Charles Joseph Norwood (1853-1927)

Charles Joseph Norwood was born in New Harmony on September 17, 1853. His father, Joseph Granville Norwood, had been a close collaborator with David Dale Owen, and at the time of Charles's birth, he had served as the first State Geologist of Illinois for about two years, with headquarters in New Harmony.

In 1853 the Norwood family moved to Springfield, the new headquarters for the Illinois Geological Survey, and in 1858, the family moved to Columbia, Missouri. There, Norwood's father was Assistant Geologist of Missouri from 1858 to 1862, and he remained active in geology after joining the faculty of the University of Missouri, where he served as a Professor from 1860 to 1880. The father's career indicates that young Charles grew up in an atmosphere of interest in geology.

During the years 1868 to 1872, Charles Norwood attended the University of Missouri, and at age 19 he became Assistant Geologist in the Geological Survey of Missouri. From 1874 to 1880, was Assistant Geologist in the Geological Survey of Kentucky. He then became manager of the Sonora Mining Company in Colorado, returning to Kentucky in 1884 as Chief Inspector of Mines. This position he held for a total of 31 years: 1884-1897 and 1902-1920.

With the 1902 contract as chief mine inspector of the state, Norwood also became Dean of the newly organized College of Mining and Metallurgical Engineering at the University of Kentucky. (The titles are those of the present day; e.g., in 1902, the school was named State College of Kentucky.)

In 1854, Charles's father had written bitterly in private correspondence about his not having been appointed the first state geologist of Kentucky. He had especially wanted this position because he was a native of Kentucky, but instead, the honor went to David Dale Owen of New Harmony. How proud his father would have been to know that his son, born in New Harmony, served as Director of the Geological Survey of Kentucky for eight years, beginning in 1904.

August F. Foerste, Memorial of Charles Joseph Norwood, Bulletin of the Geological Society of America 39 (1927) 40-46.

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