In the ninth degree of Howard Eves Mathematical Circles, Vol. III, he lists a group of prominent mathematicians' in America in the first half of the nineteenth century that you probably have never heard of: Robert Adrain, Robert Patterson, William Rogers, John Farrar, Theodore Strong, Alexander Dallas Bache, Ferdinand Rudolph Hassler, and today's feature mathematician, Charles Gill.

A quick test, can you give one mathematical item about any of them? I admit that looking at the list when I first encountered it, I knew a very little about three of them, and no immediate recall of the rest. If you knew that many or more you are far more knowledgeable than a vast majority of math educators and mathematical practitioners.

There is a reason many are not well known. When i looked up Charles Gill on Wikipedia I found,:

Charles-Ignace Gill (1844–1901), Canadian Member of Parliament

Charles Gill (artist) (1871–1918), Canadian painter and poet

Charles O. Gill (1868–1959), American college football coach

Charlie Gill (1923–1986), Australian rugby league footballer

Charles Lovett Gill (1880–1960), Scottish architect

Charles R. Gill (1830–1883), politician in the state of Wisconsin

Charles Hope Gill (1861–1946), bishop of Travancore and Cochin

Hmmm (Nothing) , so on to MacTutor math history site of the Saint Andrews University:

Gillespie, Robert (1903 - 1977)

Gillman, Leonard (1917 - 2009)

Gini, Corrado (1884 - 1965)

Ginsburg, Jekuthiel (1889 - 1957)

Giordano, Annibale (1769 - 1835)

Giorgi, Ennio de (1928 - 1996)

Girard, Albert (1595 - 1632)

Girard, Pierre (1765 - 1836)

Gitler, Samuel (1933 - 2014)

OK, maybe I made my point, you are not likely to stumble across their stories if some of the best search sources for mathematics don't have a mention,

Over the next few weeks I hope to add a brief biography about everyone of them I can find information about. I hope you find it enjoyable. Today I wanted to cover Gill, who was born and then died, on October 22, fifty years apart, (Oct 22, 1805, Oct 22, 1855).(Some suggest that his death could have been several days later.)

I was lucky enough to find an article written shortly after his death, "Historical Sketch of the Life of Charles Gill, Esq."n fromThe Assurance Magazine, and Journal of the Institute of Actuaries, Vol. 6, No. 4 (JULY, 1856), pp. 216-227

Most of what is below is from that source:

" Charles Gill was born in Yorkshire, England, October 22nd, 1805. He very early manifested a love and aptitude for knowledge, and an indomitable energy in its pursuit. He left his village school at ten years of age, his schoolmaster declaring that he knew as much as he did. After this, all his knowledge was procured by his own unaided exertions.

At the age of thirteen he found himself as a sailor on a boat bound for the West Indies, According to some stories, the ship was struck with a yellow fever attack that killed every officer onboard. In the absence of command, the remaining crew looked to Gill to find their way back home, and amazingly his knowledge math and geometry and his quick learning let him read the Captain's log and navigate them safely home.

The events seemed to make him believe he was more of a mathematician than a sailor, and he returned to Yorkshire.

He became a regular contributor to *The (Ladies?)Diary*, which was one of the finest mathematical journals in England, and through his impressive array of questions and solutions, he became known to the greater mathematical community. During this period from the ages of sixteen to about twenty-five he worked as a schoolteacher while continuing his math studies.

Perhaps influenced by this experience, he later founded and edited The Mathematical Miscellany, a journal devoted to mathematical problem solving. Its problems were divided into a junior department intended for young students and a senior department for established mathematicians. Most of the leading American mathematicians of this time solved problems and contributed to this journal. Due to a lack of paying subscriptions, the journal faltered and published only six issues (1836-1839). The title page of the 1836 Miscellany is shown above, with a page of problems from this issue for readers to attempt follow. *MAA

His move to New York, apparently with his wife whose date of marriage was not known occurred in 1830, and within ten days of his arrival he was appointed a teacher in Westchester County New York. Within a year or so he was appointed Mathematics and Natural Philosophy at Flushings Institute, later to become Saint Paul's College. It was around this time (1836) that he started his short-lived Mathematical Miscellany.

By 1849, it seems he was interested in a new exploit, for in that year he was Mr. Gill was appointed Mathematician to the Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company of Newark, New Jersey.

Interestingly, you get a sense of the wealth of his knowledge and exposure to other mathematicians, and his own modesty, that when he got this offer, he asked a friend to honestly inform him of his opinion on Gills ability to perform these duties. The friend, Professor Benjamin Peirce, of Harvard University wrote back:

" Harvard University, 9 May, 1849.

"My Dear Friend: In answer to your inquiries, I am happy to be able to state that I have known you as a mathematician for many years. I was familiar with your contributions to the Mathematical Miscellany when you were its editor, and afterwards, when I was editor myself. I have repeatedly tried the strength of your geometrical capacity, both in conversation and writing; and I am able to say, with entire confidence, that you have not your superior, as à mathematician, in this United States, either in powers of analysis or in elegance of solution. I can say, moreover, that there is no known subject of mathematical computation, either theoretical or practical, for which you are not fully competent; and I can add, that all the problems of life assurance will be as simple to you as a sum in the Rule of Three is to most of those who are usually known as mathematicians.

Very faithfully and sincerely,

Your Friend,

Prof. GUI "Benjamin Peirce.

P.S. - I am delighted with your Treatise Upon Angular Analysis. It is truly a gem. I entreat you to come to Cambridge at the meeting of the Scientific Assoc in July. B.P.

Apparently the Mutual Benefit Company agreed with Professor Peirce, for in October, 1849, he was appointed Actuary to the Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York, and in this service he died in 1855.

A book was written about Gill in 1913 by Emory McClintock. Reprinting are available. This one offered at Amazon for under $21.00

A picture of Gill would be appreciated if anyone knows of them, and anyone who has additional information about his life that might be of interest to readers would be welcome to send comments and information about America's First Actuary.

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Addendum:

I have some of these already in my notes. I will give dates to find them here as I go long

**Robert Adrain **(30 September 1775 – 10 August 1843**) **

**Robert Patterson **(May 30, 1743 – July 22, 1824)

**John Farrar** (July 1, 1779 – May 8, 1853)

**Theodore Strong** (July 26, 1790 – February 1, 1869)

**Alexander (Dallas) Bache** (July 19, 1806 – February 17, 1867)

**Ferdinand Rudolph Hassler** (Another Early Mathematician in America You Probably Never Heard Of , Available after Nov 20)

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