Predecessor

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PREDECESSOR. One who has preceded another.
     2. This term is applied in particular to corporators who are now no longer such, and whose rights have been vested in their successor; the word ancestor is more usually applicable to common persons. The predecessor in a corporation stands in the same relation to the successor, that the ancestor does to the heir.
     3. The term predecessor is also used to designate one who has filled an office or station before the present incumbent.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in classic literature ?
He feared his predecessor had been massacred before they had reached their place of destination; or if they should have erected a factory, that it had been surprised and destroyed by the natives.
It is a circumstance which will be without consequence in the administration of the government; and it was far more convenient that it should be arranged in this manner, than that there should be a necessity of convening the legislature, or one of its branches, upon every arrival of a foreign minister, though it were merely to take the place of a departed predecessor.
In the first place, as these constitutions invest the State legislatures with absolute sovereignty, in all cases not excepted by the existing articles of Confederation, all the authorities contained in the proposed Constitution, so far as they exceed those enumerated in the Confederation, would have been annulled, and the new Congress would have been reduced to the same impotent condition with their predecessors.
In a word, that accumulated knowledge which man inherits by means of books, imparted and transmitted information, schools, colleges, and universities, we obtain through more subtle agencies that are incorporated with our organic construction, and which form a species of hereditary mesmerism; a vegetable clairvoyance that enables us to see with the eyes, hear with the ears, and digest with the understandings of our predecessors.
If they continued to sing like their great predecessor of romantic themes, they were drawn as by a kind of magnetic attraction into the Homeric style and manner of treatment, and became mere echoes of the Homeric voice: in a word, Homer had so completely exhausted the epic genre, that after him further efforts were doomed to be merely conventional.
The irrigation of these lands in the Zaraisky province had been initiated by the predecessor of Alexey Alexandrovitch's predecessor.
Then,' I continued, 'my predecessor's name was Linton?'
I doubt whether Eustace did not internally pronounce the whole thing a bore, until I led him to my predecessor's little ruined, rustic summer house, midway on the hillside.
I made the above discovery on the twenty-ninth of the month -- anniversary of the Restoration of my royal predecessor in the field of human sympathies, Charles the Second.
Use the memory of thy predecessor, fairly and tenderly; for if thou dost not, it is a debt will sure be paid when thou art gone.
The first act of this Sage, was, to administer to the effects of his predecessor, by disinterring all the cheese and halfpence he had buried in the garden--a work of immense labour and research, to which he devoted all the energies of his mind.
I thought about my predecessor, who had died of drink and smoke; and I could have wished he had been so good as to live, and not bother me with his decease.