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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/275

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SKETCH OF CHARLES HENRY HITCHCOCK.

lecture room. She took indefatigable pains with the education of her children, placing their moral and religious welfare first. Of the eight children of the family, six of whom reached maturity, the surviving brother is professor of physical culture, and, for the time being, acting president at Amherst College, and one of the two surviving sisters, the widow of the Rev. C. M. Terry, has been for several years matron of the Hubbard Cottage, Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts.

Beginning with 1835, the year before Professor Hitchcock was born, his father, Professor Edward Hitchcock, was largely occupied with the study of the "fossil bird tracks" in the New Red Sandstone of the Connecticut Valley, and with the discussions to which the investigation gave rise, the story of which has been told by Prof. C. H. Hitchcock himself in the Popular Science Monthly (vol. iii, August, 1873). Besides the search for the fossils and their collection and comparison, and the examination of the literature that might throw light on the subject, there were studies into the proper interpretation of the early chapters of Genesis, the debate with Prof. Moses Stewart, of Andover, and the gradual approach of the American clergy to general acquiescence in the belief that geology is not at variance with Scripture. Professor Hitchcock's childhood was largely spent under the influence of these studies and discussions. The boy seemed to be full of promise, and because of his observing ways and proneness to speculation was called "the young philosopher." He used to bring his mother the very small flowers of Spergula rubra, which are so obscure that older eyes often fail to notice them. He seemed to be fonder of his father than the other children, and was never so happy as with him. Through this constant intercourse Charles became absorbed in his father's pursuits, and grew up into a knowledge of geology from Nature and from verbal explanations—a more satisfactory method than that of learning from books; and he was associated with his father in all his geological work from the time when he was first old enough to be of service. Thus, before 1856 he was acquainted, from inspection, with the terraces and reputed beaches and drift phenomena of all western Massachusetts; he had handled every specimen of a foot mark in the Appleton Cabinet, and by 1861 was the principal assistant on the Vermont Survey, having prepared for the press the greater part of the matter of the report. He had enjoyed the best educational advantages of his day, having completed the classical and preparatory courses of Williston Seminary, and been graduated thence in 1852, then graduated from Amherst College in 1856, a short time before his twentieth birthday. Among his early classmates and college friends were Dr. Cyrus Northrup, president of