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 Charles Sewall Gowen

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Charles Sewall Gowen

  • Birth 14 Feb 1851 Barnstead, Belknap County, New Hampshire, USA
  • Death 19 Oct 1909 Ossining, Westchester County, New York, USA
  • Burial Lowell, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Plot Hosford; Lot 1499; Grave 5
  • Memorial ID 79744090

Charles and Alice married on 1 June 1882
at Lowell, Middlesex, Massachusetts.
They were the parents of five children;
Robert Fellows, Mary Fellows, John Fellows, Alice Fellows, Alice Fellows.

DEMOCRATIC REGISTER - 23 October 1909:
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The many friends of Charles Sewall Gowen,
in this village and elsewhere, were shocked Tuesday on receiving news of his death which occurred in his residence on Overton Road at seven o'clock that morning. For many months he had been an intense sufferer from rheumatic gout and some time ago he went to New York for treatment and returned slightly improved.
Sunday last he arose from his bed and in walking about the house he slipped and fell, breaking his thigh, in his weakened condition the shock proved to be too great and heart failure ensued, causing death.
The deceased, who held a front rank among civil engineers, was educated at the Boston Institute of Technology and in early life was employed on the Boston Water Works and superintended the construction of one of the great basins at Ashland in Massachusetts. He received an appointment as division engineer on the old Croton Aqueduct and was in charge of the erection of a gate house at the old dam. For over twelve years he had charge of the construction of the world-famous Cornell Dam and on its virtual completion he resigned from the services of the city of New York.
Mr. Gowen had the good fortune in his early years to be associated with the late James B. Francis, of Lowell in Massachusetts when the latter was engaged in his careful experiments in gauging the flow of water by weirs. The results obtained by Mr. Francis are now accepted as the highest authority on this subject.
Mr. Gowen became identified with the New York Croton Aqueduct in 1884, while the preliminary surveys for that great engineering structure were under way. Early in 1885, when the actual construction began, he became Division Engineer in charge of the First Division, which extended from the old Croton Dam to and including Shaft No. 4. This division also included the large gate-house at the old dam and an intricate system of by-pass tunnels in connection therewith. Towards the close of the work his division was extended until it included the entire northerly half of the aqueduct.
In 1890 work was begun on the Titicus River Dam at Purdy's Station, officially known as 'Reservoir M'. He had charge of this work until late in 1892, at which time he was appointed Division Engineer in charge of the new Croton or Cornell Dam, in which position of great responsibility and care he remained until that vast structure was virtually completed. He resigned on September 1, 1905.
His administration of this work was characterized by the same rigid attention to detail which had marked his supervision of whatever he had previously undertaken. He seriously guarded the city's interests, and was quick to detect and forestall any proposition that might lead to unnecessary expenditure.
Mr. Gowen invariably arrived at the gist of any questions with marvelous quickness and close reasoning, "Now, let us be severely logical." was a favorite expression of his in dealing with a perplexing problem. The logic was usually extremely severe, but was always justified by the results. He was eminently a man with the courage of his convictions; just and upright to an extreme, and the uncompromising foe of whatever looked like 'graft' or extravagance. A strict disciplinarian; but, withal, a most loyal and steadfast friend to every man whose conduct justified his confidence. Indomitable energy was another strong characteristic; no degree of heat or cold, snow or blizzard, was sufficient to block the way, were it in the power of man to overcome the difficulties.
The building of the protective work for the main excavation of the new Croton Dam received his close personal attention, and the comparative immunity from excessive infiltration to a pit that was at one point nearly 130 feet below the Croton river seemed to justify the care which he bestowed on this important preliminary. The flow was at all times within the capacity of the pumping plant.
In the 'Transaction of the American Society of Civil Engineers' for June, 1900, will be found an exhaustive paper by Mr. Gowen, on 'The Foundation of the New Croton Dam.' Only a small portion of the northerly end of the dam was built on solid gneiss rock, the remainder being built on limestone containing many eroded seams and caves, causing much delay in securing a clean and solid foundation. The thorough manner in which these difficulties were over-come is fully set forth in the above article.
A paper on 'Tests' of Portland Cement Mortar Exposed to Cold,' and one on 'The Changes at the New Croton Dam,' are among his technical publications.
For twenty years he was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and served as one of its directors and on its finance committee. He was a frequent contributor to scientific publications, his articles being in great demand.
Mr. Gowen, since his retirement as a construction engineer, has been engaged as a consulting engineer, but in spite of this he found time for outdoor sports At the time of his death he was the president of the Briarcliff Golf Club, an
office he held from the time of its organization. He was also a member of the Shattemuc Yacht and Canoe Club.
A casual glance would give one the idea that Mr. Gowen was deeply reserved and self-absorbed, but an intimate acquaintance with him revealed the most charming qualities. He was schooled in strict integrity and was that most perfect creature of God's handiwork, 'an honest man.' His most pronounced characteristics were justice and fairness in his relations with those with whom he was associated. Political influences did not sway his actions and in all things he was the soul of honesty and honor.
The Register unites with his family and their other friends in extending the most heartfelt sympathy in their deep bereavement.
Interment at Lowell, Massachusetts.


Family Members


Inscription

CHARLES S GOWEN Feb 14, 1851 - Oct 19, 1909 ALICE J FELLOWS his wife July 28, 1851 - April 28, 1930


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  • Maintained by: Ralph Gowen
  • Originally Created by: Yvonne Gowen
  • Added: 2 Nov 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 79744090
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Charles Sewall Gowen (14 Feb 1851–19 Oct 1909), Find A Grave Memorial no. 79744090, citing Lowell Cemetery, Lowell, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Ralph Gowen (contributor 47690237) .