From: "Canadian Men & Women of the time 1898"
Ed. By Henry James Morgan, Toronto, 1898
Geologist. director, of the Canadian Genl. Survey, is the eldest surviving son of Sir J.W.Dawson (q.v.), and was born in Pictou, N.S., Aug. 1, 1819. He received his early education in Montreal, where he studied in McGill University as a partial student. In 1869 he entered the Royal School of Mines, London, taking its full course of study, extending over 3 yrs, and passed as an associate, being first in his class. and taking the Edward Forbes medal and prize in Palaeont.and Natural History. He had previously taken the Duke of Cornwall's scholarship in his second year Returning to Canada, he was engaged for a year in mining surveys in N. S., and lecturing in Morrin College., Quebec.
In 1873 he was appointed Geologist and Botanist to Her Majesty's North American Boundary Comn., engaged in fixing the boundary line from the Lake of the Woods to the Rocky Mountains. In this capacity he served for 2 yrs., and prepared an elaborate report, with plates and maps, on the Geology and Resources of the Country in the vicinity of the 49th parallel. In connection with this work he also prepared a report on the Lignite Tertiary Formatation, a memoir of the Superficial Deposits of the Great Interior Plains of America, and papers on the Locust Visitation, on the Fresh-water Sponges of Canada, and on the Fluctuations of the Great American Lakes. On the termination of his labours on the boundary survey, he was appointed July, 1875, to the staff of the Geol. Survey of the Dominion. He became Assistant Director July, 1888. and Director and Deputy Head of the Deptartment of the Geol. Survey, Jan. 1, 1895.
While attending the School of Mines, he devoted special attention to
Geology and Palaeont., under the tuition of Ramsay, Huxley and Etheridge
; and to Chemistry and Metal., in the laboratories of Frankland and Percy.
His work on the Geol. Survey has been chiefly in B. C. and the N.W T.,
and in the discharge of his official duty he has explored a large portion
of the western country, including a boat journey of 1,300 miles, with one
portage of 50 miles, from the basin of the Liard River to that of the
Yukon. Oneof the most important of his public services was in connection with the Behring Sea arbitrtion. As one of the British Commisioners, he spent the summer of 1892 in the Behring Sea region, for the purpose of inquinng into the conditions and
facts of seal life. The report of the Commissioners. constituted the ease of Her Majesty's Government on this branch of
the subject, and was of great service. For his services on this occasion he received the thanks of H.E., the Governor-General in Council, and the C.M.G. from Her Majesty.
In addition to his official reports, he is the author of a large number
of notes and papers on geology, geography, and ethnology,
subjects, of which a list is given in the "Bibliography of the Royal Society of Canada". He received the degree of LL.D. from Queen's University, 1890, and from McGill University, 1891. In the same year he was awarded the Bigsby gold medal by the London Geol. Society, for his services to the science of geology, and he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.
In 1893 he was elected President of the Royal
Society of Canada. In 1894 he was elected a corr. member of
the Zoological Society of London, in 1895 a Fellow of the American Association
for the Advancement of Science, and in 1896 he was appointed by the Council
of the British Association, President of the Geol. Society for the Toronto
meeting of the same. In
1897 he was awarded the yearly gold medal of the Royaly Geographical Society, for his work as a whole. He is unmarried.
Address: 28 Victoria Chambers, Ottawa
Clubs: Rideau Club
"A sterling and unostentatious worker in the public service" Canadian Gazette
"OUR HERITAGE" is transcribing the
1874 journal of George Mercer Dawson and has it on-line at:
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