Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/856

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at Louisville, Kentucky. Here his attention was drawn to the study of the luxuriant flora of that favored region, and he began a collection of plants which grew till it numbered about eight thousand species. He also collected the river-shells of the region, and sent several new species to Isaac Lea, of Philadelphia. His first scientific paper was produced in connection with his work here, and was "a Notice of the Louisville and Shipping sport Canal, and of the Geology of the Vicinity," illustrated with plans, geological sections, and a map, and remarkable for containing the first published notice of the occurrence of petroleum in the cavities of limestone rocks. He was next engaged on the Ohio Canal, at Portsmouth, and published in 1832, in the "American Journal of Science," where his former paper had appeared, a second article on the "Geology of Ohio." In the next year he was appointed Secretary of the Ohio State Board of Canal Commissioners, and removed to Columbus, where he continued his scientific studies under the stimulus of improved opportunities; figured as an officer and active member of the Historical and Philosophical Society of Ohio; and served as a member of a committee appointed by the Legislature to investigate and report upon the subject of a geological survey of the State.

In 1836 he removed to Milwaukee, then in the Territory of Michigan, now in the State of Wisconsin, where, or in the neighborhood, he spent the rest of his life, and where he was identified with the birth and development of the scientific interests of the Territory and State. It was his privilege here to play an important part in the institution of security and the settlement of land-titles, the effects of which were undoubtedly felt in the peaceful settlement of the country and the establishment of its society. New-comers found the Territory as yet unorganized, and without any provisions for the purchase or pre-emption of the public lands. Conflicts might easily arise, and the best claims could have no legal title to rest upon. The settlers agreed upon the course they would pursue, and appointed Mr. Lapham a register of claims, to take charge of the records of all entries of land and transfers. Under this system farm improvements were made in confidence, and, when the land-offices were established, the register's records were recognized and acted upon as authentic evidences of pre-emption right. Mr. Lapham performed this service gratuitously.

Mr. Lapham's life was henceforth spent between the conduct of a business that secured him a competency without superabundant wealth, and the scientific study of all that related, or could be of interest to, the Territory and State. In 1838 he printed a catalogue of the plants and shells found in the vicinity of Milwaukee; and in 1844 he published a comprehensive work on Wisconsin which served for a long time as a standard manual of the character and resources of the State and a guide to immigrants. A treatise on the grasses of Wisconsin and the adjacent States, which was published in the first volume of the