Charles Scott VENABLE
- Born: 19 Apr 1827, Prince Edward, Virginia, USA, "Longwood"
- Marriage (1): Margaret Cantey McDOWELL on 16 Jan 1856 in Lexington, Rockbridge Co., VA
- Marriage (2): Mary Southall BROWN in 1876
- Died: 11 Aug 1900, Cascade, Pittsylvania, Virginia, USA aged 73
- Buried: University Of VA Cemetery
User ID: P00051851.
Charles Scott Venable, b. Apr. 19, 1827, at "Longwood," Prince Edward Co., Va.; d.
Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 11, 1900; mar. (I) Jan. 16, 1856, Margaret Cantey McDowell, b. in Lexington, Va., Mar. 26, 1836; d. Jan. 15, 1874, dau. of James McDowell (Gov. of Va.; member of Congress) and Susan Preston, dau. of Gen. Francis Preston and Sarah Buchanan Campbell, his wife, dau. of Gen. William Campbell and Sarah Henry, his wife.
Charles Scott Venable entered Hampden-Sidney College in 1839, and graduated in 1842. He was tutor in Mathematics there from 1843 to 1845, studying law at the same time. He spent the session of 1845-6 at the University of Virginia in the study of "Junior Law," Mathematics and Ancient Languages, receiving at the close of the session diplomas in Ancient Languages and Mathematics, and "distinctions" at both examinations in Junior Law. From 1846 to 1852 he was professor of Mathematics in Hampden-Sidney College, but got a furlough and spent the session of 1847-8 at the University of Virginia. He now attended lectures in Modern Languages, Natural Philosophy, Chemistry and Mixed Mathematics, gaining diplomas in all these branches, besides a proficiency in Mineralogy and Geology. Only a well-trained and mature mind could have undertaken and achieved so colossal a task.
In 1852 he obtained a second furlough for the prosecution of studies in Germany. In Berlin he studied Astronomy under Encke and in Bonn under Argelander, attending also the lectures of Lejeune Dieichlet and Dove. In 1853 he returned to Hampden-Sidney, and resumed his mathematical teaching, varying his studies by a delightful geological tour in the summer of 1855, with a party headed by Col. Jewett, among the Palaeozoic rocks of New York.
In 1856 he was elected to the chair of Natural History and Chemistry in the University of Georgia, and in 1857 to that of Mathematics and Astronomy in the College of South Carolina. He retained the latter position until 1862, but was on leave of absence the last two years of the term. In 1860 he was appointed one of five commissioners to observe the total solar eclipse of July in that year and sailed to Labrador with his party. His report is contained in the Coast Survey volume for 1861.
He joined the Congaree Rifles in 1860, as second lieutenant, and went with them to Charleston to help in the attack on Fort Sumter. He fought in the battle of Manassas, as a private in the Governor's Guards, Second South Carolina regiment. After a detail to Vicksburg and the lower Mississippi, he received in 1862 an appointment on the staff of Gen. R. E. Lee, and continued this service until the close of the war. (Note: Gen'l Lee offered to Major A. L. Long, the position of Military Secretary, with rank of Col., and selected for his aides-de-camp, Majors Randolph Talcott, Walter H. Taylor, Charles S. Venable and Charles Marshall). Immediately after the war, he was elected to the chair of mathematics in the University of Virginia.
As an author we first knew him in 1858 by his excellent translation of that fascinating book, Bourdon's Arithmetic. After coming to this place, he was led to prepare a series of graded texts for primary and secondary schools, which have won their way, by merit, into extensive demand. Besides these, he felt obliged to print for his own classes compendious treatises on Solid Geometry (analytical), on Differential Equations, and the Calculus of Variations.
Col. Venable's most brilliant service to the University was not as a teacher or author, great as were his merits in these relations. His long contact with men, young and old, in academic bodies, his association with a great military leader, and incessant participation in great historical events, gave him rightly such precedence in a governing body that he was naturally accorded a leader's place everywhere. After Dr. Maupin's lamented death, in 1870, Col. Venable was fitly called to take his place as Chairman of the Faculty. The delicate and difficult duties of this post were discharged by him with signal ability. After three years of service as Chairman, he resigned the office, but did not intermit his active efforts for the University as a whole. To this time belongs the crowning achievement of his career in procuring the gift of a great telescope from Mr. Leander McCormick, and the gathering, by astonishing efforts, of a fund of seventy-five thousand dollars for its endowment, most of it in small sums from widely scattered alumni. His next conspicuous public service was in connection with the Brooks gift of seventy thousand dollars for the building and equipment of a Natural History Museum. Again the Board summoned him to the Chairmanship in 1886, and again for two years he served with his accustomed energy. [F. H. Smith, in The Alumni Bulletin of the University of Virginia, Nov., 1896.]
Charles married Margaret Cantey McDOWELL, daughter of Gov. James McDOWELL and Susanna Smith PRESTON, on 16 Jan 1856 in Lexington, Rockbridge Co., VA. (Margaret Cantey McDOWELL was born on 26 Mar 1836 in Lexington, Rockbridge Co., VA and died on 15 Jan 1874.)
Charles next married Mary Southall BROWN in 1876. (Mary Southall BROWN died on 11 Feb 1911.)