DR. ARTHUR JOHN PHINNEY, physician, botanist and geologist, of Muncie, Ind., was born in Russell township, Geauga county, Ohio, August 7, 1850. He was reared on the home farm until of age, receiving in the meantime a good common school education, supplemented by an attendance at Geauga seminary and two terms at Oberlin college, and at Allegheny college, Meadville, Pa., until he reached the junior year, devoting special attention to the sciences and mathematics. During his collegiate course, also, he employed his spare time in teaching in the common schools of Geauga and adjoining counties for six terms. In 1875 he took his first course of medical lectures, beginning in the medical department of Wooster university; his second course was at Pulte Medical college, of Cincinnati, in 1876-77, from which he graduated in the last named year. For little over a year he practiced in Galion, Ohio, and in October, 1878, came to Muncie, where he has had an excellent practice ever since. He turned his especial attention to botany at the time he left college, and his last work in this line ended with 1882, when he was employed to prepare a complete record of the flora of Delaware county, Ind., which was published in the report of the state geological survey of that year. In this record he classified 720 plants, including grasses, sedges, rushes and flowers, and the task occupied him several years. The doctor has been a student of geology for many years, but his first official recognition was in 1881, when he was employed to make a geological survey of Delaware county, which proved to be so satisfactory that he was subsequently employed to survey Randolph, Grant, Henry and the northern portion of Wayne, and the results were included in the state report of 1882, 1883 and 1885-86 (two in one). This was a labor of five or six years, taken in connection with the practice of his profession. On the discovery of natural gas, the doctor began the study of the phenomenon minutely and scientifically, keeping a record of all the data obtainable throughout the state of Indiana, including records of all the geological strata passed through in drilling -thickness, altitude, depth of Trenton limestone; whether gas, oil or water was found, total depth of well, and other minute facts, and securing and labeling samples of drillings. By these data he was enabled to determine the limits of the field, and was the first to accurately define it. These reports were made the base of a series of articles, by the doctor, published in the American Manufacturer and Iron World, in December, 1887, and afterward, in full, in the Indianapolis News, and in the Petroleum Age, at Bradford, Pa., and attracted profound attention throughout the country. Major J. W. Powell, director of the Untied States geological survey, impressed with the thoroughness of the work done, appointed the doctor United States geological surveyor for the continuation of the survey of the Indiana gas field and directed a complete report to be made theron. This was a labor of three years, and forms a part of the elevenh annual report of the United States geological survey. It is amply illustrated with maps and sectional views, and embraces everything of interest in relation to the gas field. The doctor has also been called to different parts of the Untied States at various times, in connection with his work. He has secured one of the most comprehensive working geological libraries in the state, and has collected an extensive variety of fossils, minerals and fresh water and land shells, embracing over 17, 000 species, all classified and labeled. In the fall of 1892, this collection was sold, and donated to Buchtel college, Akron, Ohio. The bulk of this immense research, study and labor has been accomplished within the past twelve years,and yet the doctor has assidiously attended to his daily professional duties, to which he now exclusively devotes himself, and in which he holds high rank. Music affords him his only pastime.
The marriage of Dr. Phinney took place, October 16, 1879, to Miss Mary E. Little, daughter of John L. Little, of Muncie, and to this union one child, Louise, has been born.
A Portrait and Biographical Record of Delaware and Randolph Counties, Ind., A.W. Bowen & Co., 1894