Wurts, John S. 1876-1958

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John Sparhawk Wurts was born in Carbondale, Pa. on June 18, 1876. He worked as an insurance agent, attorney, real estate agent, investment securities broker, was president of the World Association of Daily Vacation Bible Schools, and was a genealogist. He collected these papers because of his interest in his family's history.

Three Wurts family members, brothers Maurice (1783-1854), William (1788-1858) and John Wurts (1792-1861), were instrumental in the formation of the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company, the basis of the family fortune. All three were born in Flanders, N.J. After William Wurts discovered anthracite coal at what is now Carbondale, Pa. around 1814, he and Maurice determined to mine and transport it by river to the Philadelphia and New York markets. After securing charters from both the Pennsylvania and New York state legislatures in 1823, construction on the canal from Honesdale, Pa., to Kingston, N.Y. began in 1825 and was completed by 1828. A gravity railroad to transport the coal from the mines to the canal was built in 1829. The STOURBRIDGE LION, the first locomotive operated in the western hemisphere, ran briefly on this railroad in 1829.

John Wurts, an attorney who served in both the Pennsylvania legislature and the U.S. Congress, became president of the company in 1831 and held the position until his retirement in 1858.

Another Wurts family member associated with the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company was Lorenzo Augustus Sykes (1805-1878). He had married a niece of the Wurts brothers. Sykes, a civil engineer, began his career in 1825 in Newark, N.J. as assistant engineer of the Morris Canal, later becoming chief engineer. He resigned and in 1832 became assistant engineer with the New Jersey Railroad & Transportation Company from Jersey City to New Brunswick, later becoming chief engineer. He joined the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company around 1851 and in 1856 was appointed general agent/superintendent, resigning in 1866.

Theodore Frelinghuysen Wurts (1844-1911), father of John Sparhawk Wurts, was chief engineer for the construction of several railroads in Massachusetts and New Jersey. In addition to railroads, Theodore Wurts's engineering work also included surveying and reporting on coal mines in Pennsylvania coal fields. He also surveyed and laid out several New Jersey shore resorts. Wurts received two United States patents in 1889 and 1891 for his system of coast protection which entailed constructing breakwaters, seawalls and jetties and reclaiming overflowed lands.

From the description of Wurts family papers, 1699-1964. (Hagley Museum & Library). WorldCat record id: 122558812

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Wurts, John S. (John Sparhawk), 1876-1958,. Wurts family papers, 1699-1964. Hagley Museum & Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Allen, Horatio, 1802-1889. person
associatedWith Archbald, James, 1793-1870. person
associatedWith Atwater, Lyman Hotchkiss, 1813-1883. person
associatedWith Atwater, Robert H. (Robert Henry), d. 1900. person
associatedWith Beatty family. family
associatedWith Binney, Horace, 1780-1875. person
associatedWith Bolton, John. person
associatedWith Clark family. family
associatedWith Clinton, DeWitt, 1769-1828. person
associatedWith Coal & Coke Railway Co. corporateBody
associatedWith Connecticut Western Railway Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Cooper, James Fenimore, 1789-1851. person
associatedWith Craven family. family
associatedWith Delaware and Hudson Canal Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Delaware and Hudson Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Flewelling, Samuel. person
associatedWith Girard, Stephen, 1750-1831. person
associatedWith Guyandotte Land Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Hone, Philip, 1780-1851. person
associatedWith Insurance Company of North America. corporateBody
associatedWith Jay, Peter A. (Peter Augustus), 1776-1843. person
associatedWith Jay, William, 1789-1858. person
associatedWith Jervis, John B. (John Bloomfield), 1795-1885. person
associatedWith Kennedy, Robert Lenox, 1822-1887. person
associatedWith Kneass family. family
associatedWith Kneass, Samuel H. (Samuel Honeyman), b. 1844. person
associatedWith Lackawaxen Coal Mine and Navigation Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Lawrie family. family
associatedWith Lombaert family. family
associatedWith Lord, Russell F., d. 1867. person
associatedWith McNeill, William Gibbs, 1801-1853. person
associatedWith Mermaid Club (Germantown, Pa.) corporateBody
associatedWith Morris Canal and Banking Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Musgrave, William, d. 1856. person
associatedWith Newbold family. family
associatedWith Olyphant, George T. (George Talbot), d. 1873. person
associatedWith Paint Creek Collieries Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Pennsylvania Coal Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Pettit, Charles, 1736-1806. person
associatedWith Philadelphia and Atlantic City Railway Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Reed, Henry, 1808-1854. person
associatedWith Reed, Joseph, 1741-1785. person
associatedWith Reed, Joseph, 1772-1846. person
associatedWith Reed, William B. (William Bradford), 1806-1876. person
associatedWith Sartori, John B. person
associatedWith Seymour, Isaac N. (Isaac Newton), b. 1795. person
associatedWith Shoemaker family. family
associatedWith Sparhawk, John, d. 1889. person
associatedWith Steel family. family
associatedWith Stewart, Charles, 1729-1800. person
associatedWith Strickland, William, 1787-1854. person
associatedWith Sykes, Lorenzo A. (Lorenzo Augustus), 1805-1878. person
associatedWith Taft, William H. (William Howard), 1857-1930. person
associatedWith Tyler, John, 1790-1862. person
associatedWith Vanuxem, Edward, 1818-1898. person
associatedWith Vanuxem family. family
associatedWith Vanuxem, James, 1745-1824. person
associatedWith Vanuxem, James, 1790-1877. person
associatedWith Vanuxem, Louis C. (Louis Clark), 1788-ca. 1832. person
associatedWith Wharton & Lewis (Philadelphia, Pa.) corporateBody
associatedWith Wurts, Charles P. (Charles Pemberton), 1824-1892. person
associatedWith Wurts, Charles S. (Charles Stewart), 1790-1859. person
associatedWith Wurts, Charles Stewart, 1830-1907. person
associatedWith Wurts family. family
associatedWith Wurts, John, 1792-1861. person
associatedWith Wurts, Maurice, 1783-1854. person
associatedWith Wurts, Theodore F. (Theodore Frelinghuysen), 1844-1911. person
associatedWith Wurts, William, 1788-1858. person
associatedWith Wurts, William, 1809-1858. person
associatedWith Wurtz, Henry, 1828-1910. person
associatedWith Wynkoop family. family
associatedWith Wynkoop, Henry, 1737-1816. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
New Jersey
New Zealand
West Virginia
New York (State)
Philadelphia (Pa.)
Lumber trade
Railroad passes
Railroads--Design and construction
Stock certificates
Civil engineering--20th century
Surveying--19th century
Literature--Societies, etc
Seaside resorts
Mining engineering
Marine insurance
Coal mines and mining
Canals--Design and construction
Real Estate Business
Railroad engineering
Civil engineering--19th century
Canals--Rates and tolls
Clippings (Books, newspapers, etc.)


Birth 1876

Death 1958



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