MERCER COUNTY SCIENTIFIC AND HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
This society was organized in Aledo February 19, 1878, under the name of Mercer County Scientific Association. At this meeting were present Tyler McWhorter, W. J. Pepper, J. H. Connell, I. N. Bassett, J. V. Frazier and W. A. Marsh. Mr. McWhorter presided, and Mr. Connell served as secretary. A constitution and by laws were adopted; a number of invitations issued to others to attend the next meeting, and adjourned to March 5, 1878, to which time election of officers was postponed.
The objects and purposes of this organization may be briefly stated as follows:
Different individuals of our county were more or less interested in scientific investigation, but were isolated from each other, and had few opportunities for interviews, or to profit by each other's study, or line of thought.
The native flora and fauna of our county ; the carboniferous fossils, in connection with our seams of coal; the implements and relics found in connection with the numerous ancient mounds in various parts of the county; these, and other kindred subjects had elicited the attention of many of our citizens. Already many private collections of scientific interest had been made by different individuals of the county, and it was thought that persons whose minds are directed to scientific investigation should associate themselves together, so as to have an interchange of ideas, and enjoy the advantages of each other's research. It was believed that, with such an organization, a more general interest might be elicited to investigate and attain to a higher comprehension of nature.
While we have social organizations, with large expenditures, in support of our various churches, it would seem that we should also have some organizations to encourage thought and stimulate investigation in those important questions of science that are so directly related to the progress of the present age. It was for these reasons that many of our citizens felt that many advantages might be enjoyed by banding themselves together in such a society. Another purpose of the society was to make up a cabinet, or scientific collection, of such specimens relating to the natural sciences as might be contributed by its members, or others.
The meetings of the society are held quarterly, on the first Tuesday of March, June, September and December of each year.
On March 5, 1878, the adjourned meeting was held, and ten names were added to the roll of members. Organization was completed by the election of the following officers: president, Dr. J. V. Frazier, of Viola; vice president, L.N.. Bassett, Esq., of Aledo; secretary, J. H. Connell, of Aledo; treasurer, W. J. Pepper, of Keithsburg; trustees, six years, Tyler McWhorter, Aledo; four years, W. J. Pepper, Keithsburg ; two years, J. C. Pepper, Aledo.
The presidents of the society to date, each holding one year, are as follows: Dr. J. Y. Frazier, Yiola; L.N.. Bassett, Aledo; E. L. Larkin, New Windsor; Tyler McWhorter, Aledo; and John Geiger, now serving in that capacity.
James H. Connell was elected secretary at the first meeting, and was reelected annually until March, 1882, when Alex. McArthur was elected.
The cabinet of the society is very interesting, and includes several hundred specimens—geological, fossil, mineral, etc. The largest donations were made by the following persons: geological, etc., by Tyler McWhorter; shells, by W. A.. Marsh; mineral, etc., by J. H. Connell; miscellaneous, by J. C. Pepper and W. J. Pepper; birds, by W. B. OCrapnell.
The following papers have been read before the association: Climatic Changes and their Resultant Periods, Dr. J. V. Frazier; Metric System of Weights and Measures, J. R. Wylie; The Domain of Scientific Investigation and Thought, I. N. Bassett; The Mississippi River: Its Geological History, Tyler McWhorter; Future Punishment; from Ethnical Scripture, E. L. Larkin; Probable Origin of Life on the Globe, John Geiger; Shall we impoverish the Fertility of the Earth, T. McWhorter; Utility of the Stars, W. J. Pepper; Antiquity of Man, T. McWhorter; Crystalography, J. R. Wylie; Electricity, R. H. Spicer, Sr.; Conchology, W. A. Marsh; Inclination of the Earth's Axis, T. McWhorter; Force, E. L. Larkin; Flesh Eating, John Geiger; Flesh Eating, Joseph McCoy; Population and its Distribution, C. Y. Shove; Motion, E. L. Larkin; The Birds and Animals we are Losing and Gaming, W. B. Crapnell; Hygiene of Soil Waters. Dr. J. V. Frazier ; Embryology, J. R. Wylie; Axial Rotation, John Geiger
People of North America, E. L. Larkin; Biology, T. McWhorter; The Surface or Economic of our Prairies, Graham Lee; Imperfections of Human Knowledge, Tyler McWhorter ; The Planet Venus. J. C. Pepper; The Coming Man, Tyler McWhorter; Conscience Man's True Guide, J. Geiger; Progress in Science, I.N. Bassett; Some Observations on the Rocky Mountains. J. H. Connell; Silver Coinage, John Geiger; Protoplasm and life, I.N.. Bassett; Scientific Instruments. E. L. Larkin ; Improved Socialism, John Geiger; Changes of Organic Life with the Advance of Civilization, Tyler McWhorter.
In December, 1879, the name was changed to the "Mercer County 'Scientific and Historical Society," the object being to gather up notes on the history of Mercer county. John Geiger, I. N. Bassett, Graham Lee and C. S. Richey were appointed a committee to receive all that had been prepared. May 1, 1880, the committee reported that they had received a considerable amount of historic matter from different sources, which was given into, the custody of the society. In 1882 the society turned all papers in their hands over to Prof. H. H. Hill, to be embodied in this book.
The membership roll contained the following names: Tyler McWhorter, Aledo; J. V. Frazier, Viola; W. A. Marsh, Millersburg tp.; I. N. Bassett, Aledo; W. J. Pepper, Millersburg tp.; J. H. Connell, now of Pueblo, Col.; J. C. Pepper, J. R. Wylie. Aledo; E. L. LarMn, New Windsor; W. B. Crapnell, New Boston tp. (died 1881); C. A. Ballard, New Boston; W. C. Galloway, Joseph McCoy, John Geiger, Aledo; John B. Holland, Keithsburg; Thos. Shaver, Tennessee Rolling Mills, Ky.; Geo. P. Graham, Paola, Kan.; F. D. Rathbun, New Windsor; T.H. Spicer, Sr., Viola; C. F. Durston, J. M. Wilson, W. A. Lorimer, B. F. Brock, Alex. Stephens, D. T. Hindman, Horace Bigelow, L. B. Morey, Alex. McArthur, Aledo; C. S. Orth, William Griffin (died 1882), E. L. Marshall, Keithsburg; C. Y. Shove, E. L. McKinnie, G. L. F. Robinson, Viola; L. C. Gilmore, E. B. David, Miss A. E. Frazier, B. C. Taliaferro, D. R. Johnston, Aledo; P. F. Warner, Havana, Bis.; Graham Lee, Hamlet; C. H. Gran, Alpha,. Henry county; J. F. McCutcheon, Norwood; A. P. Willits, T. B. Cabeen, Keithsburg. Honorary member: Lieut. F. S. Bassett, U. S. Navy.
Such is the history, objects and membership of this society, which has already accomplished a work of which its members may feel proud, and has but laid the foundation of a grand and most commendable effort in the advancement of scientific research. And from the progressive character of the men composing its membership we may safely predict for the society a glorious future, and a name that will be known wherever science is made a special study.
History of Mercer and Henderson County
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