The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Eads, James Buchanan

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EADS, ēdz, James Buchanan, American engineer: b. Lawrenceburg, Ind., 23 May 1820; d. Nassau, New Providence, 8 March 1887. He began as a clerk in a dry-goods house in Saint Louis in 1833, and then secured work on a Mississippi steamboat in 1839. He early designed some useful boats for raising sunken steamers, and in 1861, when called to advise the Federal government, constructed within 100 days eight ironclad steamers for use on the Mississippi and its tributaries. He afterward built a number of other ironclads and mortar-boats, which were of considerable service to the North. He built an arch bridge across the Mississippi at Saint Louis 1867-74. His works for improving the South Pass of the Mississippi delta were successfully completed in 1875-79; and his great plan for deepening the river as far as the mouth of the Ohio by means of jetties has been demonstrated to be entirely practicable. A later suggestion, for the construction of a ship-railway across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, attracted much attention. In 1884 he received the Albert Medal of the Society of Arts, being the first American citizen to whom this honor had been awarded. Consult How, ‘James B. Eads’ (Boston 1900).