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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KIRKWOOD, James Pugh, civil engineer, born in Edinburgh, Scotland, 27 March, 1807; died in Brooklyn, New York, 22 April, 187'7. He was educated in Scotland, and in 1821 was apprenticed as a civil engineer, continuing as such and as an assistant until 1832, when he established himself independently in Glasgow. During the same year he came to the United States and served as assistant and resident engineer on various railroads. In 1839 he was engaged in the preliminary works of Flynn's Knoll lighthouse, New York harbor, under the orders of the United States engineers. For several years he was United States constructing engineer for the docks, hospital, and workshops at Pensacola, Florida, and afterward was general superintendent of the Erie railroad. During 1850-'5 he was chief engineer on the Missouri Pacific railroad, and subsequently, while still continuing his relation with that road, as consulting engineer, he took charge of the work of lowering and moving horizontally the great water-main on Eighth avenue, New York city, into a rock-cut, he received the appointment in 1856 of chief engineer of the Nassau water-works in Brooklyn, and remained as such until 1860. Thenceforth his services were sought chiefly as a consulting engineer. The subject of municipal water-works was his specialty, and he made important reports on it to many cities, including Cincinnati, Ohio, St. Louis, Missouri, and Brooklyn, New York He was advisory engineer of the Lynn, Massachusetts, water-works at the time of his death. For the last twenty-five years of his life he was an invalid, but he persisted in his work, and was regarded as the first engineer in his specialty in the United States. He was president of the American society of civil engineers in 1867-'8.
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