Jervis, John B.

Jervis, John B. (Bloomfield)

(1795–1885) engineer, railroad developer; born in Huntington, N.Y. He helped survey and build the Erie Canal (1819–25). He then joined the Delaware & Hudson Company for which he not only built the first railway in the United States, but also drew up the specifications for the first locomotive to run in the U.S.A., the "Stourbridge Lion" (1829). In 1830 he became chief engineer for the Mohawk & Hudson Railway and continued upgrading railroads and equipment. He designed the locomotive "Experiment," which obtained the fastest speeds in the world at the time. He was chief engineer for the Chenango (N.Y.) Canal (1833) and the Croton Aqueduct; he consulted to Boston, Mass., on a new water supply (1846); and he helped build four other railroads. He wrote several books including The Question of Labour and Capital (1877).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.