The Daily Bug

Dr. John Lining

By: palmettobug53, 1:51 AM GMT on August 21, 2007

Hubby had given me a couple of books for my birthday, earlier this summer. I had browsed through them and read bits and pieces but I decided to do it right and read "Charleston! Charleston! The History of a Southern City" by Walter J. Frasier, Jr. from beginning to end.

It's an interesting book. A good bit of it was stuff that I'd read before or studied in school but had long forgotten. It's amazing how many "firsts" The Holy City has under it's belt.

Dr. Lining's house is on the corner of King and Broad Sts. and I've walked past it hundreds of times. Imagine my surprise when I ran across this, when reading about the winter of 1740-41: "There was little immediate respite from suffering during the long winter. Records kept by the first American meteorologist, Dr. John Lining of Charles Town, indicated that temperatures plunged to their coldest prolonged readings ever during the colonial period."

America's first meteorologist?

That got my attention.

So, I thought, "That might make an interesting blog topic." Little did I know, that there is next to no information on line about Dr. Lining. I've spent quite a few hours, trying to dig up something on him. There does seem to be a fair number of letters online but they are on certain scholarly sites that require you to be a member to access them. Rats....

I've found out that he was not a scientist or meteorologist, the way we think of them today, but a physician. He was a "gentleman scientist" much like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. He was doing weather observations in hopes that he would find some connection between the weather and sickness, especially the fatal diseases that plagued the population of Charleston at the time: yellow fever, malaria, dengue fever, cholera and smallpox, to name a few.

Here are a few of the links I DID find:

John Lining

Lining Time Line


Mention in the writings of Benjamin Franklin

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