Archive:20th Century Biographical Dictionary, Volume 4

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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. Volume IV: Ericsson--Gwin.

FELTON, Cornelius Conway, educator, was born in West Newbury, Mass., Nov. 6, 1807; son of Cornelius Conway and Anna (Morse) Felton; grandson of Thomas and Martha (Conway) Felton; and great, great, great, great-grandson of Lieut. Nathaniel Felton, who came from Yarmouth, England, was married to Mary, daughter of the Rev. Samuel Skelton, and settled in Salem, Mass., in 1633. During his college course at Harvard, Cornelius partially supported himself by teaching in Boston, Concord and at Round Hill school, Northampton. He was a conductor of the Harvard Register in his senior year and was graduated in 1827. He taught at Geneseo, N.Y., 1827-29; was Latin tutor at Harvard, 1829; Greek tutor, 1830-32; university professor of Greek, 1832-34; Eliot professor of Greek literature, 1834-60; faculty regent, 1849-57, and president of the institution from Feb. 16, 1860, to Feb. 26, 1862. He spent five months of 1853-54 in Greece, where he made a study of ancient art and language, and of the modern Greeks, by whom he became known as the "American professor." He was married in 1838 to Mary, daughter of Asa Whitney. She died in 1845 and he was married in 1846 to Mary Louisa, daughter of Thomas Greaves and Mary (Perkins) Cary of Boston. He was a regent of the Smithsonian institution, 1856-62, a member of the Massachusetts board of education and of the Massachusetts historical society; fellow of the American academy of arts and sciences, and corresponding member of the Archaeological society of Athens, Greece. He received the degree of LL.D. from Amherst in 1848 and from Yale in 1860. He published Greek text-books, including an edition of Homer, with Flaxman's illustrations (1833) which was revised and reissued periodically for many years. He translated Menzel's German Literature (3 vols., 1840); Classical Studies (1843); Guyot's The Earth and Man (1849); Slections from Prof. Popkin with Memoir (1852); wrote Life of William Eaton for Sparks's American Biographies (1853); and prepared a revised edition of Smith's History of Greece (1855); and Selections from Modern Greek Writers (1856). His Familiar Letters from Europe was published posthumously (1864); and Greek, Ancient and Modern, lectures before the Lowell institute, Boston, (1867), While en route for Washington to attend a meeting of the regents of the Smithsonian institution, he died in Chester, Pa., Feb. 26, 1862.

FIELD, Caroline Leslie, author, was born in Milton, Mass., Nov. 10, 1853; daughter of Seth D. and Adeline Dutton (Train) Whitney; granddaughter of Moses and Rebecca (Dunbar) Whitney and of Enoch and Adeline (Dutton) Train; and a descendant of John and Elinor Whitney of Watertown, Mass. She was educated at Milton, chiefly at home, and was married to James Alfred Field Oct. 13, 1875. She resided in New Jersey and at Guilford, Conn., for several years, and in 1893 removed to Millton, Mass. She is the author of: High Lights (1885); The Unseen King, and Other Verses (1887); Nannie's Happy Childhood (1899).

FOSTER, John Wells, geologist, was born in Brimfield, Mass., March 4, 1815. He completed a scientific course at Wesleyan university in 1834 and was admitted to the bar in 1835, practising at Gainesville, Ohio, 1835-37. He assisted William Williams Mather in the geological survey of Ohio, 1837-44; investigated the copper mines of the Lake Superior region in behalf of various mining companies in 1845-46, and with Josiah Dwight Whitney assisted Charles J. Jackson in a government survey of the region, 1847-49. He was a resident of Massachusetts, 1844-58, and in 1854 was the unsuccessful candidate of the Republican party for representative from the 10th Massachusetts district to the 34th congress. He removed to Chicago, Ill., in 1858 and was land commissioner for the Illinois central railway. He made extensive archµological surveys in the Mississippi valley, studying mounds and other evidences of prehistoric races. He was a member of the American association for the advancement of science, 1840-73; its president, 1869; president of the Chicago academy of sciences and a member of other learned societies. He received the honorary degree of LL.D. His published works include: Report Upon the Mineral Resources of the Illinois Central Railway (1856); The Mississippi Valley: its Physical Geography, including Sketches of the Topography, Botany, Climate, Geology and Mineral Resources (1869); and Prehistoric Races of the United States of America (1873). He died in Chicago, Ill., June 29, 1873.

GABB, William More, paleontologist, was born in Philadelphia, Pa., Jan. 16, 1839. He attended school in his native city and studied geology in the academy of natural sciences there. He was paleontologist to the topographical, geological and natural history survey of California, under the direction of Prof. Josiah Dwight Whitney, 1862-65, and classified the cretaceous and tertiary fossils found during that survey. In 1868 he was employed by the Santo Domingo land and mining company to survey the island of Santo Domingo, and was engaged there till 1872. He then made a topographical and geological survey of Costa Rica and while on this survey made collections of ethnological and natural history specimens for the Smithsonian institution. He was elected a member of the National academy of sciences and of several other organizations. He contributed to scientific journals and wrote the second volume of Whitney's "Geological Survey of California" (1864), also that part of the first volume, which relates to the cretaceous and tertiary fossils. He published memoirs On the Topography and Geology of Santo Domingo, and On the Topography of Costa Rica; and one on the Ethnology of Costa Rica in the Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, and at the time of his death had in manuscript his report on the geology and paleontology of Costa Rica. He died in Philadelphia, Pa., May 30, 1878.

