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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor





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John Pitkin Norton

NORTON, John Pitkin, chemist, born in Albany, New York, 19 July, 1822; died in Farmington, Connecticut, 5 September, 1852. He early determined to be a farmer, a choice in which his parents acquiesced with the provision that he should be educated for that occupation, and so, while his summers were devoted to the care of his father's farm in Farmington, the winters were spent in scientific studies in New Haven. In 1844 he went to Edinburgh, where he spent two years in the laboratory of the Agricultural chemical association. While he was in Scotland he prepared several scientific papers, two of which were read before the British association for the advancement of science, and for an essay on oats he received a prize of fifty sovereigns from the Highland agricultural society. On his return to the United States he was made first professor of agricultural chemistry and of vegetable and animal physiology in Yale, to date from 19 August, 1846, but, as the giving of instruction in these branches was deferred for one year, he returned to Europe for the purpose of further study at Utrecht. He entered on the active duties of his chair in the autumn of 1847, and continued there until his death. The large number of students that attended his scientific lectures and those of the younger Silliman led to the ultimate founding of the Yale (now Sheffield) scientific school. Professor Norton delivered numerous addresses before agricultural societies, which were published in pamphlet-form, and contributed papers to the "American Journal of Science." He was a regular contributor to the Albany " Cultivator," and published " Elements of Scientific Agriculture" (Albany, 1850) and "Appendix to Stephen's Book of the Farm," the American appendix to the "Farmer's Guide to Scientific and Practical Agriculture" (2 vols., New York, 1858).--His brother, Charles Ledyard, author, born in Farmington, Connecticut, 11 June, 1837, was graduated at Yale in 1859, and continued his studies in the direction of chemistry until the autumn of 1860. He enlisted as a private in the 7th regiment, New York National guard, in 1861, and served in Maryland. In September, 1862, he was appointed a lieutenant in the 25th Connecticut volunteers and attached to an expedition to the Department of the Gulf under General Nathaniel P. Banks, becoming an aid to General Henry W. Birge. He was promoted captain in February, 1863, and participated in the first Red river campaign and the siege of Port Hudson. In October, 1863, he was assigned to the 29th Connecticut volunteers, and organized that regiment in New Haven, Connecticut He was commissioned colonel of the 78th United States colored troops in December, 1863, and joined his regiment in Louisiania, serving in the Department of the Gulf until the end of the war, mainly in garrison and outpost duty. Colonel Norton was then given command of a wide district in western Louisiana during the early reconstruction period. In November, 1865, he was ordered to New Orleans and charged with the reception and despatch of troops in transit to the north for discharge. He was mustered out of service in January, 1866, and spent a year in cotton-planting in Louisiana and in travel in Europe. On his return he entered journalism in New York city, and was on the staff of the "Christian Union " in 1869-'79, and was managing editor the last three years of that time. In 1881-'4 he was managing editor of the "Continent" magazine. He has since devoted his attention to literature, contributing to magazines on historical and out-of-door topics. He was one of the founders of the New York canoe club, and is the author, with John Habberton of "Canoeing in Kanuckia" (New York, 1878).

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