Thomson, J. Edgar
- James A. Ward
Thomson, J. Edgar (10 February 1808–27 May 1874), railroad president and engineer, was born in Springfield Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, the son of John Thomson, farmer and surveyor, and Sarah Levis. His first name was John, but he became known as J. Edgar. Thomson’s father taught his son the rudiments of surveying. When Pennsylvania decided to build a line of railroads and canals from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, the elder Thomson used his influence to secure a position for J. Edgar as rodman on a surveying gang. There Thomson fell under the eye of the Philadelphia & Columbia’s chief engineer, Major John Wilson, who promoted Thomson and put him in charge of constructing the first twenty miles of road. When Pennsylvania ran out of funds in 1830, Wilson took Thomson to the Camden & Amboy Railroad with him....