Archive:20th Century Biographical Dictionary, Volume 10

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The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans. 10 vols. Rossiter Johnson, ed., Boston: The Biographical Society, 1904. [A corrected edition of The Cyclopedia of American Biography (1897-1903) and Lamb's Biographical Dictionary of the United States (1900-1903).] (Republished by Gale Research Company, Book Tower, Detroit, 1968) Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 68-19657. Vol X: Steb--Zueb.

SUMNER, Charles, statesman, was born in Boston, Mass., Jan. 6, 1811; son of Charles Pinckney and Relief (Jacob) Sumner; grandson of Job Sumner, an officer in the patriot army, who served at Bunker Hill, the siege of Boston, and was second in command of the forces that defended New York upon the evacuation of the city by the British; great-grandson of Seth Sumner; great-great-grandson of William Sumner; great-great-grandson of Roger and Mary (Josselyn) Sumner, and great4-grandson of William Sumner, who came to America in 1635, and settled in Dorchester, Massachusetts Bay colony. Charles Pinckney Sumner was graduated from Harvard in 1796; studied law with Josiah Quincy; was clerk in the Massachusetts house of representatives, 1806-07 and 1810-11; was sheriff of Suffolk county, and was prominent in the temperance anti-slavery and anti-Masonic movement.[snip] A bust of Sumner by Thomas Crawford, 1839, is the property of the Boston Art Museum; one by Martin Milmore (1874) is in the state house, Boston; a bronze statue by Thomas Ball (1878) was placed in the Public Gardens, Boston, and a statue by Anne Whitney (1877) stands opposite the Harvard Law school, Cambridge.[snip]

TENNEY, Edward Payson, author, was born in Concord, N.H., Sept. 29, 1835; son of the Rev. Asa Peaslee and Mary (Tenney) Tenney; grandson of Jonathan and Anna (Bailey) Tenney, and of Asa and Polly (White) Tenney, and a descendant of Thomas Tenney, who immigrated to Rowley, Mass., and was residing in Salem, 1638. He attended Pembroke (N.H.) academy, 1851-54, matriculated at Dartmouth college in the class of 1858, and was graduated from Bangor Theological seminary in 1858. He was ordained to the Congregational ministry, Oct. 19, 1858; was pastor in eastern Massachusetts, 1859-76; president of Colorado college, Colorado Springs, 1876-84, and subsequently gave his entire attention to literary pursuits. He was married, first, Dec. 1, 1860, to Sarah J., daughter of Daniel and Rexana (Haynes) Holden of Concord, N.H.; and secondly, Dec. 8, 1862, to Ellen, daughter of Timothy and Elizabeth (Whitney) Weeks of Lowell, Mass. The honorary degree of A.M. was conferred upon him by Dartmouth in 1878. He was associated for a brief time with the editorial staffs of The Pacific of San Francisco, Cal., and the Congregational Review of Boston, Mass., and is the author of: The Silent House (1876); Coronation (1877); Agamenticus (1878); The New West (1878); Colorado and the New West (1880); Constance of Acadia (1886); The Triumphs of the Cross (1895); A Story of the Heavenly Camp Fires (1896); Our Elder Brother (1897); The Dream of My Youth (1901).

WALKER, Isaac Pigeon, senator, was born in Lynchburg, Va., Nov. 2, 1813; son of George W. and Rebecca (Haymer) Walker. He was admitted to the bar in 1834, practised in Springfield, Ill., and was married in 1840 to Elizabeth Hastings, daughter of Jonas and Lovisa (Houghton) Whitney of Brattleboro, Vt. In 1841 he removed his practice to Milwaukee, Wisconsin Territory. He was a representative from Milwaukee in the fifth territorial assembly, 1847-48, and served as speaker. When the state was admitted and the state government formed, June 7, 1848, he was elected with Henry Dodge one of the first U.S. senators, drawing the short term and serving from June 26, 1848, to March 3, 1849. [p.287] He was re-elected for a full term and served from Dec. 3, 1849, to March 3, 1855. He was requested to resign by the legislature of Wisconsin in 1849, because of his vote in the interest of the South, but retained his seat and served as chairman of the committee on Revolutionary claims. After the close of his senatorial term, he settled upon his farm near Eagle, Wis., and in 1864 again took up the practice of law in Milwaukee, Wis., where he died, April 1, 1872.

