NCU has cataloged 2 fungi and about 40 lichens
collected by William W. Calkins, who usually signed his collections as
“W.W.C.” Most are undated, but those
that do have dates were collected between 1888 and 1903. Frequent collecting locations include
Florida (especially Jacksonville in Duval Count), Illinois, and Tennessee.
Other herbaria that hold specimens collected
by Calkins include PH, ISC, ASU, CANL, FH, F, LSU, MSC, NY, ND, UC, FLAS,
MICH, MIN, WTU, and WIS.
Catalogs of NCU’s lichens and fungi, including
those collected by W. W. Calkins, can be found at lichenportal.org. and mycoportal.org
William Wirt Calkins was born in LaSalle
County, Illinois in 1842. He was
teaching in Ottawa, Illinois, but resigned and volunteered in the Union Army
during the War Between the States. Calkins served in the 104th
Regiment, Illinois Infantry, which was organized at Ottawa, Illinoi and
mustered on 27 August 1862. Calkins
and the 104th saw combat on 7 December, 1862 at Hartsville, Tennessee. The entire
regiment was surrounded and captured by Confederate forces under Brig. Gen.
John H. Morgan. The 104th was sent to
Camp Douglas, Chicago, Illinois as paroled prisoners of war until April, 1863
when they were declared “exchanged.”
The 104th returned to active service and participated in
many battles and campaigns (see http://www.nps.gov/civilwar/search-regiments-detail.htm?regiment_id=UIL0104RI
However, after less than six months of active duty, Calkins was again
taken prisoner by Confederate forces, and instead of being paroled, he was
“The great battle of Chickamauga
fought on the 19th and 20th of September, 1863, was
over. Serving at that time on the
staff of General John Beatty, commanding the First Brigade, Second Division,
Fourteenth Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland, I was in both days’ combat and
participated in the last fighting on “Horse Shoe Ridge,” or the “Snodgrass
farm,” as it is known. It was there
that General George H. Thomas won immortal renown and his well-earned title,
the “Rock of Chickamauga!” There I was
wounded and captured. Darkness closed
down on the bloody scene with nearly 33,000 men killed, wounded and
missing. That night I spent on the
battlefield among the dead and dying.
The next day along with a great number of other prisoners
who were captured, I was started for Richmond, and on arrival put in the
infamous “Libby.” May 7, 1864, we were
all removed to Danville, Va.; thence to Macon, Ga.; from there in July to
Charleston, S.C., the birthplace of secession, where we were confined in what
was known as the “workhouse,” formerly a negro prison.
and day we listened to the scream and roar of the shells from Gilmore’s
batteries as they came on errands of death and destruction over our
heads. We listened with pleasure to
these reminders that “our flag was still there.” …
in the, the worst prison hell I had yet seen, the yellow fever broke out and
carried off numbers of our men. I can
never forget the scenes and horrors of those days. I had been sick all summer and had become
reduced in weight from 170 to 120 pounds.
The yellow fever I regarded with indifference, having reached a
condition where with disease and death all around, I could look unmoved upon
in October about twelve hundred of us were
transferred to Columbia, S.C. We were
corralled in a vacant lot near the depot and kept there twenty-four hours in
the midst of a driving rain… Finally we were marched out to a plantation near
Columbia, which it was announced would be our quarters for the present. No shelter of any kind was provided. But there was a growth of young pines in
the camp, and the ingenuity of the prisoners enabled them to build huts, and
construct burrows partly under ground, which,
covered with limbs and dirt, afforded cover and some degree of comfort. My two messmates and myself
constructed one of these, which we had enjoyed a week when I escaped. I had been meditating on this scheme for
some time and on the 28th of November I put it into execution by
running the guard line thrown around the camp, and taking to the surrounding
woods. Others had planned to escape
the same day, and whilst lying concealed in heard them approaching, and
joined the party. …
plan was to march to the Congaree river, about 10
miles from Columbia, secure a boat and float down the Congaree
and Santee rivers to the ocean, where we expected to be picked up by one of
our war vessels which we knew was blockading the mouth of the Santee river
and Georgetown, situated near by. [The group wandered for several days, eluding
capture until hunger and privation forced Calkins to leave the group to seek
food.] I then left the party and traveled along
until I came to a private road, which I knew would lead to a plantation. Proceeding down this a quarter of a mile or
so, I saw some lights to the right, also a large house and the usual negro
quarters. One of the latter was near
the fence, and scaling this cautiously, fortunately no dogs disturbed me, I
reconnoitered the inside through the openings between the logs, which were
plenty enough, and to my delight I saw sitting before the rude fireplace a
large black woman who, with her hands on her knees, seemed to be watching
intently a pot boiling over the fire.
Was ever a sight more welcome!
