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Armstrong, John (13 October 1717–09 March 1795), soldier, surveyor, and member of the Continental Congress, was born in County Fermanagh, Ulster, Ireland. The identities of his Scotch-Irish parents and circumstances of his youth are unclear, but his father may have been named James. A trained surveyor, John Armstrong evidently received some education fairly early in life. Sometime in the mid-1740s Armstrong immigrated to America, settling initially in Delaware and then in Pennsylvania, where he worked as a surveyor. It was probably at some point after his arrival in America that he married Rebeckah Armstrong. The couple had two sons (the younger, ...

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Benner, Philip (19 May 1762–27 July 1832), soldier, pioneer ironmaster, and entrepreneur, was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, the son of Henry Benner and Dinah Thomas, farmers. For Philip Benner as for many of his generation, the American Revolution was the defining experience of his early life. When his father, a vocal patriot, was imprisoned by the British, Philip went to war in the Continental army wearing a vest in which his mother had quilted guineas in case of emergency. Benner fought as a private under the command of his relative General ...

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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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Campbell, Arthur (03 November 1743–08 August 1811), frontiersman, soldier, and politician, was born in Augusta County, Virginia, the son of David Campbell and Mary Hamilton, immigrant Scotch-Irish Presbyterian farmers. He was not quite fifteen when, during the French and Indian War, he joined a company of Virginia rangers stationed in western Augusta County. At Fort Young on the Jackson River in September 1758, Campbell was captured by Wyandot Indians and spent two years in captivity in the vicinity of Detroit before escaping....

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Claghorn, George (06 July 1748–03 February 1824), army officer and shipwright, was born in Chilmark, Massachusetts, the son of Shubael Claghorn, a soldier, and Experience Hawes. He was a great-grandson of James Claghorn of Scotland, who was captured at the battle of Dunbar and deported to the colonies by Cromwell. His father was a veteran of the Louisburg expedition of 1745. Claghorn himself eventually settled in New Bedford and in 1769 married Deborah Brownell of Dartmouth. They had eight children....

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James Craik. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B04995).

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Craik, James (1730–06 February 1814), physician and military surgeon, was born on his father’s estate near Dumfries, Scotland, the son of Robert Craik, a member of the British Parliament; the name of his mother is unknown. Little information about his early life is available. Although his parents were apparently not married, he was acknowledged by his father, who assumed responsibility for his education. After studying medicine at the University of Edinburgh, he joined the British army as a surgeon. Shortly after being sent to the West Indies, he resigned his position and sailed for Virginia in 1751. After a short period in the Norfolk area, he moved to Winchester, Virginia....

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Crawford, William (1732–11 June 1782), soldier, was born in Frederick County, Virginia, the son of William Crawford and Onora Grimes, farmers. After Crawford’s father died in 1736, Crawford’s mother married Richard Stephenson. A resident of Frederick County, Virginia, Crawford was a surveyor and land speculator who served with his friend ...

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Dearborn, Henry (23 February 1751–06 June 1829), politician and soldier, was born in Hampton, New Hampshire, the son of Simon Dearborn and Sarah Marston, farmers. When Henry was seven years old the family moved to Epping, New Hampshire, where he attended local schools. The father died when Henry was fifteen, leaving the mother with a large family and scant resources. Unable to attend college, Henry studied medicine first under local doctors and then under ...

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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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Lewis, Andrew (09 October 1720–26 September 1781), military, political, and economic leader, was born in County Donegal, Ireland, the son of John Lewis and Margaret Lynn, farmers. Lewis’s mother was a cousin of James Patton, who would also play a leading role in the development of southwestern Virginia. During Lewis’s childhood, the family left their substantial farm, migrated first to Pennsylvania, and reached Augusta County, Virginia, by about 1732. They were among the area’s earliest white settlers. Lewis married Elizabeth Givens; they settled, with their children, along the Upper Roanoke River....

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Logan, Benjamin (1742–11 December 1802), military and civil officer, was born in Augusta County in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, the son of David Logan and Jane McKinley, farmers. His parents, Anglo-Irish immigrants to Pennsylvania, moved to Virginia in the late 1730s, where David Logan purchased an 860-acre tract. Benjamin Logan apparently received little formal schooling, but a commanding physical presence together with an aptitude for hunting and wrestling earned the young man the respect of his backcountry peers. Following the death of his father in 1757, Benjamin, the oldest living son, inherited the family’s Shenandoah Valley lands. Seeking more and better land, Logan relocated to the Holston River Valley in southwestern Virginia in the fall of 1771. There he married twenty-year-old Ann Montgomery in 1772. They had nine children....

