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Mini Biographies of Scots and Scots Descendants (A)
Akins/Aikens Biographies

Aiken, William Sr.
Among the many noted individuals who are descendants of the Clan Akins may be counted William Aiken, Sr. and Jr. of Charelesto, South Carolina. The elder Aiken, born in Co. Antrim, Ireland, emigrated to the United States with his family in the 1780's and through his career as a merchant and plantation owner he became one of the wealthiest men in the country, later serving as the founding president of the South Carolina Canal and Railroad Company which operated America's first steam-powered passenger locomotive, the "Best Friend" of Charleston, which first roared into service in the year 1830. He died in 1831 when the horse pulling his carriage ran astray in the streets of Charleston. The town of Aiken, South Carolina, was named in his memory.

Aiken, William Jr.
William Aiken, Jr., his father's only surviving child and heir, was born in Charleston in 1806. He served in the South Carolina legislaturefrom 1838 to 1842, and in the State Senate from 1842 to 1844. He was elected Governor of South Carolina in 1844, and in 1851 was elected to Congress where he served for three terms before his loyalty to the South during the American Civil War ended his career as a federal politician.

Aikins, James Cox
James Cox Aikins, was born in Toronto, Ontario, in 1823. Educated at Victoria College in Cobourg, he served as a member of the Canadian Assembly from 1854 to 1861. Twice elected as Secretary of State, he framed the Public Land Act of 1872 and organized the Dominion Lands Bureau, which was instrumental in the settling of western Canada. In 1882 he was elected as the 4th Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, serving in that office until 1888, and later served in the Senate from 1896 until his death in 1904.

Aikins, Sir James Albert Manning
Sir James Albert Manning Aikins, the son of James Cox Aikins, was born in Grahamsville, Ontario, in 1851. Educated at Upper Canada College and the University of Toronto, he began his career as an attorney and in 1879 was appointed Counsel for the Department of Justice. He held the title of Honary Bursar at the University of Manitoba from 1887 to 1916, and served as the first president of the Canadian Bar Association from 1914-1929. He received a Knighthood in 1914 and from 1916 to 1926 he served as the 9th Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba.

Eakins, Thomas
Thomas Eakins, one of the greatest American realist painters of the late 19th century, was born in Pjiladelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1844, to parents of Ulster-Scots descent. Eakins taight at the Philadelphia Academy, where he helped develop photographic techniquesfor capturing the movements of the human body which anticipated the development of motion pictures.

Aiken, Frank
Frank Aiken, born in Co. Armagh, Ireland, in 1898, became devoted to the cause of Irish political independence from Great Britain at an early age. Joining the Irish Volunteers at 16, he rose to the position of Chairman of the Armagh branch of Sinn Fein and served on the Armagh County Council and during the War for Independence he commanded the 4th Northern Division of the Irish Republican Army. Along with Eamon de Valara he co-founded the Fianna Fail, then the largest political party in Ireland. He went on to serve as I.R.A. Chief of Staff from 1923 to 1925, and as Foreign Minister and deputy Prime Minister from 1951 to 1969.

Akins, Zoe
Zoe Akins was a well known Scottish-American screen-writer, poet, and novelist. The daughter of a Missouri political leader, Zoe Akins was born in Humansville, Missouri, in 1886. Her works included "Declasse," "The Greeks Had a Word For It," "Forever Young," and "The Old Maid" for which she won the Pulitzer Prize for best screenplay in 1939.

Aiken, Conrad Potter
Conrad Potter Aiken is remembered as a great American poet, novelist and literary critic. Born in Savannah, Georgia, in 1889, Aiken lived most of his life in Massachusetts, where he was raised by relatives after the deathsof his parents. Aiken attended Harvard University, where he became friends with T.S. Elliot, whose writings were to influence his own works. His "Selected Poems" won the 1930 Pulitzer Prize for poetry. From 1950 to 1952 Aiken held the poetry chair at the Library of Congress. He was awarded the National Medal for Literature in 1969.

Aiken, Howard Hathaway
Howard Hathaway Aiken, born in 1900, in Hoboken, New Jersey. Educated at Harvard University where he received his Doctorate in 1939. He invented the Harvard Mark I in 1944, the forerunnerof the modern relectronic digital computer. The Mark I was used by the U.S. Navy for work in gunnery, ballistics and design. The receipent of many  awards for his service, Aiken completed an improved all electronic Mark II in 1947.

Akins, Claude
Claude Akins was a well-known Scottish-American motion picture and television actor. Born in 1926 in  Nelson, Georgia, he later moved with his family to Bedford, Indiana, where he grew up. Graduating in 1949 from Northwestern University where he majored in theater, Akins appeared in more than 50 motion pictures including "From Here to Eternity," "The Cain Mutiny," and "Inherit the Wind."

Thanks to Jim Akins for sending these in.

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