Carpenters' Hall

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Famous Early Members of the Carpenters' Company

Allison, Robert: As the British neared Philadelphia, the Committee of Safety charged him with removing the bells in the State House (including the Liberty Bell) and transporting them by wagon to Allentown, where they were hidden in the basement of a Lutheran church.

Carlile, Abraham: He was tried for treason and hanged in 1778 following the occupation of Philadelphia; his crime was collaboration with the British army.

Dilworth, Jonathan: In 1775, he built, with two others, three brick houses at the corner of 4th & Walnut Streets. The corner house was rented out until purchased in 1791 by John Todd, the Company's attorney who died in the 1793 yellow fever epidemic. His wife, Dolly, later became James Madison's wife. Their house is now part of INHP.

Evans, David: In 1791, he was asked to prepare a plan and estimate for a new city hall at 5th & Chestnut Streets. Payments in 1792-93 are taken as proof he designed and supervised construction of the building also used by the Supreme Court.

Forepaugh, George: He is believed to be the master carpenter for the Senate gallery of Congress Hall (1795).

Fox, Joseph: The British, angry with his pro-Revolution attitudes, burned his house during the occupation. Since Fox was the Company President, early records were lost.

Griscom, Samuel: His daughter Elizabeth was later known as Betsy Ross, after her first marriage.

Ingels, George: He carried the Company banner and marched at the head of a procession of 450 "architects and house carpenters" in the Grand Federal Procession (1788), marking the adoption of the Constitution.

Keen, John: He was wounded in the battle of Princeton, which followed shortly after Washington's famous crossing of the Delaware and attack on the British and Hessian troops at Trenton. The crossing and attack was strongly recommended by General Knox, who became the first Secretary of War and made his headquarters in Carpenters' Hall.

Mullock, Edward: He was paid for 218 1/2 days' work on Congress Hall, making him one of the principal builders.

Nevell, Thomas: He built Mt. Pleasant in Fairmount Park, as well as his house at 338 South 4th Street, which still stands.

Portues, James: He arrived in 1682 with William Penn aboard the "Welcome." Later, Portues built the "Slate Roof House" on Second Street across from the City Tavern. William Penn lived in the house during part of his second visit to Philadelphia.

Proctor, Thomas: He erected the City Tavern in 1772, located on Second & Walnut Streets. He was also captain of an artillery company which fought at the battles of Trenton, Brandywine, and Germantown.

Rhoads, Samuel: A close friend of Franklin, Rhoads was a member of the Pennsylvania Assembly and the First Continental Congress. He designed Benjamin Franklin's house, which was then built by Robert Smith.

Smith, Robert: Probably the most famous member of the Company, he built Carpenters' Hall, St. Peter's Church (3rd & Pine), and the steeple of Christ Church, as well as buildings at Princeton and Brown Universities. In 1775, while overseeing construction of underwater defenses in the Delaware (called "chevaux de frises"), he became ill and died.

Williams, William: He married Ester Smith, daughter of Robert Smith. Williams was in charge of constructing the Federal Edifice for the Constitutional procession in 1788. Later, Thomas Jefferson appointed him to the committee to evaluate the design for the Capitol in Washington.

Wooley, Edmund: He was an early member who served as master builder of Pennsylvania's State House, later known as Independence Hall.

Carpenters' Hall, 320 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Open free to the public daily, except Mondays (and Tuesdays in Jan. and Feb.), from 10am-4pm

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