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Charles Frederick Hartt
1840 - 1878
Charles, Jarvis, Aaron, Samuel Sr., Jonathan, Samuel, Isaac

Charles Frederick Hartt was the eldest son of Jarvis William and Prudence Brown Hartt . Born 1840 in Fredericton, N.B., Educated at Horton Academy, Wolfville, N.S., and at Acadia College, N.S. He also taught a year at the Young Ladies High School in St. John. Later went to Cambridge to study in the Agassiz Museum, (Geology). He married Miss Lucy Lynde of Buffalo, New York in 1869. They had two children, Mary and Rollin, both were writers.Letters to Lucy emphasized his love for her and their family and mentioned the dangers and hardships he was facing. Yet the public writings about the trips give a picture of great adventures, science in the making, etc. For a brief time his family joined him at Rio after he organized the Brazilian Geologic Commission in 1875. Lucy then became pregnant with twins and wanted to leave. Hartt would or could not leave his work, so Lucy took the children and left. Even though upon her return to Buffalo she lost the babies, Lucy never again contacted her husband directly, and his decision to put geology first had cost him dearly. He was man of unusual abilities. From an early age C. Fred Hartt (as he was usually known) manifested geology and paleontology, and he made extensive collections in both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. In 1862 he was appointed one of the geologist of the Thayer expedition to Brazil. In 1868 he was appointed Professor of Natural History in Vassar College and Head of the Department of Geology in Cornell University. He was also a skilled linguist and an authority on the legendary lore of all countries. His success was due to his natural ability and untiring industry. Brazil was his greatest interest. In 1870 he organized the largest of his expeditions, taking with him another professor and 11 Cornell students. On this and a subsequent expedition he worked in the Amazon. In 1874 he submitted a proposition to the Brazilian government for a geological survey of Brazil. And in 1875 the Geological Commission of the Empire of Brazil was organized with Professor Hartt as its chief. For the next three years he directed expeditions working in many parts of the country and set up a museum to house all the scientific specimens collected. In the spring of 1878, when he returned to Rio de Janeiro after an exhausting inland expedition, he died of yellow fever at the age of 38, cutting short a brilliant career. He is remembered as a broad-minded naturalist. It is not difficult to sum up Hartt’s influence upon geological work in Brazil, for with very few exceptions all the work of this character which has been done in that country since 1874 is traceable, either directly or indirectly, to the impetus given it by Hartt. His wife sent for his body in 1883 to be brought back to Buffalo, New York for interment in her family plot. Children of Charles F. & Lucy Lynde Hartt: Rollin Lynde 1879-1946, Mary Bronson
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Courtesy: William Bryce

New York, USA

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