Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com advises that these 19th Century
biographies, although edited, still contain period bias.
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FARNAM, Henry, philanthropist, born in Scipio, N.Y., 9 November 1803" died in New Haven, Connecticut, 4 October 1883. His early years were spent on his father's farm and in attending the district school. He afterward studied mathematics by himself, and became a surveyor. He was engaged on the Erie canal, west of Rochester, about 1820, became assistant engineer of the New Haven and Northampton canal in 1825, and its superintendent in 1827. He removed to New Haven in 1839, and in 1846'8 built the railroad that took the place of the canal. He went to Illinois in 1850, and with Joseph E. Sheffield built the Chicago and Rock Island road, of which he was president in 1854'63. He then retired from active life, and, after spending about five years abroad, returned in 1868 to New Haven, where he remained till his death.
Mr. Farnam gave freely to New Haven charities, especially to the state hospital, and built for Yale, Farnam Hall, one of its best dormitories. He contributed largely for the development of East Rock park, and provided in his will that his residence, one of the finest in the City, should be given, after the death of his immediate heirs, to Yale College for a "president's house."
His son, Charles Henry Farnam, born in New Haven, Connecticut, 12 September 1846, was graduated at Yale in 1868, and at Columbia Law School in 1871. He has been for several years assistant in archeology in the Peabody museum of Yale, and has published a "History of John Whitman and his Descendants" (New Haven, 1887).
Another son, Henry Waleott Farnam, born in New Haven, Connecticut, 6 November 1853, was graduated at Yale in 1874, and received the degree of R. P. D. at Strasburg, Germany, in 1878. He was a tutor in Yale from 1878 till 1880 when he was appointed professor of political economy in Sheffield scientific school. In 1881 he became a member of its governing board. Professor Farnam has contributed to periodicals numerous articles on his specialty.
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