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Hayne, Paul Hamilton (01 January 1830–06 July 1886), poet and man of letters, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of Paul Hamilton Hayne, a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, and Emily McElhenny, members of families prominent in politics, law, and religion. Two of the elder Hayne’s brothers were U.S. senators, one of whom, ...

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Phyllis Wheatley. Engraving after Scipio Moorhead; frontispiece to her Poems on Various Subjects. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-40054 ).

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Wheatley, Phillis (1753–05 December 1784), poet and cultivator of the epistolary writing style, was born in Gambia, Africa, probably along the fertile low lands of the Gambia River. She was enslaved as a child of seven or eight and sold in Boston to John and Susanna Wheatley on 11 July 1761. The horrors of the middle passage likely contributed to her persistent trouble with asthma. The Wheatleys apparently named the girl, who had nothing but a piece of dirty carpet to conceal her nakedness, after the slaver, the ...

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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....