Benjamin Henry Latrobe, Jr.

Male 1806 - 1878  (71 years)


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  • Name Benjamin Henry Latrobe, Jr.  [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
    Suffix Jr. 
    Born 19 Dec 1806  Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [7, 8, 9
    Gender Male 
    Occupation Chief Engineer of the B&O Railroad 
    Occupation 1860  [8
    Civil engineer 
    Residence 1860  Baltimore, Independent Cities, Maryland, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [8
    Died 19 Oct 1878  Baltimore, Independent Cities, Maryland, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried 19 Oct 1878  [10
    Notes 
    • Benjamin Henry Latrobe, Jr. was born in Philadelphia, PA and educated in Baltimore where he attended St. Mary's College and took high honors in mathematics in 1824. He and his brother, John H. B. Latrobe, both attended Georgetown College where they were the only Protestant students. He passed the bar and practiced law for a short time in Alloways Town, Salem Co., New Jersey and in Baltimore with his brother. His brother wrote that Ben detested the law and decided to take up engineering. John H. B. Latrobe is quoted as saying, "It was a swap between us. I had been educated as an engineer and became a lawyer, and he, educated as a lawyer, became an engineer. He started from the very bottom measuring broken stones for ballast for the B&O Railroad west of Ellicott's Mill for $1 a day, and when he retired he was at the top of the ladder at whose foot he stood in 1829."

      He took up civil engineering and became one of the most eminent engineers in the country. He was Chief Engineer of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad for twenty two years. He designed the railroad from Harper's Ferry west to the Ohio River. In this project he had to solve many engineering problems involving heavy grades, long tunnels and capacity of the locomotive. His scheme was regarded as impossible, involving as it did, grades of 116 feet to the mile for permanent work and 500 feet per mile for temporary track across the Kingswood tunnel summit. All difficulties were finally overcome, and the road was opened to Wheeling in 1852. Latrobe was appointed President of the Pittsburgh-Connellsville Branch of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.

      He designed the famous Thomas Viaduct near Relay, MD which was originally designed for 30 ton trains and to this day handles 300 ton trains. It was designed to cross the Patapsco River Valley between Relay and Elkridge. The construction for the viaduct began in 1 July 1833 and was completed on 4 July 1835. It was named for B&O President Philip E. Thomas. The viaduct was the first bridge built on a curving alignment and was 704 feet long and 26 feet wide. The roadway was 66 feet above water level and each of the eight arches spanned a little over 58 feet.

      He was a consulting engineer for many enterprises including the Hoosac Tunnel in Massachusetts built between 1852 and 1873. On 24 August 1866 he was commissioned by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as a Consulting Engineer for the Troy and Greenfield Railroad and Hoosac Tunnel with a salary not to exceed $3000.

      In 1869 he was a member of the Advisory Board to assess John A. Roebling's design for the Brooklyn Bridge.

      Latrobe, Pennsylvania was named for Benjamin Henry Latrobe, Jr. by Oliver W. Barnes, who as owner of the first plan of lots in Latrobe exercised his prerogative of naming the town. Mr. Barnes and Benjamin Henry Latrobe, Jr. were classmates together, both becoming civil engineers in the profession of railroad building. Incidentally, the name is pronounced. 'Laytrobe' by the town people, and it was also where the first professional football game was played.

      In a letter dated 2 October 1819 from Benjamin Henry Latrobe, Jr. to John H. B. Latrobe, he writes, "As mama will not let me use my gun, I have got a very good crossbow, one of the carpenters at the cathedral made me the stock, and I got a blacksmith to make me a steel bow. I have as yet done little execution with it, having only killed two birds, one of which John McDowell, or as Mr. Grunwell calls him, "Snake", killed. He goes on to say, "that I am sure papa will be displeased, in the Cathedral, that they have made the rosette of the Great Dome of plaster instead of burnt clay".

      In a letter dated 12 August 1861 from Benjamin Henry Latrobe, Jr. to his wife, Ellen, he described a trip on the Northern Central Railroad of Maryland with Pennsylvania troops protecting every bridge and a military camp at York, Pennsylvania.

      According to the The Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers of Benjamin Henry Latrobe, Vol. I, he was named Benjamin Henry Boneval Latrobe in the Genealogy shown. Benjamin Henry Latrobe Jr. and his wife, Maria Eleanor Hazlehurst, are buried at Green Mount Cemetery, Baltimore, but their markers are so badly eroded as to be almost unrecognizable.

      In the 1850 census he is listed as aged 44 and his wife 43. In the 1870 census he is listed as being aged 66 and his wife 63 with his estate valued at $50,000.
    Person ID I2  mytree
    Last Modified 8 Jun 2017 

    Father Benjamin Henry Latrobe,   b. 1 May 1764, Fulneck, Leeds, Yorkshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 3 Sep 1820, New Orleans, Orleans, Louisiana, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 56 years) 
    Relationship Natural 
    Mother Mary Elizabeth Hazlehurst,   b. 1 Jan 1771, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 16 Oct 1841, Mount Holly, Burlington, New Jersey, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 70 years) 
    Relationship Natural 
    Married 2 May 1800  [11
    Notes 
    • They were married at her father's house in Philadelphia, PA by the Right Reverend Dr. White, the Episcopal Bishop.

