Richard Gridley was born January 3, 1710 in Boston. Nothing is really known of his childhood other then at the age of 20 he married Hannah Deming and together they raised nine children.
By the 1740’s he had become an engineer in the British Army engaged in artillery.
Praised by Governor William Shirley of Massachusetts for his work, Gridley was rewarded with a captain’s commission in Shirley’s American Provincials from 1746 to 1749.
Gridley then served with the British Army during King George’s War, the War of Jenkins’ Ear and the French and Indian Wars of 1754-1763 where he must have earned a reputation with artillery as a military engineer.
For his services, Britain granted Gridley 3,000 acres of land in New Hampshire and a life annuity.
He was wounded at the Battle of Bunker Hill.
George Washington then named him Chief Engineer for the Continental Army where he became a distinguished military officer renowned for personal bravery and his skills as a scientific engineer and artillerist.
Gridley retired from the United States Army in 1781 at the age of 70.
At the age of 86, Gridley was cutting dogwood bushed which induced blood poisoning and died June 21, 1796. He was buried within a small enclosure near his house in what is now Canton, Massachusetts.
In 1876, he was honored with a monument and moved to his final resting place in the Canton Corner Cemetery.
The United States Army Corps of Engineers considers Gridley ‘America’s First Chief Engineer.’
Gridley’s monument is faced with tablets bearing several inscriptions including;
“I shall fight for justice and my country”
“I love my God, my country, and my neighbor as myself”
As well as a quote by George Washington,
“I know of no man better fitted to be Chief Engineer than Gridley”
Now We know em