Canvass White

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Canvass White
Canvass White.jpg
Born September 8, 1790
Whitestown, New York
Died December 18, 1834
St. Augustine, Florida
Nationality United States
Engineering career
Discipline Civil Engineer
Projects Erie Canal, Delaware and Raritan Canal
Significant advance Hydraulic cement

Canvass White (September 8, 1790 – December 18, 1834) was an American engineer and inventor. He was chief engineer at the Delaware and Raritan Canal and he patented a type of hydraulic cement.

Early life and Family[edit]

White was born on September 8, 1790, in Whitestown, New York to Hugh White,Jr.(January 16, 1763 - Apr. 7, 1827) and Tryphena Lawrence White ( July 4, 1768 - Mar. 30, 1800, a native of Canaan, Connecticut). [1] [2]

He received his education at the Fairfield Academy.


NYS Historic Marker at Old Erie Canal State Historic Park, Manlius Center, Onondaga County, New York

His first job as an engineer was on the Erie Canal in 1816 working for chief engineer Judge Benjamin Wright. In the autumn of 1817, he travelled to England to study their canal system. When he returned he patented a type of hydraulic cement. He continued his work on New York until 1824. Then from 1824 until the summer of 1826, he was Chief Engineer on the Union Canal (Pennsylvania). He was then appointed Chief Engineer of the Delaware and Raritan Canal in 1825 and of the Lehigh Canal in 1827. He was also a Consulting Engineer for the Schuylkill Navigation Company and for the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. He became President of the Cohoes Company when it was incorporated on March 28, 1826.

Of White, author Bill Bryson writes, "the great unsung Canvass White didn't just make New York rich; more profoundly, he helped make America."[3]


Works of White's that survive include:


He died in 1834 and was buried in Princeton Cemetery.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Oneida historical society, U. (1885). "The Whitestown country." 1784-1884. Utica, N.Y.
  2. ^ Hughes, T. P., and F. Munsell. "American ancestry, giving the name and descent in the male line, of Americans whose ancestors settled in the United States of America previous to the declaration of independence, AD. 1776 (Vol. VII).", page 30 Albany: Joel Munsell’s Sons (1892). Accessed[permanent dead link] on June 15, 2016.
  3. ^ Bryson, Bill At Home, Doubleday, London 2010, page 194
  4. ^ a b c d e f g National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 


"Canvass White, Esquire (1790-1834): Civil Engineer." (1983)
Lists biographical information was obtained from the following sources: Charles B. Stuart, Lives and Works of Civil and Military Engineers in America (New York, 1871); William P. White, "Canvass White's Services" in Buffalo Historical Society Publications, Vol. 13 (Buffalo, 1909), 353:66; and the American Society of Civil Engineers, A Biographical Dictionary of American Civil Engineers (New York, 1972), 126-27.

Further reading[edit]

  • Whitford's History of New York Canals, (1906), Vol II, page 1170
  • William Pierrepont White; Canvass White's Services Buffalo Historical Society (1909) volume 13, page 352-366
  • Albert C. Jensen; Engineering Clinton's Ditch; Civil Engineering, volume 33, September 1963, pages 48–50
  • Bastoni, Gerald Robert. "Canvass White, Esquire (1790-1834): Civil Engineer." (1983). Accessed at Lehigh University digital resources on June 15, 2016.

External links[edit]