WASHBURN, William Barrett, governor of Massachusetts, was born in Winchendon, Mass., Jan. 31, 1820; son of Asa and Phebe (Whitney) Washburn; grandson of Col. Elijah Washburn and of Capt. Phineas Whitney, and a descendant of John Washburn, the immigrant. He attended Westminster and Hancock academies; was graduated from Yale college, A.B., 1844; clerked for his uncle, W. B. Whitney of Orange, 1844-47; engaged in the chair and woodenware manufacturing business in Frying, Mass., until 1857, and subsequently in Greenfield, Mass., where he also served as president of the national bank for several years. He was married, Sept. 6, 1847, to Hannah A., daughter of Col. Samuel Sweetser of Athol, Mass. He was a state senator from the Franklin district, 1850; a representative in the state legislature, 1854, and elected without opposition in 1862 a Republican representative from the ninth Massachusetts district in the 38th 42d congresses, 1863-72, serving until Jan. 1, 1872, when he resigned to become governor of Massachusetts. He was chairman of the committee on claims in the 42d congress, and was a delegate to the Loyalist convention at Philadelphia, Pa., 1866. He resigned the governorship upon his election as U.S. senator to fill the vacancy occasioned by the death of Charles Sumner, serving from May 1, 1874, to March 3, 1875. He received the honorary degree of LL.D. from Harvard in 1872; was an overseer of the charitable fund of Amherst college, 1864-71; a trustee of Yale, 1869-81; a fellow of Yale, 1872-81, and a trustee of Smith college and of the Massachusetts State college. He bequeathed $50,000 each to the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (of which he was a corporate member), the American Home Missionary society and the American Missionary association. He died suddenly in Springfield, Mass., Oct. 5, 1887.

WATERMAN, Robert Whitney, governor of California, was born in Fairfield, N.Y., Dec. 15, 1826. His father died before he attained his majority, and he left home to seek his fortune in the West. He found employment as a clerk in a small store in Sycamore, Ill., until 1846, when he commenced business on his own account in Belvidere, Ill. He was postmaster at Genoa, Ill., 1849-50; engaged in mining in California, 1850-52; and in business in Wilmington, Ill., where he published the Independent, 1852-60. He took part in the Fremont and Dayton campaign of 1856, and in 1860 he became proprietor of a ranch in California, subsequently discovering a silver mine in Mohave Desert, San Bernardino county. Through the development of this mine and through other mining interests He acquired a large fortune, and was president of the San Diego, Cuyamaca and Eastern railway. He was lieutenant-governor of California, 1886, [p.330] and upon the death of Gov. Washington Bartlett, Sept. 12, 1887, succeeded him as acting governor of the state, his term to expire in 1891. He died in San Diego, Cal., April 12, 1891.

WHITNEY, Adeline Dutton Train, author, was born in Boston, Mass., Sept. 15, 1824; daughter of Enoch and Adeline (Dutton) Train; granddaughter of Enoch and Hannah (Ewing) Train, and of Silas and Nancy (Tobey) Dutton. She attended the school of George B. Emerson, Boston, Mass., 1837-42; and was married, Nov. 7, 1843, to Seth Dunbar, son of Moses and Rebecca (Dunbar) Whitney of Milton, Mass. She wrote little for publication in early life, her first practical publication appearing in 1859. She patented a set of alphabet blocks, and is the author of: Footsteps on the Seas, a poem (1857); Mother Goose for Grown Folks (1860; new ed., 1870 and 1882); Boys at Chequasset (1862); Faith Gartney's Girlhood (1863); The Gayworthys (1865); A Summer in Leslie Goldthwaite's Life (1866); Patience Strong's Outings (1868); Hitherto (1869); We Girls (1870); Real Folks (1871); Pansies, poems (1872); The Other Girls (1873); Sights and Insights (1876); Just How: A Key to the Cook Books (1878); Odd or Even (1880); Bonnyborough (1885); Homespun Yarns (1886); Holy Tides (1886); Daffodils (1887); Bird Talk (1888); Ascutney Street (1890); A Golden Gossip (1891); Square Pegs (1894); Friendly Letters to Girl Friends (1896); The Open Mystery: A Reading of the Mosaic Story (1897); The Integrity of Christian Science (1900).

