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James B. Eads   By: (1873-1947)

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First Page:

The Riverside Biographical Series

ANDREW JACKSON, by W. G. BROWN JAMES B. EADS, by LOUIS HOW BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, by PAUL E. MORE PETER COOPER, by R. W. RAYMOND THOMAS JEFFERSON, by H. C. MERWIN

IN PREPARATION

WILLIAM PENN GENERAL GRANT LEWIS AND CLARKE

Each about 100 pages, 16mo, with photogravure portrait, 75 cents.

HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN & CO. BOSTON AND NEW YORK

[Illustration: Jas. B. Eads]

JAMES B. EADS

BY

LOUIS HOW

HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY Boston: 4 Park Street; New York: 11 East Seventeenth Street Chicago: 378 388 Wabash Avenue

The Riverside Press, Cambridge

COPYRIGHT, 1900, BY LOUIS HOW ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

PREFACE

I must mention with particular gratitude several books that were invaluable in preparing this sketch, in supplementing the usual biographical dictionaries and naval histories. These are: Captain Mahan's "The Gulf and Inland Waters;" Boynton's picturesque "History of the American Navy during the Great Rebellion;" Mr. Fiske's "Mississippi Valley in the Civil War;" Snead's "The Fight for Missouri;" Mr. C. M. Woodward's "History of the St. Louis Bridge;" Mr. Estill McHenry's edition of Eads's "Papers and Addresses," with a biography; two memoirs by SeƱores Francisco de Garay and Ignacio Garfias, of the Mexican Association of Civil Engineers; and, above all, several memoirs and addresses and the history of the Jetties by Mr. Elmer L. Corthell, C. E., without which I could scarcely have written this Life.

I must also cordially thank for kind personal aid and advice Chancellor Chaplin (of Washington University), Dr. William Taussig, Mr. Albert Bushnell Hart, Major George Montague Wheeler of the Engineer Corps (retired), Messrs. Winston Churchill, William L. Wright, C. Donovan, E. L. Corthell (who was as obliging as he was helpful), Estill McHenry and John A. Ubsdell, Mrs. Susan F. Stevens, and especially my mother to whose help and encouragement this Life of her father is due.

L. H.

ROCKPORT, MASS., July 30, 1900.

CONTENTS

CHAP. PAGE

I. EARLY TRAINING 1

II. THE GUNBOATS 22

III. THE BRIDGE 49

IV. THE JETTIES 75

V. THE SHIP RAILWAY 105

JAMES B. EADS

I

EARLY TRAINING

James Buchanan Eads was born in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, May 23, 1820. Both the Eads family, who came from Maryland, and his mother's people, the Buchanans, who were originally Irish, were gentlefolk; but James's father never was very prosperous. The son, however, went to school, and he showed early a very special love for machinery, observing with great interest everything of that kind that he came upon. For a while the family lived in Cincinnati; from there they removed in 1829 to Louisville. In those days, when steamboats were the best of conveyances, the Ohio River formed a natural highway between the two towns. On the trip the small boy of nine hung around the engine of the boat, considering it with so much wonder and admiration that finally the engineer, who found him an apt pupil, explained the various parts of the mechanism to him.

He really had understood his lesson well, for two years later, in the little workshop that his father had fitted up for him, he made a small engine which ran by steam. Besides he made models of sawmills, fire engines, steamboats, and electrotyping machines. Except such chance instruction as that which he found on the boat, he had had no teaching in mechanics, but worked with the ingenuity of many a bright boy; for he is by no means the only one who ever took apart and put together the family clock, or even a lever watch, with no other tool than a penknife. One of his inventions, which shows not so much his talent as his true boyishness, was a small box wagon, open only underneath and with a hole in front, which, suddenly produced before his mother and sisters, ran mysteriously across the room. The motive power concealed within this agreeable toy was found to be a live rat... Continue reading book >>




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