WIERMAN, Thomas Thornburg, son of Isaac Wierman and Susannah (Comly) Wierman, was born in 1813, in Menallen township, Adams county, Pa., and died at Harrisburg August 2, 1887. He was educated at private schools, that of Judge McLean, at Gettysburg, and Amos Gilbert, at Strasburg, Lancaster county, and was employed subsequently on his fatherís farm at the home place until twenty-three years of age, teaching school in the neighborhood during the winter months. In 1836, through favor of Hon. Thaddeus Stevens, canal commissioner, Thomas T. Wierman received an appointment and began his professional career as rodman on the survey for the North Branch canal from Wilkes-Barre to State line, under James D Harris, chief engineer, remaining there two years. In 1838 he was employed under Mr. Harris on surveys to avoid the incline plane on the State railroad near Philadelphia. In 1840 was assistant under A.B. Warford, chief engineer on the repairs and improvements of the State canals from Harrisburg to Wilkes-Barre and stationed at Northumberland, remaining there two years, when the Legislature refused any appropriation for the continued employment of engineers. Mr. Wierman then repaired to his fatherís farm in Adams county and engaged in the business of raising and selling fruit trees.
In 1846 he was employed as agent for the State to stake out and superintend the construction of the eastern reservoir of the canal near Hollidaysburg. In 1847 he was engaged on the construction of a section o the Pennsylvania railroad passing Duncannon, and completed it in 1849, when he moved to Lewistown, remaining for a period in charge of the track laying of the section extending to Huntingdon. In 1850 he returned to employment under the State as principal assistant engineer to complete the construction of the North Branch canal, under Wm. B. Foster, chief engineer, and thereafter was employed on a topographical survey of Long Island for the water supply of the city of Brooklyn. Thence to the Huntingdon and Broad Top railroad as superintendent.
The following notice appeared in a Harrisburg newspaper, August 7, 1887: "Mr. Thomas T. Wierman, chief engineer of the Pennsylvania Canal Company, died on Tuesday, in his seventy-fourth year, at his residence, 116 Pine street, this city. Deceased had been suffering for several weeks from an affection of the kidneys and his death was not unexpected.
"Mr. Wierman was born near Gettysburg, in Adams county, and learned the profession of civil engineering. In that capacity he became interested in many important public improvements in this State and did much toward their successful advancement. His first service as civil engineer was on the original construction of the Pennsylvania railroad, and subsequently on the construction of the North Branch canal from Pittston to the State line of the State of New York. He afterwards constructed, as chief engineer, the Chemung canal, which connected the water improvements of Pennsylvania with the New York State canals. After that he built the Barclay railroad, running from Towanda, Bradford county, to the vast bituminous coal fields in that county. He also made the original survey for the Brooklyn water works. Mr. Wierman took charge of the Pennsylvania canal about the year 1857, being stationed at Huntingdon. While engaged in the construction of the North Branch canal he met the esteemed lady who afterwards became his wife, and who still survives him. She is Emily, the sister of Hon. Victor E Piollet and Joseph Piollet, of Wysox, Bradford county. In 1859 the headquarters of the canal company was removed to this city, and Mr. Wierman from that time until his death continued in charge of the extensive business. These children, five in number, survive him: Thos. T Wierman, Jr., Victor P. Wierman, Mrs. S.S. Mitchell, of Buffalo, Mrs. T.N. Ely, of Altoona, and Miss Sarah Wierman. He was a member of the Society of Friends, and adhered to that religious belief throughout his life.
" The death of Thomas T. Wierman removes from the field of action one who was interested almost from their infancy in the public improvements in this State, and by his industry and efficiency as civil engineer, together with his great executive ability, had added largely to the development and prosperity of his native State. He was a man of the strictest probity, cultured and companionable when among friends and never harsh, and attached to the enjoyment of his happy home life. He was affable to his employees, though demanding of them that honest attention to duty which so markedly characterized him. By reasonable frugality he amassed a considerable fortune, and was fond of recounting how, having at an early age saved $100, it was stolen from him by a thief while passing through a crowd near the Jones House, in this city. He had a kindly manner and a strong, yet pleasing countenance, which is well represented in the accurate portrait presented in this issue, and engraved for the Telegram."
Historical Review of Dauphin County
Date of Transcription: 19 November 2000
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