North Carolina Architects and Builders - A Biographical Dictionary

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Atkins, Rhodham (d. 1802)

Rhodham Atkins (d. January 18, 1802), carpenter, is best known as builder of the State House (1792-1795) in Raleigh. A native of Massachusetts, he was in Wake County, North Carolina by 1790 when he apprenticed Ephraim Rogers to the house carpenter's and joiner's trade. He acquired land in Wake and Franklin counties and owned...

Branch, Issachar (fl. 1790s)

Issachar Branch (fl. 1790s), a Perquimans County house carpenter, is linked to a specific building because of the survival of his agreement to construct the Edward Hall House (location unknown) in 1794 for £50. The agreement is notable because it documents the construction of a common regional house type—a 2-story frame house with two...

Briggs, John J. (1770-1856)

John J. Briggs (1770-1856), a highly skilled and widely respected Raleigh house carpenter, began work in the capital city during its early days and continued for more than a half-century. Along with accomplishing the fine carpentry work on a number of town and plantation houses, he served as "boss" carpenter at the North Carolina...

Bunch Family (fl. 1780s-1860s)

The Bunch family of farmers and house carpenters (fl. 1780s-1860) lived and worked in the plantation communities of Bertie County for at least three generations. The family is notable for its continuity in the trade as well as for the combination of farming and a building trade—a common practice in a rural society. Although...

Dewey, John (ca. 1767-1830)

John Dewey (ca. 1767-1830) was a New Bern builder, house carpenter, and joiner during the city's era of fine building in the Federal style. In his account of early 19th century New Bern, memoirist Stephen Miller mentioned only two master builders in the city: John Dewey and Martin Stevenson. According to Miller, "Mr. John...

Dick, Thomas (fl. 1760s)

Thomas Dick (fl. 1760s), carpenter, is the only builder identified as having worked in Brunswick, the prominent but short-lived colonial port on the Cape Fear River. In 1762 he was mentioned as a carpenter "who wrought at his excellency the Governor's" a large two-story house with broad piazzas—evidently Governor Arthur Dobbs's house, Russellborough, which...

Green, John (fl. 1760s-1785)

John Green (fl. 1760s-1780s) was a house carpenter and joiner active in 18th-century Edenton, especially during the 1760s and early 1770s when several important buildings were constructed or completed in the venerable port town. He was variously identified in deeds as a carpenter and as a house carpenter and joiner, indicating that he could...

Hay, Robert (ca. 1754-1850)

Robert Hay (ca. 1754-1850), a native of Scotland, was a skilled woodworker—chairmaker, wagonmaker, carriage maker, and briefly a house carpenter—prominent in New Bern in the early 19th century. According to Hay's obituary in the Newbernian of December 10, 1850, he arrived in America at the close of the American Revolution and settled in New...

Kirshaw, Robert (fl. 1740s-1772)

Robert Kirshaw (fl. 1740s-1772), was a carpenter in Edenton and Chowan County in the mid-eighteenth century. He is of special interest because his suit against the estate of Francis Corbin, the English-born land agent for Lord Granville in North Carolina, has suggested his possible role in building Corbin's famed Cupola House in Edenton. No...

Leigh, Gilbert (d. 1792 or 1793)

Gilbert Leigh (d. 1792 or 1793), house carpenter and joiner, was one of the leading local artisans in a period of high quality building in Edenton and environs. He is one of the few North Carolina house carpenters of his generation for whom specific buildings have been documented or attributed. A native of Perquimans County...

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