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George E. Waring, Junior

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George E. Waring, Junior (1833-1898)

1899 Obituary [1]

GEORGE E. WARING, Junior, was born in Poundridge, New York, on the 4th July, 1833. He was educated at College Hill, Poughkeepsie, New York, and then studied agriculture on the Mapes Experiment Farm. During the winter of 1854 he lectured on agricultural subjects throughout Maine and Vermont.

In 1855 he took charge of Horace Greeley’s farm at Chappaqua, New York, remaining there until 1857, when he was appointed agricultural and drainage engineer of Central Park, New York City, which position he occupied until the beginning of the Civil War.

In May, 1861, he was given a commission as Major of the Garibaldi Guard, with which he served three months, and in the following August he was appointed Major of Cavalry under General John C. Fremont, then in St. Louis. He raised six companies of cavalry under the name of the Fremont Hussars.

These and the Benton Hussars were afterwards consolidated to form the 4th Missouri Cavalry, of which Waring was commissioned Colonel in January, 1862. With that regiment he served throughout the war, principally in the south-west.

In 1867 Colonel Waring settled in Newport and assumed control of the Ogden farm. He introduced Jersey cattle into the United States and founded the American Jersey Cattle Club. He devoted himself to agriculture, cattle-breeding and drainage until 1877, when his engineering work assumed such proportions as to require his undivided attention. Since that date he has been in active practice as a drainage and sewerage engineer.

After the yellow fever epidemic of 1878-79, which cost 5,635 lives in Memphis alone, Colonel Waring devised, as a means of getting rid of the filth of that city - and the only means for which its bankrupt people could pay - a system of small pipe sewers, a strictly 'separate' system, designed to receive nothing but household wastes, automatically flushed at regular intervals and with special provision for ventilation. His plans were adopted in the face of bitter criticism, and the sewers were built. Since that date yellow fever has never obtained a foothold in Memphis. The system, universally known as 'the Waring system,' has been extensively used in the towns and smaller cities of the United States.

In June, 1879, Colonel Waring was appointed expert and special agent of the Tenth Census of the United States in charge of the social statistics of cities. In 1882 he became a member of the National Board of Health. He was also an Honorary Member of the Royal Institute of Engineers of Holland, Fellow of the Sanitary Institute of Great Britain, Member of the American Public Health Association, and Corresponding Member of the American Institute of Architects. He planned and supervised the sewerage of more than forty towns and cities in the United States, and invented numerous sanitary devices, chiefly in connection with the drainage of houses and towns.

From 1895 to 1898, as Commissioner of Street Cleaning of New York, he substituted scientific knowledge and business-like methods for the indifference and mismanagement which had prevailed under political control, and inaugurated reforms which have since been adopted by many other cities. In September, 1898, he was charged by the government with an investigation of the sanitary condition of Havana and other Cuban ports. While engaged in that work in Cuba, he was stricken with yellow fever, and died in New York on the 29th October, 1898.

Colonel Waring was a voluminous writer and a frequent contributor to various journals and magazines. His larger literary works are:- 'Elements of Agriculture' (1854), 'Draining for Profit and Draining for Health' (1867), 'Book of the Farm' (1870), 'A Farmer’s Vacation' (1875), 'Whip and Spur' (1875), 'Sanitary Drainage of Houses and Towns' (1876), 'The Bride of the Rhine' 1877), 'Village Improvements and Farm Tillages' (1877). 'Sanitary Condition of City and Country Dwelling Houses' (1877), 'Tyrol and the Skirt of the Alps' (1879), 'How to Drain a House' (1885), 'Sewerage and Land Drainage' (1888), 'Modern Methods of Sewage Disposal' (1894), 'Aerial Navigation' (1894), and 'Street Cleaning and the Disposal of a City’s Waste' (1898).

He was elected a Member on the 5th December, 1882, and four years later contributed to the Proceedings a Paper entitled 'Siphon-Outlet for a Low-Sewer District, Norfolk, Virginia, U.S.A.'

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