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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LAURIE, James, civil engineer, born in Bells Quarry, Scotland, 9 May, 1811; died in Hartford, Connecticut, 16 March, 1875. He was a maker of philosophical instruments, and followed that business abroad until 1832, when he came to the United States with James P. Kirkwood, and was associated with him in the location of various railroads. Subsequently he became chief engineer in charge of the construction of the Norwich and Worcester railroad, and later of the New Jersey Central railroad. Mr. Laurie was employed on surveys of railroads in Nova Scotia, and as consulting engineer for the state of Massachusetts on the Hoosac tunnel. He then turned his attention to bridge-construction, and built the wrought-iron bridge across the Connecticut river at Windsor Locks, which was one of the first of its kind in the United States. Thereafter he was employed chiefly as a consulting engineer concerning bridges, on which he was regarded as the highest authority in this country up to the time of his death. Mr. Laurie was active in promoting the formation of the American society of civil engineers in 1852, and he was elected the first president of that society, which office he held continuously until 1867.
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