Bigsby, John Jeremiah (DNB00)

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BIGSBY, JOHN JEREMIAH (1792–1881), geologist, born at Nottingham 14 Aug. 1792, was the son of Dr. John Bigsby. He studied medicine at Edinburgh, where he took the degree of M.D. in 1814, and published a 'Disputatio de vi arsenici vitiosa.' Soon afterwards he joined the army as a medical officer, and served at the Cape in 1817. In the following year he was sent to Canada, where he chiefly developed his interest in geology. In 1819 he was commissioned to report on the geology of Upper Canada, In 1822 he became British secretary and medical officer of the Canadian boundary commission. Five years later he returned to England, and practised medicine at Newark, Nottinghamshire. There he remained until 1846, when he permanently settled in London. He was elected a fellow of the Geological Society in 1823, and of the Royal Society in 1869. In 1874 the former society presented him with the Murchison medal. In 1877 he presented to the Geological Society a sum of money to provide for a gold medal to be called after him, and to be awarded biennially to students of American geology under forty-five years of age. He died at Gloucester Place, London, 10 Feb. 1881.

Bigsby was the author of: 1. 'A Lecture on Mendicity,' Worksop, 1836. 2. 'Seaside Manual of Invalids and Bathers,' 1841. 3. 'The Shoe and Canoe,' 1850; a narrative of travel in Canada. 4. 'Thesaurus Siluricus: the flora and fauna of the Silurian period, with addenda from recent acquisitions;' a very laborious compilation, published with the aid of a Royal Society grant in 1868. 5. 'Thesaurus Devonico-Carboniferus: the flora and fauna of the Devonian and Carboniferous periods,' 1878. Bigsby had nearly completed a 'Permian Thesaurus' at the time of his death. The Royal Society's Catalogue of Scientific Papers' (1800-73) gives the names of twenty-seven by Bigsby, almost all treating of American geology. His earliest paper, 'Remarks on the Environs of Carthage Bridge, near the mouth of the Genesee River,' appeared in Silliman's 'American Journal' for 1820. His later papers were contributed to the 'Geological Society's Transactions,' to the 'Philosophical Magazine,' and to the 'Annals and Magazine of Natural History.'

[Memoir by Mr. Robert Etheridge, F.R.S., in Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, xxxvii. 41; Cat. of Scientific Papers, vols. i. vii.; Brit. Mus. Cat.]