Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/272

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258
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

SKETCH OF GEORGE FREDERICK WRIGHT.

PROF. WRIGHT has come forward within a few years to a foremost position among authorities in geology and the antiquity of man. His studies of glacial action have been thorough, extended, comprehensive, and fruitful of results beyond those of almost any other single observer, and make singularly fitting the curious designation given him by Judge Baldwin, Secretary of the Western Reserve Historical Society, as "the apostle of the Ice Age and Early Man."

George Frederick Wright was born in Whitehall, N. Y., January 22, 1838. His parents were plain people, in moderate circumstances, not exempt from the necessity of labor, who, participating in the sentiment which that institution then represented, sent their son to Oberlin College, five hundred miles away. Thence he was graduated, from the classical course in 1859, and from the Theological Seminary in 1862. While in the Theological Seminary he responded to Lincoln's first call for troops, and enlisted as a private in the Seventh Ohio Volunteers. He served five months, and was then discharged after a severe sickness. During ten years from the fall of 1862 he served as pastor of the First Congregational Church in Bakersfield, Vt., in a parish from which, though it could pay its minister only the most modest of salaries, he was able to send many young men to the denominational colleges. Besides attending to his pastoral duties and engaging actively in revival work in his own church and in the surrounding towns, he entered vigorously into educational movements; started and presided over a vigorous farmers' club; studied the local geology and wrote articles for the country paper on the glacial phenomena of the region; read his Hebrew Bible through; and translated Kant's Critique of Pure Reason and several of Plato's philosophical works. His geological studies led to an acquaintance and correspondence with Prof. Hitchcock.

In 1871 he became pastor of a Congregational church in Andover, Mass., where he enjoyed the friendship of the professors in the Theological Seminary; made the acquaintance of Prof. Asa Gray, of Harvard; and began an active literary career. His eyes were open to the geological phenomena of the region—one of the first questions he asked upon his arrival, of a fellow-minister, relating to that subject. He was told that the country was under the glacial drift, and he soon gave his attention to that. "During his walks and drives he would stop to measure a 'kettle-hole,' or he would push far into the country to follow some gravel ridge. He made constant inquiries of fellow-ministers in other places as to the phenomena of their region. Every book that he could find