The Old Print Shop

Cleveland S. Rockwell


Cleveland Rockwell was born in 1837 in Youngstown, Ohio, the son of a lawyer who was involved with the Cleveland and Pittsburgh Railroad. After the death of Rockwell's mother, the family moved to Cleveland. He attended secondary school in Troy, New York, and later became a student at New York University. In 1856 he was appointed to the U.S. Coast Survey and carried out a survey of the islands in New York harbor. He later surveyed areas in South Carolina and the Georgia coast. During the Civil War, he surveyed areas around Port Royal and the Savannah River, and then areas on the coasts of Virginia and Maine. He was commissioned a Captain of Engineers in 1863 and surveyed the area of Knoxville, Tenn. After the war, he worked with other U.S. engineers in Colombia and later conducted surveys in Georgia. In 1867 Rockwell was promoted to the post of Assistant in the Coast Survey and transferred to San Francisco. He surveyed the area around San Francisco and then went north to survey the entrance to the Columbia River from 1868 to 1870. He then worked in California. In 1873 he married Cornelia Flemming Russell, who came from a prominent Tennessee family. He continued work on the Columbia River surveys but returned for projects in California from time to time. He moved from San Francisco to Albina, Oregon (later part of Portland) in the late 1870s. He worked in various parts of Oregon, surveyed the Willamette River, and traveled to Alaska and British Columbia. In 1887-1889 he conducted a survey of the Oregon coast, and after additional work in southern California, he retired to Portland in 1892. Also in that year, he traveled to Alaska. Toward the end of his life, he worked as a civil engineer, was active in local banking and in Republic party politics, and contributed articles to the Pacific Monthly and the West Shore. His drawings were used in the decoration of the battleship Oregon's silver punch set in 1897. He died in Portland in 1907. - Archives West