Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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HITCHCOCK, Edward, geologist, born in Deer-field, Massachusetts, 24 May, 1793; died in Amherst, 27 February, 1864. He spent his boyhood in working on a farm, with an occasional turn at carpentry and surveying, acquiring such education as he could by study at night. It was his intention to enter Harvard, but impaired eyesight and illness prevented. In 1815 he became principal of the Deerfield academy, where he remained for three years, and during this period published a poem of five hundred lines entitled "The Downfall of Buonaparte" (1815). He also acquired some reputation by a controversy with Edmund M. Blunt, the publisher of the "American Nautical Almanac." A reward of ten dollars was offered for the discovery of an error in the work, and Mr. Hitchcock responded with a list of fifty-seven. As the publisher ignored this communication, the list was published in the "American Monthly Magazine." A year later the "Almanac" appeared somewhat revised, but, as no allusion was made to Mr. Hitchcock's corrections, he called the attention of the editor to about thirty-five errors in the improved edition. From 18i4 till 1818 he calculated and published the "Country Almanac." Meanwhile he had chosen his wife from among his assistant teachers, and it was largely through her influence that his thoughts were turned to religion. In 1818 he determined to become a minister, and entered Yale theologicel seminary, where he was graduated in 1820. He was ordained in 1821 as pastor of the Congregational church in Conway, Massachusetts, where he continued till October, 1825. While holding this pastorate he made a scientific survey of the western counties of Massachusetts, and later studied chemistry and kindred topics under the elder Silliman, in his laboratory at Yale. In 1825 he became professor of chemistry and natural history at Amherst, continuing as such for twenty years, giving lectures and instruction in chemistry, botany, mineralogy, geology, zoology, anatomy, physiology, natural theology, and sometimes natural philosophy and astronomy. In 1845 he was elevated to the presidency of the college with the professorship of natural theology and geology. These offices he filled till 1854, when he resigned the former, but retained his chair until his death. The college at the time of his accession to the presidency was struggling for existence, but Dr. Hitchcock procured new buildings, apparatus, and funds, to the amount of $100,000, doubled the number of students, and established the institution on a solid pecuniary as well as literary and scientific basis. He also conducted the worship in the Amherst college church during his presidency. In 1830 he was appointed state geologist of Massachusetts, and he held this place until 1844, when he completed the first survey of an entire state that was ever conducted under the authority of a government. In this connection he published a report on the "Economic Geology "(Amherst, 1832), and later, in four parts, a " Report on the Geology, Mineralogy, Botany, and Zoology of Massachusetts" (Amherst, 1833). He was commissioned to re-examine the geology of the state in 1837, and subsequently issued his " Re-Examination of the Economical Geology of Massachusetts "(Boston, 1838), followed by a final report on t, he "Geology of Massachusetts," in four parts (Amherst, 1841). President Hitchcock was among the first to study the fossil footprints of the Connecticut valley, and to publish a scientific explanation of them. Specimens of nearly all of the known varieties were collected by him, and subsequently presented to Amherst college. He prepared the "Ichnology of New England" (Boston, 1858), and" Supplement to the "Ichnology of New England" (1865), which were published by the Massachusetts legislature. In 1836 he was appointed geologist of New York, and was assigned to the work of the first district, but he soon resigned. From 1857 till 1861 he was state geologist of Vermont, publishing annual reports in 1857-'9, and " Report on the Geology of Vermont, Descriptive, Theoretical, Economical, and Scenographical " (2 vols., Claremont, 1861), in the preparation of which he was assisted by his two sons and Albert D. Hater. For several years he was a member of the Massachusetts board of agriculture, in 1850 was commissioned by the state of Massachusetts to examine the agricultural schools of Europe, and in 1851 published his report on that subject. He received the degree of A. M. from Yale in 1818, that of LL.D. from Harvard in 1840, and that of D.D. from Middlebury in 1846. President Hitchcock was active in the establishment of the American association of geologists and naturalists, was its first president in 1840, and in 1863 was