North Carolina Architects and Builders - A Biographical Dictionary

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Cooper, Dempsey (1796-1833)

Dempsey Cooper (1796-1833) was a Bertie County carpenter active in the early 19th century, when a number of handsomely finished houses and other buildings were constructed in the plantation county. Although only one structure, a jail, has been documented as his work, his large collection of tools suggests that he executed refined and substantial...

Cosby, Dabney (1779-1862)

Dabney Cosby (August 11, 1779-July 8, 1862), a native of Virginia, had a long and distinguished career as a "brick builder" in Virginia and North Carolina. When he was about sixty years of age, he moved to North Carolina, and he practiced there until his death in 1862. His shop was among the largest...

Davis, Alexander Jackson (1803-1892)

Alexander Jackson Davis (1803-1892), a leading American architect of the antebellum period, had an important series of commissions in North Carolina that were significant both in the development of the state and Davis's national practice. The monumental North Carolina State Capitol (1833-1840) was designed by the firm of Town and Davis, but his subsequent...

Dewey, Jack (fl. 1830s)

Jack Dewey (fl. 1830s) was a slave carpenter from New Bern whose work for the Cameron family in Hillsborough and Raleigh is documented in their records. He belonged to Charles Dewey, cashier of the State Bank in Raleigh. He may have gained his training from Charles's father, New Bern carpenter John Dewey. In addition, he...

Drummond, William S. (fl. 1830s)

William S. Drummond (fl. 1830s), a builder from Washington, D.C., worked on several notable buildings in Raleigh and Fayetteville during his brief tenure in the state in the 1830s. Although nothing is yet known of Drummond's early life and background, in 1830 the United States Census recorded him as a resident of the District of...

Gardner, Benjamin (1792-1860)

Benjamin Gardner (1792-1860), a builder active in antebellum Wilmington, built and may have designed key Greek Revival buildings including the city's handsome market house. Part of a family established in the city, he appeared in the United States Census in Wilmington in 1820 and in subsequent censuses through 1850, when he was listed as...

Graves, Jacob (ca. 1808-1856)

Jacob Graves (ca. 1808-1856) was an architect in Columbia, South Carolina, who planned at least two major antebellum college buildings in western North Carolina--Davenport College in Lenoir and Concord Female College (Mitchell College) in Statesville, during a period when many small denominational colleges were erecting large and stylish main buildings. Little is known of Graves's...

Harry (fl. 1840s)

Harry (fl. 1840s) was an enslaved carpenter who belonged to Judge William H. Battle and his wife Lucy Martin Battle of Chapel Hill. Like some other slave artisans, he worked on a variety of projects with relative autonomy, building both for his owners and for those to whom they hired him. Letters between Lucy...

Hopkins, Samuel (fl. 1790s)

Samuel Hopkins (fl. 1790s) was a builder who came to Orange County about 1793 and constructed some of the first buildings at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. He is believed to have been a native of Virginia. When the United States Census was taken in Orange County in 1800, the residents...

Jones, Albert Gamaliel (1812-ca. 1880)

Albert Gamaliel Jones (1812-ca. 1880), a house carpenter from Warren County, built distinctive Greek Revival houses and college buildings during the flush years of the 1840s and 1850s in several Piedmont and eastern North Carolina counties. Although his parents and early life have not been ascertained, he was probably born in Judkins township in...

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