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from his practice. There as at Saginaw he received a valuable contingent. Many of the “Lateinische Bauern” were men of education, rank and means who came here like Rominger owing to their sympathy with free institutions and were able to appreciate a man like Rominger. During all this time he had retained a lively interest in the Natural sciences and developed it according to circumstances. The great variety of shells from the Ohio and its tributaries and the paleontology and geology of other places of residence attracted his interest and by collecting and exchange and the correspondence which went with it he became known in a wider circle as a scientific man.
Upon the reorganization of the Geological Survey of the State in 1869, under Prof. A. Winchell, Dr. Rominger was employed as a paleontologist, and when Prof. Winchell resigned in 1871, Rominger, Brooks and Pumpelly were each kept in charge of their own particular fields and when Brooks had finished his work on the iron country and Pumpelly his on the copper country, Rominger remained in full charge of the Survey. He continued in charge until 1884 and from his pen comes the third part of Volume 1, Volumes III and IV and the first part of Volume V of the state reports. His special interest was paleontology, and his interest in fossils and his zeal in collecting them was unwearied. He was a genuine scientist of the old school, brusque in his manner, with no idea of running the Survey as a bureau, and not always too patient toward those who asked, what seemed to him, foolish questions. His language could be picturesque as his appearance.
I shall never forget the first time I saw him. I was standing on the steps of the wrong house when a dachshund came down the street followed by a bent and grizzled form which I knew at once must be Dr. Rominger. I had no hesitation in leaving the porch and going to the house in which he turned.
All those who have worked over his reports can testify to the conscientious character of his descriptions. Go where he went and you will see what he described. While his primary training and interest was in paleontology, in preparation for his later studies on the copper and iron bearing rocks he made and ground his own thin sections, made his own analyses, and conscientiously tramped up and down the innumerable knobs with which this part of the country is covered.
After his retirement from the State Survey at the ripe age of seventy years, which I am informed was due to the fact that he had announced that the Survey of the State was nearly finished, he remained living quietly at Ann Arbor, studying his collections, and especially the Stromatopora and kindred forms and even after eighty making summer trips for private parties, mainly in the lead and zinc regions and southward, so long as his eyesight permitted.
An interesting story is told by Mr. 0. J. Klotz, how when a friend sent him a package of new trilobites from Mr. Stephens in the Canadian Rockies, his eyes fairly bulged when he opened the parcel and saw the treasures of unknown species; he rushed to his wife, slapped her on the back and said: "Wife, life is worth living." He then made a trip to the locality and described them.
He was a pupil of Quenstedt and used to tell with glee how occasionally he and his master would both jump for the same specimen. One beautiful ammonite which Dr. Rominger got first and then turned over to Quenstedt, he gave back to him as a wedding present and it is kept as an heirloom. He had that real love for fossils which was characteristic of the early paleontologists sometimes to excess, as is illustrated by this story which he used to tell: While he had the government grant which enabled him to travel for scientific research, on one of these excursions with a friend, they met a nobleman who was also interested in paleontology and invited them to his castle to see his collection. There was a particularly fine specimen which the friend coveted and wanted very much to buy, but the nobleman could not think of selling anything. However, he invited them to dinner and after a good meal and sundry glasses of wine, felt generous and said: “Here, I won't sell you that specimen but will give it to you," and turning to his servant gave him instructions to go up stairs to the cabinet, on the third shelf in the righthand corner, etc., and obtain the specimen and bring it down. "But you need not trouble yourself,” said the friend, “I have it here in my pocket.” Dr. Rominger at one time visited State geologist Hall in Albany, N. Y., and referring to his work on the Bryozoa, probably those around Alpena, which furnish most beautiful specimens, said he had a dream that he had laid out a beautiful garden and the hogs had got in and rooted it all up! Many other stories of his frankness could be added.
Every geologist is at times tempted to become impatient at very natural questions which are asked him concerning pursuits which seem to the casual observer to be utterly foolish. In fact one famous geologist, Clarence King, is said to have owed his life and escape from the Indians several times to their taking him for crazy, when they found him wandering around cracking rock with his hammer. Dr. Rominger sometimes under this questioning became testy. One man told me how he found him walking up and down his plowed potato patch picking up now and then little things, no doubt silicified corals. Watching him a little while and not seeing what he was doing, he sang out:
“Hello, what are you doing there?” No response.
Again at the end of another row, “I say, old fellow, what are you doing there?"
"You damn fool, can't you see what I am doing?”
But this brusqueness did not mean ill-nature. Like all physicians, he did a great deal of charity (“Lump”) practice.
In spite of comparative carelessness or generosity with money matters he did well as a physician in Ann Arbor and had a modest and sufficient competence for his extremely simple habits. He is even known to have torn up a mortgage when he found the people could not pay, though he may have used some not too polite remarks in connection. Like most scientific men, money played a small part in his scheme of life, and he is said to have refused thousands from promoters who wished him to attach his name to certificates, even of the most guarded nature. It may be imagined that he hated to be bothered with petty financial details. A story told me from the Board of Geological Survey illustrates this. The old gentleman brought in a voucher for salary so much and expenses so much, with no items. One of the Board was inclined to question the item and said: “Doctor, how do you know these are your expenses ?"
“Why, that is very simple, I put so much money in my pocket when I start out, and have so much when I come back, and the rest is my expenses." It must not be understood, however, that the State suffered under this simple method of account keeping for every year a large part of the appropriation was turned back unexpended into the state treasury. This was also due to the fact that Dr. Rominger never planned to employ other scientific assistants. He made his own analyses, and his own thin sections of coral and igneous rocks and examined them himself.
