Sunday, September 17, 2023

Earth Scientists Buried at Fairview Cemetery

Last Friday, I attended a fundraiser at Fairview Cemetery in New Albany, Indiana, USA presented by the Friends of Fairview called Stories Behind The Stones A Tour of Historic Fairview Cemetery. This year's topic was "Fairview's Honored Veterans" Part II. This tour covered 4 veterans for World War I & II, Korea Conflict, and Vietnam. Next year with be 14th Annual Event, September 20-21, 2024 and the tops is "Fairview's Magnificent Ladies".

Similar to my earlier post about the scientists at Cave Hill Cemetery, it seemed like a good time to highlight burials at this New Albany cemetery. My research so far as revealed 3 scientists buried at the Fairview Cemetery and another nearby.

Dr. Asahel Clapp (1792-1862)

Asahel Clapp was born in Vermont in October 5, 1792. He trained under Dr. Benjamin Chandler of St. Albans, Vermont and did not graduate from a medical school. In 1817, he traveled to New Albany, Indiana and stayed with one of the founding brothers of the town Joel Scribner (?-1823). A few years later on September 30, 1819, he married Joel's 17 year old daughter, Mary Lucinda Scribner (1802-1821) who died not long after. In 1822, he married the widow of Nathaniel Scribner (?-1818) an Elizabeth Edwards Scribner (1792-1872).

Dr. Clapp built one of the first brick houses in New Albany and located it on Main Street. The household was in the upper levels while is practice was on the first floor. The first lodge of the fraternity of Free Masons, known as Ziff lodge, No. 8 was organized by Dr. Clapp on September 14, 1818. He was chosen as the first worshipful master. 1820 he was elected president of the Medical Society of Indiana. Also this year he was the first fire chief of the 1st volunteer New Albany Fire Company.

 His diary was kept continuously from April 1819 till a few days before his death in December of 1862. Each entry is started with a weather report, thermometer & barometer reading. As result the U.S. National Weather Service in Louisville, Kentucky incorporated his weather data into their reference data for the years 1819-1862. He was known international for his fossil collecting and had direct contact with  Dr. David Dale Owen (1807-1860), Professor Benjamin Silliman (1779-1864), Albert Koch (1804-1862), and  Charles Lyell (1797-1875).

Asahel Clapp died at his home on Main Street in New Albany, Indiana on the morning of December 17, 1862 after a brief illness. He was buried a Fairview Cemetery in New Albany. Karl Rominger named a species of coral fossil after him called Michelinia clappi. It is not clear where his mineral or fossil collections ended up. Plat 4, Range 4 Lot 11 Grave 3

His son William who he helped train as a doctor, took over his practice and served during the American Civil War with Indiana 38th as a surgeon. He continued to be a doctor for the New Albany area until his death in 1900.

2024 UPDATE: Researcher Michael Homoya was kind enough to let me know that the picture I had posted as Dr. Asahel Clapp is really that of Asa Clapp (1762-1848) who was Portland, Maine's wealthiest landowner in the early 1800s. The circa 1825 painting is by Boston artist Thomas Badger (1792-1868). Learn more at Asa Clapp, Portland, ca. 1825 - Maine Memory Network. Michael Homoya wrote the 1991 article for Outdoor Indiana entitled "Indiana's First Resident Botanist: The Contributions of Dr. Asahel Clapp". June-2024 this image has been replaced.

William W. Borden (1823-1906) 

William Wallace Borden was born on August 23, 1823 in New Providence, Indiana, USA. Growing up in rural southern Indiana farming community, William became interested in fossils in 1862 after Dr. Reid of Salem showed him some crinoid stems and explained how they came about as fossils. This exchange sparked his lifelong study of fossils. His knowledge of geology allowed him to assist Official Geologist of the State, Professor Cox, in 1870s survey some southern Indiana counties. Using this knowledge, he became a member of a mining firm of Borden, Tabor, & Company and a made a large fortune mining in Colorado. One of his partners in this operation was Marshal Field of Chicago who the famous museum there is named after. He sold his mining interests in 1879 and returned to Indiana to use his wealth to help educate those in the local community.

He founded The Borden Institute in 1884 to educate the children of the farm community he grew up in called New Providence (later renamed in honor of him to Borden). Professor Borden also created The Borden Museum. It housed silver and minerals acquired from mines in Leadville, Colorado in 1878 & 1879 where he made his fortune. He bought the Dr. Knapp (of Louisville, Kentucky) Silurian & Devonian Period collection of fossils in 1886. It was a collection built up over 30 years by Dr. Knapp of corals & crinoids found in Beargrass Creek, Kentucky and Falls of the Ohio. He also bought quite a few fossils and artifacts from George K Greene (described below). The fossil above is a Bordenia knappi horn coral with the genus named after him.

