Biography of Charles Davis
Allegheny County, PA Biographies

CHARLES DAVIS, county engineer for Allegheny county, Pa., was born at Bridgetown, Bucks Co., Pa., in 1837, and spent the first nineteen years of his life in that part of Pennsylvania. After the usual preparation, he entered Jefferson college, but gave up his books in his junior year to enlist in the Union Army as a private in Company D, loth regiment, Pennsylvania reserve volunteer corps. He served three years, until June, 1864, being promoted to second lieutenant in 1862, and in command of his company the latter part of the last year of his term of service. He was captured at the battle of Spottsylvania Court House, but was recaptured a few days later by Sheridan's cavalry at Beaver Dam Station. During the war he took part in the following engagements: the seven days' battles on the peninsula, also South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Bristoe Station, the Wilderness, Spottsylvania and Bethesda church. His war service completed, Mr. Davis took up engineering for a livelihood, and has been successful in his chosen vocation. He was first engaged as transitman on railroad surveys in Lawrence county, Pa., and then, for two years, was employed as assistant engineer by the Pennsylvania railroad company, under Antes Snyder, on the Western Pennsylvania railroad. From 1867 to 1876, inclusive, he was city engineer of Allegheny city. During his term of office as city engineer he designed the sewerage system and superintended the construction of the parks of Allegheny. On his recommendation, the city council secured the passage of an act of the legislature authorizing the present lot registry system. This system has since been extended to Pittsburg. While city engineer he was made consulting engineer on the construction of the Point bridge at the mouth of the Monongahela river. After this he was engaged in the preliminary surveys and construction of the Pittsburg & Lake Erie railroad, and while there he made the preliminary survey for its extension to Connellsville, then known as the Pittsburg & Youghiogheny river railroad; then for a year a resident engineer on the construction of buildings of the Pittsburg Bessemer steel company, which is now a part of the Homestead steel works. Following this, he was made engineer for the Monongahela bridge company, which was then reconstructing its suspension bridge at the end of Smithfield street. Before the work had progressed very far, the ownership changed, and plans were adopted under which the present Smithfield street bridge was constructed by Mr. Lindenthal. Mr. Davis was retained as an assistant engineer on this work for some time. In 1881 he was made county engineer of Allegheny county, and has held this responsible position ever since. During his long career Mr. Davis has gained many honors. He has been breveted first lieutenant and captain of the United States volunteers, was made commissioner to the Vienna exposition in 1873, under appointment by President Grant, and, in 1887, was given the degree of A. M. by Washington and Jefferson college. He is a member of the American society of civil engineers and the Engineers' society of western Pennsylvania, and the Pittsburg academy of science and art. He is also prominent among the veterans of the Civil war, is a member of the Loyal Legion; Post No. 1, Union Veteran legion, and Post No. 88, G. A. R. He is a Knight Templar in Masonry, a republican in politics, and a Presbyterian in religion, being a member of the North Presbyterian church of Allegheny city.


From:
Memoirs of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania
personal and genealogical with portraits.
Publishers: Northwestern Historical Association
Madison, Wis. 1904.


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