The Wikitree entry for James R. Chilton
lists Howard and Robert S. Chilton as his brothers, not his sons. Their father was George Chilton.
An obituary for George Chilton.
The American Journal of Science and Arts
, Volumes 31-32, 1837, Pages 421
Obituary-—the late Mr. George Chilton. This excellent chemist and most worthy man, was extensively known to the cultivators and amateurs of science, not only in this country, but in Europe. He was a native of England, and emigrated to the United States in the year 1797, at the age of thirty. Soon after he settled in New York, he commenced a course of instruction in chemistry, natural philosophy, and astronomy. Among the gentlemen who attended his early lectures, were the late Dr. Mitchell, President Vethake, G. C. Verplanck, Esq. and the late Dr. Bruce.
Dr. Kemp of Columbia College, and Dr. Romeyn, were his firm friends and patrons, as, indeed, were most of the prominent and scientific men of our city at that time. In 1803, he delivered, in New York, a course of lectures on natural philosophy, to a large class of ladies, many of whom still remember the pleasure and profit they derived from them. In 1805, when the yellow fever prevailed in New York, Mr. Chilton was invited to deliver a course of lectures on chemistry and natural philosophy at Newark, in which he succeeded to the satisfaction of his numerous hearers.
He commenced the manufacture of the chrome yellow in 1808, but had the greatest difficulty in prevailing upon the painters to make trial of it. After their prejudices were overcome, the demand for it rapidly increased, and had he but gone more largely into the manufacture, he doubtless would have realized an independent fortune by it. He continued making it until the company at Baltimore reduced the price so low that it became no longer a source of profit. It is gratifying to his friends to observe, that even to this day a dollar a pound is offered in New York, by several chair painters, for the article such as he used to manufacture; the price of the chrome yellow commonly sold being but twenty eight cents.
In 1811, he established a laboratory in New York, for the manufacture of the pigments of chrome, from the ore discovered a short time before in the neighborhood of Baltimore, and also for the preparation of the finer chemical articles. Shortly after the late war with England was declared, he removed to Scotch Plains, in New Jersey, to take charge of the powder mills of Decatur & Atterbury. Here, however, he still continued the manufacture of chemical products, a laboratory having been provided for him by the proprietors of the mills. In 1822 he returned to New York, and established himself as an operative chemist and analyst. He also manufactured and imported materials and philosophical apparatus for numerous colleges and institutions of learning. Shortly after his return to New York, he delivered, by invitation, a popular course of scientific lectures to a large class, in St. Stephen's church in this city. In 1823 Prof. Silliman, who was prevented by ill health from attending to the duties of his professorship, engaged Mr. Chilton to act as his substitute, in delivering the chemical lectures in the laboratory of Yale College, which is a sufficient evidence of the estimation in which he was held by that gentleman.
In this course, he acquitted himself with his wonted ability, exhibiting an accurate acquaintance with the state of the science, while in the experimental illustrations he was ably assisted by Sherlock J. Andrews, Esq. then an experienced assistant in the department of chemistry, mineralogy and geology in Yale College, and now an eminent lawyer in Cleaveland [sic], Ohio.
Mr. Chilton's mind was early directed to inventions relating to science and the arts. He invented an hydrometer, which in accuracy is thought to be superior to any other, and may probably be hereafter made known to the public. The account of his rain gage was published in this Journal, Vol. VII, p. 326.
He constructed also a barometer, and some of these instruments have been sold and have given great satisfaction. A hydrographic map of his invention was pirated, and a patent taken out for it by some one who had no claim to it.
He made various improvements in chemical as well as other apparatus. He was naturally possessed of a great deal of mechanical ingenuity, and owing to the difficulty of procuring, at that time, the necessary instruments, he himself constructed the whole of his beautiful philosophical and astronomical apparatus.
In July, 1834, Mr. C., for the benefit of his health, and also for professional improvement, made a visit to Europe, from whence he returned in August, 1835. He was favorably received by many of the scientific men of England, Scotland and France. He attended the meeting of the British Association, at Edinburgh, and prepared a paper for that learned body, which the celebrated Dalton volunteered to present.
Mr. C. appeared to be greatly improved in health by his visit to the old world, but shortly after his return his strength declined, and his old disease, which was hydrothorax, with an enlargement of the heart, returned, so that he was unable to attend to the duties of the laboratory.
Although Mr. Chilton was a laborious chemist, and was accomplished in his profession, he published but little. To the Mineralogical Journal of the late Dr. Bruce, he however contributed several valuable articles, and some of his papers are inserted in this Jourmal. His reputation as a scientific and practical chemist was so extensive, that for many years he was consulted in the line of his profession by persons in all parts of our country, and in the city of New York, in almost every case that occurred in the courts of justice, where the opinion of an accurate chemist was needed, Mr. C. was the person selected. As a private citizen and friend he was greatly respected for his virtues and his amiable character; in the domestic circle he was affectionate, and in his protracted and painful illness he was sustained by the hopes of the Christian.
