Two Years on the Pauling Beat

Today marks the second anniversary of the launching of the Pauling Blog.  In two years we have generated 214 posts, garnered over 63,000 views (not counting those accruing from syndication, which WordPress doesn’t include in its total statistics) and been graced with nearly 7,400 spam comments, most of which, thankfully, have been kept at bay by the good folks at Akismet.

We’re a bit less philosophical today than was the case one year ago, but we do want to take this moment to reflect back a bit.  Our readership has grown substantially over the past year and, as we enter our terrible twos, we figure this is a good opportunity to take another quick look at some writing that many of our readers may have never seen.  Here then, are ten worthwhile posts from the early days of the blog.

  1. Visiting Albert Schweitzer:  a review of the Paulings’ trip to Schweitzer’s medical compound in central Africa – in Linus Pauling’s estimation, “one of the most inaccessible areas of the world.”
  2. Pauling and the Presidents: the first in a series of three posts on Pauling’s relationship with this nation’s Commanders in Chief and with the office of the Presidency itself.  The other two posts focus on Pauling’s complicated interactions with John F. Kennedy, and with his own brief flirtation with the idea of running for the office himself.
  3. Pauling’s Rules: among Pauling’s major early contributions to science was his formation of a set of rules used to guide one’s analysis of x-ray diffraction data in the determination of crystal structures.
  4. The Guggenheim Trip: a three-part series detailing Linus and Ava Helen’s adventures as they toured through Europe for a year, meeting major scientific figures and absorbing the fledgling discipline of quantum mechanics.
  5. The Darlings: Maternal Ancestors of Linus Pauling:  an entertaining look at the colorful characters residing further down Pauling’s family tree.  We also featured Pauling’s paternal ancestry as well as Ava Helen’s lineage in separate posts.
  6. A Halloween Tale of Ice Cream and Ethanol:  Pauling’s typically detailed and ultra-rational recollection of a hallucination experienced late one November night.
  7. Clarifying Three Widespread Quotes:  three quotes attributed to Linus Pauling are scattered across the Internet.  This post investigates whether or not Pauling actually authored them.
  8. Pauling in the ROTC:  often accused of anti-Americanism due to his pacifist beliefs, few people know that Pauling actually served in the Reserve Officers Training Corps, ultimately rising to the rank of Major.  This post was among the first in our lengthy Oregon 150 series, celebrating Pauling’s relationship with his home state.
  9. Mastering Genetics: Pauling and Eugenics:  a post that delves into what was among the more controversial stances that Pauling ever took.
  10. Linus Pauling Baseball:  we can’t help it – the video is priceless.

As always, thanks for reading!

The Darlings: Maternal Ancestors of Linus Pauling

William Darling, William Darling Jr. and Linus Wilson Darling, ca. 1870.

William Allen Darling III, William Allen Darling Jr. and Linus Wilson Darling, ca. 1890s.

Before her wedding to Herman Pauling on May 27, 1900, Linus Pauling’s mother, Belle, was known as Lucy Isabelle Darling.  The Darling family history is a rough and tumble one, indicative of the pioneer environment in which Linus Pauling was raised.

Earliest Ancestors

Brothers Dennis and John Darling, the family’s earliest known ancestors, settled in Braintree, Massachusetts, just south of Boston, sometime around 1660.  Records are slight for at least one or two generations, but it is known that John R. Darling, born in 1750, established himself as a farmer in the mid-Hudson Valley region of New York state.  We also know that John R. Darling was a Tory loyalist who, in response to the outbreak of revolution in the American colonies, moved his family to the Bay Quinte region of Ontario, Canada, where he remained until his death at age 98.

The Darlings resided in eastern Canada for some time.  John R. Darling’s son William Darling, born 1800, married and raised eight children in the Bay Quinte region.  One of William’s sons, William Allen Darling (1826-1900) would become Linus Pauling’s great-grandfather.

Great-Grandfather William Allen Darling

William Allen Darling’s biography is the first in which we find documentation of what might be described as “Wild West” behavior.  Having married in 1850 and, in ten years, fathered six children, William Allen Darling left both eastern Canada and his family behind in 1863, bound for Chicago, apparently for purposes of fighting in the American Civil War on the side of the Union.

During this time he cut off communication with his family, who eventually presumed him to be dead.  Four years later he married again – a bigamous marriage, technically – and settled on the western shores of Lake Huron in Tawas City, Michigan.  [He and his second oldest child, William Allen III, would later relocate to the Pacific Northwest] Around this same period, Darling’s first wife died and all six of her children were moved into foster homes.

Grandfather Linus Wilson Darling

One of those six children, Linus Wilson Darling (1855-1910), ran away from his foster parents in New Jersey, worked for a spell as a mule-driver on the Erie Canal and, at the age of fifteen, found his way to Chicago, where he both worked and lodged in a bakery. (he slept in a large bakery barrel)

A year later Linus Wilson Darling left Chicago and, for two years, roamed westward.  He eventually settled in western Oregon, near the state capitol of Salem, and found work as a school teacher.  It is here that he met his future wife, Alcy Delilah Neal, who was one of his students – she was nineteen at the time of their marriage, he was twenty-three.

The newlyweds stayed near Salem for two years, before finally moving to Lonerock, on the east side of the state, where Linus opened a drugstore and Alcy gave birth to four daughters.  The second, Lucy Isabelle, born April 12, 1881, would become Linus Pauling’s mother.

Linus Wilson Darling and his third of four daughters, Estella, early 1900s.

Linus Wilson Darling and Estella Darling, the third of his four daughters, early 1900s.

Four years later the Darlings moved to Condon, where Linus opened a General Store and where Belle would later meet Herman Pauling – a traveling pharmacist, her future husband and the father of Linus, Pauline and Lucile Pauling.

It is worth noting that The Oregon Historical Society includes among its holdings a thoroughly entertaining diary kept by Linus Wilson Darling during his time in Lonerock and Condon.  In it Darling notes, among other events, his first experience of catching a fish by shooting it with a gun…

More information on the Darling family can be found in subseries 5 of the Pauling Biographical materials and a previous blog post on Linus Pauling’s paternal lineage is available here.

Oregon 150