Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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COTTING, John Ruggles, scientist, born in Acton, Massachusetts, in 1783; died in Milledgeville, Georgia, 13 October, 1867. He was educated at Harvard and at Dartmouth medical school, and was ordained as a Congregational minister about 1810. He then devoted himself to the study of chemistry and the allied sciences, and during the war of 1812 was employed by a Boston firm to manufacture chemical compounds never before made in this country. After holding several professorships of chemistry, he removed, in 1835, to Augusta, Georgia, having been induced by cotton-planters of that state to make an agricultural and geological survey of Burke and Richland counties. His report, published in 1836, contains valuable analyses of cotton lands and a table of fifty-seven genera of fossils. He afterward entered on a similar survey of the whole state, but it was suspended in 1837 from lack of financial support, and the fine collection of plants, minerals, and fossils that he had made were distributed among various Colleges. The maps of the survey were finely executed, and the emperor of Russia requested copies for the Royal library at St. Petersburg. Dr. Cotting published an "Introduction to Chemistry," used for several years at Harvard (Boston, 1822), " Synopsis of Lectures on Geology" (Trenton, New Jersey, 1825), and a work on "Soils and Manures."
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