Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Schweinitz, Lewis David von
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Schweinitz, Lewis David von
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SCHWEINITZ, Lewis David von, botanist, b. in Bethlehem, Pa., 13 Feb., 1780; d. there, 8 Feb., 1834. In 1798 he went to Germany and was educated in the Moravian college and theological seminary, returning in 1812. He filled important ecclesiastical offices at Salem, N. C., and subsequently at Bethlehem. From early boyhood he devoted himself to the study of botany. By his own researches he added more than 1,400 new species to the catalogue of American flora, more than 1,200 being fungi, which had previously been but little studied. He was a member of various learned societies in the United States, Germany, and France. The University of Kiel, in Denmark, conferred upon him the degree of Ph. D. A new genus of plant was named Schweinitzia in his honor, and while a resident of Salem he was elected president of the University of North Carolina, which honor he declined because it involved relinquishing work in the Moravian church. His herbarium, which comprised at the time of his death the largest private collection of plants in the United States, he bequeathed to the Academy of natural sciences at Philadelphia. His principal works are “Conspectus Fungorum Lusatiæ” (Leipsic, 1805); “Synopsis Fungorum Carolina Superioris,” edited by Dr. Schwaegrichen (1818); “Specimen Floræ Americæ Septentrionalis Cryptogamieæ” (Raleigh, 1821); “Monograph of the Linnaean Genus Viola” (1821); “Catalogue of Plants collected in the N. W. Territory by Say” (Philadelphia, 1824); “Monograph of the American Species of the Genus Carex” (New York, 1825); and “Synopsis Fungorum in America Boreali Media Degentium” (Philadelphia, 1832). See a “Memoir of Lewis David von Schweinitz” (Philadelphia, 1835), and a “Sketch of the Life and Scientific Work of L. D. von Schweinitz,” in the “Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society of the University of North Carolina” (Raleigh, 1886). — His son, Emil Adolphus (de Schweinitz), Moravian bishop, b. in Salem, N. C., 26 Oct., 1816; d. there, 3 Nov., 1879, was a graduate both of the American and of the German Moravian theological seminaries. After filling various ecclesiastical offices in Pennsylvania and North Carolina, among them that of principal of the Salem female academy, he was appointed president of the governing board of the southern district of the Moravian church, and consecrated to the episcopacy in 1874. He attended three general synods in succession, at Herrnhut, Saxony, in 1857, 1869, and 1879, and on the last two occasions was constituted one of the vice-presidents of that body. — Another son, Edmund Alexander (de Schweinitz), Moravian bishop, b. in Bethlehem, Pa., 20 March, 1825; d. there, 18 Dec., 1887, was graduated at the theological seminary in his native place, and then continued his studies at the University of Berlin. He began his ministry in 1850 and had charge successively of churches at Lebanon, Philadelphia, Lititz,and Bethlehem. On 28 Aug., 1870, he was consecrated to the episcopacy at Bethlehem, and at his death he was the presiding bishop of the northern district of the Moravian church. In 1871 Columbia conferred upon him the degree of S. T. D. He was appointed a delegate to the general synod that met at Herrnhut, Saxony, in 1857; and the one that convened at the same place in 1879, at which he was present in his official capacity, elected him its president, an honor that was never before conferred upon an American bishop. He originated in 1856 and for ten years edited “The Moravian,” the weekly journal of his church, and from 1867 till 1884 he was president of the theological seminary. Besides various sermons and essays and numerous cyclopaedia articles, he was the author of “The Moravian Manual” (Philadelphia, 1859; 2d enlarged ed., Bethlehem, Pa., 1869); “The Moravian Episcopate” (Bethlehem, 1865; 2d revised ed., London, 1874); “The Life and Times of David Zeisberger, the Western Pioneer and Apostle of the Indians” (Philadelphia. 1870); “Some of the Fathers of the American Moravian Church” (Bethlehem, 1881); and “The History of the Church known as the Unitas Fratrum” (1885), on the second series of which work, comprising the “History of the Renewed Unitas Fratrum,” he was engaged at the time of his death.