He retained his interest in science even after his infirmities became both distressing and alarming. He brought with him from Europe the latest improvements in apparatus and processes, and was always frank and liberal in communicating his knowledge. He was the principal mover of the effort to arrange the public course of geology, which was given in April and May, 1836, in Clinton Hall, and although his unrelenting malady, which then pressed heavily upon him, prevented his attendance on the fectures, he participated with a most respectable audience, in the interest excited by that sublime and delightful science.
We understand that the well known establishment, 263 Broadway, for chemical and philosophical apparatus and supplies, so ably and faithfully conducted by the late Mr. Chilton, will be continued under the care of his son, Dr. James R. Chilton. This gentleman, trained by his father, and having already much experience in the business, is well worthy to receive a transfer of the confidence so long reposed in his predecessor. From much experience of the fidelity and capacity of this house, we can and do cordially recommend it to all who may have need of such assistance, or of the efforts of analytical skill. We understand that the department of analysis will be conducted as heretofore. It is a subject of congratulation to the cultivators of science, that this country now affords so many facilities for its prosecution, and the establishment mentioned above is well entitled to rank among the best in the United States.
Obits for Robert S. Chilton, who went on to a career at the State Department.
New York Sun
, May 20, 1911, Page 2
, Column 6
Robert S. Chilton, a former employee of
the State department and later American
consul at several posts in Canada, died at
his home in Washington on Thursday at
the age of 89 years. He was born in Westfield,
N. J., and was a son of Dr. George
Chilton, a prominent analytical chemist in
New York in the early part of the last century.
He came to Washington in 1848 and
entered the Patent Office as librarian. In
1852 he was transferred to the State
Department. He served as private secretary
to Secretary of State Seward and had much
to do with the handling of the Confederate
documents and papers which were
surrendered to the Federal Government at
the close of the civil war. On Octoher 16,
1866, Mr. Chilton was appointed Commissioner
of Immigration. He entered the
consular service on February 2, 1871, as the
American reprsentative at Clifton, Canada.
He also served at Fort Erie and Goderich,
where he remained until he resigned about
ten years ago. He is survived by a wife
and ten children. One of his sons, Robert
S. Chilton, Jr., is now American Consul at
Toronto and was formerly chief clerk of
the State Department.
New York Tribune
, May 20, 1911, Page 7
, Column 6
ROBERT S. CHILTON.
Washington, May 19, Robert S. Chilton,
formariy consul at several Canadian posts
and for half a century in the government
service, died here late last night and will
be buried to-morrow. Mr, Chilton was an
intimate fnend of John Howard Payne and
the author of the lines on Payne's tomb
at Tunis. He wrote and delivered the poem
at the unveiling of the monument to Payne
in this eountry. He was a contributor to
the old "Knickerbocker Magazine" and
served under Daniel Webster in the State
department. He leaves a wife and ten
children, lncluding Robert S. Chllton, Jr..
consul at Toronto.
Profile of Robert from a book about authors.
Fifty Years Among Authors, Books and Publishers
(New York: G. W. Carleton, 1884), Pages 641
By James Cephas Derby
Robert S. Chilton
Although the subject of this sketch has never published a volume, he has written enough good prose and poetry to make a very creditable volume if put in book-form.
Mr. Chilton has been a resident of Washington the greater portion of his life, and was personally acquainted with the authors and artists who have resided temporarily at the capital. Among his special friends, were the late Frederick S. Cozzens, Lewis Gaylord Clarke, Charles L. Elliott, and Emanuel Leutze.
During my residence in Washington in the winter of 1861-2, I saw much of Mr. Chilton, who at that time was the head of one of the Bureaus in the Department of State. His position brought him into personal relations with the United States representatives abroad-—among others, Mr. W. P. Chandler, who succeeded John Howard Payne, author of "Home Sweet Home," as United States Consul at Tunis.
Mr. Chandler had in his possession, and submitted to Mr. Chilton, the MSS. left by John Howard Payne, which contained, with other interesting letters, the correspondence between the latter and the widow of Percy Bysshe Shelley. Mr. Payne had introduced Mrs. Shelley to Washington Irving, who became greatly attached to the latter. The former said in one of her letters that Mr. Irving was the only man in the world that she could marry, and not lose her station as the widow of Shelley. In the correspondence it appeared that Mrs. Shelley was very much in love with Irving, and that the latter felt rather shy of her.
