Sylvanus Thayer

Sylvanus Thayer

Braintree, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, USA
Death 7 Sep 1872 (aged 87)
Braintree, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, USA
Burial West Point, Orange County, New York, USA
Plot Section 25, Row A, Grave 22
Memorial ID 1027 · View Source
Suggest Edits

United States Army Brevet Brigadier General. Born in Braintree, Massachusetts, he was a career military officer known as the "Father of West Point". In 1807, he entered the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York and was commissioned as a 1st Lieutenant after graduating third in the class of 1808, having met the requirements for graduation in just fourteen months. He served as an assistant professor of mathematics at West Point from 1809 to 1811, then served during the War of 1812, where he helped erected defensive fortifications in Norfolk, Virginia. Following the War of 1812, he was sent to Europe to study the military schools of France and England. On July 28, 1817, President James Monroe appointed now Lieutenant Colonel Thayer superintendent of the United States Military Academy. While superintendent, he built the academy into one of the world's leading military-engineering schools. He is credited with originating technical education in America, established the educational philosophy and discipline still followed at the academy. He also recognized the expanding country's need for military engineers and made civil engineering the core of the curriculum. In 1833, he resigned as superintendent of West Point and remained in the Army Corps of Engineers. During the Civil War, he was a Colonel and was credited with designing the fortifications in Boston Harbor that were part of the system of Coastal fortifications. For his service, he was brevetted Brigadier General, United States Regular Army on May 31, 1863 and he retired the next day, June 1, 1863. He went on to establish the Thayer School of Architecture and Civil Engineering in Braintree, Massachusetts, where lived to his death at age 87.

Bio by: John "J-Cat" Griffith

Family Members




How famous was Sylvanus Thayer?

Current rating:

47 votes

to cast your vote.

  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 1027
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Sylvanus Thayer (9 Jun 1785–7 Sep 1872), Find a Grave Memorial no. 1027, citing United States Military Academy Post Cemetery, West Point, Orange County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .