Amos Eaton, an American physicist, born in Chatham, N. Y., May 17, 1776, died in Troy, May 6,1842. He was early employed as a surveyor, graduated at Williams college in 1799, was admitted to the bar in 1802, and settled in Catskill as a lawyer and land agent. For several years he devoted his leisure to the study of the natural sciences, in 1810 delivered at Catskill a popular course of lectures on botany, and in 1817 he lectured at Williams college on chemistry, geology, and mineralogy. His lectures were repeated in several New England towns and cities, and in 1818, by the invitation of Gov. Clinton, before the legislature of New York. While in Albany he made suggestions which ultimately resulted in the publication of " The Natural History of New York." In 1820-21, in connection with Drs. T. Romeyn Beck and Lewis C. Beck, and at the expense of Stephen Van Rensselaer, he made geological and agricultural surveys of Albany and Rensselaer counties, the beginning of such surveys in the United States, reports of which were published.
In 1820 he was made professor of natural history in the medical college at Castleton, Vt. Van Rensselaer subsequently employed him to make a geological survey of the district adjoining the Erie canal, and the result was published in 1824, together with a profile section of rock formations from the Atlantic ocean across Massachusetts and New York to Lake Erie. In 1824 the Rensselaer school of science (now polytechnic institute) was established at Troy, and Eaton was placed at its head as senior professor. His works, of which several editions have been published, are: "Elementary Treatise on Botany" (1810); "Manual of Botany" (1817); "Botanical Dictionary" (1817); "Botanical Exercises" (1820); "Botanical Grammar and Dictionary" (1828); " Chemical Note Book " (1821); " Chemical Instructor" (1822); "Zoological Syllabus" (1822); "Cuvier's Grand Division" (1822); "Philosophical Instructor" (1824); "Directions for Surveying and Engineering" (1838); "Geological Text Book" (1830); " Geological * Note Book" (1841); and extended reports of several geological and agricultural surveys.