WHITNEY, Asa, inventor, was born in Townsend, Mass., Dec. 1, 1791. His father was a blacksmith, and Asa followed that trade until 1812, when he removed to New Hampshire and was employed in a machine shop. He was sent to Brownsville, N.Y., to fit up a cotton mill; conducted a machine shop in Brownsville till 1830; was assistant superintendent of the Mohawk and Hudson railway, 1830-39, and canal commissioner in enlarging and managing the Erie canal, 1839-42. He was a partner with Matthew W. Baldwin in the Baldwin locomotive works in Philadelphia, 1852-54; was chosen president of the Morris canal company in 1854, and constructed the steam incline planes used on the canal. He invented the corrugated plate car wheel, in 1847, and began its manufacture in partnership with his son, George Whitney. In 1848 be invented a process for annealing car wheels, that increased both their speed and capacity This invention gained him a fortune and about 75,000 car wheels were annually manufactured by A. Whitney & Sons. He was president of the Reading railroad, 1860-61, resigning in 1861, on account of failing health. By his will he gave $50,000 to found the chair of dynamical engineering in the University of Pennsylvania; $12,500 to the Franklin Institute, and $20,000 to the Old Men's home, Philadelphia. He died in Philadelphia, Pa., June 4, 1874.

WHITNEY, Eli, inventor, was born in West-borough, Mass., Dec. 8, 1765. He engaged in the business of making nails by hand, and by his industry saved money enough to pay his college expenses, being graduated from Yale, A.B., 1792, A.M., 1795. He was invited by the widow of Gen. Nathanael Greene to make his home at her plantation, called Mulberry Grove, on the Savannah river in Georgia. He studied law, but abandoned it to follow his mechanical talent, devoting himself to the problem of inventing a machine for separating cotton lint from the seed. In 1793 he solved the difficulty by completing the saw cotton gin, which consists of two cylinders: one, revolving with great velocity, to pull the lint from the seed by means of from fifty to eighty steel disks with serrated edges, and the other to remove the lint from the saw teeth by means of stiff brushes. This machine, which, with a few improvements remains exactly as it was first invented, has a capacity equal to that of 3000 pairs of hands in separating the lint from the seed, which process, up, to the time of its invention, was the only means used in the separation. Mr. Whitney was unable to keep his invention secret, and before he could obtain a patent several gins were being operated on various neighboring plantations. He formed a partnership with Phineas Miller, and removed to Connecticut to manufacture the machines, but owing to endless litigation caused by the infringement of his patent, he was obliged in 1796 to devote himself to the manufacture of firearms in order to obtain a livelihood. He removed to New Haven, Conn., and originated the system of making the manufacture of different parts of a gun interchangeable among several mechanics. He built an armory at Whitneyville, near New Haven, and filled a government contract for ten thousand stands of muskets. He received $50,000 from the legislature of South Carolina for the general use of the cotton gin, and was allowed a further royalty on every gin used in the state, but considering [p.394] the universal benefit derived from the invention, this was but small recompense. He established a fund of $500 at Yale college, the interest to be devoted to the purchase of books or, mechanical and physical science. He was married in 1817, to a daughter of Judge Pierpont Edwards. His "Memoir" was published by Denison Olmsted in 1846. He died in New Haven, Conn., Jan. 8, 1825.

