William F. Raynolds
William Franklin Raynolds was a U.S. army officer who served in the Mexican–American War and American Civil War. He is best known for leading the 1859 Raynolds Expedition. He retired from the army on March 17, 1884, with the permanent rank of colonel. He went on to become a topographic engineer and cartographer for the United States Army and the Army Department of the Interior.
About William F. Raynolds in brief
William Franklin Raynolds was a U.S. army officer who served in the Mexican–American War and American Civil War. He is best known for leading the 1859 Raynolds Expedition while serving as a member of the U. S. Army Corps of Topographical Engineers. During the 1850s and again after his participation in the Civil War, he was the head engineer on numerous lighthouse construction projects. He also surveyed and mapped the islands and shorelines on the Great Lakes and other regions. He retired from the army on March 17, 1884, with the permanent rank of colonel. His grandfather had been a veteran of the War of 1812 and had served as a company captain from April 12, 1812, until April 13, 1813. He was born in Canton, Ohio, in 1820, the fourth of six children to William Raynold and Elizabeth Seabury. He married at a young age; he and his wife had no children. He died in New York City in 1883, at the age of 83. He had a son, William F. Raynolder, who served as an assistant topographical engineer in the Army from 1843 to 1847. He served in Winfield Scott’s Mexican American War campaign that marched overland to Mexico City from the Gulf of Mexico seaport at Veracruz. He and other officers were the first confirmed to have reached the summit of Pico de Orizaba, the tallest mountain in Mexico, and inadvertently set what may have been a 50-year American alpine altitude record.
He later served as head engineer of the Army’s Corps of Engineers until the merger with the Corps of engineers in 1863. He helped build at least six lighthouses whose construction he oversaw are still standing. Some are still in use and of these, several are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. He went on to become a topographic engineer and cartographer for the United States Army and the Army Department of the Interior. His grandson was Ulysses S. Grant, who became the first president to be born in 1864 and served as vice president from 1865 to 1874. He lived in Ohio until his death in 1881, when he moved to New Jersey and died in a nursing home in Brooklyn, New York. He left behind a wife and six children. His great-great-grandson, William Franklin Franklin, was also a topographical expert and explorer for the American Army and Army. He passed away in New Jersey in 1891, and is survived by his wife and three children, including one son, Joseph J. Reynolds, who was a fellow officer at West Point in 1843 and a friend of Grant’s. In 1859, he led the first government-sponsored expedition to venture into the upper Yellowstone region that was later to become Yellowstone National Park. He surveyed the Teton Range, now within Grand Teton National Park, and was in charge of the first expedition to the Yellowstone Plateau in 1859 and 1860.