After William Wallace Borden died in 1906, the Borden Institute was closed and in 1983 the building was razed after being declared a fire hazard. The museum [Mrs. George W. Robb] donated the fossil collection to the Field Museum in Chicago in 1923. It was estimated to be a 30,000 piece specimen collection.

George K. Greene (1833-1917)

George Kennard Greene was born November 18, 1833 in Columbus, Indiana to Captain George Greene (1802-1877) and Eunice R. Parker Greene (1808-1893).  His parents lived in Hancock County, Kentucky and George K. went to public schools there. He was also tutored in Latin and science privately. As a 13 year old boy, his family was visited by the German paleontologist and showman/entrepreneur Albrecht C. Koch (1804-1867) and his wife who were collecting fossil specimens for a French college. He was hired by Mr. Koch to assist Mrs. Koch on their geological journeys where he learned more about becoming a geologist and fossil dealer. When he was 19, the Kochs settled in Golconda, Illinois where they had lead mines.

After the American Civil War, George opened a  fossil shop in Jeffersonville, Indiana and later moved to Louisville and then Indianapolis. In 1879-1883 he was assistant Indiana state geologist under Professor John Collett where he labeled and classified fossils at State Museum and the Indiana University (IU) geological collection in Bloomington. He sold one-half of his personal collection to IU in 1878 and the other half to the Indiana State Museum in 1882. During the Chicago World's Fair (World's Columbian Exposition) in 1893 he ran his shop there. He ran a fossil shop in New Albany where he sold fossils to Yale, Harvard, and Cambridge, England universities. Greene sold quite a few fossils and artifacts to William Borden who is mentioned above.

Greene left his mark on Louisville's natural history knowledge by publishing Contribution to Indiana Palaeontology Volume I Part I to XX from February 1898 to September 1904 which described and imaged 164 species of local coral fossils. A number of fossil species are named after him including a charophyte fossil (shown above) Moellerina greenei (Ulrich).

He died on August 19, 1917 and is buried in an unmarked grave in Fairview Cemetery next to his second wife who died in 1910 (also in unmarked grave). His son, Newton Greene sold his estimated 400,000+ fossil collection to the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City for $5,500. The collection today is at the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History where it was sent in 1960. Note: I Photoshoped a tombstone for him in the above picture, in reality it is just a flat grass plot with no markers. Plat 12, Range 2 Lot 23 Grave 1

 Dr. John H. Lemon (1844-1935)

So technically, Dr. Lemon is buried in U.S. National Cemetery in New Albany but his wife and daughter are buried in Fairview. I will include him with this group. 

In 1887, Dr. Lemon sent the Smithsonian some charophyte fossils found at the Falls of the Ohio. F. H. Knowlton named the fossil after him in 1889 calling it Calcisphaera lemoni. George Greene named two fossils after Dr. Lemon, a horn coral called Heliophyllum lemoni (Greene, 1904) and a pelecypod Crania? lemoni (Rowley, 1904). Greene noted Dr. Lemon was "an ardent collector and good palaeontologist". Colonel Lucien Beckner had a Pentremites pyriformis blastoid fossil in his collection that was passed to Dr. James Conkin that came from Dr. Lemon. Another fossil from that collection is a Conularia fossil in a nodule that the label says was acquired after the 1937 flood from Dr. Lemon's collection.

It is thought John Herschel Lemon was born in September 1844 (1910 U.S. Census) on a farm near Harrodsburg, Indiana. His family moved to Bloomington, Indiana in 1856, where at age 13 he became a student at Indiana University (IU). The American Civil War interrupted his studies and in May 1862 he became a private in the 54th Indiana Infantry, Company A and later 82nd Indiana Infantry, Company F. They guarded 5000-6000 Confederate POWs at Camp Morton (Indianapolis) and later deployed to western Kentucky.

His interest in paleontology may have inspired by Richard D. Owen (1810-1890) who was boarder at his mother's house in Bloomington, Indiana. Owen was professor on Natural Science at IU for 15 years and served as colonel in the Union Army in the 15th and later 60th Indiana Infantry Regiment and was in charge of POW Camp Morton. His permanent residence was in New Harmony, Indiana.

After the war, John Lemon continued his studies at IU and later studied at University of Michigan. Once he became a doctor he moved to New Albany in 1867 and practiced medicine till the 1930s. He died on July 10, 1935 which at that time he was considered Indiana's longest serving physician.

No comments: