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Irish, Charles Wood



  • Existence: 1834-1904


Charles Wood Irish was born in New York City on February 11, 1834, the son of Frederick Macy Irish and Elizabeth Ann Robinson. He was raised and educated in Iowa. In 1855, he married Susannah Abigail Yarbrough. They had two daughters, Elizabeth and Ruth (Mrs. Charles H. Preston).

As an engineer and surveyor, Irish served in a number of capacities. He was a city engineer for Iowa City and the first county surveyor in Tama County. In addition, he was a chapter member of both Iowa Society of Civil Engineers and the Agassiz Society of Iowa City.

Irish was involved with the first attempt to build a railroad across Iowa in the 1850s. Later he worked as a surveyor in the West during the construction of such railroad lines as the Chicago-Northwestern and the Atchison, Topeka and Sante Fe. He was appointed United States Surveyor General for Nevada by President Cleveland in 1886 and in 1893 was called to Washington to head the Bureau of Irrigation and Inquiry. At the time of his death in 1904, he was serving as the Deputy Mining Surveyor of Nevada.

In addition to being both an engineer and surveyor, Irish was a noted botanist, geologist, and astronomer. His observations of the total eclipse of the sun in 1869 at Iowa City and Nevada in 1889 resulted in international recognition.

Charles Wood Irish died September 27, 1904, at Gold Creek, Nevada.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Charles Wood Irish Papers

Identifier: MsC0362

Civil engineer and surveyor. Diaries, surveyor notebooks, letterpress books, correspondence, postcards, terrain profiles, photographs, etc.

Dates: 1852-1927