Ohio History Journal

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Editorialana.                        333



The Faculty of the Ohio State University, as a mark of respect,

and wishing to preserve in some permanent form a simple record of the

life of its late member and associate, Robert White McFarland, who

died at his home, Oxford, Ohio, October 23, 1910, prepared the follow-

ing memorial:

Professor McFarland was born in Champaign county, Ohio, June

16, 1825, and was a descendant of Simon Kenton. He graduated from

Ohio Wesleyan University in 1847, and for four years thereafter taught

in schools and academies. Mathematics was his favorite study, but he

also excelled in languages and he not only taught Latin and Greek,

but in his young manhood, prepared and published text books in these


In all his later years as teacher he was interested in pure mathe-

matics, astronomy and civil engineering. From 1851 to 1856 he taught

in Madison College at Antrim, Ohio. He was then elected to the chair

of mathematics in Miami University at Oxford, which he held until the

University was closed in 1873. Just at that time the State University,

then called the "Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College," was estab-

lished, Professor McFarland was called to the chair of mathematics

and engineering, and remained there continuously until 1885, returning

to Miami University as its president when it was reopened in that year.

Three years later he retired from educational work, and there-

after devoted his time to engineering. While at the State University

he held, from 1881 to 1885, the position of engineer inspector of rail-

roads under the late Commissioner of Railroads, Hylas Sabine, exam-

ining bridges and other structures as to their safety.

When the Civil War broke out he organized a company among

the students of Miami University, of which he became the captain, this

company was attached to the Eighty-sixth O. V. I., in which regiment

he rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. It was because of this military

service and experience that he was made the first instructor in military

science and tactics in the State University.

Professor McFarland was a born teacher, and had an unwearying

love for the work of instruction. Trained in the military habit, his

plans of work were clear and detailed, his decisions quick and firm,

his manner and speech gentle but authoritative.

As a teacher he was respected and revered by all students who

were there to do good work. He had an unusual faculty of making the

subject he was teaching interesting, and that necessary quality in a good

teacher-the ability to get and hold the attention of his students.

In his work he insisted on brevity and accuracy, and many a stu-

dent has demonstrated a proposition by a long method and train of