WHITTLESEY, CHARLES W. (4 Oct. 1808-17 Oct. 1886), geologist and historian, was born in Southington, Conn. to Asaph and Vesta Hart Whittlesey, moved to Tallmadge, Ohio in 1813, graduated from West Point in 1831, and was stationed in Wisconsin as a 2d lieutenant before serving in the Black Hawk War (1833). Whittlesey resigned his commission and came to Cleveland, practicing law until 1837 and owning and editing the CLEVELAND DAILY GAZETTE and CLEVELAND HERALD & GAZETTE. He was then appointed assistant geologist of Ohio and helped conduct the first geological survey in the state. For 20 years, Whittlesey participated in or led surveys, including those of iron and copper ranges in Michigan (1845), the Whitney Survey of Lake Superior and the Upper Mississippi (1847-51), and the Hall Survey of Wisconsin (1858-61). He also investigated ancient Indian earthworks throughout the state.

With the outbreak of the CIVIL WAR, Whittlesey was appointed assistant quartermaster general by Gov. Dennison. Later, as colonel in the 20th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, he planned and constructed fortifications at Covington, Ky., defending Cincinnati, Ohio. He commanded a brigade at Ft. Donelson and participated in the Battle of Shiloh (1862). Whittlesey resigned his commission in Apr. 1862 because of ill health. After the war, he became active as a historian. In 1867 he published Early History of Cleveland and helped found the WESTERN RESERVE HISTORICAL SOCIETY, serving as its president until 1885. Whittlesey married Mary E. Morgan in 1858. He died in Cleveland and was buried in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.


Black, white and red text reading Western Reserve Historical Society

View finding aid for the Charles Whittlesey Papers, WRHS, Series 1.

View finding aid for the Charles Whittlesey Papers, WRHS, Series 2. 

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