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Applegate, Jesse (05 July 1811–22 April 1888), Oregon pioneer and publicist, was born in Kentucky, the son of Daniel Applegate, a veteran of the revolutionary war, and Rachel Lindsay. When he was ten his family moved to Missouri, where his father was the village schoolmaster and deputy surveyor general. In 1827 and 1828 Applegate attended Rock Spring Seminary in Shiloh, Illinois, where he showed talent in mathematics and surveying. Later he continued private study of these subjects while teaching school. He then secured a position clerking for the surveyor general’s office in St. Louis and was promoted quickly to deputy surveyor general; he spent much of his time surveying in the western part of Missouri. In 1832 he married Cynthia Parker and settled on a farm in Osage Valley, where the couple lived for twelve years and had several children....

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Breen, Patrick (baptized 11 June 1795–21 December 1868), diarist of the Donner Party, was born in Barnahasken Townland, County Carlow, Ireland, the son of Edward “Ned” Breen and Mary Wilson, farmers. Breen spent his youth in Ireland on the family farm, which was left to Breen, his brothers, and mother when his father died in 1816. Breen was reared to be a strict and devoted Catholic, attending chapel from the time he was a baby. His religious convictions helped him tremendously in later life....

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Dorris, Michael (30 January 1945–11 April 1997), writer and academician, was born Michael Anthony Dorris in Louisville, Kentucky, the son of Jim Leonard Dorris, a soldier, and Mary Burkhardt Dorris. Jim Dorris was killed in the late stages of World War II or shortly after the war, depending on the source consulted. As a result, Dorris was raised by his mother, aunt, and two grandmothers. As a youngster, Dorris read voraciously, borrowing books from adults and spending time in libraries. Following high school, he enrolled at Georgetown University, the first member of his family to attend college. He earned a B.A. degree (cum laude) in 1967 and an M.Phil. from Yale University in 1970. He was a successful academician, holding faculty appointments at the University of Redlands (1970–1971), Franconia College (1971–1972), and Dartmouth College (1972–1989, adjunct 1989–1997). While at Dartmouth, he founded and taught in the Native American Studies Program. Dorris's ancestry has been described as mixed Irish, French, and Native American, with the latter more specifically identified as “Modoc on his father's side.”...

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Flower, Richard (1761–02 September 1829), reformer and Illinois pioneer, was born in England, probably in Hertfordshire, the son of George Flower, a prosperous tradesman. His mother’s name is unknown. Establishing himself in Hertford as a brewer, Flower did well in business for over twenty years. He married a daughter (name unknown) of Edward Fordham of Kelshall; they had five children. He joined in the activities of his brother Benjamin Flower, who had become involved in dissenting politics and pamphleteering, and wrote ...

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Jemison, Mary (1743?–1833), captive, was born on a ship en route to colonial Pennsylvania from Ireland, the daughter of Thomas Jemison and Jane Erwin, a Protestant couple of Scotch-Irish background. The family settled on a farm in Franklin Township, Adams County, in south central Pennsylvania about ten miles northwest of present-day Gettysburg....

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Kelly, Fanny Wiggins (15 April 1845–15 November 1904), captivity narrativist, was born near Orillia, Ontario, the daughter of James Wiggins, a farmer, and Margaret Barry. Although the father died en route, the family migrated in 1857 to Geneva in the Neosho Valley of Kansas, where they experienced the ravages of drought, grasshoppers, and the border conflict of the Civil War. Late in 1863, Fanny married Josiah Shawahan Kelly, a farmer and discharged Union veteran who had spent several years in California. Attracted to the new mining districts of what was then Idaho and would soon become Montana Territory, they began the long overland journey. Traveling at that time was dangerous for several reasons: the upper plains Indians were increasingly agitated in reaction to white encroachment, the bloody Minnesota Sioux rebellion of 1862 had only recently been put down, and many army troops had been withdrawn to fight against the South....

