Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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CHESBROUGH, Ellis Sylvester, civil engineer, born in Baltimore, Maryland, 6 July, 1813; do in Chicago, Illinois, 19 August, 1886. His father met with business reverses, and the boy was taken from school at the age of thirteen and became chainman to an engineering party engaged in the preliminary survey of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad. Later he was engaged on the Allegheny and Portage railroad, and in 1831 became associated with William Gibbs MeNeill in the construction of the Paterson and Hudson River railroad. In 1837 he was appointed senior assistant on the building of the Louisville, Cincinnati, and Charleston railroad, and in 1846 became chief engineer of the Boston water-works, planning the important structures on it, including the Brookline reservoir. He was appointed sole commissioner in the Boston water department in 1850, and during the following year City engineer, having charge of all the water-works under the Cochituate water board, besides being surveyor of the streets and harbor improvements. In 1855 he became engineer for the Chicago board of sewerage commissioners, and in that capacity planned the sewerage system of the city. In 1879 he resigned the office of commissioner of public works. The River tunnels were planned by him, and, despite much criticism, have proved successful. He achieved a high reputation as an authority on the water-supply and sewage of cities, and in that capacity was consulted by the officials of New York, Boston, Cambridge, Toronto. Detroit, Memphis, Milwaukee, and other cities. Mr. Chesbrough was a corresponding member of the American institute of architects, and from November, 1877, till November, 1878, was president of the American society of civil engineers.
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