WHITNEY, Henry Mitchell, librarian and educator, was born in Northampton, Mass., Jan. 16, 1843; son of Josiah Dwight and Clarissa (James) Whitney; grandson of Abel and Clarissa (Dwight) Whitney, and of Malachi and Elizabeth (Lyman) James, and a descendant of John Whitney of Watertown, Mass., 1600-73, Richard Lyman (1580 1640), and John Dwight. He was sergeant-major of the 52 Massachusetts volunteer infantry in the civil war; was graduated from Yale, A.B., 1864, A.M., 1867; served as agent of the U.S. Christian commission, 1864-65; was a student at Princeton Theological seminary, 1865-66, and was graduated from Andover, 1868, being ordained May 12, 1869. He was married, Aug. 3, 1869, to Frances, daughter of Alfred and Sarah Elizabeth (Smith) Wurts, then of Geneva, Ill. He was pastor at Geneva, 1868-71; stated supply, Beloit, Wis., 1871-72; professor of rhetoric and English literature at Beloit college, 1871-99, serving also as acting pastor of Roscoe, Ill., 1876-82, and as a member of the board of aldermen, 1876-83; and was made librarian of the James Blackstone Memorial library, Branford, Conn., in 1899. He received the degree of Litt. D. from Beloit in 1900. He was made an honorary member of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1881. He was an editorial contributor to the "Century Dictionary," 1883-91, his work including the synonymy, considered by scholars one of the best features of that work. He is the author of frequent contributions to periodicals, including a series of articles in the Bibliotheca Sacra (1902-03) on "the Latest Translation of the Bible," subsequently published in book form.

WHITNEY, James Lyman, librarian, was born in Northampton, Mass., Nov. 28, 1835; son of Josiah Dwight and Clarissa (Janres) Whitney, and brother of Josiah Dwight, Jr., Henry Mitchell, and William Dwight Whitney (q. v.). He was graduated from Yale, A.B., 1856, A.M., 1865; was chief of the catalogue department of the Boston Public library, 1874-99, editing the "Ticknor Catalogue of Spanish literature" and other publications of the library; was appointed librarian in 1899 as successor to Herbert Putnam, and upon resigning the position in 1903, he was made chief of the departments of documents and statistics, and manuscripts. He served as chairman of the school-committee of Concord, Mass., 1879-87; chairman of the book committee of the Bostonian society for many years, and chairman of the finance committee of the American Library association.

