Granville Tailer Woods was an African American inventor, and the first African American to be a mechanical and civil engineer. Woods was born in Columbus, Ohio in 1856 to a native American mother and African American father, which made him a child of mixed race. He attended school in Columbus until he was 10 years old after which he became an apprentice to learn how to be a machinist and blacksmith. In 1872, at the age of 16, Woods worked as a fireman at the Danville and Southern Railroad in Missouri. In 1876, he moved to the city of Springfield in Illinois where he worked at the Springfield Iron Works.