‘In Charlestown, Capt. Lemuel Cox, an eminent mechanic, aged 65. The funeral will proceed from his late dwelling house in Charlestown, tomorrow, at half past 3 o'clock; where his friends and relations are requested to attend without further invitation.’This was his obituary by the newspaper of the period. My interest, primarily, in the subject of this sketch, was aroused from the credit given him as builder of Charlestown Bridge. I was, therefore, somewhat surprised when former Mayor Rantoul of Salem stated before the Essex Institute, of which he was the president, in an article on the Essex Bridge at its centennial, that the builders ‘made terms with Lemuel Cox, an eminent English engineer, to build the bridge.’ A few years later I read on Waterford Bridge, in Ireland, that it was built by ‘Mr. Lemuel Cox, a native of Boston, in America, Architect;’ and visiting at the same time Wexford, New Ross, and Londonderry, I learned of his work there. In recent years, in investigating, I found that he was not only with a claim for fame for his work in bridge building, but also for inventions, among them for his introduction of textile machinery, previous to the arrival of Samuel Slater, to whom the credit has been accorded in the histories of textile industries. Traditions, after the lapse of a century, still show his type of character and tell of his life in Ireland and domestic life here; that he was a genius with the eccentricities of genius; that he returned from Ireland rich in money and beautiful gifts of every description, but died a poor man, under unhappy conditions.
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