Seneca H. Marlette (1854-55)

Photo of Seneca H. Marlette

In 1852, Marlette was elected County Surveyor of Calaveras County and in September, 1853, was elected Surveyor General of California, an office he assumed in January of 1854. In February, 1854, as previously mentioned the capitol of California was removed from Benicia to its final location in Sacramento.

Marlette was perhaps the best educated, most responsible, efficient and public-spirited of the early Surveyors General, and several noteworthy tasks were accomplished under his supervision. In addition to his extensive work and effort to complete the survey for the Emigrant Wagon Road, Marlette understood and called attention to the inaccuracies of the State map produced by Eddy. Further, he took active steps to correct the errors by vigorously collecting all the newest and most recent government maps and surveys, and by employing a professional draftsman to reduce copy inaccuracies. Although a second State map was not produced during his term, Marlette's efforts indicated the major defects of the first map and provided for improved accuracy in production of the second.

Of all the early Surveyors General, Marlette was perhaps the best qualified by virtue of his education and experience in the engineering field. After earning a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Renssalaer University, Marlette worked for some years as a civil engineer for the New York and Erie Railroads, and did not leave their service until 1849.

Senaca Hunt Marlette was born January 18, 1824, in Syracuse, New York and died August 24, 1911, in Glendale, California, at the age of 87.

Bi-Annual Reports

Surveyors General

The following include a short biography, photo of, and the annual reports from each Surveyor General, documenting some of the activities and observations of the Surveyors General, and record the early geographical development of the new state.