Jacob Abbott was born in Hallowell, Maine, on November 14, 1803. He graduated from Bowdoin College in 1820. He studied at Andover Theological Seminary from 1821 to 1824. Abbott taught at Amherst College from 1825-1829, before founding the Mount Vernon School for Young Ladies in Boston in 1829. He also founded Abbott's Institute in 1843 and the Mount Vernon School for Boys in 1845. In addition to his work in education, Abbott was licensed to preach by the Hampshire Association of the Congregational Church, and was the pastor of the Eliot Congregational Church in Roxbury, Massachusetts. Abbott was the author of juvenile fiction and religious books, authoring one hundred and eighty books during his career. The most popular were his "Rollo" series. Abbott married Harriet Vaughan in 1829 and had four sons: Benjamin, Edward, Austin, and Lyman. He died in Farmington, Maine, in 1879.
William Bluford Adamson was born in Prairie Grove, Texas, on January 24, 1904. His grandparents were Reverend William Paxton Gillespie and Mary Catherine "Kate" Gillespie, faculty members at Trinity University when it was founded in 1869. His parents, Pearl Gillespie and Frederick Richmond Adamson, met as students at Trinity in the late 1800s. William had a brother, F. Lawrence Adamson, and a sister, Mary Catherine Adamson Bynum. Adamson married Lucile Larsen, a nurse, in 1929; she passed away in 1959. His second wife, Sadie Lucille, passed away in 2009.
Adamson graduated from Trinity University in 1924, and attended medical school at Vanderbilt University. Following internships at Vanderbilt University Hospital and Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, he settled in Abilene, Texas, where he opened a cardiology office in 1929. Adamson served as a lieutenant colonel in the United States Air Force during World War II. After his service, he continued to practice medicine in Abilene until 1968. Adamson served as president of the Taylor Jones County Medical Society, a diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine, a fellow of the American College of Physicians, and a fellow of the American College of Cardiology. He was the recipient of the Gold Headed Cane award from the Taylor Jones County Medical Society in 1963 and the Paul V. Ledbetter Award in 1973. His widow Sadie established the William B. and Sadie L. Adamson Charities Foundation to support arts groups in Abilene.
Victor Nicholas Alessandro was born in Waco, Texas, on November 27, 1915. His father, also named Victor Alessandro (1883-1971), was a conductor and music teacher. Alessandro grew up in Houston, Texas. He studied at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, the American Academy in Rome, and the Salzburg Mozarteum. Alessandro married flutist Ruth Drisko in 1956, and had two children, Victor Tabbut Alessandro and Ruth Ann Alessandro. Alessandro passed away on November 27, 1976 of emphysema.
In 1938 he became the conductor of the Oklahoma City Symphony Orchestra. He returned to Texas in 1951 to lead the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra, and led the ensemble until his retirement in 1976. Alessandro received honors the National Association for American Composers and Conductors and the 1956 Alice M. Ditson Award for service to American music. He received honorary doctorates from the University of Rochester, Southwestern University, and Southern Methodist University.
Richard Willard Armour was born July 15, 1906 in San Pedro, California. He was raised in Southern California (San Pedro and Pomona), and attended Pomona College. Armour was an antiaircraft artillery officer in the United States Army during World War II, attaining the rank of colonel and earning the Legion of Merit. He earned a Ph.D. in English from Harvard University, and was a faculty member at Scripps College from 1945 to 1966. Armour published scholarly works on poets Bryan Waller Procter and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
Armour became a popular author of light verse and satire, often compared to Ogden Nash. He published over sixty books, the most well-known of which is "It All Started with Columbus." His short poems were routinely featured in newspapers and magazines, and he wrote essays for Reader's Digest, Playboy, and other publications.
Armour was married to his wife, Kathleen, and had two children, Geoffrey and Karen. Armour died of Parkinson's Disease in 1989.
The Armstrong Family is one of South Texas's oldest families. In 1852, James H. Durst purchased 92,000 acres out of the La Baretta Spanish land grant from the descendants of the Balli Family. Durst fought in the Texas Revolution, was a Texas Ranger, served as a State Senator and prospered in his mercantile business in Rio Grande City. He died young and his widow, Mary Durst, was forced to sell the ranch. Two attorneys arranged the sale but Mary Durst never received payment. Her daughter Mary Helena ("Mollie") married John B. Armstrong III in 1878. Armstrong pursued the case, eventually taking legal action and gained clear title of the land for the Durst Family in 1904. John B. Armstrong was born in Tennessee; he arrived in Texas in 1872 and purchased large tracts of land in South Texas to raise cattle in Jim Hogg, Kleberg, and Cameron Counties. Armstrong was a member of the Texas Rangers and is best known for arresting John Wesley Hardin, a notorious bandit. By 1882 the Armstrong ranch was 50,000 acres. Mollie died of rabies in 1897. Following generations managing the ranch included Charles Armstrong, Tom Armstrong, and then Charles' son, Tobin Armstrong.