Sit Back and Relax: Haldeman’s Riffles

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BAINBRIDGE, Pa. (WHTM) — It’s really a shame Samuel Stehman Haldeman (1812-1880) isn’t better known. In the 1800’s he was one of America’s most famous scientists, recognized for his broad range of knowledge in a number of fields.

He was especially noted for his expertise in linguistics and zoology. As a linguist, he was a consultant for early editions of Webster’s Dictionary. He collected information on Native American languages and culture and wrote a book explaining how Pennsylvania Dutch developed from the Pfalz dialect of southern Germany.

As a zoologist, Haldeman influenced Charles Darwin, who said Haldeman’s paper on “Species and Their Distribution” helped him refine his ideas for The Origin of Species.

Much of Haldeman’s scientific research focused on freshwater mollusks. And a lot of this work took place here, at Haldeman’s Riffles.

The Riffles are located along the North West River Trail in Lancaster County, a little over a mile south of Bainbridge. This view was recorded from the top of one of the most famous features along the trail, The White Cliffs of Conoy Township.

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