Wurts, John S. 1876-1958Variant names
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
|creatorOf||Wurts, John S. (John Sparhawk), 1876-1958,. Wurts family papers, 1699-1964.||Hagley Museum & Library|
|Place Name||Admin Code||Country|
|New York (State)|
|Railroads--Design and construction|
|Civil engineering--20th century|
|Coal mines and mining|
|Canals--Design and construction|
|Real Estate Business|
|Civil engineering--19th century|
|Canals--Rates and tolls|
|Clippings (Books, newspapers, etc.)|