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Featherstonhaugh, George William (09 April 1780–27 September 1866), gentleman-farmer, scientist, and diplomat, was born in London, England, the son of George Featherstonhaugh, a manufacturer, and Dorothy Simpson, a shopkeeper. Educated at Stepney House, a private school near Scarborough, Featherstonhaugh spent his youth traveling in Europe and until 1804 was the commercial agent on the Continent for several British import-export firms. After two years working in the London office of Thomas Dickason & Co., Featherstonhaugh moved in 1806 to New York City, where he met Sarah Duane, daughter of a former mayor of New York and owner of a large estate near Schenectady. After their marriage in November 1808, they moved to a country mansion on the estate—now named “Featherston Park”—at Duanesburg, where Featherstonhaugh farmed 2,000 acres, concentrating on sheep and cattle breeding. He and Duane had two sons and two daughters....

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George William Featherstonhaugh. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-114323).

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King, Clarence Rivers (06 January 1842–24 December 1901), geologist and first director of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), geologist and first director of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), was born in Newport, Rhode Island, the son of James Rivers King, a China trader, and Caroline Florence Little. The King family enjoyed comfortable circumstances until the bankruptcy of King & Company in 1857, after which Mrs. King, her husband having died in Amoy, China, in 1848, solved her financial problem through marriage to George S. Howland, the owner of a white lead factory in Brooklyn, New York....

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Clarence King. From U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1050. Courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey.

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Mendenhall, Walter Curran (20 February 1871–02 June 1957), geologist and federal administrator, was born in Marlboro, Stark County, Ohio, the son of William King Mendenhall, a farmer, and Emma Pierce Garrigues, a schoolteacher; both parents were Quakers. Mendenhall lived with his maternal uncle’s family while attending high school in Portland, Oregon. Returning to Ohio, Mendenhall taught at a local school and then entered Ohio Normal (now Ohio Northern) University in Ada. While an undergraduate, he spent his summer months as a teamster-laborer (1892) and a geologic assistant (1894) with a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) field party led by geologist Marius R. Campbell, a family friend and neighbor. After completing a B.Sc. degree in 1895, Mendenhall rejoined Campbell’s team to continue areal mapping and detailed studies of Appalachian coal fields. From 1895 to 1898 Mendenhall, promoted to assistant geologist in 1896, aided Campbell and his other geologists in mapping parts of Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia for the folio ...

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Walter Curran Mendenhall. From U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1050. Courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey.

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Smith, George Otis (22 February 1871–10 January 1944), geologist and federal administrator, was born in Hodgdon, Aroostock County, Maine, the son of Joseph Otis Smith, a Civil War veteran and newspaper publisher, and Emma Mayo. In 1878 Joseph Smith founded the Somerset Independent Reporter...

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George Otis Smith. From U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1050. Courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey.

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Walcott, Charles Doolittle (31 March 1850–09 February 1927), paleontologist, geologist, and administrator, was born in New York Mills, New York, the son of Charles Doolittle Walcott and Mary Lane. As a young schoolboy, Walcott became interested in collecting the local fossils near Utica, New York, and in his early teens he spent several summers at the resort area of Trenton Falls, New York, renowned for its fossils. After graduating from Utica Academy in 1868, he clerked in a hardware store for a year. In 1871, dissatisfied with the business world, Walcott moved to the farm of William Rust in the Trenton Falls area. Walcott assisted with the farm chores, and he and Rust collected fossils for sale; in 1873 the collection was sold to ...

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Charles D. Walcott. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-100094).