Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century
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HARRAH, Charles Jefferson, merchant, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1 January, 1817. His education was embraced in three days of schooling. At the age of seven he went to work on a farm, where he remained until in his fourteenth year. He then became apprenticed to the ship carpenter's trade, in which he continued until 1843, when, on account of failing health, he sailed for Brazil. In 1852-'7 he was proprietor of a ship-yard at Rio Janeiro, and then engaged in railroad and navigation enterprises, amassing a large fortune, with which he returned to his native city in 1874. During his thirty years' residence in Brazil he held confidential relations with the imperial government. In 1865 he was sent by the emperor to the United States to purchase iron-clads and armaments, bringing with him a letter of credit for £1,000,000, which was shortly followed by another for an equal amount. In 1867 he was sent on a confidential mission to the river Platte to investigate irregularities and abuses in the commissariat department of the Brazilian army. In 1869 he was president of the first telegraph company organized in the empire. In 1870, with a few other merchants, he established at Rio Janeiro the first public school in the empire, and during the same year the emperor made him a knight of the Imperial order da Rosa, and afterward a commander of the same order.
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