December 10: William Rich Hutton (1901)

William Rich Hutton was a surveyor and artist who became an architect and civil engineer in the latter half of the 19th century. Hutton was born in Washington, D.C. He was the eldest son of James Hutton and his wife, the former Salome Rich, sister of bibliographer Obadiah Rich and botanist and explorer William Rich. He studied mathematics, drawing and surveying in Alexandria, Virginia. Hutton traveled with his uncle William Rich to California in 1847 as a payroll clerk for the U.S. volunteer forces in the Mexican-American War. Hutton remained in California for six years before returning east in 1853. His diaries and drawings record his travel west via Panama and his six years in California, including a surveying expedition to Los Angeles in June 1849 with Lieutenant Edward O.C. Ord. Ord and Hutton mapped Los Angeles in July and August 1849. Ord surveyed the pueblo; Hutton sketched many scenes of the pueblo and drew the first map from Ord’s survey, recording street names in both Spanish and English for the first time.

Returning to Maryland, Hutton was an assistant engineer to General Montgomery Meigs on the Washington Aqueduct and Cabin John Bridge, succeeding Meigs as Chief Engineer. He later served as Chief Engineer for the Annapolis Water Works, the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, and the Western Maryland Railroad. He played a significant role in the later years of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. He served as Chief Engineer from 1869-1871, and as a consulting engineer until 1880. Under him, the canal was widened to its full width, and had the banks augmented to resist flooding. Hutton and two of his sisters were confirmed at Epiphany in the first decade of the church’s existence. His sister Ellen was the church organist. Explorer William Rich, Hutton’s uncle (and the one for whom he was named) was buried from Epiphany in 1864.

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