Nov. 24, 1837 Youngstown Mahoning County Ohio, USA
Mar. 22, 1907 Portland Multnomah County Oregon, USA
American topographical engineer, cartographer, military officer, investor, and landscape painter. He spent his professional career as a survey engineer in the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey. Rockwell conducted numerous coastal surveys and mapped harbors and river systems on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the United States. He also surveyed areas in South America. During the American Civil War, Rockwell served as a Captain in the Union Army. After retiring from the Coastal Survey, he became a successful investor and landscape painter. Today, Cleveland Rockwell's topographical maps are important historical documents and his art work is well known in the Pacific Northwest. During the American Civil War, Rockwell was appointed as a Captain in the Union Army. Because of his experience as a topographical engineer and cartographer, he was in great demand within the Army. As a result, he served in many theaters during the war. Shortly after the war began, he led a field survey of northern Fairfax County, Virginia adjacent to the Potomac River from Mount Vernon to Vienna. The survey was requested by General Winfield Scott to help the Union Army site defensive positions around Washington. The survey was completed in July 1861, just prior to the First Battle of Bull Run. In early 1865, Rockwell joined Major General William T. Sherman's army on its March to the Sea. During that campaign, Rockwell and another officer from the Coastal Survey scouted ahead of the army columns, exploring roads and sending maps back to senior commanders so they could plan the Army's marching routes. Rockwell also participated in General Sherman's march though the Carolinas. In April 1865, Rockwell was released from the Army and he returned to the Coastal Survey. In 1879, Rockwell moved his family home from San Francisco to Portland, Oregon. He spent the next ten years working in the Pacific Northwest, making periodic trip to San Francisco where the Coastal Survey's west coast office was located. On June 1, 1892, Rockwell retired from the Coastal Survey after thirty-five years of service. Long before he retired, Rockwell had begun writing about Oregon, especially the Columbia River. His works were published in a number of magazines including Pacific Monthly, West Shore, and Harper's Magazine. His articles were always carefully written, detailed, and accurate. Rockwell normally included a number of drawings with his articles. This added significant visual appeal to his articles. Today, Rockwell's artwork is well known in the Pacific Northwest. Many of his landscape watercolors and oil paintings are based on sketches he made during his topographical survey expedition. His paintings were done in the English romantic style; however, his works always accurately reflected the details of the real landscapes he painted. It is estimated that Rockwell produced about 500 finished works. Only 134 of his paintings are known today along with his sketchbooks that include several hundred more drawings. Except for three casual sketchbook portraits, all his known works are landscapes. His paintings and drawings are on display in at least seven west coast museums. Biography abridged from Wikipedia.