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Spencer Herapath

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Spencer Herapath (1822-1884)

1884 Obituary [1]

SPENCER HERAPATH was the second son of John Herapath, the mathematician, and cousin of the noted analytical chemists, William Herapath and Dr. William Bird Herapath.

He was born in 1822, and early indicated that he shared the mental gifts of his family. Having received some mathematical training from his father, he proceeded to the United States, passing his time chiefly in a college in Indiana.

On his return he was for a time connected with “Herapath‘s Railway Journal.” He afterwards became a member of the Stock Exchange, and the head of the firm which he established of Spencer Herapath and Co. some forty years ago.

Mr. Herapath was noted for his knowledge of railways and public works, for the study of which he had a natural aptitude. This led to his election, on the 5th of March, 1867, as an Associate of the Institution ; he was a Fellow of the Statistical Society, the Royal Geographical Society, and a Member of the Society of Arts. He took part, as Director and otherwise, in Argentine, Brazilian, and Australian railway undertakings, in which his opinion had great weight.

He exhibited sound judgment in his own investments, having for many years, and to the time of his death, held largely in the valuable Buenos Ayres Great Southern Railway, the City of Buenos Ayres Tramways, the Great Western of Brazil Railway, in all of which he was a director, and in the Central Argentine Railway. He was also an authority on many questions of foreign loans, sturdily maintaining principles of credit. For many years he was a member of the Committee of Spanish Bondholders.

He took, with his brother, Mr. E. J. Herapath, great interest in his father’s labours, and had designed a new edition of the Mathematical Physics, and to publish his minor works. Ill-health in later years, and the pressure of business, prevented the fulfilment of this design.

It should be added that, in his earlier days, he acted as private secretary to Admiral Laws, at that time the manager of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway. He was also Secretary of the Sheffield, Barnsley, and Wakefield Railway, and on his retirement from that position received the following testimonial of his services :-

Extract from the Proceedings of the Parliamentary Committee of the Sheffield, Barnsley, and Wakefield Railway Company. (Dated) Office, Wakefield, 26th December, 1865. Mr. Herspath, the Secretary, having tendered his resignation to the committee.

Resolved:-That the same be received, and that the thanks of the committee be given to Mr. Herapath for his zeal in the service of the company, and that three months’ salary in addition to what his services up to the 31st inst. would. amount to, be placed at his disposal. True extract. J. CHARLES HANDFIELD, Secretary.

Of the subject of this notice, it may be said that whatever h0 undertook, he excelled in, and it is deeply to be lamented that death, at a comparatively early period, cut short a career of usefulness to those around him, and of advantage to an important section of the public.

Mr. Herapath died on the 13th of March, 1884, aged sixty-two years.

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