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Clarence Edward Dutton. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-37906).


Dutton, Clarence Edward (15 May 1841–04 January 1912), geologist and soldier, was born in Wallingford, Connecticut, the son of Samuel Dutton (occupation unknown) and Emily Curtis. Little is known of Dutton’s youth. He graduated from Yale in 1860 without distinction, although he rowed crew, won the senior writing prize, and established credentials as a mathematician and a raconteur. He later spent two weeks at Yale’s theology school until, in his words, he left before he was thrown out. In September 1862 he joined the Twenty-first Connecticut Volunteers as adjutant. A year later he earned a captaincy and, after passing exams, transferred to the regular army in 1864. Soon afterward he married Emeline C. Babcock of New Haven; they had one child, a son. The Ordnance Corps remained his career despite “pretty rough service,” including serious wounds received at Fredericksburg. His postwar assignment to the Watervliet Arsenal near Troy, New York, however, launched his second, better-known career as a geologist....