When the handsome monument was recently erected in Washington by that noble philanthropist and patriot William W. Corcoran, the latter selected Robert S. Chilton to write the ode on the occasion of its unveiling, which he read as follows:
"The exile hath returned, and now at last
In kindred earth his ashes shall repose.
Fit recompense for all his weary past,
That here the scene should end—the drama close.
"Here, where his own loved skies o'erarch the spot,
And where familiar trees their branches wave;
Where the dear home-born flowers he ne'er forgot
Shall bloom, and shed their dews upon his grave,
"Will not the wood-thrush, pausing in her flight,
Carol more sweetly o'er this place of rest?
Here linger longest in the fading light,
Before she seeks her solitary nest?
"Not his the lofty lyre, but one whose strings
Were gently touched to soothe our human kind,—-
Like the mysterious harp that softly sings,
Swept by the unseen fingers of the wind."
"The home-sick wanderer in a distant land,
Listening his song hath known a double bliss,
Felt the warm pressure of a father's hand,
And, seal of seals! a mother's sacred kiss.
"In humble cottage, as in hall of state,
His truant fancy never ceased to roam
O'er backward years, and—-irony of fate!—-
Of home he sang, who never found a home!
"Not e'en in death, poor wanderer, till now;
For long his ashes slept in alien soil.
Will they not thrill to-day, as round his brow
A fitting wreath is twined with loving toil?
"Honor and praise be his whose generous hand
Brought the sad exile back, no more to roam;
Back to the bosom of his own loved land—-
Back to his kindred, friends, his own Sweet Home!"
Mr. Chilton, in a recent note to me, says:
"A singular and pleasing incident occurred while I was reading the third stanza of the poem, "Will not the wood thrush, etc." I had just uttered these words when a bird-—a thrush, I think—-perched and sang from the limb of a tree over my head and towards which I chanced to look. Others observed this and spoke of it afterwards. Wasn't it strange? For the moment it possessed me with a feeling I cannot well describe."
Mr. Chilton relates the following anecdote, which was told him by his friend, the late Frederick S. Cozzens.
"When Thackeray was in New York in 1856, he often spent an evening at the Century Club, with many of whose members he became quite intimate. Frederick S. Cozzens ('Sparrowgrass') being of the number, at whose home at Yonkers (Chestnut Cottage) Thackeray once dined and passed the night. Before going to bed at a late hour, he asked his host for a book, stating that it was his habit to read himself to sleep. 'Give me something new, something that I hav'n't seen before, if you can,' said he. Having just received a copy of Lewis Gaylord Clarke's 'Knick-Knacks from an Editor's Table,' Cozzens handed him the volume, thinking it might amuse him. It was brought down by Thackeray in the morning and placed upon the library table with the remark-—'Cozzens, you couldn't have been happier in your selection of a book for me last night. It was just what I wanted, for I hadn't finished reading the first page before I was so overcome with sleep that I had to put the light out.' This was rough on poor Clarke, but the dear old boy enjoyed the joke, when it was told him, as keenly as anybody—-as who that knew him could doubt?"
Among Mr. Chilton's intimate friends, was the late Charles S. Elliott, whose portrait of Fletcher Harper is believed to be as near a perfect representation of the human face as was ever produced by a portrait painter. He relates of him the following amusing incident.
"Among the many anecdotes told of Elliott, the painter, which I recall, the following as illustratinga strong trait of his amiable character-—a disposition to encourage young and struggling members of his profession-—and being highly comic withal, is one of the funniest, and, as I happen to know, founded on fact.
"Elliott at one time occupied a studio on the upper floor of a building on Broadway opposite the Art Union Gallery. On the floor beneath, a young landscape painter, newly come to the city and quite unknown, had set up his easel and painted a few pictures. He had called several times upon Elliott, whom he greatly admired as artist and man, and begged him to call at his studio to look at what he had been doing, which Elliott had promised to do, and did so one day; unintentionally, however, for he was making his way, not without labor, to his own room on the floor above, and thought he had reached it, when he entered the young painter's studio, considerably 'set up,'as unfortunately was too often the case with him, poor fellow. He perceived his mistake, but made the best of the situation, and seated himself opposite an easel on which his young friend placed a half-finished landscape for his inspection. 'That's good, ' said Elliott, 'very good, 'at's capital head—good modelling, good color, I like the beard. ev'so much.' 'But Mr. Elliott,' said the young artist, who had begun by this time to take in the situation, 'this is a landscape you are looking at. You know I paint nothing but landscapes.' 'O!' said Elliott, settling himself back in his chair and stroking his long beard, 'is 'at so? a landscape painter, eh? Well, s'pose you paint my landscape, jus' 's I am!'"
Mr. Chilton is at present filling the post of United States Consul at Goderich, Ontario.
Privately-published collection of Robert's poems.
(Goderich: 1885), link
By Robert S. Chilton