Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/858

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cess, and with no special knowledge beyond the fundamental principles, the production of a working instrument, which he exhibited at a public lecture.

His ambition was now extending beyond mathematics. Declining offers of a tutorship in that science in Wesleyan University and of continued position in Pennington Seminary, he accepted the chair of Natural Science in Amenia Seminary. Here he gave his first public geological lectures; explored the flora of the vicinity, of which he contributed a catalogue to the regents of the university; observed solar spots; and began a series of meteorological observations.

He removed in 1850 to take charge of an academy at Newbern, Ala. Finding the prospects of the institution not equal to his expectations, he undertook to revive a suspended institution at Eutaw in the same county. Here he began a course of scientific investigations which he had been indefinitely projecting for some time. He communicated to the American Journal of Science notes on the cold of January at Eutaw, and on the aurora borealis of September 29, 1851; opened a correspondence with the Smithsonian Institution, to which he sent collections of plants, alcoholic specimens, and preserved skins, including the new species of fish, Hybopsis Winchelli; and communicated to the American Association in 1853 the first scientific description of the Cretaceous Choctaw Bluff, on the Black Warrior River. In 1853 Prof. Winchell became President of the Masonic University, Selma, Ala., and made a tour of the southern part of the State, to interest the people in the institution. The tour was also a geological one, and took him through a country rich in Cretaceous and Tertiary fossils, where Hippurites encumbered the ground and were burned into lime, and the "precious vertebræ" of Zeuglodon were used for andirons, stiles, and gate-weights. He sent a collection of fishes to the Smithsonian Institution, in acknowledging which Prof. Baird predicted that in not many years he would be called to a big professorship somewhere North or East. "Nine days after these words were penned," says his biographer in the American Geologist, "he was elected to a chair in the University of Michigan." This was in 1853; the professorship was that of Physics and Civil Engineering. He found on taking his chair, in January, 1854, that no good elementary text-books on civil engineering were in existence, and that he had to originate matter and methods. As a branch of physics he attended to the keeping of a complete series of meteorological observations, which, while he held the chair, he reported to the Smithsonian Institution. In the next year he was transferred, in accordance with an understanding that was had when he first went to the university, to the newly created chair of Geology, Zoölogy, and Botany. In a paper