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Thomas Johnson. Reproduction of a painting by Charles Willson Peale. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ61-2178).


Johnson, Thomas (04 November 1732–26 October 1819), politician and jurist, was born on his parents’ farm in Calvert County, Maryland, the son of Thomas Johnson and Dorcas Sedgwick. Educated at home, Johnson began his legal studies in Annapolis, where he read law with Stephen Bordley, one of the foremost lawyers in the province, and by working as a scrivener in the office of the clerk of the Maryland Provincial Court. First admitted to the bar of the Annapolis Mayor’s Court in 1756, Johnson gained admission by 1760 to the bars of Frederick and Baltimore counties, the Charles County Court, and the provincial court. While pursuing advancement as an attorney, he became interested in public office and in 1762 was elected to represent Anne Arundel County in the lower house of assembly. He continued to serve in that position through 1774. In 1766 he married Ann Jennings; they had eight children....


Paterson, William (24 December 1745–09 September 1806), statesman and Supreme Court justice, was born in County Antrim, Ireland, the son of Richard Paterson, a tin plate worker, and Mary (maiden name unknown). In 1747 the family moved to America, where they finally settled in Princeton, New Jersey, and opened a general store. The College of New Jersey (later Princeton), was located near the Paterson home and inspired in William a desire for education. In 1759, at the age of thirteen, he enrolled there after taking Latin and Greek at a local preparatory school. In college he studied the classics, theology, history, and moral philosophy. Graduating in 1763, Paterson read law with ...