TOWERS, Michael, the oldest of four children--two sons and two
daughters--of Archibald and Elizabeth Towers, was born Sept. 24, 1800, in Upper Providence township, Montgomery Co., PA. His father, a miller by trade, was a nephew of Capt. Robert Towers, the founder of the first factory built at Manayuk, Philadelphia co., PA, and chief commissary for the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety during the Revolutionary war. When Michael was seven years of age his father died. Soon after he was sixteen he commenced to learn the carpenter's trade, at which he worked for a short
time near New Orleans, LA. Soon after he returned to Pennsylvania, and, in February, 1824, purchased his homestead farm in East Vincent township, this county. About 1827 he began to work for the Schuylkill Navigation Company. By his industry and ability he won the confidence of its officers, and soon became prominent as a contractor and adviser in all their improvements. In
the years 1841-43 he was engaged in the reconstruction of the Fairmount dam, Philadelphia,--a work undertaken by himself and Frederick Erdman,a master-builder of considerable note in his day. After the completion of this work he seems to have retired to his extensive farm, where he was engaged in agricultural pursuits until 1845, when he returned to the canal to aid in its enlargement, in which he took an active part,--among other improvements building the Vincent dam. In 1848 he was engaged as a contractor in the building of dams of cemented masonry on the James River
in Virginia, for the James River and Kanawha Navigation company,--works of very considerable magnitude and importance, to the execution of which he brought all the knowledge and experience which he in so eminent a degree possessed.
He was the first to introduce the plan of building dams on rock
foundations; those which before were built on the bed of the river on sand and gravel only stood eight or ten years, while his have been standing half a century and are perfect yet. In his connections with many of the most important works of the country he stood in the foremost rank as a contractor and adviser.
He married, Jan. 6, 1824, Rebecca, daughter of James and Hannah Brook, of Lawrenceville.* He had eleven children, of whom two sons and five daughters are living, as is also his wife. He celebrated his golden wedding Jan. 6, 1874, in the presence of a large number of his old friends and relatives. He died Nov. 13, 1880.
He was a man of unflinching integrity, generous hospitality, and left the impress of a long and busy life in the works of his creation.
* James Brook owned and operated a gun manufactory at that village, and made muskets for the United States in the war of 1812. He was a member of the State Legislature when it met at Lancaster, and his son, Nathaniel Brook, was afterwards a State senator.