Born in Philadelphia, Samuel Honeyman Kneass, civil engineer and architect, was the son of William and Mary Turner Honeyman Kneass. At the age of 15 he was placed in the office of William Strickland, who was at that time conducting his survey for the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. An indication of Kneass's progress is a surviving drawing of 1824 for one of 13 trimphal arches erected on the occasion of General Lafayette's visit to Philadelphia. The following year Kneass assisted Strickland in the preparation of his report on British internal imporvemens, and he executed all of the drawings which appeared in Strickland's Reports on Canals, Railways, and Other Subjects (Philadelphia: 1826).
With Strickland's appointment as engineer for the Pennsylvania Mixed System -- a scheme to join Philadelphia and Pittsburgh by railways and canals -- Kneass and William Rodrigue were appointed his assistants. By 1831 Kneass had parted from his mentor's office to work successively on a railroad between Lexington and Frankfort, KY, the Philadelphia and Trenton Railroad, the Feliciana Railroad in Louisiana, the Philadelphia and Wilmington Railroad, and the Delaware and Schuylkill Canal. From 1836 to 1840 he was engineer for the Philadelphia and Wilmington Railroad, maintaining an office at 393 Spruce Street. Throughout the 1840s he was engaged in various engineering projects in New York, Pennsylvania, and Colombia (where he also served as United Staes consul at Carthagena). In 18849 he was appointed city surveyor for Philadelphia, a position he held until 1853, during which period he designed the Market Street Bridge over the Schuylkill to provide a direct connection between the Western Railroad and Philadelphia proper.
From 1854 to 1858 Kneass served with the Franklin and Warren Railroad and as chief engineer for the North Western Railroad of Pennsylvania.
Roger W. Moss, and
Sandra L. Tatman.
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