WHITNEY, Josiah Dwight, Jr., geologist, was born in Northampton, Mass., Nov. 23, 1819; son of Josiah Dwight and Sarah (Williston) Whitney; grandson of Abel and Clarissa (Dwight) Whitney, and of the Rev. Payson and Sarah (Birdseye) Williston, and a descendant of John and Elinor Whitney, who came from London to Watertown, Mass., in 1635. He attended the famous Round Hill school at Northampton, taught by Joseph G. Cogswell and George Bancroft, and other private schools at New Haven, Andover, and elsewhere; was graduated from Yale, A.B., 1839; spent the following six months in Dr. Robert Hare's chemical laboratory, Philadelphia; was assistant geologist in the survey of New Hampshire, 1840-41; and subsequently continued his scientific studies in Europe under lie de Beaumont, Rammelsburg, Liebig and others, until 1847. He was employed in the U.S. geological survey of Lake Superior, 1847-51, and subsequently investigated the metallic resources of the country east of the Mississippi. He was married, July 5, 1854, to Louisa, daughter of Samuel and Mehitable (May) Goddard of Brookline, Mass. Mrs. Whitney published: "The Burning of the Convent: a Narrative of the Destruction by a mob of the Ursuline School on Mount Benedict, Charlestown, as remembered by One of the Pupils" (1877), and "Peasy's Childhood: An Autobiography" (1878). She died, May 13, 1882. Mr. Whitney was state chemist of Iowa, 1855-57, and simultaneously engaged in the geological survey of the state; was professor of chemistry and mineralogy in the State University of Iowa, 1855-57; was associated with the geological survey of the lead region of upper Missouri together with the official surveys of Wisconsin and Illinois, 1858-60, and was state geologist of California, 1860-74. He was Sturgis-Hooper professor of geology at Harvard in the School of Mining and Practical Geology, 1865-75; and subsequently held the separate chair of the same until 1896; was university lecturer, 1868-69, and dean of the School of Mining and Practical Engineering, 1868-75. In 1869 he conducted an exploration party to Colorado for the purpose of determining the exact height of the principal peaks of the Rocky Mountains, naming two of them Mt. Harvard and Mt. Yale. A still higher peak in Inyo county, Cal. (the highest peak in the United States, excluding Alaska), is named Mr. Whitney in his honor. He received the honorary degree of LL.D. from Yale in 1870; was named by congress an original member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1863, and was a member of [p.395] various other scientific organizations, and at the time of his death was the eldest instructor at Harvard in point of length of service. He translated "The Use of the Blowpipe in Chemistry and Mineralogy" by J. J. Berzelius (1845), and is the author of: Synopsis of the Explorations in the Lake Superior Land District (1849); and Report on the Geology and Topography of Lake Superior Land District in the State of Michigan (Part I, 1850; Part II, 1851), both in collaboration with John W. Foster; The Metallic Weatlth of the United States (1854); Reports on the Geological Survey of Iowa (2 vols., 1858-59); Report on the Geological Survey of Wisconsin (1862); Reports on the Geological Survey of California (6 vols., 1864-70); The Yosemite Guidebook (1869); Contributions to Barometric Hypsometry (1874); Contribntions to American Geology (Vol. L, 1880); Names and Places: Studies in Geographical and Topographical Nomenclature (1888); The United States (1889); The United States: Population, Immigration and Irrigation (1894); and edited six departments of "The Century Dictionary." Professor Whitney died in New London, N.H., Aug. 19, 1896.

WHITNEY, William Collins, cabinet officer, was born in Conway, Mass., July 15, 1841; son of Gen. James Scollay Whitney, and a descendant of Gen. Josiah Whitney, an officer of the Continental army during the Revolution. His first ancestor in America, John Whitney, emigrated from England and settled in Watertown, Mass., in 1635. He attended Williston seminary, East Hampton, Mass., was graduated from Yale, A.B., 1863, A.M., 1866, and attended the Harvard Law school, 1863-64. He established himself in practice in New York city, and became a leader of the county Democracy division of the Democratic party. He was married in 1869 to Flora, daughter of Senator Henry B. Payne of Ohio. He was one of the organizers of the Young Men's Democratic club in 1871; was active in the movement against the Tweed ring; was inspector of city schools in 1872, and was defeated for district attorney in 1872. He was appointed corporation council in 1875, 1876 and 1880; reorganized the department, with four bureaus, and in 1882 resigned the office and returned to the practice of law. He was appointed secretary of the navy by President Cleveland, March 5, 1885, and executed a policy of reorganization that made it possible for the first time in the history of the U.S. navy, to prepare complete statements of the receipts and expenditures in the service. During his administration the keels of the battleship Texas, the armed cruiser Monterey, three protected cruisers and four gunboats were laid, the inauguration of the New Navy in 1898. He stipulated for American production in the manufacture of vessels, and raised the naval department to a high standard of excellence. The honorary degree of LL.D. was conferred on him by Yale in 1888.

