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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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Hilgard, Eugene Woldemar (05 January 1833–08 January 1916), geologist and pedologist, was born in Zweibrücken in the Rhine-Palatinate (then under Bavarian control), the son of Theodor Erasmus Hilgard, chief justice of the provincial court of appeals, and Margarethe Pauli. His family emigrated in 1836 to a farm near Belleville, Illinois, settling amongst a number of cultured German families. Hilgard and his siblings were educated mostly by their father. At an early age he acquired a strong interest in both the sciences and humanities, including, specifically, soils and their chemistry. At age sixteen he was sent to Washington, D.C., for treatment of failing eyesight and chronic malaria. There his brother Theodore introduced him to the scientific community, including ...

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Walter Clay Lowdermilk. Courtesy of the National Archives (114G-90723).

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Lowdermilk, Walter Clay (01 July 1888–06 May 1974), soil scientist, geologist, soil conservation leader, and author, was born Walter Clay Lowdermilk in Liberty, North Carolina, the son of Henry Clay Lowdermilk, a businessman, lumberman, and rancher, and Helen Vashti Lawrence Lowdermilk. The family moved westward to Missouri, to Oklahoma, and finally to Arizona. Walter Lowdermilk graduated from the Park College Academy in Parkville, Missouri, in 1906 and then attended Park College (1908–1910). In 1910 he enrolled at the University of Arizona; after two years there he won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University, where he earned a B.S. degree in forestry (1914); a B.A. degree in geology (1915); and an M.A. degree, granted in abstentia (1922). While at Oxford he had an opportunity to study forestry in Germany. He also served on ...

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Marbut, Curtis Fletcher (19 July 1863–25 August 1935), pedologist and geologist, was born near Verona, Lawrence County, Missouri, the son of Nathan T. Marbut and Jane Browning, farmers. He was educated in rural schools and the Cassville (Missouri) Academy. After teaching school in McDowell, Missouri, he entered the University of Missouri in 1885, completing his B.S. in 1889. He taught at the high school at Bethany, Missouri, for a year and worked for the Missouri Geological Survey from 1890 to 1893. He then entered Harvard to complete an A.M. in 1894. Continuing for another year, he wrote his doctoral thesis on the physiography of the Ozarks under ...