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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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Brooks, John (04 May 1752–01 March 1825), revolutionary war officer and governor of Massachusetts, was born in Medford, Massachusetts, the son of Caleb Brooks and Ruth Albree, farmers. John Brooks studied medicine with Dr. Simon Tufts of Medford from 1766 to 1773, leaving at age twenty-one to establish his own practice in Reading, Massachusetts. In 1774 he married Lucy Smith; they had three children....

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Caswell, Richard (03 August 1729–10 November 1789), revolutionary militia general and state governor, was born in Baltimore County, Maryland, the son of Richard Caswell, a merchant, and Christian Dallam. Educated in the Anglican parish school, Caswell at an early age was involved in his family’s mercantile business. In 1745 he moved with his family to North Carolina, and within two years he secured a position as deputy surveyor general. Caswell married Mary Mackilwean, the daughter of his mentor James Mackilwean, the surveyor general, on 21 April 1752. From this marriage he had one surviving son, William. Since he had lived with the Mackilwean family on the Neuse River adjacent to the present city of Kinston, Caswell located his plantation seat nearby and began accumulating property, eventually owning more than 3,000 acres. Following Mary’s death in 1757, Caswell married on 20 June 1758 Sarah Heritage, the daughter of William Heritage, under whose tutelage Caswell read law and passed the bar. Eight children were born to this marriage....

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George Clinton. Portrait by Ezra Ames. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-110647).

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Clinton, George (26 July 1739–20 April 1812), soldier, governor of New York, and vice president of the United States, was born in Little Britain, New York, the son of Charles Clinton, a farmer and surveyor, and Elizabeth Denniston. After schooling with a private tutor, George left home in 1757 to serve as a steward’s mate on the ...

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Davie, William Richardson (20 June 1756–05 November 1820), statesman and soldier, was born in Egremont, Cumberlandshire, England, the son of Archibald Davie, a manufacturer of damask fabric, and Mary Richardson. In 1763 he was brought by his father to Waxhaw, South Carolina, to be adopted by his mother’s brother, the Reverend William Richardson, a Presbyterian clergyman. He was educated at an academy in Charlotte, North Carolina—Queen’s Museum College. He then studied at Princeton, from which he graduated in 1776 with first honors. He subsequently studied law in Salisbury, North Carolina. Although he was licensed to practice law in 1780, his service in the revolutionary war deferred his becoming a jurist until 1782....

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Elbert, Samuel (1740–01 November 1788), American Revolution soldier and governor of Georgia, was born in Savannah, Georgia, or Prince William Parish, South Carolina, the son of William Elbert, a Baptist minister, and Sarah (maiden name unknown). As a young man he settled in Savannah, Georgia, where he prospered as a merchant and Indian trader. By the outbreak of the Revolution Elbert had risen from obscurity to become one of Savannah’s leading citizens. In addition to a thriving import business, he possessed several tracts of land and numerous slaves. In 1769 he married Elizabeth Rae, daughter of a prominent merchant. They had six children. The marriage enhanced his social and economic standing....

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Hopkins, Samuel (09 April 1753–16 September 1819), soldier and politician, was born in Albemarle County, Virginia, the son of Samuel Hopkins, a physician, and Isabella Taylor. He grew up in affluent circumstances and was educated by private tutors. When the American Revolution commenced, he favored the American cause; on 26 February 1776 he was commissioned as a captain of the Sixth Virginia Infantry Regiment. In his first few months of military service, he gained the respect and confidence of his fellow Virginian General ...

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Houstoun, John (1750?–20 July 1796), lawyer, soldier, and politician, was born in St. George’s Parish, Georgia, the son of Sir Patrick Houstoun, a baronet, registrar of grants and receiver of quit rents for the colony, and Priscilla Dunbar. He studied law in Charleston and practiced in Savannah, where he early became involved in the protests against Great Britain prior to the Revolution and was probably a member of the Sons of Liberty. In 1775 he married Hannah Bryan, the daughter of Jonathan Bryan, a prominent planter, a former member of the governor’s council, and one of the leaders of Georgia’s Whig movement; they apparently had no children. In July 1774 he joined ...

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Howard, John Eager (04 June 1752–12 October 1827), revolutionary soldier, governor of Maryland, and U.S. senator, was born at “The Forrest,” in Baltimore County, Maryland, the son of Cornelius Howard and Ruth Eager. His English ancestor, Joshua Howard, had emigrated to Maryland after serving in the army of James II during Monmouth’s Rebellion in 1685 and had received a grant of land in Baltimore County. Because subsequent generations had added to this plantation, Cornelius could provide John with a good education under private tutors. John served in Maryland’s militia for the duration of the War of Independence, first as captain in the “Flying Camp” of 1776, as major of the Fourth Regiment from late February 1777 onward, then as lieutenant colonel of the Fifth Regiment after early March 1778, until transfer to the Second Regiment in October 1779. He served in the battles of White Plains, Germantown, and Monmouth in the North and Camden, Guilford Court House, Hobkirk’s Hill, Cowpens, and Eutaw Springs in the South, where he was severely wounded on 8 September 1781 and was forced to resign his commission and return home. Singled out for a heroic charge at Cowpens, Congress awarded him a silver medal, which he wears in a portrait by ...

