Andrew Ellicott

Andrew Ellicott

Buckingham, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death 28 Aug 1820 (aged 66)
West Point, Orange County, New York, USA
Burial West Point, Orange County, New York, USA
Plot Section A, Site 38.
Memorial ID 82266559 · View Source
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Civil Engineer. A surveyor, teacher, astronomer, mathematician, and land agent, he surveyed much of what eventually became the District of Columbia. Born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, he served during the Revolution as a commissioned officer in the Elk Ridge Battalion of the Maryland militia and rose to rank of Major. In 1784, he was a member of the survey group with extending the survey of the Mason-Dixon line. In 1785, he moved to Baltimore where he taught mathematics at the Academy of Baltimore and in 1786 was elected to the legislature. That same year he surveyed the western border of Pennsylvania known as the "Ellicott Line", which later became the principal meridian for the Northwest Territory. He was appointed by George Washington to survey the lands between Lake Erie and Pennsylvania to determine the border between Western New York and the U. S. Territory resulting in the Erie Triangle. In 1791, he surveyed for George Washington the future federal city of Washington, D. C. In 1794, he was commissioned to plan the City of Erie, Pennsylvania where he spent 2 years building that city. Under military escort in 1796, he again was commissioned by George Washington to survey the border between the Spanish territories in Florida running the disputed line of the north latitude 31 degrees, which still defines the border between Alabama and Florida. One of his markers for the boundary line survives to this day and bears his name, Ellicott's Stone. In 1803, he published his "Journal of Andrew Ellicott" detailing the Florida survey and his maps. He took a position offered to him by Pennsylvania governor, Thomas McKean, to serve as Secretary of the Pennsylvania Land Office, but in 1809 was fired by Simon Snyder due to political differences probably due to his denunciation of General James Wilkinson, whom he had disputes with during his tenor in Mississippi. In 1803, he was engaged by Thomas Jefferson as mentor and teacher to Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis and Clark expedition. In 1811, he was commissioned by the governor of Georgia, David Mitchell, to re-survey the border between Georgia and North Carolina over their land disputes. In 1813, he accepted a position as professor of mathematics at the military academy at West Point, New York. He again was called in 1817 to participate as astronomer for the survey to establish the western border between Canada and the U. S. to run along the 45 degree North latitude, which was the most significant of his work. He is noted for his expert use of instruments, and the accuracy of his calculations, which were the result of his observations. The geography of our country, in particular, is indebted to him for many interesting details, and descriptions of its unfrequented parts, as well as for the most accurate adjustment of the relative situation of particular places. He is the brother of Joseph Ellicott, whom he trained, and is noted with the founding of Batavia and Buffalo, New York and was surveyor for the Holland Land Company. He was also the brother of Congressman Benjamin Ellicott. He died at West Point, New York on 28 August 1820, while professor at West Point Military Academy.

Bio by: civilwarbuff


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Ken Johnson
  • Added: 22 Dec 2011
  • Find a Grave Memorial 82266559
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Andrew Ellicott (24 Jan 1754–28 Aug 1820), Find a Grave Memorial no. 82266559, citing United States Military Academy Post Cemetery, West Point, Orange County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .