North Carolina Architects and Builders - A Biographical Dictionary

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Albert and Osborne (fl. 1820s-1850s)

Albert (fl. 1820s, 1830s, 1840s), and Osborne (fl. 1840s, 1850s), brothers, were enslaved bricklayers and plasterers of notable skill. The two men belonged to the prolific brick builder Dabney Cosby, and their high quality work, especially in the plastering technique called "roughcasting," was an important component of Cosby's building business. Cosby worked extensively in...

Austin, Henry R. (ca. 1808-1872)

Henry R. Austin (ca. 1808-1872), a builder and cabinetmaker in the part of Rowan County that became Davie County, is one of the few artisans linked with the substantial antebellum buildings of the western Piedmont. In 1833 he advertised in the Salisbury Western Carolinian that he wished to "employ in the cabinet-making business, two...

Bell, William (1789-1865)

William Bell (Oct. 28, 1789-Sept. 17, 1865), one of many Scots builders active in America, spent much of his career as architect of the United States Arsenal in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where in 1861 the local newspaper cited him as "the Architect who has supervised the erection of all the buildings, from the founding...

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...

Burgess, James (fl. 1820s)

James Burgess (fl. 1820s), a carpenter, is described by tradition as the "architect" of elaborate Federal period houses in Warren and Halifax counties identified as the Montmorenci school. In the 1930s, architectural historian Thomas T. Waterman referred to local tradition that Montmorenci and Prospect Hill (both lost) and other houses were "attributed to Burgess...

Clayton, Ephraim (1804-1892)

Ephraim Clayton (1804-August 9, 1892), a carpenter and builder from a prominent pioneering family in the area, developed a large contracting business that was among the most important in western North Carolina and also extended into neighboring states. His works included many of the most stylish and substantial buildings of their day in a...

Collier, Isaac J. (b. ca. 1810)

Isaac J. Collier (b. ca. 1810) was a cabinetmaker, carpenter, and contractor who worked in Chatham and Orange Counties from the 1830s into the 1850s, often in partnership with other artisans. Like many small-town and rural woodworkers, he combined trades in furniture making and building. He was one of several antebellum local artisans who...

Conrad Family (fl. 1820s-1850s)

The Conrad family of builders from Davidson County, who also formed a firm called Conrad and Williams with their partner John Wilson Williams, constructed some of the most important and advanced buildings in the western North Carolina Piedmont during the antebellum period. The Conrad family possessed traditional skills as cabinetmakers and carpenters, but they...

Conrad and Williams (fl. 1850s)

Conrad and Williams was a firm established in 1850 by John W. Conrad of the Conrad Family of builders and John Wilson Williams. It was founded to accomplish a major project and continued in business for several years. The firm, like the Conrad Family, constructed some of the most important and advanced buildings in...

Conroy, John (fl. 1790s)

John Conroy (fl. 1790s) was a builder active in Raleigh and Chapel Hill in the late 18th century. Although little is known of him, he possessed design skills as well as good connections, for he is credited with planning or constructing edifices in the new capital and at the university. There are several unsigned...

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