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James Thomas Ford

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James Thomas Ford (1862-1907)

1907 Obituary [1]

JAMES THOMAS FORD was born on the 21st January, 1862, in Jamaica, and commenced his engineering career in the Public Works Department of that colony in 1877. He remained in the public service until 1886, when he went to Cuba to carry out a scheme of irrigation for a large sugar plantation.

In the following year he obtained employment with the Nicaragua Canal Construction Company, and took part as Chief Assistant Engineer in the expedition for the final location of the work.

On the return of the expedition, Mr. Ford's services were retained to assist in the preparation of plans and estimates, and he was subsequently deputed to represent the company in Paris, returning to New York in 1890 to fill the position of Manager.

After practising for a short time as a Consulting Engineer in New York, he accepted an engagement with the Cartagena-Magdalena Railway Company, for whom he carried out surveys and reported on the proposed railway, wharves and other works in Colombia, which were then constructed under his direction.

In 1894 he was appointed Chief Engineer to the company, and 2 years later he added to this appointment the office of General Manager.

In 1906 the property was transferred to an English company, of which Mr. Ford became Managing Director, and held charge of the railway and steamer fleet m well as of other enterprises owned by the company in the interior. In recent years, he became interested in the Panama Canal project, and was appointed to represent the Colurnbian Government on the International Commission.

In 1901 he read a Paper before The Institution on "The Present Condition and Prospects of the Panama Canal Works," for which he was awarded a Telford premium.

Whilst engaged in extensive operations in the interior of Colombia in 1906, he received a sunstroke, which eventually resulted in his untimely death on the 3rd May, 1907, at the age of 45.

Mr. Ford was elected an Associate Member of The Institution on the 2nd April, 1889, and was transferred to the class of Members on the 28th March, 1899.

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