      While Benjamin Henry Latrobe was working on the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal in 1805, the family was living in Wilmington, Delaware. They had a nurse, maid and housekeeper, Catherine McCausland, who was called 'Kitty'. They moved to a small log house on Ironhill near Elkton, MD for July, August and September 1805 as the children were subject to 'summer complaint' - dysentery which at that time was very frequently fatal. The house was near the canal where they could see both the Chesapeake Bay and the Delaware River 20 miles apart.

      On Christmas Eve, 1815 the Latrobe family was living in Washington when there was a sudden tragedy - the accidental death of the loyal Kitty McCausland. Benjamin Henry, Mary and Julia had gone off to church, leaving the two boys and Kitty alone in the house. The boys were upstairs when suddenly they heard a scream from below; they rushed to the kitchen and found Kitty moaning in a chair by the fire, all her clothes burned off and their remains still smoking on the floor. They rushed for help from a neighbor who helped to get her upstairs and into bed and gave her what crude first aid they could as the others returned, but it was too late and she died that evening. She had been with the family for thirteen years, and this was a grievous loss to all the family.
    Family ID F2  Group Sheet

    Family Maria Eleanor Hazlehurst,   b. 14 Nov 1806, Altoona, Blair, Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 3 Oct 1872, Baltimore, Independent Cities, Maryland, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 65 years) 
    Married 12 Mar 1833  Salem, Salem, New Jersey, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 12
    Notes 
    • Benjamin and Maria were first cousins. They were married by Rev. Henry M. Mason.
    Children 
    +1. Charles Hazlehurst Latrobe,   b. 25 Dec 1833, Baltimore, Independent Cities, Maryland, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 19 Sep 1902, Baltimore, Independent Cities, Maryland, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 68 years)
     2. Edward Latrobe,   b. 31 May 1835, Salem, Salem, New Jersey, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1 Aug 1835, Salem, Salem, New Jersey, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 0 years)
    +3. Mary Elizabeth Latrobe,   b. 27 Aug 1836, Salem, Salem, New Jersey, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 29 May 1916, St James, Washington, Maryland, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 79 years)
    +4. Agnes Catherine Latrobe,   b. 25 Dec 1838, Baltimore, Independent Cities, Maryland, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 26 Apr 1915, Roland Park, Baltimore, Maryland, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 76 years)
    +5. Benjamin Henry Latrobe,   b. 4 Dec 1840, Baltimore, Independent Cities, Maryland, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 7 Jul 1901, Baltimore, Independent Cities, Maryland, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 60 years)
    +6. Maria Eleanor Latrobe,   b. 8 Oct 1843, Baltimore, Independent Cities, Maryland, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 11 Jun 1911, Essex, Essex, New York, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 67 years)
     7. Edward Latrobe,   b. 1844
    Last Modified 8 Jun 2017 
    Family ID F4  Group Sheet

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 19 Dec 1806 - Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 12 Mar 1833 - Salem, Salem, New Jersey, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - 1860 - Baltimore, Independent Cities, Maryland, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 19 Oct 1878 - Baltimore, Independent Cities, Maryland, USA Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Maps 
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Photos
    1860 US Census - Baltimore, MD - Ward 11 (p646).jpg
    1860 US Census - Baltimore, MD - Ward 11 (p646).jpg
    Benj H Latrobe - U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925.jpg
    Benj H Latrobe - U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925.jpg

  • Sources 
    1. [S75] Jack Hoyt (hoytx2@aol.com).

    2. [S52] Elizabeth Isabella Purviance, Samuel Purviance, Jr..

    3. [S111] Richardson Latrobe and Carol Onderdonk.

    4. [S31] C. H. Latrobe III.

    5. [S133] The Great Road, James D. Dilts, (Name: Stanford, California, Stanford University Press 1993;).

    6. [S99] Mrs. Gamble Latrobe Collection.

    7. [S127] The Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers of Benjamin Henry Latrobe,Vol 1, 1784-1804, James Van Horne and Lee W. Formwalt, Editors, (Name: Yale University Press, New Haven and London 1984;), Genealogy, Page xxxvii..

    8. [S188] 1860 United States Federal Census, (Name: National Archives and Records Administration;), Year: 1860; Census Place: Baltimore Ward 11, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: ; Page: 646; Image: 208..
      Benj H. Latrobe,
      Ellen,
      Mary E.,
      Kate,
      Benj. H.,
      Nora

    9. [S184] U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925, Ancestry.com, (Name: Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2007.Original data - Passport Applications, 17951905. NARA Microfilm Publication M1372, 694 rolls. General Records Department of State, Record Group 59. National Archives, Washington, D.C;), Database online..
      Benjamin Henry Latrobe Jr.

    10. [S31] C. H. Latrobe III, 8/7/96.

    11. [S20] Benjamin Henry Latrobe, Talbot Hamlin, (Name: Oxford University Press; Location: New York; Date: 1955;), Page 142..

    12. [S21] Benjamin Henry Latrobe Family Bible, (Name: Haswell, Barrington & Haswell, Philadelphia 1838.;).


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