Roosevelt, Nicholas J.
- Ellsworth S. Grant
Roosevelt, Nicholas J. (27 December 1767–30 July 1854), engineer and inventor, was born in New York City, the son of Jacobus Roosevelt, a shopkeeper, and Annetje Bogard. Nicholas’s brother Jacobus was the great-grandfather of Theodore Roosevelt. As a boy Roosevelt developed a great love for mechanics and built a model boat propelled by paddle wheels turned by springs and a cord. This experiment proved to be the start of his career in manufacturing steam engines and building some of the earliest steamboats. He persuaded friends to purchase land in what is now Belleville, New Jersey, and erect a metal foundry and shop. It was called Soho after the famous works of Boulton and Watt in Birmingham, England. Managing the enterprise alone, with several skilled mechanics imported from England, at first he had some success, building an engine for the Philadelphia waterworks and winning a federal contract to establish a rolling mill for copper to be used in the construction of warships. Unfortunately, the ships were never built, causing him a great financial loss....