Benjamin Wright (1770-1842)[edit | edit source]Black River, from Utica and up into what is now Jefferson County. In 1801, he was commissioned to conduct a detailed survey of the land comprising Macomb's Purchase, as well as other parts of Jefferson, Oneida and Franklin counties.
Wright would eventually settle in Oneida County, and in 1817 was named chief engineer of the Erie Canal construction project, and later on the Delaware and Hudson Canal and Chesapeake and Ohio Canal projects.
Aside from Wright's surveying and engineering careers, he also served one term in the New York legislature, being elected in 1794 and later served as a New York county judge. Wright died in 1842 and was buried in New York City.
Wright was the father of of nine children. Five of his sons also became civil engineers. Wright's engineering legacy prompted the American Society of Civil Engineers to name Wright the "Father of Civil Engineering" in 1969. It was Wright's surveying of the Black River and Jefferson County that led to the area's further settlement and development.