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Armstrong, John (13 October 1717–09 March 1795), soldier, surveyor, and member of the Continental Congress, was born in County Fermanagh, Ulster, Ireland. The identities of his Scotch-Irish parents and circumstances of his youth are unclear, but his father may have been named James. A trained surveyor, John Armstrong evidently received some education fairly early in life. Sometime in the mid-1740s Armstrong immigrated to America, settling initially in Delaware and then in Pennsylvania, where he worked as a surveyor. It was probably at some point after his arrival in America that he married Rebeckah Armstrong. The couple had two sons (the younger, ...

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De Brahm, William Gerard (20 August 1718–03 July 1799?), surveyor-cartographer and military engineer, was born in Koblenz, Germany, the son of Johann Phillip von Brahm, court musician to the elector of Triers, and Johannetta Simonet. A member of the lesser nobility, De Brahm secured a broad education that included exposure to the burgeoning experimental sciences of his day. After attaining the rank of captain engineer in Charles VII’s imperial army, De Brahm married and renounced the Roman Catholic faith. Forced to resign his army commission because of his renunciation, he and his bride, Wilhelmina de Ger, found themselves nearly destitute....

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Emory, William Hemsley (07 September 1811–01 December 1887), soldier, surveyor, and cartographer, was born on the family plantation, “Poplar Grove,” in Queen Annes County, Maryland, the son of Thomas Emory and Anna Maria Hemsley. In July 1826 William Emory enrolled in the United States Military Academy, where his classmates, to whom he was known as Bold Emory, included ...

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L’Enfant, Pierre Charles (02 August 1754–14 June 1825), engineer and architect, was born in Paris, France, the son of Pierre L’Enfant, painter of military subjects for the French Crown, and Marie-Charlotte Leullier. In 1771 he was listed as his father’s student at the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture, the only known record of his education. L’Enfant arrived in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in April 1777 aboard the ...

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Mangin, Joseph François (17 December 1764–after 1818), engineer and architect, was born in Chalons-sur-Marne, France, the son of Joseph-Denis Mangin, surgeon, and Jeanne-Marie-Anne Morin Delaterasse. He served as engineer in the French army, spending eight years mapping the northern part of Santo Domingo until the revolt of 1793. He was married to Theresa Bulland; they had one child....

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Meigs, Montgomery Cunningham (03 May 1816–02 January 1892), army officer, was born in Augusta, Georgia, the son of Charles Meigs, a physician, and Mary Montgomery. Soon after the family relocated to Philadelphia. In 1831 Meigs briefly attended the University of Pennsylvania there. He transferred to the U.S. Military Academy the following year and on 1 July 1836 graduated fifth in his class of forty-nine. As a second lieutenant, Meigs was initially posted with the First Artillery Regiment but subsequently requested and received transfer to the engineers. He engaged in various construction projects over the next sixteen years, commencing with Fort Mifflin near Philadelphia. He also worked on navigational improvements along the Mississippi River with Lieutenant ...

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Post, George Browne (15 December 1837–28 November 1913), architect and Union militia officer, was born in New York City, the son of Joel Browne Post and Abby Mauran Church. Of distinguished New England ancestry, Post was educated at Churchill School, Ossining, New York, and graduated with a B.S. in civil engineering from New York University in 1858. His notably successful career as a technically progressive though stylistically eclectic architect began shortly thereafter when he opened a practice with ...

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George B. Post Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-104303).

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Scammell, Alexander (27 March 1747–06 October 1781), schoolmaster, military officer, and surveyor, was born in Mendon (now Milford), Massachusetts, the son of Samuel Leslie Scammell, a physician, and Jane Libbey. His parents had emigrated from Portsmouth, England. His father, who died in 1753, had asked the town’s Congregational minister, Amariah Frost, to prepare Alexander for Harvard. Scammell successfully matriculated at Harvard in 1765, where he held the Hollis and Browne scholarships, waited on dining hall tables, and taught school during intersessions but nevertheless found it difficult to finance his education. He briefly left the college during a student protest his junior year but soon thereafter was readmitted. At his graduation in 1769, he delivered a commencement oration in Greek and received an award for scholarly merit. Harvard also awarded him an M.A. three years later....

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Smith, Daniel (17 October 1748–16 June 1818), revolutionary soldier, statesman, and surveyor, was born near Aquia Creek in Stafford County, Virginia, the son of Henry Smith and Sarah Crosby. The eldest of twelve children, he attended the College of William and Mary and then studied both law and medicine. However, he also learned the use of surveying instruments while still a teenager, and the demand for frontier surveys kept him occupied principally in that profession for most of his life....