Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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FLEMING, Sandford, Canadian engineer, born in Kirkcaldy, Fifeshire, Scotland, 7 January 1827. He received his early training there, and served an apprenticeship as a surveyor and engineer. He immigrated to Canada in 1845, and in 1852 was appointed one of the engineering staff of the Northern railway, then known as the Ontario, Simcoe, and Huron railway. Subsequently he visited the Red River settlement, for the purpose of ascertaining the practicability of connecting that section with the rest of Canada. In 1863 he went to Great Britain to present the memorial of the inhabitants of Red River settlement, petitioning for railway communication, to the imperial government, but was not successful. On his return he was commissioned to make a preliminary survey of a pro jeered line of railway to connect the maritime provinces with Canada, and this he accomplished: but the work of construction was not prosecuted to any great extent until the completion of the road had been rendered imperative in 1867 by the conditions imposed upon the Dominion government by the articles of union with the maritime provinces. Under Mr. Fleming's supervision, as chief engineer, the Intercolonial railway was successfully completed, and was formally opened on 1 July 1876. While this railway was under construction, Mr. Fleming was ordered in 1871 to survey a line that would connect old Canada with the Pacific Ocean.
This work he had most successfully prosecuted, when political exigencies arose, and he resigned in 1880. Though he was not afterward connected with the Canada Pacific railway, the ultimate success of that great enterprise was owing largely to his skill. In recognition of his ability as an engineer, he was made in 1877 a companion of the order of St, Michael and St. George; in 1880 he was elected chancellor of Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario; in 1881 he represented the Canadian institute and the American meteorological society at the International geographical congress at Venice; and in 1884 the Dominion at the International prime meridian conference at Washington, D.C. The same year he received the degree of LL.D. from St. Andrew's University. He has published "England and Canada," besides reports on his engineering enterprises.
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