Francois-Xavier Martin (17 Mar. 1762-10 Dec. 1846) was born in Marseilles, France, and immigrated to New Bern, North Carolina, by way of Martinique. Although he spoke very little English, Martin secured employment with a local printer, James Davis. By November 1785, Martin had acquired his own printing press and was publishing the North-Carolina Gazette; or New-Bern Advertiser as well as almanacs, pamphlets, and official state documents and laws. Martin received his license to practice law in 1789. Although he lacked great oratorical skills, Martin still became very well known for his ability to interpret law and interrogate witnesses. In 1809, President James Madison appointed Martin as a United States judge for the Mississippi territory. He was appointed to the Orleans territory bench a year later. Martin eventually became known as the "father of Louisiana jurisprudence" for helping to eliminate the defects of the 1809 civil code and for helping to define the methods by which common law was intertwined with Napoleonic jurisprudence. Martin devoted himself almost entirely to scholarly pursuits. His History of North Carolina (1829), though flawed, was the most objective study of North Carolina's colonial period published by that time.
Powell, William S., ed. Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, Vol. 4, L-O. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1991.
William Henry Rhodes was born in Windsor, North Carolina, to Elisha Averitt Rhodes, a lawyer and consular officer to the Republic of Texas, and his wife, Ann Maria Jacocks. His mother died when he was six. He attended the Bertie Union Academy at Woodville and later served as his father's secretary in Texas. Rhodes graduated from Harvard Law School in 1846 and returned to Galveston, Texas, to practice law and serve as a judge. After a short time in New York, Rhodes retuned to his hometown of Windsor and married Mary Eliza Driggs, his stepsister. After her early death Rhodes moved to California, where his father and stepmother lived, and practiced law in San Francisco. He married Susan McDermott of Somerset, England and they had six children.
During most of his life, Rhodes had been writing poetry and essays for periodicals, newspapers, and journals, including the Golden Era, Pioneer, Hesperian, and The Daily True Californian and quite often published under the pseudonym Caxton. In 1876, a burglar broke into the family home and severely injured Rhodes. He died shortly thereafter. After his death, his friends collected the best of his works and published them in a volume entitled Caxton's Book: A Collection of Essays, Poems, Tales, and Sketches. All proceeds from the book went to his family.
Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, Vol 5, 1991.
There are several theories about who wrote the books A General History of the Pyrates and The History of the Pyrates, Volume II. When these books were published, Capt. Charles Johnson was thought to be the author and he has been given credit through the years for creating the modern day image of pirates and boosting them to mythical status. At the 1932 meeting of the Modern Language Association, John Robert Moore, a Defoe scholar at Indiana University, announced that he was convinced that Daniel Defoe, rather than Capt. Charles Johnson, was the author of A General History of the Pyrates. Defoe wrote such books as Robinson Crusoe and The Life, Adventures and Piracies of the Famous Captain Singleton and Moore based his theory of Defoe's authorship of the book about pirates attributed to Johnson on parallels of phrase and idea with Defoe's books. Moore's idea was so widely accepted that libraries around the world have attributed both of these titles to Defoe. In their 1988 book, The Canonization of Daniel Defoe, however, New York University scholars P. N. Furbank and W.R. Owens challenged that Defoe wrote the books. It is obvious that the author had extensive knowledge of the ocean and ships and had probably spent some time with those in the profession of piracy. Both books have a wealth of knowledge about some of the more famous and some less famous pirates.
James Ross (3 Sept. 1801-Mar. 1878) was born in Martin County, North Carolina, and immigrated to Tennessee. Through much of his life, Ross farmed and taught in a Greek and Latin school that he established on his farm. Excerpts from his one book, the biography of his father, were reprinted in A Southern Treasury of Life and Literature (1937).
Powell, William S., ed. Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, Vol. 5, P-S, 1994. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1994