Harrison Gray Otis was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on October 8, 1765. He graduated from Harvard in 1783 and went on to practice law. Otis became a member of the state legislature and in 1796 was appointed state district attorney by President Washington. In 1797, he was elected to the United States House of Representatives as a Federalist and served until 1801. President John Adams appointed Otis as state district attorney from 1801-1802. Otis then served in the state legislature from 1802-1817. After his terms in the state legislature, he was elected to the United States Senate serving from 1817-1822. Later in 1829, Otis became the Mayor of Boston serving until 1831. Harrison Otis remained active with Harvard serving as both a fellow and an overseer. He died on October 28, 1848, in Boston.
James Fowler Simmons was born in Rhode Island on September 10, 1795. Simmons served in the Rhode Island House of Representatives from 1828-1841 and was elected as a Whig to the United States Senate from 1841 to1847. While in the Senate, he served on the Committee of Manufacturing and the Committee of Printing. He was unsuccessful in his attempts for re-election in 1846 and 1850, but returned to the Senate in 1857 as a Republican. Simmons resigned from office on August 15, 1862, returning to business pursuits. He died on July 10, 1864.
John Hill Wheeler was born on August 6, 1806, in Murfreesboro, North Carolina. Wheeler attended Columbian University (George Washington University) in Washington, D.C., graduating in 1826. He went on to study law at the University of North Carolina. From 1836 to 1841, John Wheeler was the superintendent of the U.S. Mint in Charlotte, North Carolina. Wheeler was elected to serve in the North Carolina House of Commons in 1837. He also was elected as North Carolina’s treasurer in 1842. Wheeler served as the United States minister to Nicaragua from 1854 to 1857. While traveling with several slaves in 1855, Wheeler became involved altercation with abolitionists. Passmore Williamson informed Wheeler’s slaves that they had passed into Northern territory and were no longer bound by slavery. A major court case followed with some of the abolitionists serving jail time but Wheeler’s slaves were never returned to him. John Wheeler produced several works on North Carolina’s history. He was not actively involved in the Civil War but held Unionist beliefs. Wheeler had sons serving for both the North and the South during the war. John Wheeler died on December 7, 1882 in Washington, D.C.