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SILLIMAN, Benjamin [1779-1864] -- American scientist

Relationship to me: 4C6 (by marriage)
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He was born in North Stratford, Conn., Aug. 8, 1779; son of Gold Selleck Silliman and Mary Fish (Noyes) Silliman. He was graduated at Yale, A.B., 1796, A.M., 1799; studied law with Simeon Baldwin: 1798-99; was a tutor at Yale, 1799-1802, and in 1802 was admitted to the bar, but in that year President Dwight, of Yale, proposed that he fit himself in chemistry and natural history and, as soon as he was prepared, that he accept a new chair at Yale.

He studied chemistry with Prof. James Woodhouse at Philadelphia and in 1804 delivered his first lectures in chemistry. In 1805, he went abroad to study a year at Edinburgh and to buy books and apparatus. On his return, he studied the geology of New Haven, and in 1807 he examined the meteor that fell near Weston, Conn., making a chemical analysis of fragments, this report being the first scientific account of any American meteor. He delivered his first course of public lectures at New Haven in 1808, and in 1811, while experimenting with the oxy-hydric blow-pipe, he reduced many minerals that previously had been considered elements. He examined one hundred coal mines in the Wyoming Valley in 1830; in 1834 delivered lectures in Hartford, Conn., and Lowell, Mass., and later in all the large American cities, delivering the first Lowell Institute lecture in Boston, 1838. He was made professor emeritus at Yale in 1853, but for two years continued his lectures on geology.

He was a vigorous opponent of slavery and a supporter of Lincoln's administration. He was the first president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and in 1863 was appointed by congress one of the corporate members of the National Academy of Sciences. He founded and for many years edited the "American Journal of Science". The degree of M.D. was conferred upon him by Bowdoin in 1818 and that of LL.D. by Middlebury in 1826.

He edited "Elements of Chemistry" by William Henry and "Introduction to Geology" by Robert Blakewell, and wrote "Journals of Travels in England, Holland and Scotland" (1810); "A Short Tour between Hartford and Quebec" (1820); "Elements of Chemistry" in the Order of lectures given at Yale College (1831); "Consistency of Discoveries of Modern Geology with the Sacred History of the Creation and the Deluge" (1867) and "Narrative of a visit In Europe in 1851" (1853).

He was twice married: Sept. 17, 1809, to Harriet, daughter of Governor Jonathan Trumbull, and in 1851 to Mrs. Sarah Isabella Webb, daughter of John McClellan of Woodstock, Conn. Harriet Trumbull bore him one son, Benjamin, and three daughters, one of whom married Prof. Oliver P. Hubbard, and another, Harriet Francis, married Prof. James D. Dana. Professor Silliman died in New Haven, Conn., Nov. 24, 1864. BDNA  -30-
 

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