North Carolina Architects and Builders - A Biographical Dictionary

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Puttick, James (ca. 1807-after 1860)

Birthplace: Surry County, England
Residences:
  • Raleigh, North Carolina
Trades:
  • Other;
  • Stonecutter
NC Work Locations:
  • Raleigh, Wake County
  • Wake
Building Types:
  • Commercial;
  • Public;
  • Religious
Styles & Forms:
  • Gothic Revival;
  • Greek Revival

Christ Episcopal Church [Raleigh]

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Christ Episcopal Church [Raleigh]

Biography

James Puttick (ca. 1807-after 1860) was one of the numerous stonecutters from Great Britain who worked on the North Carolina State Capitol in Raleigh during the 1830s. Because of the exacting workmanship the building required and the large scale of the project, the commissioners and superintendents including architect David Paton recruited stonecutters and other artisans from northern cities, many of whom had learned and practiced their trades in Scotland, Ireland, or England, before immigrating to the United States. Like William Murdoch, Robert Findlater, and some others, Puttick settled down in Raleigh, with his principal other known project being Christ Episcopal Church just across the street from the capitol.

Puttick was born in Guilford, County of Surry, England. After migrating to the United States by way of London, he came with "a large number of stone cutters intended to labour at the State House" in 1833, probably arriving in Raleigh in the summer of that year. His name appears, misspelled as James Patrick, in the list of stonecutters employed at the capitol in December 1834, and his wages were $1.50 per day. Earlier that year, on September 11, he had married Susan Johnson in Wake County. In the following August he applied to the Wake County Court for U. S. citizenship, which was granted four years later.

Like some of his fellow artisans at the State Capitol, Puttick was an early member of the Raleigh Mechanics' Association, incorporated in Raleigh in 1840. Its members included machinists, printers, smiths, masons, carpenters, cabinetmakers, stonecutters, and other practitioners of the so-called mechanic arts. The purpose of their organization was working for "mutual improvement and assistance of each other and such of their fellow-citizens as may be reduced to want and distress." Puttick attracted local attention during a visit of Henry Clay to Raleigh in April 1844, when during the firing of a national salute in honor of Clay, a cannon accidentally discharged, wounding Puttick and another "worthy Whig," as the local newspaper reported. Clay "called voluntarily" on the two at their homes "to express to them his sympathy for the sad accident," and they were reported to be "rapidly convalescent." Fellow citizens arranged a benefit concert at the Raleigh city hall a few days later to aid them financially.

Puttick's principal known project after the State Capitol came in the late 1840s, when on June 7, 1848, he and Robert Findlater and carpenter Justin Martindale received the contract "to build the walls and complete the roof" of Christ Episcopal Church from the designs of New York architect Richard Upjohn. The memorandum of agreement specified that the walls were "to be built of good durable stone & strong lime mortar, the work to be done in a workmanlike manner of rubble & cut stone and to conform in every particular to the plan & specifications furnished by Richard Upjohn of the city of New York. . . the whole of said work to be completed within twenty-seven months from the date of this agreement." This contract covered the erection of the exterior stone walls and the roof; the interior finish came later and involved mainly carpenters and plasterers. The building was completed in 1853 and dedicated in 1854, with the tower and linking arcade, whiche were part of Upjohn's original design, erected a few years later. As cited in the contract, in this, one of the principal surviving examples of Upjohn's Gothic Revival style, the stonework of "rubble" and "cut" stone differs greatly from the precision cut stone blocks and classical detailing of the capitol. The warmer colored stone, from a different quarry is intentionally rough-surfaced and has irregularly sized blocks to evoke the character of English country churches, with cut stone cleanly framing the pointed arched openings. The pairing of Christ Church and the State Capitol in downtown Raleigh, two of the state's principal antebellum architectural landmarks, demonstrates the diverse skills of Puttick and his fellow stonecutters. Little is known of Puttick's other work, with the exception of the W. J. & A. S. Lougee Store (1854) in Raleigh, where he accomplished the stonework while other men did the brickwork and carpentry.

