death of Vinal Edwards,
one of the oldest and most respected citizens of Woods Hole
occured suddenly at his home on School Street, Saturday, April
5, 1919. Although his health had been failing for some time,
his death was unexpected. His age was 79 years and 16 days.
He was the son of Benjamin and Eleanor Edwards and was born
in Woods Hole March 19, 1840 in the same house in which he died.
At the time of his death he had the distinction of being the
oldest employee of the U.S Buerau of Fisheries in the United
States. He was in the service of the United States Government
since he was 17 years of age.
Workers in science who are wont to visit Wood's Hole during
the summer months will miss the familiar figure and kindly greeting
of one who has been identified with every piece of faunistic
work that has been carried on at the Fish Commission Laboratory
since the time of Baird, and one whose wide range of activity,
intimate knowledge absolute reliability and willingness to serve
have made him a most valuable source of information and assistance
to those connected with the Marine Laboratory " since the time
of its foundation. Vinal N. Edwards, in the continuous service
of the government for over sixty years, died on April 5, 1919,
and leaves vacant a place in the vital affairs of Wood's Hole
that can not be filled. If a young enthusiast felt that by early
rising he might steal an advantage over other collaborators,
his arrival at " the commission " found Vinal already hard at
work. If a trip was made to the gulf stream, Vinal was the man
that knew when, where and how to gain profit out of the expedition.
If it were a quiet night, ideal for "skimming." it was Vinal's
skiff that was moving silenty among the slicks. Throughout the
day, in the corridors of the laboratories, on the wharf or at
the traps it made no difference where probably no sentence was
more frequently heard than "I don't know, ask Vinal."
Untaught in the modern conception of the word, courteous in
his manner, umnentioned in "Who's Who," unrecorded in "American
men of Science" here was a man remarkably well informed, courteous
and friendly in his association with men, well known to a multitude
of educators, and one upon whom many of the foremost workers
in biological science relied for information and advice. It
is probable that hundreds of new species have resulted from
his activities as a collector. In Verrill's report on the invertebrates
of Vinyard Sound, his name is repeatedly mentioned Smith's paper
on the fishes of the Woods Hole region would have been impossible
without his help, and those who were associated in the preparation
and publication of the "Biological Survey of the Waters of Wood's
Hole and Vicinity " frequenty stated that one of the motives
which originally prompted this work was the "desire to incorporate
in a permanent form the valuable but unpublished data in the
possession of this indefatigable collector and observer."