Tennessee’s First State Geologist
Gerard Troost, 1776- 1850
Gerard Troost was born at Bois-le-Duc, Holland, on March 15, 1776. He was educated at the University of Leyden where he received the degree of doctor of medicine, and at the University of Amsterdam where in 1801 he received the degree of master of pharmacy. Much of his study time, however, was devoted to chemistry, natural history, and especially to the then infant sciences of geology and mineralogy.
Between 1801 and 1807 Troost was a practicing pharmacist, both in Amsterdam and at The Hague. At that time the work of a pharmacist required knowledge and use of chemistry, botany, and zoology. During part of this time, he also served as medical officer in the Dutch army.
His work attracted the attention of Louis Napoleon, king of Holland, sho sent him to Paris in 1807 to continue his scientific studies.
In 1809 he was selected by the king of Holland for a scientific mission to Java. This mission, however, was interrupted by war and the ship on which he was traveling was captured by a French privateer that took him to France. On March 5, 1810, Troost received a passport permitting him to sail to Philadelphia, where he became an American citizen and one of the founders of the prestigious Academy of Natural Science in Philadelphia. In 1825 Troost and several of these pioneer geologists moved to the utopian colony of New Harmony, Indiana, when this town was one of the most, if not the most important center of geological study west of Philadelphia. Troost, however, soon became dissatisfied with the impractical schemes and peculiar social arrangements of the colony, and he left New Harmony for Nashville, Tennessee. It is believed that this move was encouraged by Dr. Philip Lindsley, president of the University of Nashville. On February 9, 1828, Troost was appointed professor of geology and mineralogy at this university. Later, chemistry and natural history was added to his teaching curriculum.
On October 19, 1831, he made an address to the Legislature that resulted in his appointment as state geologist on December 21 of that year. He held that position by biennial appointment until February 4, 1850, at which time the position was abandoned by the Legislature.
Troost died in Nashville on August 14, 1850, and was buried in the old City Cemetery.
Complete text authored by:
Charles W. Wilson, Jr.*, State Geological Surveys and State Geologists of Tennessee (Tennessee Division of Geology, Bulletin 81, 1981), 4.
*(1905-1985, Professor of Geology, Vanderbilt University; long time consultant to the Tenn. Division of Geology)
Tuesday, November 10, 1857
Residence for Sale of the late Dr. Troost
A Desirable Residence at Public
ON Thursday, the 3rd of December next, on the premises, I will sell at Public Sale that convenient residence opposite the University, now owned by John Q. Dodd and so long occupied by the late Dr. Troost.
The lot fronts sixty feet on Market street, and is one hundred and forty feet deep, with an alley at its side and rear. The house contains seven rooms besides kitchen, servants’ rooms, & c.
Also the Lot immediately in the rear of the above, fronting sixty feet on College street, and which is at present occupied as a stable lot to the house above mentioned.
TERMS- A credit of eight and sixteen months for notes satisfactorily endorsed, bearing interest and a lien retained.
Persons wishing to examine the premises can do so at anytime.
E.R. GLAECOCK, Auctioneer.