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Hammond, Jabez Delano (02 August 1778–18 August 1855), politician and historian, was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, the son of Jabez Hammond and Priscilla Delano. He grew up in Woodstock, Vermont, where he was educated in the common schools. At age fifteen he began teaching school, and, after becoming eligible through a brief apprenticeship, began a medical practice in Reading, Vermont. Dissatisfied with the medical profession for unknown reasons, Hammond sought to improve his fortune in New York, moving to Newburgh and reading law in Jonathan Fiske’s office while supporting himself as a schoolmaster. Admitted to the bar in 1805, the young lawyer pursued further opportunity in the Susquehanna Valley in the town of Cherry Valley, building “within a short time a reputable and profitable legal practice” and entering politics....

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Warren, William Whipple (27 May 1825–01 June 1853), Ojibwa historian and legislator, was born in La Pointe, on Madeline Island, Wisconsin, in Lake Superior, the son of Lyman Marcus Warren, a fur trader, and Mary Cadotte, of French and Ojibwa descent. The oldest of eight children, William was raised in a home with an extensive library. According to the first missionary at nearby Leech Lake, Rev. William T. Boutwell, the children were given “the benefits of a Christian education.” At age seven William attended the mission school at La Pointe and, the following year, the mission school at Mackinaw. When he was eleven his grandfather took him to New York, where he studied from 1838 to 1841 at the Oneida Institute in Whitesborough, near Utica, a school run by Rev. ...

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George Washington Williams. Courtesy of the Ohio Historical Society.

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Williams, George Washington (16 October 1849–02 August 1891), soldier, clergyman, legislator, and historian, was born in Bedford Springs, Pennsylvania, the son of Thomas Williams, a free black laborer, and Ellen Rouse. His father became a boatman and, eventually, a minister and barber, and the younger Williams drifted with his family from town to town in western Pennsylvania until the beginning of the Civil War. With no formal education, he lied about his age, adopted the name of an uncle, and enlisted in the United States Colored Troops in 1864. He served in operations against Petersburg and Richmond, sustaining multiple wounds during several battles. After the war’s end, Williams was stationed in Texas, but crossed the border to fight with the Mexican republican forces that overthrew the emperor Maximilian. He returned to the U.S. Army in 1867, serving with the Tenth Cavalry, an all-black unit, at Fort Arbuckle, Indian Territory. Williams was discharged for disability the following year after being shot through the left lung under circumstances that were never fully explained....