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sacrifice the multitude in the elevation and adoration of the few. But ours is a practical age, an age in which every man, nerved by independence and inspired by freedom, may be a hero, and as a natural sequence, we find on every hand those, who, meeting the varied phases of life, struggling against adversity, or rejoicing in the calm repose of prosperity, have developed in themselves independent, sturdy manhood; and to preserve a record of their lives, both that they may be kept in remembrance, and that others may be profited and inspired by their example, is paying them only a just and merited tribute.
In selecting the men that are represented in this work, the publishers have carefully avoided confining them to any class, and endeavored to fairly represent the various professions and callings, without favoritism. Their aim has been to avoid prolixity, and abridge the sketches to a plain recital of the leading facts and characteristics in the lives of those whose biographies are recorded; and while they have earnestly sought to bestow merited compliments, they have as scrupulously endeavored to eliminate all fulsome praise.
The facts contained in the various sketches have been obtained by mail and by consulting records. Every effort has been made by the publishers to render the work as perfect and complete as possible, and while they would not delude themselves with the thought that it is faultless, they yet have reason to hope for the commendation of their patrons, and feel content to abide by the impartial judgment of a reasonable and generous public.
George Washington, first President of the until 1758. At the age of twenty-seven he United States, was a native of Virginia, being married Mrs. Martha Custis, a wealthy widow born February 22, 1732, in the county of about three months his junior, and the mother Westmoreland. His father,
of two children. In 1759 he Augustine Washington, and
was elected to the house of his mother, Mary Ball, had
burgesses, and continued in six children—four sons and
that body for fifteen years, two daughters-George be
with the exception of short ing the eldest. Left father
intervals, and officiating as less at the age of eleven, his
justice of the peace.
In education was directed by
1774 he was elected one of his mother, a of
the delegates to represent strong character, who kind
Virginia in the first contily but firmly exacted im
nental congress at Philadelplicit obedience. Of her
phia, and held that office Washington learned his first
until June 15, 1775, when he lessons in self-command.
was appointed by that body Although bashful and hesi
commander-in-chief of the tating in speech, his lan
American army. This posiguage was clear and manly,
tion he held until the sucand having compiled a code of morals and cessful termination of the Revolutionary War, good manners for his own use, he rigidly when he returned to Annapolis, where Conobserved all its quaint and formal rules. gress was in session, and resigned his comAfter receiving a common school education mission, December 23, 1783. In May, 1787, , he was appointed one of the adjutant gen- he was elected to the constitutional convenerals of Virginia, with the rank of major, tion which met in Philadelphia, and was being then nineteen years old. He was soon chosen to preside over its deliberations. The after appointed colonel, holding that position convention succeeded in framing our present Constitution of the United States and it was pable of great endurance. Calm in defeat, adopted by that body September 17, 1787. sober in victory, commanding at all times and As soon as the Constitution had been ratified irresistible when aroused, he exercised equal by a sufficient number of states they proceeded authority over himself and his army. to elect a President. George Washington Washington held political office about twenwas unanimously elected by the electoral col- ty-five years and military positions about fiflege in April, 1789, receiving sixty-nine votes.
He left an estate valued at These were the votes of only ten states; two $800,000. of the thirteen original states had not yet ratified the Constitution, and New York had not passed an electoral law. He took the oath of
JOHN JACOB ASTOR. office April 30, 1789, at Federal Hall, in the city of New York. At the expiration of his
John Jacob Astor, merchant, was born in first term he was unanimously re-elected by
Germany, July 17, 1763. In 1783 he came to the electoral college, and took the oath of
America and invested his small capital in furs, office March 4, 1793, at Philadelphia. On the
and in 1811 succeeded in establishing the fur 4th of March, 1797, his second presidential trading station of Astoria. From this time term closed, and he retired to his farm at
his commercial operations extended over the Mount Vernon, determined to pass the re
entire globe and his ships were found in every mainder of his days in retirement. In July,
sea, and he accumulated a large fortune. At 1798, the rank and title of lieutenant-general
his death, which occurred in 1848, he left and commander-in-chief of all the armies of
property to the amount of $30,000,000, and the United States was conferred upon him by
by his bequest of $350,000 founded the Astor Congress on account of difficulties with
Library of New York. His wealth was mainly France, but he did not find it necessary to
inherited by his son, William, upon whose take the field. He held the commission until
death (in 1875), it is said to have been inhis death, December 14, 1799, and his body
creased to $50,000,000. He added $200,000 was deposited in the family tomb at Mount
to his father's bequest for a public library. Vernon. In a memorial address before Congress Colonel Henry Lee said that he was first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen. Washington left no chil
JOHN ADDISON PORTER. dren. It has been beautifully said, “Providence left him childless that his country might John Addison Porter, editor and public officall him Father.” A consistent Christian, he cial, was born in New Haven, Conn., April 17, was a vestryman and regular attendant of the 1856. After leaving college he began the Episcopal church. A firm advocate of free study of law, but left that profession to engage institutions, he still believed in a strong gov- in newspaper work. Subsequently he was, for ernment and strictly enforced laws. As Presi- ten years, editor and proprietor of the Hartdent, he carefully weighed his decisions; but ford (Conn.) Evening Post. He served as a his policy once settled, pursued it with steadi- member of the Connecticut General Assembly ness and dignity, however great the opposi- and was several times before Republican tion. As an officer, he was brave, enterprising State conventions as a candidate for governor, and cautious. His campaigns were rarely but failed to get the nomination. He was apstartling, but always judicious. He was ca- pointed secretary to President McKinley,
serving in that capacity from March 4, 1897, House of Representatives, in 1857 a member
the Republican National convention of 1876 at
cago (presiding over the convention of 1880). EDWARD SALOMON.
