Ellis Sylvester Chesbrough was born in Baltimore, Maryland back in 1813 to Isaac and Phrania. He quit school when he was nine going to work in mercantile houses around the Baltimore area. His father became a surveyor for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in 1828, when Ellis started working for him.
He moved to Pennsylvania in 1830 as a surveyor for the Allegheny Portage Railroad. During the Panic of 1837 he tried his hand at farming, which did not suit him. He moved to Boston where he helped to build the Cochituate Aqueduct. In 1855, he was appointed engineer for the City of Chicago. He died in 1886, he was 72.
What you may not know about Ellis is that he is credited with the design of the Chicago sewer system, it was the first comprehensive sewer system in the United States. He also designed the first water crib in Chicago and the water distribution system. That system is on the National Register of Historic Places. His new system also featured innovations such as manhole covers.
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