I knew by the savory odors that meat was in that pot. Forgetting all else I hurried around to the
door and walked in. For a moment the
surprise of my sable friend was something wonderful, then as I explained
matters and as for proof pointed to the glittering buttons on my threadbare
coat, she let me know that I was welcome…I informed the hostess about my
party and arranged with her to feed them, which she agreed to do after going
out and bringing in her “old man,” as she called him…I then returned with a
light heart and rapid steps to my fellow fugitives… Our black friends soon
after appeared and set before us three dishes, which contained about a peck
of boiled sweet potatoes, two gallons of rice, and a few slices of fried
bacon…One of the party gave our kind friends a $20
Confederate note in payment for their hospitality, which pleased them very
much. … [Calkins and other Union soldiers
on the run spent several days on the plantation of Adam Keeger,
10 miles from Columbia, in the company of Joe, an enslaved man, who
sheltered, guided, and obtained a boat for them. They floated down the Congaree & Santee Rivers, and on December 8th,
they were rescued by the crew of U.S. Navy ship, Nipsie, which had been on
blockading duty for 18 months.] After waiting several days we embarked on
the steamer Fulton and upon our
arrival at New York received orders to report at Washington, where we were
interviewed by Secretary Stanton, paid more money due us, and given leave of
absence for thirty days. I had been
one month on the journey from Columbia when I finally reached my old home in
Illinois.” [Calkins, W. W. 1895. Chapter 35 “The narrative of my escape
from the Confederate Military Prison at Columbia, S.C. November 28, 1864,
after fourteen months’ imprisonment, by Lieutenant William W. Calkins,
Company E,” IN The history of the
One hundred and fourth Regiment of Illinois Volunteer Infantry. War of the Great Rebellion 1862-1865. Donohue & Henneberry, Chicago,
The 104th Regiment participated in the Battle of Bentonville, North Carolina in 1865, one of the final battles
of the War. Calkins ended the war as
First Lieutenant of Company E, and served as Aide de Camp to General John Beatty.4
Calkins was mustered out June 6 and discharged at Chicago,
Illinois, July 11, 1865. During
service, the 104th Regiment lost a total of 194 men: 6 officers and 110 enlisted men were
killed or mortally wounded;
2 officers and 76 enlisted men succumbed to disease.3
After the War Calkins owned a lumber
business and practiced law. He was
interested in many aspects of natural history including botany, mycology, and
conchology. “His earliest interest was
in the study of rocks and fossils, but, unfortunately, his large collection
was destroyed in the Chicago fire of 1871.” 2 He was one of the founders of the
Ottawa Academy of Science and served as an officer for that organization.1,
2 His herbarium of vascular
plants was given to the University of Notre Dame.2 “He began the study of fungi about 1885,
and papers on lichens and other fungi began to appear at once. Though he collected and distributed large
numbers of fungi of various kinds collected in the South and mainly Florida,
it is apparent both from his publications and from conversations and
correspondence with him that he soon gave up all other fungi for the lichens,
which remained his main botanical interest until the time of his death.”2
Haase, H.E. 1914. Sullivant Moss Society Notes. The Bryologist 17(6): 96.
9th of July, 1914, passed away William W. Calkins, at Berwyn,
Illinois, born May 29 [no year], of Scottish descent. The deceased was long a member of the Sullivant Moss Society.
From early youth he manifested interest in natural sciences and later
contributed important papers to scientific literature relating to his
favorite studies. A versatile writer,
he was a co-worker to a “Report on the Natural History of La Salle County of
Illinois” his work covering geological, zoological, and botanical subjects;
he also wrote a report on the Lichens of Florida, following an expedition to
that state made conjointly with Dr. J. A. Eckfeldt,
resulting in the discovery of interesting as well as new species that were
determined by the late Dr. W. Nylander. He also published “The Calkins’
Military Roster” and “The History of the One-hundred and
fourth Regiment, Illinois Infantry” in which organization he had
served throughout the Civil War.
Kindred pursuits induced a correspondence of over twenty years with
the writer, by whom the memory of the deceased is cherished as that of a
brother botanist and comrade.
(possibly incomplete list):
Calkins, W. W. 1872. Catalogue of
living Illinois Mollusca. Privately
printed. Chicago, Illinois.
-----. 1874. Notes on freshwater Mollusca, found in the
vicinity of Chicago, Illinois.
Cincinnati Quarterly Journal of Science 1(3): 242-244.
-----. 1874. Notes on the molluscan
fauna of Northern Illinois. Cincinnati
Quarterly Journal of Science.
-----. 1875. Rambles of a naturalist in southern
Quart. J. Sci. 2: 161-164.
-----. 1874. The land and fresh water shells of LaSalle
County, Ill. Proceedings of the Ottawa
Academy of Science.
-----. 1875. Mollusca.
Cincinnati Quarterly Journal of Science 2(1): 95.
-----. 1877. Notes on the winter flora of Florida. Bot. Gazette 2: 128-129.
-----. 1878. Mode of distribution of fresh-water
mussels. American Naturalist 12: 472-473.
