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Surveyor-General Robert Erskine


Surveyor-General Robert Erskine

Began his service in the Revolutionary War by raising a company of miltia in the summer of 1775 and serving as Captain. Next served as Geographer and Surveyor General of the Continental Army from 27 Jul 1777 to 1780 during the Revolutionary War. Died in Ringwood, NJ of pneumonia, contracted on a mapmaking expedition, on 2 Oct 1780. Oversaw the making of 250 maps for the Continental Army. George Washington attended his funeral at Ringwood on the same day that André was shot. Born in Dumferline, Scotland on 7 Sep 1735. University of Edinburgh graduate 1752. Invented the continual steam pump and “platometer”. In 1771 was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and among the signers of his certificate was Benjamin Franklin. Became the ironmaster at an iron works in Ringwood, NJ in 1771. Turned the production of the ironworks over to the American Army at the beginning of the war. The furnace at Ringwood cast the iron chain which was placed across the river at West Point. Lake Erskine in Ringwood, NJ is named for him. Freemason. Presumed to be a member of the Grand Lodge of London, England. Attended the celebrated festival of the Feast of St. John at Morristown 1779. Married Elizabeth about 1765. After Robert’s death she married member Robert Lettice Hooper. Lived at Ringwood Manor during the Revolution, which is now an historic site. [Sources: M; H; Find A Grave Memorial; “Drake’s Dictionary of American Biography”, 1872; “Who Was Who In American History”; “Who Was Who In The American Revolution”; “National Cyclopaedia Of American Biography”, Volume 24;; Wikipedia.]

Robert Erskine is currently unrepresented in the Society of the Cincinnati. Eligible descendants are encouraged to make inquiry regarding membership.