Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 52.djvu/566

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he became interested in collecting fossils and minerals. A few months afterward he met Colonel E. Jewett, geologist, paleontologist, and conchologist, from whom he borrowed books and received many suggestions, and through whose influence he became a student with method. Geological collecting and reading were continued during the remainder of his school life, and other scientific studies were also taken up. For two winters he devoted much time to optics and astronomy, and incidentally made large collections of insects and birds' eggs.

During the summer of 1867 a drift bowlder, accidentally broken by his buggy wheel, revealed to him fossil forms so different from those of the neighboring Trenton faunas that his interest was greatly excited, and in seeking to learn their origin and relations he was led to examine the literature of the pre-Silurian fossiliferous formations. He soon discovered that relatively little was known of them, and also that there was much confusion in the classification. It became his ambition to make a thorough investigation of all the pre-Trenton sedimentary formations and faunas in their geological relations, and in their relations to the development of life and the evolution of the North American continent, and this was later taken up as his life work in geology. His range of observation was also enlarged by excursions in Herkimer and Oneida Counties, where he met examples of Archa├Žn and Glacial as well as Pal├Žozoic formations.

In 1871 business took him to Indianapolis, where his scientific tendencies were further stimulated by Prof. E. T. Cox, who was then making a geological survey of the Indiana coal fields. The time now arrived when it seemed necessary to choose between a business life and a life of research. A partnership was offered him on favorable terms, and if he accepted its responsibilities little time would remain for study and investigation. If, on the other hand, he devoted his life to science, it was important that he secure more time for its prosecution than was consistent with his present business engagements. Deciding in favor of scientific work, he left Indiana and returned to the collection and study of Trenton fossils in New York.

While a schoolboy he had spent summer vacations on a farm near Trenton Falls, a region of great geological interest and peculiarly attractive as a collecting ground. On determining to follow a scientific life he returned to Trenton Falls and established himself on the farm of William P. Rust, where he arranged to do a certain amount of farm work, reserving the remainder of his time for his chosen studies. Here he remained five years, gathering a rich collection of local fossils, beginning their systematic study, and enlarging his horizon by extensive excursions on foot during the spring and fall.