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Lame Deer, John Fire (1903–15 December 1976), coauthor of a popular account of American Indian life, was born with the Lakota name Tahca Ushte (Lame Deer) and the English name John Fire on the Lakota reservation in southwestern South Dakota, the son of Silas Let-Them-Have-Enough and Sally Red Blanket. He was one of twelve children, but many of his siblings did not reach maturity and others died in early adulthood. He was raised in large part by his maternal grandparents, Good Fox and Plenty White Buffalo, in a small log cabin located on or near the border between the Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservations. Around the age of eight, he was forced by an agent of the Bureau of Indian Affairs to go to a school where the main focus was on discipline and where no teacher was capable of teaching at any level higher than the third grade. After six years in this school, he was sent to a white boarding school, where he became increasingly rebellious. Apparently he stayed only two years....

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Mountain Wolf Woman (01 April 1884–09 September 1960), Native American autobiographer, was born in East Fork River, Wisconsin, the daughter of Charles Blowsnake and Lucy Goodvillage, members of the Thunder clan of the Winnebago (known to themselves as the Ho-Chunk) tribe, and the sister of Sam Blowsnake, author of ...

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Mary White Rowlandson. Print of a wood engraving, 1857, depicting capture by American Indians. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-113682).

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Rowlandson, Mary White (c. 1637/38–05 January 1710), author of the earliest full-length Indian captivity narrative, was born probably in England shortly before her parents, John White and Joan (maiden name unknown), landowners, immigrated to New England in 1639. Mary White was brought up in a comfortable household. When her father died in 1653, he was the wealthiest landowner in Lancaster, Massachusetts, with an estate valued at £389. Around 1656 she married Joseph Rowlandson, who was ordained in 1660 and became a prominent member of the Puritan clergy. They had three children (a fourth died in infancy)....

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Royce, Sarah Eleanor Bayliss (02 March 1819–23 November 1891), pioneer, teacher, and writer, was born in Stratford-on-Avon, England, the daughter of Benjamin Bayliss, a tailor, and Mary Trimble (or Timbell). Her parents brought her as a baby with five older children to the United States in 1819. They lived for a time in Philadelphia before settling in Rochester, New York. Sarah was educated as extensively as a woman then could be, with what her daughter would call an “old-style academy education” at the Albion Female Seminary. She then taught school, as she would at many other times in her life. She joined the Disciples of Christ and probably at church meetings met Josiah Royce, Sr., an Englishman whose family had lived for a time in Canada before coming to New York State. The two were married on 31 May 1845....

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Wakefield, Sarah F. Brown (29 September 1829–27 May 1899), white captive and writer, was born in Kingston (or Kingstown), Rhode Island, the daughter of William Brown and Sarah (maiden name unknown) of North Kingston, Rhode Island. She moved to Minnesota in the 1850s and in 1856 in Shakopee, twenty-two miles southwest of Minnesota, married Dr. John Luman Wakefield, formerly of Winstead, Connecticut, and a graduate of Yale University Medical School....

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Williams, John (10 December 1664–12 June 1729), minister and author, was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts, the son of Samuel Williams, a shoemaker, and Theoda Park. Choosing a life path different from that of his father, he attended Harvard College and graduated in 1683. After two years of teaching school in Dorchester, he married Eunice Mather in 1688 and was ordained as the minister of Deerfield, Massachusetts, on 17 October of the same year. The couple had twelve children, ten of whom lived to maturity....

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Wright, Susanna (04 August 1697–01 December 1784), frontierswoman and writer, was born in Lancashire, England, the daughter of Patience Gibson and John Wright, of Warrington and, later, Manchester, England. John Wright trained as a physician, became a practicing Quaker minister, and made his living variously as a tradesman, a farmer, and a ferry master. The Wright family immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1714, bringing a certificate of good standing from Hartshaw Monthly Meeting in Lancashire that John Wright presented to Chester (Pa.) Monthly Meeting later that year together with a certificate from Philadelphia Monthly Meeting, indicating a brief residence in Philadelphia. The family later became members of New Garden Monthly Meeting and Sadsbury Monthly Meeting. John Wright purchased land below Chester in an area then known as Chamassungh or Finland....