GAINES, Edmund Pendleton, soldier, was born in Culpeper county, Va., March 20, 1777; son of James Gaines, a captain in the American army during the war for independence and a member of the North Carolina legislature. Edmund was appointed 2d lieutenant in the 6th U.S. infantry, Jan. 10, 1799, and was promoted 1st lieutenant in 1802. He saw service on the southwestern frontier and accomplished the arrest of Aaron Burr for treason, under orders from President Jefferson in 1805. The same year he was collector of the port of Mobile, Ala. He was promoted captain in 1807 and resigned in 1808 to study law, but returned to the army in March, 1812, was commissioned major and promoted lieutenant-colonel in 1813. He was conspicuous at Chrysler's Field. Nov. 11. 1813, in the skill which he displayed in covering the retreat of the American army, for which action he was made adjutant-general with the rank of colonel. On March 9, 1814, he was promoted brigadier general. He was engaged in the defence of Fort Erie, in 1814, was severely wounded and brevetted major-general" for repelling with great slaughter the attack of the British veteran army superior in numbers." Congress presented him with a gold medal and the thanks of the nation. In 1816 he was appointed by President Madison commissioner to arrange a treaty with the Creek Indians. In 1817, while in command of the southern military district, he moved against the Creeks and Seminoles in Georgia and Alabama and his little force was nearly exterminated when he was re-enforced by General Jackson and together they suppressed the troubles and drove the Seminoles into Florida. In 1835 he was again ordered to march against the Seminoles and he was severely wounded at Ouithlacoochie, Fla. At the outbreak of the war with Mexico he called out the Southern militia without orders from the war department and barely escaped censure from a court-martial called to investigate his action. He was married, first to Barbara, daughter of Senator William and Mary (Granger) Blount, who died in 1836, leaving one son, Edmund Pendleton; and secondly, in 1839, to Mrs. Myra (Clark) Whitney, daughter of Daniel Clark, delegate to the 9th and 10th U.S. congresses from Orleans Territory (Louisiana) 1805-09, and widow of W. W. Whitney of New York city. He died in New Orleans, La., June 6, 1849.

GAINES, Myra Clark Whitney, claimant, was born in New Orleans, La., in 1805; daughter of Daniel Clark, a native of Ireland, who emigrated to New Orleans, La., about 1766, and inherited his uncle's property in that city in 1799. He was a delegate to the 9th and 10th congresses from the territory of Orleans, 1805-09. A will dated May 20, 1811, made his mother, Mary Clark, then a resident of Germantown, Pa., his legatee. He died in New Orleans, Aug. 16, 1813. Myra's mother was Zulime des Granges, and two daughters were born to her during the absence of her reputed husband in Europe Myra, one of these children, was brought up in the family of Colonel Davis, a friend of Daniel Clark, and in 1812 went with the Davis family to reside in Philadelphia, where she was known as Myra Davis. In 1830 she discovered among her foster-father's papers letters partly revealing the story of her birth. In 1832 she was married to W. W. Whitney of New York city, who aided her in tracing the history of her ancestry. A letter in the possession of Mr. Davis mentioned a will made by Daniel Clark in 1813 acknowledging the legitimacy of Myra and giving to her his entire estate. In course of time witnesses were procured who proved the existence of a will and the legal marriage of Mr. Clark with Zulime des Granges. The evidence was accepted as the last will of Daniel Clark by the supreme court of Louisiana, and by the testimony the U.S. supreme court established the legitimacy of the legatee. In 1839 Mrs. Whitney, then a widow, was married to Gen. Edmund Pendleton Gaines, U.S.A., and after his death in 1849, she continued to reside in New Orleans. In 1856 she filed a bill in equity in the U.S. supreme court to recover the real estate of her father in possession of the city of New Orleans, valued at $35,000,000, and received a decision in her favor in December, 1867. Up to 1874 she had received possession, by ejectment, of a portion amounting to $6,000,000. The U.S. circuit court of New Orleans recognized the probate of Daniel Clark's will of 1813, and commanded a repeal from the city and other holders of the property to be made to a master in chancery of all incomes therefrom, and deprived them of their titles. An appeal was taken from the master's report by Mrs. Gaines, and in May, 1883, a judgment given her for $2,492,374. In June, an appeal was taken to the U.S. supreme court by Mrs. Gaines. She refused to dispossess the four hundred families occupying lands and holding titles from the city awaiting the collection of the judgment against the city. She had spent her entire fortune in these efforts to gain her acknowledged rights and died awaiting the slow process of the law to right her wrongs. This was done many years after her death, which occurred at New Orleans. La., Jan. 9, 1885.

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