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Crater, Joseph Force (05 January 1889–1930), jurist, was one of four children born in Easton, Pennsylvania, to Frank E. Crater, orchard owner and the operator of a produce market, and his wife (whose name cannot be ascertained). The family was comfortable financially, but Joseph learned the value of hard work from an early age by working long hours for his father. He also loved music, and encouraged by his mother he became a skillful pianist. After attending local public schools, he enrolled at Lafayette College, also in Easton, graduating with honors in 1911. He went on to law school at Columbia University and received his degree in 1916....

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Elliott, Carl A. (20 December 1913–09 January 1999), U.S. congressman, was born Carl Atwood Elliott in Gober Ridge, Franklin County, Alabama, the son of G. W. “Will” Elliott, farmer, and Nora Massey Elliott. The oldest of nine children, he grew up on a hardscrabble tenant farm and became interested in politics at an early age. After attending local public schools, he entered the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa on a shoestring budget in 1930. His first night on campus was spent sleeping under a truck; he then lived in an abandoned building during his first year and a half of college. Despite his lack of means, Elliott managed to support himself by working a variety of odd jobs. His success on campus was marked by his election as class president during his senior year. Upon graduating in 1933, he entered law school at Alabama and received his law degree in 1936....

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Hobart, John Sloss (06 May 1738–04 February 1805), revolutionary committeeman and justice of the New York state supreme court, was born in Fairfield, Connecticut, the son of Rev. Noah Hobart and Ellen Sloss. After graduation from Yale College (1757) he resided in New York City. There he married Mary Greenill (Grinnell) (d. 1803) in 1764 and moved to the manor of “Eaton’s Neck,” Long Island, which he had inherited from his mother’s family. In 1765 Hobart was a member of the Sons of Liberty in Huntington, Suffolk County, and served as justice of the peace. In 1774 he was a member of the town and county committees of correspondence. He served in the four New York provincial congresses from May 1775 through May 1777. Hobart was an active participant in the last congress, called the “Convention,” served on several of its committees, and contributed proposals to the state constitution. In April 1777 he was one of six committeemen assigned to prepare a draft of the document. He also was a member of the state council of safety. In May 1777, even though he admitted “not having been educated in the profession of the law,” Hobart was appointed one of two associate justices of the state supreme court, serving with ...

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Holt, Joseph (06 January 1807–01 August 1894), jurist, secretary of war, and postmaster general, was born near Hardinsburg, Kentucky, the son of John Holt, an attorney, and Eleanor Stephens. Educated at St. Joseph’s College in Bardstown and Centre College in Danville, Holt subsequently read law in Lexington. In 1828 he established a practice in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, where he was briefly in partnership with Congressman ...

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Jessup, Philip C. (05 January 1897–31 January 1986), diplomat, professor, and member of the International Court of Justice, was born in New York City, the son of Henry Wynans Jessup, a law professor at New York University, and Mary Hay Stotesbury. Philip spent his early years in the city but was later sent to the Ridgefield School in Connecticut, the beginning of what would become a lifetime of scholarship. Following high school, Jessup enrolled at Hamilton College, receiving his bachelor’s degree in 1919 after a brief stint in the U.S. Army during World War I. Despite his interest in academia, in 1919 Jessup began his professional career as a banker, working at the First National Bank in Utica, New York. In 1921 he married Lois Walcott Kellogg; the couple had one child....

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Keating, Kenneth Barnard (18 May 1900–05 May 1975), congressman, senator, ambassador, and judge, was born in Lima, New York, the son of Thomas Mosgrove Keating, a local businessman, and Louise Barnard, a schoolteacher. Much of Keating’s early education was at Genesee Wesleyan Seminary in Lima, New York. He then attended the University of Rochester (N.Y.), from which he graduated in 1919, and Harvard Law School, which granted him an LL.B. in 1923. From that date until he entered the U.S. Congress in 1947 Keating was active in the law firm of Harris, Beach, Wilcox and Dale, earning a reputation as an adroit trial lawyer. In 1928 Keating married Louise Depuy; they had one daughter....

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Mack, Julian William (19 July 1866–05 September 1943), lawyer, judge, and Zionist leader, was born in San Francisco, California, the son of William Jacob Mack, an immigrant from Bavaria who prospered as a dry goods merchant, and Rebecca Tandler. Julian was the second of thirteen children born to the couple. Because of health reasons, William Mack resettled the family in Cincinnati in 1870, and there young Julian came under the influence of Rabbi ...

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McKean, Thomas (19 March 1734–24 June 1817), statesman, jurist, and signer of the Declaration of Independence, was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, the son of William McKean, an innkeeper and farmer, and Letitia Finney. He studied at Francis Alison’s New London Academy (1742–1750), then left to study law (1750–1754) with his cousin David Finney of New Castle, Delaware. He joined the Delaware bar in 1754 and expanded his practice into Pennsylvania (1755) and New Jersey (1765). Following his admittance to practice before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 1757, he gained admission to the Society of the Middle Temple in London as a specialiter, which permitted him to earn certification in 1758 as a barrister without attending....

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Sharkey, William Lewis (12 July 1798–30 March 1873), Mississippi chief justice and politician, was born near Muscle Shoals in Holston Valley, East Tennessee, the son of Patrick Sharkey, a farmer, and his wife, the daughter of Robert Rhodes, a frontiersman. At the age of six he moved with his family to a Warren County, Mississippi, farm. His parents died during his youth, after which he took over the responsibility of providing for himself and his orphaned brothers. He joined the American forces during the War of 1812 and served under ...