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William Murray Black Edit Profile

army officer

William Murray Black, American army officer. Awarded Distinguished Service Medal, December 1918, for especially meritorious and conspicuous service in planning and administering the engineering and military railway services during the war. member of board charged with raising wreck of United States Ship Maine from Havana Harbor, 1910-1913; member National Episcopalian.


Black, William Murray was born on December 8, 1855 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, United States. Son of James and Eliza (Murray) Black.


Educated Franklin and Marshall College, Pennsylvania, 1870-1873. Graduated from the United States Military Academy, 1877. Doctor of Science, Franklin and Marshall College, 1912.

Doctor Engineering, Pennsylvania Military College, 1920.


Captain George H. Dorby, United States of America (“John Phoenix”), 1877. Married second, Gertrude Totten, d. Commander William M. Gamble, United States Navy Commissioned through all grades to colonel corps engrs., United States of America.

Appointed lieutenant colonel and chief engineer United States.V., May 25, 1898. Honorary dis. from volunteer service June 13, 1899. Long engaged on works of river and harbor improvement.

Also assistant instructor practical military engineering, United States Military Academy and instructor сivil engineering, United States Engineer School, Willets Point. New York; assistant in charge works of fortification, office of chief engrs., Washington, 1895-1897. Commissioner of District of Columbia, 1897-1898.

Chief engineer in campaign in P.R., 1898. Chief engineer Department of Havana, staff General Ludlow, January 2, 1899-April 30, 1900. Chief engineer Division of Cuba, January 1900-April 1901, staff of General Leonard Wood.

Charge of engineer work, Havana, and supervision of work in Cuba. Commanding Engineer School Application and 3d batn. engrs., 1901-1903, and post of Washington Barracks, District of Columbia, 1901-1903. Observing work of new Panama Canal Company under orders of Isthmian Canal Commission, April 1903-July 1904.

In charge river and harbor improvements and fortifications, Maine, 1904-1906. Adviser, department public works, Provisional Government of Cuba, 1906-1909. In charge river and harbor improvements, District Northern 1, New York, February 1909-March 1916.

Brigadier general chief of engrs. United States of America, March 7, 1916. Promoted to major general, October 8, 1917.

Senior member of board charged with raising wreck of United States Ship Maine from Havana Harbor, 1910-1913. Chief engineer officer Eastern Department United States of America. Div. engineer Eastern Division River and Harbor Improvements, 1909-1916.

Senior officer board of engrs. for Rivers and Harbors, 1912-1916, chairman Inland Waterway Transportation Committee of Council National Defense, 1917. Member National Research Council. Chairman port and harbors facilities commission of the United States Shipping Board, February 1919.

Retired from active Service October 31, 1919.


  • Other Work

    • Author: Improvement of Harbors. South Atlantic Coast. Waterway and Railway Equivalents (prize essays, transactions American Society C.E., 1893-1925).

      Public Works of United States. Collaborated with Professor E. B. Phelps in Report on Discharge of Sewage into New York Harbor. Inventor method of purifying sewage by aeration.


Member of board charged with raising wreck of United States Ship Maine from Havana Harbor, 1910-1913. Member National Episcopalian.


Married Daisy Peyton, d.; married second, Gertrude Totten, d.

James Black

Eliza (Murray) Black

Daisy Peyton

Gertrude Totten