OCHSNER, Washington Henry

From Islapedia

OCHSNER, Washington Henry (1879-1927), geologist who participated in the California Academy of Sciences Galapagos expedition of 1905-1906.

Washington Henry Ochsner = [1909] Lena (Nancy) Jessie Belson

  • 1. Winifred Jeanette Ochsner (1912-2002) = [1933] John Paul Bruce Clark
  • 2. Elizabeth Ochsner (1913-1978) = [1935] Joseph George Scholz

Ochsner died in Portland, Oregon of pneumonia at age 47.

The California Academy of Sciences Galapagos expedition visited multiple Baja California islands, including:

  • Isla San Martin, July 11, 1905
  • Isla Geronimo, July 13, 1905
  • Isla San Benito, July 14-17, 1905
  • Isla Cedros, July 18, 1905
  • Isla Natividad, July 19, 1905

The 1905-1906 California Academy of Sciences expedition to the Galapagos aboard the schooner Academy, stopped at Isla San Martin on July 11, 1905. Expedition participants included:

“Washington Henry Oschner: Geologist and Conchologist (1879-1927). Washington Henry Ochsner was born in Prarie du Sac, Wisconsin, on July 4, 1882, according to his death certificate issued by the Oregon State Health Division, but his date of birth is listed as July 4, 1879, in his own hand on his application to attend Leland Stanford Junior University dated August 27, 1904, less than a year before the departure of the schooner Academy from San Francisco. The reason for this discrepancy is not known. Perhaps the death certificate informant, his widow, Hilda Ochsner, was not aware of his actual birth year. Ochsner was the first to die of the "eight young men" who served as sailor-scientists on the 1905-1906 expedition. Prior to attending Stanford and going on the expedition, he had attended the University of Kentucky and the University of Wisconsin.

Following completion of the 1905-1906 expedition, Ochsner re-enrolled in Stanford University and submitted a petition to receive undergraduate geology course credit for work he did on the expedition. He wrote, "Ask that I be granted ten hours university credit for field work under Geology VIII—original work in paleontology. The work consisted of collecting and exploration done on the recent scientific expedition to the Galapagos Island from June 1905—December [sic] 1906. My work was carried out under the direction and supervision of Dr. J. P. Smith [James Perrin Smith. 1864-1931]." Ochsner graduated in May 1909 with an AB degree in geology and mining from Stanford, in the same graduating class as the malacologist, S. Stillman Berry (1887-1984). At the time of his death, he was a Freemason and member of Berkeley Lodge No. 363 of the Free and Accepted Masons.

Just a month before the expedition, on Sunday, May 28, 1905, Ochsner was described in the San Francisco Chronicle as "another Stanford postgraduate [he had not yet graduated], [who] will represent the sciences of geology, paleontology and conchology, especially with regard to the origin of the islands and their rock-written history, which at present is entirely unknown, particularly in the detail of the comparison of the fossil and living shells." After the expedition returned to San Francisco, Ochsner became embroiled in a multi-year intellectual battle with William Healey Dall (1845-1927) over who had the right to publish on Galapagos fossils that Ochsneer had collected. This controversy did not end until both men died in the same year and were united posthumously as coauthors of several molluscan species (see Dall and Ochsner, 1928a,b.) Persistent geological field work by Ochsner resulted in the discovery of oil (after his death) in the Kettleman Hills in Central California. Ochsner died on April 11, 1927 from complications from pneumonia.” [James, Matthew S. Collecting Evolution, (2017)].