With Dr. Rominger passes away now one more of the few remaining of the first generation of German pioneers of this state. It is to be sincerely hoped that someone may, right off before it is too late, put on record the many interesting facts concerning this valuable addition to our body politic.
Compiled by his son
Vergleichung des Schweizer Juras mit der Würtembergischen Alb. Tübingen, 1846.
True position of the so-called Waukesha limestone of Wisconsin. Am. Jour. of Science, 2nd Series, Vol. 34, p, 136, 1862.
Paleozoic rocks, Geol. Surv. of Mich. Upper Peninsula, 1869-1873. Vol. 1, Part 3, 102 pages. New York, 1873.
This was his thesis for his degree.
Observations on the Ontonagon silver mining district and the slate quarries of Huron Bay. Geol. Surv. of Mich. 1873-1876, Vol. III, Part I, pp. 151-166. 1876.
Geology of the Lower Peninsula. Geol. Surv. of Mich. 1873-1876, Vol. III, Part 1, 225 pages. New York, 1876.
Marquette iron region, Geol. Surv. of Mich, 1878-1880, Vol. IV, Part 1, pp. 1-154, map. New York, 1881.
Menominee region. Geol. Surv. of Mich. 1878-1880, Vol. IV, Part 2, 241 pages. New York, 1881.
A sketch from the State Geologist in Michigan and its resources, compiled by Frederick Morley, Commissioner of Immigration, 1881.
Observations, Chaetetes, and some related Genera in regard to their systematic position; with an appended description of some new species. From Proceedings of Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. May, 1886.
On the minute structure of Stromatopora and its allies. Proc. Acad. Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. 1886.
Descriptions of Primordial fossils from Mt. Stephen, Northwestern Territory of Canada. Philadelphia Academy of Science Proceedings, 1887, Part 1, pp. 12-19, Plate I. 1887.
Rejoinder to Mr. C. D. Walcott (on Primordial fossils from Mt. Stephea, Canada). American Geologist, Vol. II, pp. 256-359. 1888.
Studies on Monticulipora. American Geologist, Aug., 1890.
On the occurrence of typical Chaetetes in the Devonian strata at the falls of the Ohio and likewise in the analogous beds of the Eifel of Germany. Am. Geologist, Vol. X, pp. 56-63. 1892.
Geological Report on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan exhibiting the progress of work from 1881-1884. Iron and Copper Regions. Geol. Surv. of Mich., Vol. V. Part 1, pp. 1-179, with map and geologic cross sections. 1895.
PALMER HURD TAYLOR
BY MRS. PHILO T. BATES
The subject of this memorial, who passed to the life beyond in the city of Ionia, January 31st, 1911, had, with that date, exactly completed his residence of seventy-three years in Ionia city and vicinity.
He was born in Lewiston, N. Y., July 23d, 1819, and thus, at the time of his death was ninety-one years and six months old; and yet, in spite of physical infirmities, he retained his mental vigor to a remarkable degree. He came, with his parents, from Lockport, N. Y., to Michigan, in 1838, a lad of nineteen years, and drove à cow the entire distance, being twenty-nine days on the road. His parents settled two miles south of Ionia, on what is still known as the Taylor farm, and there the young man made his home for many years working at his trade, as a carpenter. One of the buildings erected by him was his father's farm house.
He was for twenty-years secretary of the Ionia County Pioneer Society and, as was well said, in the obituary notice of a local paper, he was entirely conversant with the history of the city and vicinity and was thus a perfect encyclopedia of local events. Because of his retentive memory and carefully kept personal diary he became an accepted authority in the community on all questions of secular or religious history.
He was married to Arabella Jackson in Monroe, Michigan, in 1854. His married life was comparatively short, Mrs. Taylor dying after nineteen years of wedded life. She was a very bright, attractive woman, but during much of her life was a semi-invalid. She left four little children to whom Mr. Taylor had to be, as best he could, both father and mother and later they repaid this two-fold care by giving to their father, when old age and sickness came to him, the most constant and tender devotion.
At the time of his death Mr. Taylor was the only remaining charter member of the Presbyterian Church of Ionia, organized in 1849. It was a source of great gratification to him that he lived and was able to attend the services at the dedication of the beautiful new church home built on the site of the old frame building erected in 1857.
He was a devoted Mason, said to be, at the time of his demise, the oldest member of the order in the State. He had filled every office in the Masonic bodies, including lodge, chapter, council and commandery, having conferred the degrees upon his own father, the only instance of the kind in Masonic history. He had served the grand bodies as Junior Grand Warden and Grand Captain of the Host. Two years ago the Grand Lodge officers and their staff conferred the Grand Honors upon him at his home, a distinguished honor never before conferred at a private home in the history of Masonry. He was also the only living honorary member from Michigan of the Illinois Veteran Masonic Association whose membership is scattered over the entire globe. Thus outside of the ties of home and kindred Mr. Taylor had an enthusiastic love for, and loyal devotion to his church, the pioneer societies of State and county and the Masonic fraternity. He loved to recall incidents of pioneer days and by his genial, interesting manner always proved an entertaining reviewer of the past. He wrote verse of no mean order. It was a passion with him and many of his poems were widely read. His writings were of a religious character, most frequently picturing the glories of the better life on the farther shore.
The writer's most pleasant impression of our venerable friend was gained years ago through witnessing his devotion to his mother, widowed many years and totally blind for some time before her death. She also lived to be past ninety years of age and was a most lovable, Christian character. Her home was with another son, but Palmer never failed to pay her regular and frequent visits and show her, in every way, the most tender and devoted attention.