reverend Enoch Green’s classical academy in Deerfield, Cumberland County, at the opposite end of the province from Woodbridge. Upon graduation, Bloomfield returned to East Jersey, determined to be a lawyer. He entered the profession at the top, studying in Perth Amboy with Cortlandt Skinner, attorney general of New Jersey, and was admitted to the bar in November 1774. Setting up practice in Bridgeton, Cumberland County, he soon became known and respected in all of New Jersey’s southern counties. The future seemed secure, had not the American Revolution intervened....

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Carroll, William (03 March 1788–22 March 1844), soldier, businessman and governor of Tennessee, was born near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of Thomas Carroll, a farmer and businessman, and Mary Montgomery. Although his formal education was meager, his letters, papers, and public documents exhibit an unusual clarity of thought and facility of expression. His father formed a partnership with ...

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King, William (09 February 1768–17 June 1852), merchant shipper, army officer, and governor of Maine, was born in Scarborough, Maine, the son of Richard King, a merchant and shipowner, and Mary Black. He was educated at home, but he spent one term at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts....

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Miller, John (25 November 1781–18 March 1846), soldier and governor of Missouri, was born near Martinsburg, Virginia (now West Virginia), the son of a farmer. Virtually nothing else is known of his parents, including their social and economic status, and his youth is also undocumented. His formal education was limited to an unknown period in the state common schools, but his career suggests thorough literacy, implying additional schooling at home and thus an above-average socioeconomic background. At the age of twenty-two Miller moved to Steubenville, Ohio, where he published and edited the ...

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Quitman, John Anthony (01 September 1799–17 July 1858), Mexican War general and southern secessionist, was born in Rhinebeck, New York, the son of Frederick Henry Quitman, a Lutheran minister, and Anna Elizabeth Hueck. His father achieved considerable prominence as a minister, and John, in turn, was educated privately for the ministry. From the fall of 1816 until the summer of 1818, he taught and pursued theological studies at Hartwick Seminary in Hartwick, New York. He then became adjunct professor of English at Mount Airy College, a Catholic academy near Philadelphia, before moving to Ohio in the fall of 1819 to pursue a career in law. Though he passed Ohio’s bar examination in July 1821, he became discouraged by the state’s depressed economy due to the panic of 1819 and traveled, almost penniless, to Natchez, Mississippi, where he arrived in December 1821. The next month, however, he passed Mississippi’s bar requirements and soon established a lucrative legal practice, becoming a leading figure in the Mississippi State Bar Association. Marriage in 1824 to Eliza Turner, the niece of the influential Edward Turner, provided John with social respectability. They had ten children. The transplanted northerner relished southern institutions, and through his marriage and subsequent purchases he acquired a Natchez mansion, four plantations in Mississippi and Louisiana, and several hundred slaves....