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Howell, Richard (25 October 1754–28 April 1802), revolutionary war officer and governor of New Jersey, was born in Newark, Delaware, the son of Ebenezer Howell and Sarah Bond, farmers. The parents emigrated from Wales. Richard Howell was one of eleven children; his twin brother, Lewis, was an army regimental surgeon. Richard attended school in Newark until a short time after his family moved to a farm near Bridgeton, New Jersey, in 1774. Howell excelled in sports as a youth, particularly boxing and leaping. He did not attend college. Before the war, however, he began the study of law. Originally a Quaker, Howell became an Episcopalian....

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Hull, William (24 June 1753–29 November 1825), army officer and territorial governor, was born in Derby, Connecticut, the son of Joseph Hull and Eliza Clark, farmers. Hull graduated from Yale College in 1772, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1775. At the outbreak of the Revolution, he joined the first company raised in Derby, and he served through the entire war, rising in 1779 to lieutenant colonel in the Massachusetts line of the Continental army. Hull fought in most of the important battles of the northern theater—New York, White Plains, Trenton, Saratoga, Monmouth, Stony Point—and he frequently exercised independent command. Late in the war he commanded the army’s advance position in the lines outside New York City, and he won recognition for a daring raid on the British outpost at Morrissania in January 1781. While on leave in 1781, Hull married Sarah Fuller, with whom he had eight children....

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Innes, James (1754–02 August 1798), lawyer, military officer, and Virginia attorney general, was born in Caroline County, Virginia, the son of Robert Innes, a well-educated Scottish clergyman, and Catherine Richards. After receiving a classical education from his father, Innes attended the renowned school of Donald Robertson in King and Queen County, Virginia, with his older brother Harry. At age sixteen he entered the College of William and Mary, where he excelled in his studies. At the college he also cemented a lifelong friendship with fellow student ...

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Irvine, James (04 August 1735–28 April 1819), revolutionary war general and Pennsylvania state legislator, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of George Irvine and Mary Rush. His father emigrated from Ireland, and his mother was a distant cousin of Benjamin Rush. James was not related to his contemporary, General ...

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Johnston, Peter (06 January 1763–08 December 1831), jurist, legislator, and soldier, was born at Osborne’s Landing on the James River, Virginia, the son of Peter Johnston, a merchant and farmer, and Martha Rogers. At two years of age Johnston moved with his parents to a large farm in Prince Edward County, Virginia, where he was educated by tutors before enrolling in Hampden-Sydney College (established on land donated by Johnston’s father). In late 1779, in a decision that displeased his Loyalist father, Johnston quit college to join the cavalry legion of Lieutenant Colonel ...

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Lewis, Morgan (16 October 1754–07 April 1844), soldier and politician, was born in New York City, the son of Francis Lewis (1713–1802), a merchant, and Elizabeth Annesley. Lewis’s father, a prominent political figure in New York, served in the Second Continental Congress and was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Young Lewis’s early life showed promise of a brilliant future. He graduated with high honors in 1773 from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University). Afterward, he studied law in the offices of ...

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Martin, Alexander (1740–02 November 1807), revolutionary soldier and political leader, was born in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, the son of Hugh Martin, a Presbyterian minister, and Jane Hunter. Both parents were of Irish descent. Educated at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), he received A.B. and A.M. degrees in 1756 and 1759, respectively. After a sojourn in Virginia as a tutor, he settled in Salisbury, Rowan County, North Carolina, about 1760. He acquired property there and in Guilford County (now Rockingham County) along the Dan River. He became a merchant and, by appointment of Governor ...

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Mathews, George (30 August 1739–30 August 1812), soldier, frontiersman, and governor of Georgia, was born in Augusta County, Virginia, the son of John Mathews, an Irish immigrant. His mother’s name is not available. Little is known of his early life, but in 1757 he commanded a company of volunteers fighting against the Indians on the Virginia frontier. In 1762 he married Anne Paul, with whom he is thought to have had eight children. That same year he established himself as a merchant in Staunton, Virginia, and during the next decade he served as a vestryman, justice of the peace, tax collector, and sheriff in Augusta County. In 1776 he was elected to the House of Burgesses. Later that year he joined the army under ...

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Mifflin, Thomas (10 January 1744–20 January 1800), merchant, soldier, and politician, was born in Philadelphia, the son of John Mifflin and Elizabeth Bagnell, Quakers. His father, a wealthy merchant, held numerous significant political posts including that of provincial councilor. Thomas graduated from the College of Philadelphia in 1760 and then spent four years learning the merchant trade with William Coleman. After visiting England and France during 1764 and 1765, Mifflin formed a mercantile partnership with his brother George and in March 1767 married Sarah Morris, a cousin. The couple quickly took a prominent place in Philadelphia’s elite social circle. Contemporaries described Mifflin as an affable gentleman and fine sportsman. Elected to membership in the American Philosophical Society in 1768, he actively participated in that organization thereafter....

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Moore, Alfred (21 May 1755–15 October 1810), Revolutionary officer, attorney general of North Carolina, and associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, was born in New Hanover County, North Carolina, the son of Maurice Moore, a judge, and Anne Grange Moore. In 1764 Judge Maurice Moore, who was among the principal leaders of the Cape Fear River country, sent his son to Boston for his education. Prior to the outbreak of the Revolution, Alfred returned home and read law with his father. He won his license to practice law in April 1775 and on 1 September married Susanna Elizabeth Eagles of Brunswick County; they had two children....