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Elnathan Sweet (November 20, 1837 Cheshire, Berkshire County, Massachusetts - January 26, 1903 Albany, New York) was an American civil engineer (C.E.) and politician from New York. He was New York State Engineer and Surveyor from 1884 to 1887.


His family removed to Stephentown, New York in 1842.

He graduated C.E. from Union College in 1859, and began work as Deputy Surveyor under Ward B. Burnet, Surveyor General of the Kansas and Nebraska Territories. He soon returned to New York and was employed as Assistant Engineer in various railway companies. From 1864 to 1868, he was at Franklin, Pennsylvania engaged in the engineering development of oil wells and coal mines. In 1869, he removed to Chicago, and became Chief Engineer of the Rock Island and Quincy Railroad, later a part of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad. In 1871, he became also Consulting Engineer for the Rockford Central Railroad and the Cairo and St. Louis Railroad, and engaged in railway construction with his partner James R. Young.

In 1875, he was a member of the Tilden Commission which investigated alleged canal frauds. He was appointed Division Engineer of the Eastern Division of the New York State Canals in 1876. He resigned in 1880, and resumed his railway construction business with his former partner James R. Young.

He was State Engineer and Surveyor from 1884 to 1887, elected on the Democratic ticket in 1883 and 1885. Upon retiring from office, he practiced as a Consulting Engineer, and became President of the Canton Bridge Co., and at one time was Receiver of the Lebanon Springs Railroad. In 1900, he was President of the Advisory Commission of Engineers, appointed by State Engineer Edward A. Bond to advise in the conduct of surveys for a thousand-ton barge canal. Later he was a member of the New York Water Storage Commission.

He died from heart disease at the Fort Orange Club in Albany.

His principal contribution to engineering science consists in the determination of the laws that govern the propulsion of vessels in narrow channels, an account of which he published in 1880 in the Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers of which organization he was elected a member in 1878.


Political offices
Preceded by
Silas Seymour
New York State Engineer and Surveyor
1884 – 1887
Succeeded by
John Bogart


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