WHITNEY, William Dwight, philologist, was born in Northampton, Mass., Feb. 9, 1827; son of Josiah Dwight and Sarah (Williston) Whitney, and brother of Josiah Dwight Whitney, Jr. (q.v.), and of James Lyman Whitney (q.v.) and Henry Mitchell Whitney (q.v.). He attended the public schools; was graduated from Williams college, A.B., 1845, A.M., 1848; was a clerk in the Northampton bank, 1845-48; meanwhile studying languages; was engaged in the U.S. survey of the Lake Superior region, conducted by his brother, Josiah D. Whitney, 1849; studied philology and Sanskrit in the department of philosophy and the arts at Yale college, 1849, and continued his specialties in the universities of Berlin and T bingen, 1850-53. He was professor of Sanskrit language and literature at Yale, 1854-70, and held the same chair with the addition of comparative philology, 1870-94. He also organized the department of modern languages in the Sheffield Scientific school in 1862. He was married, Aug. 28, 1856, to Elizabeth Wooster, daughter of Roger Sherman and Emily (Perkins) Baldwin of New Haven, Conn. The following honorary degrees were conferred upon him: A.M. and Ph.D. by the University of Breslau, 1861: A.M., Yale, 1867; LL.D., Williams, 1868, William and Mary, 1869, Harvard, 1876, and University of Edinburgh, 1889; J.U.D.. St. Andrew's, Scotland, 1874, and Litt. D., Columbia. 1887. He was a member of the American Oriental society from 1849, its librarian, 1855-73, corresponding secretary, 1857-84, and president. 1884-94; a founder and first president of the American Philological association, 1869; a member of the National Academy of Sciences, 1865-1062 [sic]; an honorary, member of the Royal Asiatic societies of Bengal, Japan, Peking and Italy; the Philological society and Society of Biblical Archaeology of London, and of the Royal Academy of Dublin. He was also a foreign member of various other learned societies; a corresponding member of the academies of Berlin, St. Petersburg, Rome and Turin and file Institut de France, and a Foreign Knight of the Prussian Order Pour le M rit . With Rudolph Roth he prepared an edition of the "Atharva Veda [p.396] Sanhita (Berlin, 1856), and published independently: Contributions from the Atharva Veda to the Theory of Sanskrit Verbal Accent (1856); was editorially connected with "Websler's Dictionary"; editor-in-chief of the "Century Dictionary" (6 vols., 1889-91), and a contributor to B÷htingk's and Roth's "Sanskrit Dictionary" (St. Petersburg, 7 vols., 1853-67). He translated the Surya-Siddhanta, a text-book of Hindu astronomy" (1860). He is the author of: On the Tyotisha Observation of the Place of the Colures and the Date derivable from it (1864); Language and the Study of Language (1867); A Compendious German Grammar (1869); German Reader in Prose and Verse (1869); On Material and Form in Language (1872) Oriental and Linguistic Studies (3 series, 1873, 1874, 1875);Darwinism and Language (1874); Life and Growth of Language (1875) in the "international Scientific Series," translated into various foreign languages; A Practical French Grammar (1886); Essentials of English Grammar (1877); A Compendious German and English Dictionary (with Professor Edgren, 1877); Sanskrit Grammar (Leipzig, 1879; 2d ed., 1888); Logical Consistencg in Views of Language (1889): Mixture in Language (1881); The Study of Hindu Grammar and the Study of Sanskrit (1884); Forty Years' Record of the Class of 1845, Williams College (1885); The Upanishads and their Latest Translations (1886); Practical French Grammar (1886); and also a large proportion of Volulnes VI.-XII. of the Journal of the American Oriental society (1860-81), his English version of "Taittiriya Praticakhya" winning the Bopp prize from the Berlin academy in 1871. Most important among his technical works is his critical commentary on the Atharva-Veda, with exegetical notes and a translation. No treatment, at once so systematic, extensive and complete, of the critical status of any Vedic text has ever been undertaken before; and it is incidentally of great significance as exemplifying the method which future investigators must follow in the case of Rig-Veda. The work, which forms two large royal octavos, was edited by Professor Charles R. Lehman of Harvard university, and published by that university in 1903. See memorial sketch of Dr. Whitney by Thomas D. Seymour (1894). He died in New Haven, Conn., June 7, 1894.

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