Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century
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CHAMBERLAIN, Selah, engineer, born in Brattleboro, Vermont, 4 May, 1812. He is the son of a farmer, received a common-school education, spent two years in a store in Boston, and then went to western Pennsylvania and became a contractor for the construction of the Erie extension of the Pennsylvania canal, and afterward of the Ohio and Pennsylvania and Wabash and Erie canals, and in 1845 of the canal improvements along the St. Lawrence River in Canada. He next built the Rutland and Burlington railroad in Vermont, and parts of the Lake Champlain railroad, and then engaged in the construction of the Cleveland and Pitts-burg road, which was completed in 1851. He constructed the La Crosse and Milwaukee railroad, and operated it until his claims for construction were satisfied. He also built the Minnesota Central railroad, and was its president for several years. The interest on bonds, taken by him in payment for railroads built in Minnesota, was repudiated by the state government, but in 1882 the claims were compromised by the payment of half of the obligation. He aided in the consolidation of the lines composing the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul system. In 1871 he began the Cleveland, Lorain, and Wheeling road, of which he was president. He also engaged in banking and the manufacture of iron in Cleveland.
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