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Pomeroy, Seth (20 May 1706–19 February 1777), soldier and gunsmith, was born in Northampton, Massachusetts, the son of Ebenezer Pomeroy and Sarah King. The Pomeroy family had come to America in 1630 and had long played an important part in the development of Northampton, the central township of western Massachusetts. The men of the Pomeroy family had been drawn to the gunsmith and blacksmith trades, and Seth Pomeroy was no exception to this proclivity. He joined the local militia at an early age and soon showed signs of becoming a solid citizen of the Northampton community. He married Mary Hunt in 1732. The couple eventually had nine children, eight of whom would live to maturity....

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Sargent, Winthrop (01 May 1753–03 January 1820), soldier, territorial administrator, and author, was born in Gloucester, Massachusetts, the son of Winthrop Sargent, a shipping trade merchant, and Judith Sanders. Winthrop attended Harvard, from which he was nearly expelled for his part in the violent student disorders of 1770. Upon his graduation in 1771, he served as naval merchant at Gloucester until the outbreak of armed hostilities with Britain in 1775. He joined General ...

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Shelby, Evan ( October 1719–04 December 1794), frontiersman and soldier, was born in Tregaron, Cardiganshire, Wales, the son of Evan Shelby and Catherine (maiden name uncertain, possibly Davies). In 1735 the family immigrated to Pennsylvania, and in 1739 they moved to a 1,000-acre land grant near Hagerstown, Maryland. In 1744 Shelby married Letitia Cox; they had seven children. Letitia died in 1777, and he married Isabella Elliott in 1787; they had three children....

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Smith, Samuel (27 July 1752–22 April 1839), soldier and politician, was born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, the son of John Smith, a successful merchant, and Mary Buchanan. The family relocated to Baltimore in 1760, and their personal wealth enabled Smith to attend private academies in Elkton, Maryland, and Newark, Delaware. Intent upon a commercial career, the young man was apprenticed in his father’s firm both in America and England, and he spent several years traveling abroad....

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Thomas, David (11 June 1762–27 November 1831), soldier, congressman, and New York politician, was born in Pelham, Massachusetts, the son of David Thomas and Elizabeth Harper. David’s early schooling consisted of the traditional preparatory studies, but he did not go to college. In 1777 he joined an expedition of Massachusetts troops engaged in the relief of Rhode Island. Following this action, he worked as an apprentice to a shoemaker in Worcester, Massachusetts. In 1781 Thomas joined the Fifth Massachusetts Regiment as a corporal. He later served as a sergeant in the Third Massachusetts Regiment, in which he continued for the remainder of the revolutionary war....

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Anthony Wayne. Engraving by John Halpin, c. 1858, from a painting by Chappel. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-99093).

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Wayne, Anthony (01 January 1745–15 December 1796), soldier, was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, the son of Isaac Wayne and Elizabeth Iddings, farmers. A strong-willed lad, Wayne clashed with his father and was sent to his uncle Gilbert Wayne’s school. He made little progress until his father persuaded him that book learning was necessary. Thereafter he spent two years in the Academy of Philadelphia, then took up surveying in Chester County. In 1765 he was employed to survey 200,000 acres of land in Nova Scotia. Finishing that task, he returned home and in 1766 married Mary Penrose. His first decade with his wife was amicable, and they had two children. He cultivated his father’s farm, worked in his father’s tannery, and in 1774 inherited his father’s substantial holdings. But later he and Mary Wayne were estranged, for he evinced a “fondness for ladies,” forming in the 1780s a liaison with Mary Vining, a Wilmington social belle....

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Wilkinson, James (1757–28 December 1825), soldier and intriguer, was born in Calvert County, Maryland, the son of Joseph Wilkinson and Betty Heighe, merchant-farmers. He spent his early years on his parents’ farm, but his father died when he was seven, and his mother apprenticed him to a local physician, John Bond, to learn medicine. When Wilkinson was seventeen he went to Philadelphia to continue his medical training. In 1775 he completed his studies and opened a practice in Monocacy, Maryland. But his heart was not in it. While in Philadelphia he had been dazzled by the fervor of the growing revolutionary movement, avidly watching militiamen drill and listening to heated oratory against the “Intolerable Acts.” He began to neglect his patients, concentrating instead on drilling with a volunteer corps of riflemen, and soon he had joined colonial forces investing Boston. An affable young man, he received attention from General ...