James Canby

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James Canby (1781–1858) was a businessman and banker based in Wilmington, Delaware, and an early American railroad executive.[1]

The son of Samuel Canby, a prosperous miller, and his wife Frances Lea, James Canby expanded upon his father's businesses and became "one of the prominent business men of his day".[2] Among other interests, he served as president of the Bank of Wilmington and Brandywine[1] and invested in real estate in Baltimore, Maryland, and "western lands".[2]

Canby's interest in railroads stemmed from his belief that the newish transportation method could benefit his milling business.[1] In the 1830s, he helped organize and obtain a state charter for the Wilmington and Susquehanna Railroad, of which he served as president until 1837.[3] From 1835, he also served as a director of the Delaware and Maryland Railroad.[4] The W&S and D&M joined two other railroads to create the first rail link from Philadelphia to Baltimore. (The main line survives today as part of Amtrak's Northeast Corridor.) His service as a railroad executive is noted on the 1839 Newkirk Viaduct Monument in Philadelphia.


  1. ^ a b c Hoffecker, Carol E. (1974). Brandywine Village: The Story of a Milling Community (PDF). Wilmington, Delaware: Old Brandywine Village, Inc. pp. 37–39, 45, 47.
  2. ^ a b Colonial Families of Philadelphia, John W. Jordan, editor. Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois, 1911.
  3. ^ PRR Chronology, 1837
  4. ^ PRR Chronology, 1835

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