10. Dr. Joseph Trimble Rothrock (9 April 1839 - 2 Jun 1922)
he became known as "the father of
Pennsylvania forestry", and was at various times (sometimes simultaneously)
explorer, surgeon, botanist, professor, and Michaux Forestry Lecturer,
Pennsylvania Forestry Association president, vice president and spokesman;
editor of Forest Leaves; member of the Pennsylvania Forest Commission; and the
Pennsylvania forest commissioner and administrator of tuberculosis sanitariums.
Rothrock was energetic, persuasive, involved, and a lover of forests since
childhood. Yet he never professed to be a forester. His credentials
were those of an informed scientist, botanist and medical doctor.
Rothrock was born April 9, 1839 in McVeytown, Pennsylvania. He died at age eighty-three on June 2, 1922 in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Numerous memorials recall his contributions to improving the state's environment. His name is carved in the gray stone of the Education Building in Harrisburg with other eminent Pennsylvanians. A plaque on a boulder at McVeytown commemorates his place of birth. An inscription honors his achievements in a corridor of the State Capitol. A state forest is named for him. In 1862 Rothrock earned a bachelor of science degree in botany from Harvard where he was deeply influenced by the renowned Harvard botanist Asa Gray. He enlisted in the Union Army from Harvard on July 1, 1863 and saw action at Antietam and Fredericksburg where he was seriously wounded. By the end of the Civil Was he was a captain in the 20th Pennsylvania Cavalry. His service ended June 6, 1864. He was describes as "small in stature, energetic, enthused". He had been ill as a child, spending much time outdoors and walking to recover. He worked one summer as an axeman for the Philadelphia and Erie Railroad, cutting wood for the rail lines, reveling in being outside and working hard. Rothrock described himself as, "an Episcopalian and politically a Republican, when my conscience will endure it". He almost drowned as a child, almost died from wounds at Fredericksburg, and often said that because of these events he felt his life had been given back to him twice and that he consequently owed a debt to life. He repaid that debt many times over.
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