-----. 1879. Tillandsias under cultivation. Bot. Gazette 4: 209-210.
-----. 1879. January flora of the
Indian River country, Florida. Bot. Gazette
-----. 1880. Catalogue of the Uniones
in the cabinets of W.W. Calkins.
American Conchology. Ottaway & Company, Chicago, Illinois.
-----. 1880. Unio buckleyi and buddianus united.
The Valley Naturalist 2: unpaginated.
-----. 1880. Winter herborizations
on Indian River, Florida. Bot. Gazette
-----. 1880. Botanical observations in Florida. Valley Naturalist 2: 20-21; 35-36.
-----. 1882. Epidendrum cochleatum L.
Bot. Gazette 7: 144.
-----. 1883. The W. W. Calkins collection of Florida
-----. 1883. Notes on some little known Florida
trees. Am. J. Forestry 1: 386-398.
-----. 1885. Notes on Florida lichens. Bot. Gazette 10: 369-370.
-----. 1886. Catalogue of lichens collected in Florida
in 1885, with notes. J. Mycol. 2:
-----. 1886. Polyporus officinalis.
J. Mycol. 2: 107.
-----. 1886. Notes on Florida fungi. I.
J. Mycol. 2: 6-7.
-----. 1886. Notes on Florida fungi. II. J. Mycol. 2: 23.
-----. 1886. The leaf fungi of Florida. III. J. Mycol. 2: 42.
-----. 1886. Cryptogamic
botany of a Florida log. IV. J. Mycol. 2:
-----. 1886. Notes on Florida fungi. V.
J. Mycol. 2: 70.
-----. 1886. Notes on Florida fungi. VI. J. Mycol. 2:
-----. 1886. Notes on Florida fungi. VII. J. Mycol. 2:
-----. 1886. Notes on Florida fungi. VIII. J. Mycol. 2:
-----. 1886. Notes on Florida fungi. IX. J. Mycol. 2:
-----. 1887. Notes on Florida fungi. X.
J. Mycol. 3: 7.
-----. 1887. Notes on Florida fungi. XI. J. Mycol. 3:
-----. 1887. Notes on Florida fungi. XII. J. Mycol. 3:
-----. 1887. Notes on Florida fungi. XIII. J. Mycol. 3:
-----. 1887. Notes on Florida fungi. XIV. J. Mycol. 3: 70.
-----. 1887. Notes on Florida fungi. XV. J. Mycol. 3:
Eckfeldt, J. W. and W. W. Calkins. 1887.
The lichen flora of Florida. J.
Mycol. 3: 121-126.
Calkins, W. W. 1889. Notes on new Florida lichens. Bull. Torr. Bot.
Club 16: 330.
-----. 1890. Notes on rare East Tennessee lichens. Am. Nat.
-----. 1892. An edible lichen not heretofore
noted as such. Bot. Gazette 17: 418. [Endocarpon miniatum L..]
-----. 1892. Remarks on North American lichenology – preliminary. Science 20:
-----. 1892. Remarks on North American lichenology –
II. Science 20: 205-206.
-----. 1893. Remarks on North American lichenology –
III. Science 21: 77-78.
-----. 1896. The lichen flora of Chicago and
vicinity. Chicago Acad. Sci. 1: 1-50.
-----. 1895. The history of the One-hundred and fourth
Regiment of Illinois Infantry. War of the Great Rebellion 1862-1965. Donohue & Henneberry,
printers, Chicago, Illinois. https://archive.org/details/historyofonehund00calk
-----. 1898. “The lichen-flora of La Salle County,” pp.
120-149 IN Huett, J. W. Natural history of La Salle County,
Illinois. Part 2. Geology and Zoology. 1-174. Pl. 1-3. Ottawa, Illinois, Fair Dealer Print.
Jordan, D. S. 1899. The fur seal and Fur-Seal Islands. Part 3,
I-XI. 1-629. Pl. 1-94. Washington, D. C., Government Printing
Office. [pg. 583 is a list of 9
lichens det. By Calkins.]
-----. 1903. The Calkins Memorial Military Roster.
-----. 1909. Supplement to The Calkins Memorial Military Roster and Geneology. M.A. Donohue & Co., Chicago, Illinois.
-----. 1910. Mosses of Cook County, Illinois. Bryologist 13: 107-111.
accessed on 19 December 2013.
2. Fink, Bruce. 1915.
William Wirt Calkins, amateur mycologist. Mycologia
ILLINOIS VOLUNTEERS: 104th Regiment, Illinois Infantry." The Civil War: Regiment Details. National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior,
21 Nov 2013. Web. 20 Dec 2013. <rch-regiments-detail.htm?regiment_id=UIL0104RI>.
4. Calkins, William Wirt
1895. The history of the One
hundred and fourth regiment of Illinois Volunteer Infantry. War of the Great Rebellion 1862-1865. Donohue & Henneberry,