Camp, Irvin

Born: 1812-10-31 New York

Died: 1896-11-22 Erie, Pennsylvania

Flourished: 1840 to 1896 Erie, Pennsylvania

Irvin Camp, engineer and contractor, completed his education at Geneva College (later Hobart College) in Geneva, New York, in 1831. After graduating, he was briefly a principal at Waterford Academy in Erie County, Pennsylvania in 1832. He returned home to New York that same year and was a clerk in his father’s store for four years, then travelled west as a representative of a land syndicate that sought to purchase government lands in Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan. Following another brief period as principal at the Waterford Academy, in 1838 Camp began a long career as an engineer, working on canals and railroads. In 1840 he settled in the city of Erie, Pennsylvania, where he lived for the remainder of his life when not engaged on engineering projects. Camp traveled to St. Louis in 1850 and organized the firm of Sanger, Camp & Company, which was contracted for construction of the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad as well as for a segment of coal railroad in Illinois between East St. Louis and Belleville. He returned to Erie in 1853 and worked on the construction of railroads in Pennsylvania. In 1858, Camp went to California to attempt to develop a railroad from Fulsom to Marysville. Upon returning to Erie, he continued to work on railroad lines, surveying, and harbor improvements, and served for several years as city engineer of Erie. At the time of the 1860 census, Camp owned real and personal wealth valued at $60,000. He married Sophia Judson in 1836 and the marriage produced children.

Nelson’s Biographical Dictionary and Historical Reference Book of Erie County, Pennsylvania (Erie, PA: S. B. Nelson, 1896), 607-8; Howard Louis Conard, “Chicago Prior to 1840. A Sturdy Youth— Not a Baby,” Magazine of Western History 13 (April 1891), 709; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), West Ward, Erie, Erie County, PA, 239; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Erie, Erie County, PA, 116; The Buffalo Enquirer (NY), 23 November 1896, 9:4; Gravestone, Erie Cemetery, Erie, PA.