Letter from Ezra Cornell regarding the first telegraph line in the United States

[Trade Journal]

Publication: The Telegrapher

New York, NY, United States
vol. 10, no. 420, p. 182, col. 2-3

A Misstatement Corrected.


THE following letter from Hon. Ezra Cornell is published in the Ithaca Journal, and refers to an item in its telegraphic despatches. The inference in the last paragraph is incorrect, Hon. F. O. J. Smith being still living:

Editor's Journal.

I observe in your notice of the death of G. E. Smith the statement that he set up the first line of telegraph poles in the country, between Washington and Baltimore. I can inform you that there was no person by the name of Smith connected with Prof. Morse, in any way, with the setting up of the first line of telegraph poles between Washington and Baltimore. Hon. F. O. J. Smith, of Portland, Me., had a contract from Prof. Morse for laying the pipe for the conductors for the telegraph between those two cities. He laid ten miles of the pipe, through the agency of the machine which I invented for that purpose, extending from Baltimore to the Relay House. At that point the work was tested, and the insulation was found to be insufficient, and the project of putting the pipe down was discontinued. This was in December, 1843. Here Mr. Smith's connection with the matter ceased. In April, 1844, Prof. Morse decided to put his wires on poles placing the entire charge of the work, in all its departments, in my hands. The Smith you refer to as having died a few weeks ago in Maine may have been Hon. F. O. J. Smith, who would now be nearly seventy years of age. Yours respectively, EZRA CORNELL."


Keywords:General : Cornell
Researcher notes: 
Supplemental information: 
Researcher:Bob Stahr
Date completed:January 6, 2006 by: Elton Gish;