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Silas Seymour (June 20, 1817 Stillwater, Saratoga County, New York - July 15, 1890 New York City)[1] was an American civil engineer and politician from New York.


He was the son of John Seymour (b. 1792) and Sarah (Montgomery) Seymour (1793-1824). He was educated at the Fredonia Academy. In the spring of 1835 he began work as an axman on one of the engineering parties engaged in making the first surveys for the New York and Erie Railroad, soon after was promoted to rodman, and by the end of the year had become an assistant engineer. In 1838, he was made Division Engineer, and later became Chief Engineer of the Dunkirk and State Line Railroad. On December 23, 1840, he married Delia S. French (b. 1821), and they had five children.

About 1851 he became Chief Engineer and was for some time General Superintendent of the Buffalo and New York City Railroad, extending from Hornellsville, New York to Buffalo, New York, and he designed and constructed the bridge across the Genesee River at Portage, New York.

He was New York State Engineer and Surveyor from 1856 to 1857, elected on the American Party ticket. In March 1856, he repudiated the nomination of former President Millard Fillmore as the American Party's candidate for the presidency.[2]

In 1858 he established himself as Consulting Engineer in New York City. He was appointed Chief Engineer of the Washington and Alexandria Railroad, and constructed a bridge across the Potomac.

In 1860, he supported Stephen A. Douglas for President,[3] and expressed in a letter to Col. John W. Forney his opinion, that slavery should continue in the South, and that the South and the North should compromise or have separate governments.

In 1863, he became Consulting Engineer, and later Chief Engineer, of the Washington Aqueduct. In the winter of 1863-4, he was Consulting Engineer of the Union Pacific Railroad. He designed the high bridge over Dale Creek Cañon, near the summit of the Black Hills of the Rocky Mountains.

He was New York State Engineer and Surveyor again from 1882 to 1883, elected in 1881 on the Republican ticket, but defeated for re-election in 1883 by Democrat Elnathan Sweet.

He died at the residence of his son Silas Seymour, Jr. (b. 1860), at 458 West 22nd Street in New York City, and was buried at the Mt. Hermon Cemetery in Sillery, Quebec, Canada.


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Political offices
Preceded by
John T. Clark
New York State Engineer and Surveyor
1856 – 1857
Succeeded by
Van Rensselaer Richmond
Preceded by
Horatio Seymour, Jr.
New York State Engineer and Surveyor
1882 – 1883
Succeeded by
Elnathan Sweet


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