Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Clark, William Smith

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Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography
Clark, William Smith
Edition of 1900. See also William S. Clark on Wikipedia, and our Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography disclaimer. Mt. Tieni is now known as Mt. Teine.

CLARK, William Smith, educator, b. in Ashfield, Mass., 31 July, 1826; d. in Amherst, 9 March, 1886. He received his early education at Williston seminary, and was graduated at Amherst in 1848. For two years he taught the natural sciences at Williston seminary, after which he spent two years abroad studying chemistry and botany at Göttingen, where, in 1852, he received the degree of Ph. D. On his return to the United States, in 1852, he was elected to the chair of analytical and applied chemistry, and from 1854 till 1858 was professor of chemistry, botany, and zoölogy. From 1858 till 1867 he filled the chair of chemistry alone. He was commissioned major in the 21st Massachusetts infantry in August, 1861, became colonel in May, 1862, and was recommended by Gen. Burnside for a well-deserved promotion as brigadier-general. Col. Clark participated in the battles of Roanoke Island, Newbern, Camden, N. C., the second Bull Run, Chantilly, Antietam, and Fredericksburg. In 1867 he was elected to the presidency of the Massachusetts agricultural college. This office, with the chair of botany and horticulture, he held until 1879, except during 1876-'7, when he was in Japan, where he had been invited to establish and organize the Imperial college of agriculture at Sapporo. During his stay in Japan he examined the flora of that country, and was the means of introducing new species of shade-trees into the United States. He also sent to Massachusetts a large assortment of seeds, many of which proved of special value to his own state, on account of the high latitude from which they were selected. He discovered a new lichen on the side of Mt. Tieni, at an elevation of 3,200 feet, which was named Cetraria Clarkii, in his honor, by Prof. Edward Tuckerman. Subsequent to his resignation from the agricultural college he became interested in a scientific floating college, projected by Mr. Woodruff, whose sudden death caused the abandonment of the scheme. After this Prof. Clark resided in Amherst until his death, partly occupied with mining operations. From 1859 till 1861 he was a member of the Massachusetts state board of agriculture, and a member ex officio from 1876 till 1879. He was one of the commission of three, appointed by Gov. Andrew in 1863, to consider the expediency of establishing a state military academy. He was a presidential elector in 1864, and a representative to the Massachusetts legislature in 1864-'5 and 1867. He was a fellow of the American academy of arts and sciences, and also a member of other scientific societies. His published papers include “Ueber Chlormagnesium-Ammoniak” (1851); “Analyse des Steinmarks aus dem Sächsischen Topasfels” (1851); and “Analysen von Meteoreisen” (1852), which appeared in “Liebig's Annalen”; and also the following papers contributed to the annual reports of the Massachusetts state board of agriculture: “Report on Horses” (1859-60); “Professional Education the Present Want of Agriculture,” “ The Work and the Wants of the Agricultural College” (1868); “The Cultivation of the Cereals” (1868); “Nature's Mode of Distributing Plants” (1870); “The Relations of Botany to Agriculture” (1872); “The Circulation of Sap in Plants” (1873); “Observations on the Phenomena of Plant-Life” (1874); and “Agriculture in Japan” (1878). In 1869 he translated, for use in the Agricultural college, Scheerer's “Blow-pipe Manual.”