Harry Hammond,
Professor of Geology at the University of Georgia 1859-1860

        Harry Hammond, formally named James Henry Hammond Jr. but always called Harry, was born in 1832 at Silver Bluff plantation on the Savannah River, in the Barnwell District of South Carolina.  He was the son of James Henry Hammond and Catherine Elizabeth Fitzsimmons, whose dowery was the 7500-acre Silver Bluff Plantation.  James Henry Hammond the father was a wealthy South Carolina planter, owning three hundred thirty slaves and eventually fourteen thousand acres of land, so much that he "could ride all day on horseback and without seeing another man's land" (Bleser, p. vii).  The father was Governor of South Carolina from 1842 to 1846 and U.S. Senator from South Carolina 1857 to 1860, when South Carolina seceded from the Union.  He died at Redcliffe, the mansion that he had built on the Savannah River opposite Augusta, in 1864.

        Harry Hammond attended the University of South Carolina and graduated with an A.B. degree in 1852.  He received a medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1855 and then traveled in Europe for 18 months, returning to South Carolina in 1857 (Bleser, pp. 19-20).  In 1858 to 1859 he spent a semester studying chemistry at Harvard in preparation for his appointment at the University of Georgia. (Bleser, p. 47).

        Harry Hammond began his service at the University of Georgia in January 1859 as Professor of Natural Science (Bleser p. 54) or Chemistry and Geology (Reed, Chapter XIX, p. 19/3879).  He definitely taught Geology, because on April 7, 1859, he wrote "Our term has just finished here; the examinations are now going on. I have just been packing away all my geological books for next fall, and looking over and arranging my works on Botany, a few days more and the campaign will commence." (Bleser p 55).  He was also required to teach French, the seemingly inevitable curse of professors of the natural sciences at the University (Bleser p. 54).

        Harry Hammond's letter of April 7, 1859, was to Emily Cumming (1834-1911), the daughter of a family of wealthy lawyers and bankers in Augusta.  On November 22 of that year they were married (Bleser p. 54).  Their first child was born in 1860, South Carolina seceded from the Union in December of that year as war clouds gathered, and Harry soon left the University of Georgia (Reed, Chapter XIX, p. 19/3879).  He attained the rank of major in the Confederate army as a quartermaster (Bleser, p. 109).  He returned from the Civil War to take over the family lands and, with at best varying success, managed the remnants of his father's plantations for the rest of his life (Bleser 135-141).  He died in 1916.

 

 

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Source:
Carol Bleser, The Hammonds of Redcliffe (Oxford University Press, 1981).
Thomas Walter Reed 's History of the University of Georgia, (~1949).


 

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