Howard Stansbury

Birth: 1806


Howard Stansbury (1806-1863) was an American explorer. He was born in New York City on 8 Feb., 1806. Early in life he became a civil engineer, and in October, 1828, he was placed in charge of the survey of proposed canals to unite Lake Erie and Lake Michigan with the Wabash river, and was also engaged in other surveys of western rivers.

In 1835 he had charge of numerous public works in Indiana, in 1836 he made a survey of James river with a view toward improving the harbor of Richmond, and in 1837 he surveyed Illinois and Kaskaskia rivers, being afterward engaged upon the survey for a railroad from Milwaukee to Dubuque, and charged with the construction of a road from Milwaukee to Mississippi river.

He became 1st lieutenant of U. S. topographical engineers on 7 July. 1838, captain in 1840, and in 1841 was engaged in a survey of the lakes. In 1842-5 he was in charge of the survey of the harbor of Portsmouth, N. H., a work which for minute accuracy of detail is unsurpassed in this country. In 1847 he was charged with the construction of an iron light-house on Carysfort reef, Florida, which is the largest light-house on our coast.

From 1849 till 1851 he was engaged in the Great Salt Lake expedition, his report of which gave him a wide reputation. In 1852-'3 he was engaged upon the lake harbors, and in 1856 he was assigned to the charge of the military roads in Minnesota. He was appointed major on 28 Sept., 1861, and at the time of his death he was mustering and disbursing officer at Madison. Maj. Stansbury published " An Expedition to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake of Utah" (Philadelphia, 1852; 2d ed., 1855).

He died in Madison, Wis. on 17 April, 1863.


Appletons' Cyclopaedia of American Biography (1900) Volume 5 pg. 681

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