Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Davis, Edwin Hamilton

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DAVIS, Edwin Hamilton, archaeologist, b. in Ross county, Ohio, 22 Jan., 1811; d. in New York city, 15 May, 1888. He was graduated at Cincinnati medical college in 1838. He practised in Chillicothe till 1850, when he was called to the chair of materia medica and therapeutics in the New York medical college. Dr. Davis was one of the conductors of the “American Medical Monthly.” He gave much attention to the subject of American antiquities, aided Charles Whittlesey in explorations of ancient mounds in 1836, and from 1845 till 1847, assisted by Ephraim G. Squier, he surveyed nearly one hundred groups of aboriginal earth-works, and opened two hundred mounds at his own expense. He gathered the largest collection of mound-relics that has been made in this country, which now forms part of the collection of Blackmore's museum in Salisbury, England. A second collection of duplicates, with the results of subsequent collecting, is now in the possession of the American museum of natural history, New York. The results of his extensive explorations are embodied in “Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley,” which formed the first volume of the Smithsonian contributions to knowledge (1848). This work was characterized by the distinguished Swiss archaeologist, A. Morlot, in a paper before the American philosophical society in 1862, as being “as glorious a monument of American science as Bunker Hill is of American bravery.” During the spring of 1854 Dr. Davis delivered a course of lectures on archaeology before the Lowell institute in Boston, which were repeated in Brooklyn and New York. — His son, John Woodbridge, civil engineer, b. in New York city, 19 Aug., 1854, after some experience in connection with railroad surveying parties, was graduated with the degree of C. E. at Columbia college school of mines in 1878. While an undergraduate he published “Formulæ for the Calculation of Railroad Earthwork and Average Haul” (New York, 1876), which, within a year after its publication, was adopted as a text-book in six engineering schools in the United States. During 1879 he published in “Van Nostrand's Engineering Magazine” a series of mathematical papers devoted to original solutions of engineering calculations. The material of these articles has since been incorporated into the text-books on engineering, mechanics, and mathematics. His method for calculating land surveys has been introduced in the principal treatises on that subject, and is now used in lieu of older methods for determining areas of land. For several years after graduation he was professionally occupied, and then established and became principal of the Woodbridge school in New York city, which has for its special purpose the preparing of students for technical schools. — Joseph Slocum, brother of Edwin Hamilton, lawyer, b. in Pickaway county, Ohio, 21 Nov., 1812; d. in Mount Vernon, Ohio, 21 Dec., 1884. He was graduated at Kenyon in 1835, and, after studying at the Cincinnati law school, was admitted to the bar in 1837. Mr. Davis settled in Mount Vernon, and there practised his profession in connection with Columbus Delano. He was twice elected judge, and held other offices, both national and local. He was mayor of Mount Vernon for several terms, and paymaster in the U. S. army during 1864-'5. — Werter Renick, another brother, clergyman, b. in Circleville, Ohio, 1 April, 1815, was educated at Kenyon college, and received the degree of M. D. from the College of medicine and surgery in Cincinnati. Subsequently he became a minister in the Methodist church, and entered the Ohio conference in 1835. He then filled various pastorates in West Virginia and Ohio until 1853, when he was transferred to the Missouri conference and stationed at St. Louis. In 1854 he became professor of natural sciences in McKendree college, where he remained until 1858, acting as president during his last year at that institution. He was then elected president of Baker university, but afterward resigned, and for fourteen consecutive years was appointed to a presiding eldership. During the civil war he went to the front as chaplain of the 12th Kansas infantry, and then was commissioned lieutenant-colonel to raise and organize the 16th Kansas cavalry in 1862, of which he became colonel, and continued in command of that regiment until the close of the war. Dr. Davis was a member of the first state legislature of Kansas, and also held the office of superintendent of public instruction in Douglas county. He was a member of the general conferences of 1868, 1872, and 1880, and a delegate to the (Ecumenical Methodist conference in London, and to the Centennial conference held in Baltimore, Md., in 1884. He edited, in 1859, “The Kansas Message,” the first paper published in Baldwin City, and has published several sermons.