He was chairman of the Massachusetts dele
gation in 1880, 1884 and 1888; was one of the Edward Salomon, lawyer and ex-governor managers on the part of the House of Repreof Wisconsin, was born in 1828, at Stroebeck, sentatives of the Belknap impeachment trial near the city of Halberstadt, Prussia. He was in 1876 and a member of the electoral commiseducated in ne Lutheran faith in his native sion in the same year. In 1880 he was regent city and afterward was a student at the Uni- of the Smithsonian Institute and has been conversity of Berlin. In 1849 he emigrated to nected with many historical and scientific soAmerica, and settled at Manitowoc, Wis. In cieties. From 1874 to 1880 he was an over1852, after serving as school teacher, county seer of Harvard College and in 1896 was again surveyor and deputy clerk of the court, he elected to that position. He was elected to the moved to Milwaukee for the purpose of study- United States Senate and took his seat March ing law. In 1855 he was admitted to the bar 5, 1877, and was re-elected in 1883, 1889 and and in 1856 formed a partnership with Win- 1895. His present term expires March 3, 1901. field Smith, which continued until Mr. Salomon removed to New York City, in 1869. In 1861 he was nominated for lieutenant-gov
OSCAR PHELPS AUSTIN. ernor on the ticket with Louis P. Harvey and was elected. On April 19, 1862, owing to the Oscar Phelps Austin, Chief of the Bureau of death of Governor Harvey, he was called to Statistics, Treasury Department, Washington, exercise the function of chief executive. He D. C., is a native of Illinois. At the age of remained governor until January, 1864. In twelve years he removed with his parents to 1894 he retired from practice and took up his Nebraska, where he remained until manhood. residence in Europe.
In the educational institutions of the states named he received his earlier intellectual
training and, on arriving at manhood, engaged GEORGE FRISBIE HOAR.
in journalism, passing through the various
grades of reporter, correspondent and editor George Frisbie Hoar, United States Sen- upon leading newspapers of Chicago and Cinator, Worcester, Mass., was born in Concord, cinnati. In 1881 he removed to Washington, Mass., August 29, 1826. He studied in early which he has since made his home, serving as youth at Concord Academy and graduated at correspondent for various metropolitan jourHarvard College in 1846. He studied law and nals. His active and able participation in the graduated at the Dane Law School, Har- literary and statistical work of the Republican vard University, and began practice at Wor- National committees in the presidential camcester. In 1852 he was a member of the State paigns of 1892 and 1896 brought him into
Astor mainly whose n in00,000
more general prominence. A special study of the financial and commercial statistics of the United States and of the world added to his reputation and was followed, in May, 1898, by his selection to his present position. He is also associate editor of the National Geographic Magazine, and is a member of the National Geographic and the Anthropological societies, both of Washington.
Besides having contributed to journalism in the manner indicated, Mr. Austin is the author of “Uncle Sam's Secrets," "Uncle Sam's Soldiers," and other publications for the instruction of youth in national and international affairs; "History of Presidential Campaigns," etc.; also official monographs on “Commercial China in 1899," "Commercial Japan," "Commercial Africa," "Russia and the Siberian Railway," "American Commerce," "Colonies of the World and Their Inhabitants," and "Submarine and Land Telegraplı Systems of the World."
being mustered out of the service in June, 1865. During the war he was in command of the First brigade, Second division, Ninth army corps, and brevetted for gallantry and meritorious service at Fredericksburg and the Battle of the Wilderness. He continued in military service after the conclusion of the war and in 1867 was major of the Thirty-ninth Regular Infantry; lieutenant-colonel of the Nineteenth Infantry in 1879; colonel of the Twenty-fourth Infantry in 1886; brigadiergeneral in 1895 and major-general, U. S. A., in 1897. In June, 1897, after forty-seven years of service, he retired at his own request, serving during the last two years as commander of the department of Texas.
ZENAS RANDALL BLISS.
Zenas Randall Bliss, Major-General U.S.A. (retired), 152 New Hampshire avenue, Washington, D. C., was born in Johnston, R. I., April 17, 1835, and received his education in the schools of Providence, R. I., and at the West Point Military Academy. He was en: tered as a cadet at the latter institution in June, 1850, and upon his graduation, in 1854, was appointed brevet second lieutenant, First Infantry. He was promoted to second lieutenant of the Eighth Infantry in 1855, first lieutenant in 1860, and captain in 1861. In this capacity he entered the service at the commencement of the war, and in May, 1861, was captured by the enemy and remained a prisoner of war from that time until April 5, 1862. In May of that year he was promoted to the colonelcy of the Tenth R. I. Vols., subsequently serving as colonel of the Seventh, and
Horace Boies, lawyer and ex-governor, Waterloo, Ia., was born in Erie county, N. Y., December 7, 1827. He attended the district schools and at the age of sixteen went West and located at Racine, Wis. For six years he worked on a farm, the last four years attending school during the winter months. He then returned to Erie county, took up the study of law, was admitted to the bar in 1849, and began the practice of his profession. After a short time he removed to Hamburg, practicing at and near Buffalo until 1866, when he removed to Waterloo, Iowa. In 1889 he was elected governor of Iowa and served two terms. In 1893 he was a third time selected as a candidate for governor, but was defeated.
GEORGE CARY COMSTOCK.
George Cary Comstock, LL. D., director of the Washburn Astronomical Observatory, Madison, Wis., was born in that city February 12, 1855; was educated in the common schools and University of Michigan, graduating from