Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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TATHAM, William, engineer, born in Hutton, England, in 1752; died in Richmond, Virginia, 22 February, 1819. He emigrated to this country in 1769, entered a mercantile establishment on James river, Virginia, and served as adjutant of militia against the Indians. He studied the character and customs of the red men, and wrote biographical accounts of Atakullakulla, Oconistoto, Cornstalk, and other warriors. During the Revolutionary war he served as a colonel in the Virginia cavalry under General Thomas Nelson, and was a volunteer in the party that stormed the redoubt at Yorktown. In 1780 with Colonel John Todd, he compiled the first exact and comprehensive account of the western country. After the Revolution he studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1784, removed to North Carolina, and in 1786 founded the settlement of Lumberton. He was a member of the North Carolina legislature in 1787. Tatham went back to England in 1796, and in 1801 became superintendent of the London docks, but returned to the United States in 1805, and became poor in his old age. He was given the office of military store-keeper in the Richmond arsenal in 1817, and while there committed suicide by throwing himself before a cannon at the moment of discharge. His publications include " Memorial on the Civil and Military Government of the Tennessee Colony"; "An Analysis of the State of Virginia" (Philadelphia, 1790-'1) ; "Two Tracts relating to the Canal between Norfolk and North Carolina"; "Plan for Insulating the Metropolis by Means of a Navigable Canal" (London, 1797): "Remarks on Inland Canals" (1798) ; " Political Economy of Inland Navigation, Irrigation, and Drainage" (1799); "Communications on the Agriculture and Commerce of the United States" (1800); " Historical and Practical Essay on the Culture and Commerce of Tobacco" (1800) ; "National Irrigation" (1.801) : "Oxen for Tillage" (1801) ; and two reports "On the Navigation of the Thames" (1803).
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