Thomas J. Cram

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Thomas Jefferson Cram (March 1, 1804 – December 20, 1883) was an engineer in the service of the U.S. Corps of Topographical Engineers during the American Civil War.


Cram was born in Acworth, New Hampshire.[1] He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1826 and served on its faculty from 1826 to 1836. After working for the railroad industry for two years, he returned to Army service as a captain in 1838. Assigned as a topographical engineer, he worked on numerous surveys in Texas, the Upper Midwest and other western states.

In Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Cram is honored for his historic 1840 treaty with the Ojibwa Chief Ca-sha-o-sha. As part of the settlement of the "Toledo War," between Michigan and Ohio, most of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan was granted to Michigan. Cram conducted a reconnaissance exploration and established the Mile Corner Zero in 1840 and the route of the line in 1841. He made a treaty for passage with Chief Ca-Sha-O-Sha and his band of Ojibwa (Chippewa) near a large tamarack tree near the Mile Corner Zero at the Brule River. This event and the tamarack tree that marked the spot of the agreement, is a Michigan historical landmark.

From 1855-1858 he was the chief topographical engineer for the Department of the Pacific.

In the early months of the Civil War (1861), Cram was promoted to major and then lieutenant colonel. He served as aide to General Wool from 1861–63 and was engaged in the campaign to capture Norfolk, Virginia, in May 1862. Lt. Col. Cram was transferred to the Army Corps of Engineers when the Topographical Engineers were disbanded in 1863, and was promoted to full colonel at the end of the war in 1865. He was later brevetted to Major General to recognize his war service, and served until his retirement in 1869.

Cram died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he is buried.


  1. ^ "Acworth Matters and Men". The Granite Monthly. 45: 270. 1913. 

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