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Alvah Crocker

Updated: 2017-05-02T22:46Z
Alvah Crocker
Alvah Crocker.png
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 10th district
In office
March 4, 1873 – December 26, 1874
Preceded byHenry L. Dawes
Succeeded byCharles A. Stevens
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 9th district
In office
January 2, 1872 – March 3, 1873
Preceded byWilliam B. Washburn
Succeeded byGeorge Frisbie Hoar
Massachusetts State Senate
In office
Massachusetts House of Representatives
In office
Massachusetts House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
BornOctober 14, 1801
Leominster, Massachusetts
DiedDecember 26, 1874 (aged 73)
Fitchburg, Massachusetts
Resting placeLaurel Hill Cemetery
Political partyWhig, Republican Lua error in Module:Officeholder_party_tracking at line 22: invalid escape sequence near [^%w'.
ChildrenCharles Thomas Crocker

Alvah Crocker (October 14, 1801 – December 26, 1874) was an American manufacturer and railroad promoter. He served in the Massachusetts General Court and was U.S. Representative from Massachusetts.


Born in Leominster, Massachusetts, Crocker attended the public schools and Groton Academy. He was first employed in a paper mill at Franklin, New Hampshire, in 1820. In 1823, he borrowed the money necessary to establish a paper mill at Fitchburg and served as proprietor of paper manufactures there.[1] His paper mills became the largest in the United States and he built extensive machine shops and foundries in the neighborhood of his mills. In manufacturing white paper he was the first to use cotton waste and also the first to use palm leaf fibre in wall papers.[2]

He was elected to the Massachusetts legislature in 1835, where he advocated steam communication with Boston, returned to the legislature in 1842, and obtained a charter for a new railroad between northern Massachusetts and the seaboard, which was completed through his exertions in 1845. He afterward engaged in building the Vermont and Massachusetts, the Troy and Boston, and the Hoosac Tunnel railroads, and in 1847/8 lectured in behalf of the tunnel project.[3] The Science Channel documentary Driven to Invent: Killer Tunnel called Crocker "The Father of Modern Tunneling" for his influence in advancing the use of geologists, explosives, pneumatic tools, boring technology, and said, "He laid down the rules for tunnel construction even to the present day."[4]

He served as president of the Fitchburg Railroad. During the American Civil War, he was a member of the Massachusetts State Senate for two terms.[3]

Crocker was elected as a Republican to the Forty-second Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of William B. Washburn (who was elected Governor). He was reelected to the Forty-third Congress. He served in Congress from January 2, 1872, until his death in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, December 26, 1874. He was interred in Laurel Hill Cemetery.

Future reading

  • Wheelwright, William Bond, Life and Times of Alvah Crocker 1923, Reprint, New York: Arno Press, 1981.

See also


External links

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
William B. Washburn
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 10th congressional district

January 2, 1872 – March 3, 1873
Succeeded by
George F. Hoar
Preceded by
Henry L. Dawes
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 9th congressional district

March 4, 1873 – December 31, 1874
Succeeded by
Charles A. Stevens

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