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Jonathan Knight (railroader)

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Name  Jonathan Knight
Role  U.S. representative
Died  November 22, 1858

Pitch180 jonathan knight

Jonathan Knight (November 22, 1787 – November 22, 1858) was an Opposition Party member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania. He was also a civil engineer, active in designing railroads.


Early life

Jonathan Knight was born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He moved with his parents to East Bethlehem Township, Pennsylvania, in 1801. He attended the common schools and became a civil engineer. He was appointed by the state in 1816 to make and report on a map of Washington County, Pennsylvania. He was elected county commissioner and served three years.

Railroad work

Knight assisted in the preliminary surveys of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and the National Road between Cumberland, Maryland, and Wheeling, Virginia (now West Virginia). He was a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1822 to 1828. In 1828 he entered the service of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) to help create an engineering staff for the new company. Later that year the B&O sent him to England to study railroad engineering. Upon his return in 1830, he was appointed Chief Engineer of the B&O and served until 1842. He led the design work of the B&O Main Line from Baltimore, Maryland to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, the oldest common carrier rail line in the United States. He also led the engineering work on the B&O Washington Branch between Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

Knight also engaged in agricultural pursuits and was secretary of the first agricultural society organized in Washington County.


Knight, Jonathan. Report Upon the Locomotive Engines: And the Police and Management of Several of the Principal Rail Roads in the Northern and Middle States, Being a Sequel to the Report... Upon Railway Structures. Lucas & Deaver., 1838.

United States House of Representatives

Knight was elected as an Opposition Party candidate to the Thirty-fourth Congress. He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1856, and for election in 1858. He resumed agricultural pursuits near East Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and died there in 1858. Interment was in West Land Cemetery, near West Brownsville, Pennsylvania.


Jonathan Knight (railroader) Wikipedia

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