JOHN EUGENE DAVIES


From History of Dane County, Wisconsin, publ. by Western Historical Company, Chicago, 1880, page 968-969

JOHN EUGENE DAVIES, A.M., M.D., Professor of Physics in the University of Wisconsin; he was born on the 23d of April 1839, when he was 2 years of age his parents removed from Clarkstown, N.Y., to the city of New York; at the age of 12 he passed, by examination, into what was then the Free Academy, now the College of the City of New York; here he took the modern classical course, in which Latin and French took the place of Greek. In 1855 he came with his parents to Wisconsin, where he continued his studies as best he could, meanwhile teaching school in the winter and doing farm work in the summer; in spring of 1859, he entered the Lawrence University, at Appleton, Wis., doing farm work in the summer; in spring of 1859, he entered Lawrence University, at Appleton, Wis., as a third-term sophomore; he continued two years in the junior class to make up Greek and graduated in summer of 1862, with honor, because of extra attainments in mathematics, and astronomy; he began the study of medicine at solicitation of a physician friend, and with the idea that it would keep him nearer the sciences than either of the other professions; he had studied but a short time when the battle of Pittsburgh Landing was fought, and President Lincoln called for more troops; he joined the army and his experience as a soldier was varied and interesting; he enlisted as a private in the 21st W.V.I., and marched with it to Covington, Ky., and afterward to Louisville, during the approach of Gen. Bragg from Chattanooga; in both these places he served in the trenches, and performed such duties as fell to the lot of a private soldier in time of war; in the retreat of Bragg, he was, without solicitation, put on detail duty by Maj. Gen. Buell, and quartered in one of the hospitals of Louisville; he was afterward appointed Sergeant Major of his regiment, and was in the battles of Chickamauga and Mission Ridge; subsequently he served six months on picket duty, on top of Lookout Mountain, Tennessee; he was with his regiment in all its fighting on the march to Atlanta, Ga., and around the city, and on its backward march to Chattanooga, when Gen. Hood undertook his flank movement upon Nashville, but was beaten back by Thomas; he afterward saw Atlanta burned, and went under Sherman, upon his famous "march to the sea;" he was recommended for promotion and his commission as First Lieutenant arrived after the battle of Bentonville, and the army had entered Goldsboro, N.C.; he marched home with his regiment, by way of Richmond to Washington, having served his three years without a day's furlough; his war record is such as might be expected from a man of his character, who, from love of country only, entered the Union ranks as a private, and, in comparatively humble positions, served his whole time with courage and fidelity. He resumed his medical studies in 1865, at the Chicago Medical College, receiving the degree of Doctor in Medicine in the spring of 1868, but continued his attendance at clinical lectures in Cook County Hospital and Mercy Hospital until end of August, 1868, when he came to Madison, Wis., to enter upon his duties as Professor of Natural History and Chemistry in the University of Wisconsin; in 1875, his office was changed to that of Astronomy and Physics, and in 1879 was made to include Physics only; while in Chicago, he was one year a Professor in Chicago Medical College, and gave lectures on inorganic and organic chemistry and toxicology. He was married in March, 1866, to Miss Anna BURT, of Chicago; they have one child living - Clara May. Their attractive home is on the corner of Carroll and Langdon streets; family are Episcopalians. His strong Union sentiments and army experience make him a decided Republican. Prof. DAVIES is a member of the Wisconsin's Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters, and has been its General Secretary from its organization; the chosen field of Prof. DAVIES is science, but his publications show that letters have not been neglected by him while investigating the laws of nature. The reader is referred to article on literature in this volume for notice of his publications and papers. He is an active co-laborer upon the United States Coast Survey; he has sent to the Superintendent of this organization at Washington, fifty-eight manuscript volumes upon various phases of the survey in different localities in the State of Wisconsin. Through the influence of Prof. DAVIES, the Board of Regents erected a magnetic observatory upon the university grounds; the officers of the survey proposed to furnish all the necessary instruments, and assume the care and cost of superintendence, upon the simple condition that the university would provide the building required for conducting the observations prescribed. The interests of science and State pride dictated prompt acceptance of the proposal. The observatory was constructed under personal direction of an officer of the survey. It was completed in 1876, and for two years was under the general supervision of Prof. DAVIES. His attainments in mathematics are justly recognized as placing him among leading mathematicians of the United States; he reads extensively and reasons closely. In the profession of teacher, to have thoughts is, of course, of the first importance, next to this in value is to express them with readiness and perspicuity. The chief characteristics of Prof. DAVIES' instruction is, his bringing constantly to bear a large amount of scientific information in a ready, clear and interesting manner; he is skilled in use of apparatus; advanced pupils in his department recognize the fact that they have a thoroughly competent leader; he is enthusiastic, accurate and tireless.


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