David Barcroft
OHS Teacher

August 4, 1894


Death of David BARCROFT.

David BARCROFT died at Hornitos on Thursday, August 2, 1894, at 3 a.m. At the time of his death he was 34 years, 2 months and 5 days old. David BARCROFT was a man of high attainments. He was graduated from the university of California in 1882, receiving, with Miss HITTELL and J. J. DWYER, the highest honors the university could bestow. He was immediately offered a position as instructor in the mathematical department at Berkeley, which he accepted and held for two years. During this time some of his mathematical work attracted the attention in the east, and he was awarded a scholarship in the John-Hopkins University at Baltimore. The next year he won in competition a fellowship in the same institution. His record in that college was brilliant and he was graduated in 1887, receiving the degree of Ph.D. His thesis, embodying the result of original mathematical research, was ordered printed and was distributed among the leading mathematicians, an honor which few students attain.

After leaving Baltimore, by solicitation of Prof. NEWCOMB, he accepted a position on the Nautical Almanac at Washington. He was promoted after a short service, but sickness compelled him to relinquish his post and he returned to California. For a time he seemed to improve, and in 1889 he undertook to teach in the Oakland high school. But again sickness forced him to leave his work. He returned to Hornitos and shortly after was stricken with an attack of pneumonia, which complicated his disease so that recovery never after seemed possible. Since that time he had been calmly waiting for death.

He was an ideal scholar. With a mind keen, penetrating and logical were united an untiring energy and marvelous capacity for work. These stimulated by an ernest spirit of inquiry and an ambition to stand only among the highest in his profession, placed him at the age of 27 in the front rank of scientific men. Only original investigation yet awaited him. The bounds of modern mathematics had been reached and to enrich science with the fruits of his own inquiry was to be the exalted field of his further labors. Fair and inviting indeed was the prospect held out by th efuture. What grand hights might be attained. How rich the trophies he might win. Hard indeed it must have been to give this all up. Yet with a strong Christian faith he bowed without a murmur to the inscrutable wisdon of his creator.

There remains yet to be told those traits which rounded out his character and raised him to a full stature of true manhood. His was a heartful of piety and love for his fellow men. During the time of his hardest study, a member of the society of Saint Vincent De Paul, he found time to engage continually in charitable work among the poor and sick. In the wretchedest hovels and in the prisons of Baltimore he found a place to labor and at no time did he shrink from his duty. He is gone. Sad is the parting and somber the gloom about us. Yet through the shadow of our grief there shines a ray of brightest hope. He went

"Like one, who, sustained by an unfaltering
Wraps the drapery of his couch about him and
lies him down to pleasant dreams."

Requiescat in pace.

August 1894 Mariposa Gazette
from  Mariposa County History and Genealogy
Website by © William Disbro, used by permission