Tag Archives: Birth

Wendel Bollman, self-taught engineer and “Master of the Road,” born in Baltimore

Wendel Bollman, C.E. (1814-1884)
Photo courtesy of Dr. Stuart Christhilf from The Engineering Contributions of Wendel Bollman, 1966.

On January 21, 1814, Ann B. Bollman and Thomas Bollman welcomed the birth of their son Wendel Bollman. Thomas Bollman worked as a baker with a shop at the corner of Water Street and Public Alley (known as Grant Street today) and served in the militia during the Battle of Baltimore.Thomas Bollman died at age 44 on April 17, 1819 when Wendel was only 5 years old.

When Wendel was a teenager, nearly 14 years after the Battle of Baltimore, he joined a group of local boys marching in a parade to celebrate the construction of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad on July 4, 1828. Over the next few decades, thousands of people from Baltimore joined the railroad and Wendel Bollman among them. His career was more exceptional than most, however, as in 1848, he became the “Master of the Road” for the B&O. Bollman is remembered as an exceptional self-taught engineer whose innovative iron bridges the helped support the rapid growth of the railroad in the 1850s and 1860s.

On January 15, 1814, Ramsay McHenry was born to Daniel William McHenry and his wife Sophia Hall Ramsay. The child was the first grandson of Fort McHenry namesake James McHenry, a Revolutionary War veteran who served as a personal secretary to General George Washington and as the nation’s first Secretary of War. James McHenry had poor health throughout his life and, in early 1814, experienced a serious paralysis from which he never fully recovered:

“Though he was but little over sixty years of age McHenry’s health which had never been robust was entirely shattered by his attack of paralysis and from the beginning of 1814 he was almost a helpless invalid.”

Ramsay McHenry lived in Harford County up until his death on August 13, 1878. He served several terms in the state legislature, “took a great interest in agriculture and possessed fine herds of imported cattle,” and never married.

Source: Steiner, Bernard Christian. 1907. The Life and Correspondence of James McHenry: Secretary of War Under Washington and Adams. The Burrows Brothers Company.