named by congress as one of the original members of the National academy of sciences. His literary work was very great. Of his larger works besides those previously mentioned, the most important are "Dyspepsia Forestalled and Resisted" (Amherst, 1830); "Elementary Geology" (New York, 1840; London, 1854);" History of a Zoological Temperance Convention, held in Central Africa in 1847" (Northampton, 1850); " Religious Lectures on Peculiar Phenomena of the Four Seasons" (Amherst, 1850); " Religion of Geology and its Connected Sciences" (Boston, 1851); " The Power of Christian Benevolence illustrated in the Life and Labors of Mary Lyon" (Northampton, 1852); " Religious Truth illustrated from Science" (Boston, 1857); and " Reminiscences of Amherst College" (Northampton, 1863), which is largely autobiographical, and gives a complete bibliography of his works, including the titles of some 26 volumes, 35 pamphlets of sermons and addresses, 94 papers in scientific and literary journals, and 80 newspaper articles, making in all over 8,500 pages. --His son, Edward, educator, born in Amherst, Massachusetts, 23 May, 1828, was graduated at Amherst in 1849, and at the Harvard medical school in 1853. Afterward, until 1861, he taught chemistry and natural history in Williston seminary, where he had been fitted for college. He then became professor of hygiene and physical education in Amherst, which chair he still (1887) retains. Dr. Hitchcock was associated with his father in the geological work connected with the state survey of Vermont, and aided in the preparation of the " Report on the Geology of Vermont" (Claremont, 1861). For some time he has been connected with the Massachusetts state board of health, lunacy, and charity. He is a member of scientific societies, and has contributed papers to their proceedings. Besides various pamphlets, he is the principal author of "Anatomy and Physiology" (New York, 1852).--Another son, Charles Henry, geologist, born in Amherst, Massachusetts, 23 August, 1836, was graduated at Amherst in 1856, after which he spent a year in the Yale theological seminary, and then from 1859 till 1861 in the Andover theological seminary, being licensed to preach by the Norfolk association in 1861. In 1857 he was appointed assistant geologist on the survey of Vermont, and, in connection with other members of the survey, prepared a " Report on the Geology of Vermont" (2 vols., Claremont, 1861). He then became director of the Maine geological survey, and published two reports on the " Natural History and Geology of the State of Maine" (Augusta, 1861 and 1862). Meanwhile he delivered the lectures on zoology in Amherst from 1858 till 1864, after which he established himself as a mining geologist in New York, and then spent a year in study in the Royal school of mines in London. In 1866 he became a nonresident professor of mineralogy and geology in Lafayette, holding that office until 1870, and in 1869 was called to the chair of geology and mineralogy in Dartmouth. He became state geologist of New Hampshire in 1868, and ten years later brought the geological survey to a successful termination. During his administration he published annual reports of progress from 1869 till 1872, and also four magnificent royal octavo volumes of " The Geology of New Hampshire" (Concord, 1874, 1877, and 1878), with an " Atlas" of seventeen sheets (1878). During the winter of 1870-'1 he established a meteorological station on Mount Washington, which has since been used by the United States signal-service officials. He has paid special attention to the study of the fossil tracks in the Connecticut valley, and has published several valuable memoirs on the subject. In 1869 he received the degree of Ph. D. from Lafayette college, and he is a member of several scientific societies, both in the United States and Europe. In 1883 he was vice president of the American association for the advancement of science, and delivered his address before the section on geology and geography. Professor Hitchcock has prepared important geological maps of the United States, which are accepted as authoritative and have appeared in the government publications, notably in the" Report of the Ninth Census" and in Dr. Rossiter W. Raymond's "Mineral Resources of the United States" (1873), and in 1881 he published an improved map based on the 1879 edition of the centennial map of the United States land-office. Professor Hitchcock has been a large contributor to scientific literature, and the titles of his papers number about one hundred and fifty. Besides the reports mentioned, he has published, with Edward Hitchcock, "Elementary Geology" (New York, 1860); " Mount Washington in Winter" (in part, Boston, 1871); and articles in cyclopaedias.
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