In 1850 the United States Census recorded James "Puttuck," a 42-year-old stonecutter from England, who headed a household that included his children John M., 16, Mary A., 16, and James, 9, all in school. By this time Puttick was a widower, for Susan had died on April 2, 1845. The couple had lost an infant daughter in 1838, and shortly after Susan's death, their infant daughter named after her died on September 16, 1845. Puttick like some of the other stonecutters at the capitol apparently pursued the profession of marble cutter in later years. The United States Census of 1860 listed him as a 52-year-old marble cutter from England, living with his schoolteacher daughter Mary in the household of fellow marble cutter John Maunder. His son James Puttick, a printer who enlisted at age 18 in the North Carolina 14th Regiment Infantry on May 21, 1861, on the day after the state formally seceded, survived the war and may have moved to the North. The death date of stonecutter James Puttick has not yet been learned.

Author: Elizabeth Reid Murray. Update: Catherine W. Bishir.

Published 2013

Building List

North Carolina State Capitol (Raleigh, Wake County)

Wake Raleigh

1833

Contributors:
Dates: 1833-1840
Location: Raleigh, Wake County
Street Address: Union Square, Raleigh, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Public
Images Published In:
  • Catherine W. Bishir, North Carolina Architecture (1990).
  • Catherine W. Bishir and Michael T. Southern, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Piedmont North Carolina (2003).
  • Edward T. Davis and John L. Sanders, A Romantic Architect in Antebellum North Carolina: The Works of Alexander Jackson Davis (2000).
Note:

Although sometimes credited solely to Town and Davis, the design of the capitol was the result of a sequence of work by William Nichols, Sr. and Jr., Town and Davis, and David Paton, with advice from William Strickland. For a fuller explanation of the chronology and contributions of architects involved in the State Capitol, see Bishir, North Carolina Architecture and other sources cited herein.

North Carolina State Capitol

Christ Episcopal Church (Raleigh, Wake County)

Wake Raleigh

1848

Contributors:
Dates: 1848-1861; 1913 [additions]; ca. 1925 [additions]
Location: Raleigh, Wake County
Street Address: N. Wilmington St. at Edenton St., Raleigh, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Religious
Images Published In:
  • Catherine W. Bishir, North Carolina Architecture (1990).
  • Catherine W. Bishir and Michael T. Southern, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Piedmont North Carolina (2003).
  • Davyd Foard Hood, To the Glory of God: Christ Church, 1821-1996 (1997).
  • Frances Benjamin Johnston and Thomas Tileston Waterman, The Early Architecture of North Carolina (1941).
Note:

Christ Episcopal Church is one of the preeminent surviving churches by Richard Upjohn in America. It has been maintained and expanded over the years, including additions by his grandson, Hobart Upjohn, in the early 20th century and a major renovation in the late 20th century.

Christ Episcopal Church

W. J. & A. S. Lougee Store (Raleigh, Wake County)

Wake Raleigh

1854

Contributors:
Dates: 1854
Location: Raleigh, Wake County
Street Address: 100 block Fayetteville St., Raleigh, NC
Status: No longer standing
Type:
  • Commercial

James Puttick's Work Locations

Bibliography

  • Christ Church Parish Register, Vol. 15, Christ Church Records, North Carolina Office of Archives and History, Raleigh, North Carolina.
  • Memorandum of agreement, June 7, 1848, Christ Church Records, Church Records microfilm, North Carolina Office of Archives and History, Raleigh, North Carolina.
  • Elizabeth Reid Murray, Wake: Capital County of North Carolina, Vol. I, Prehistory through Centennial (1983).
  • Raleigh Register, Sept. 16, 1834; April 16, 1844; April 19, 1844; April 4, 1845; Sept. 16, 1845, May 18, 1853; Jan. 7, 1854.
  • Report of Commissioners Appointed to Superintend the Re-building of the State Capitol (1834), North Carolina Legislative Documents, 1831-1835, North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, North Carolina.
  • Wake County Court Minutes, August 1835, p. 401, and August 1839, p. 214, North Carolina Office of Archives and History, Raleigh, North Carolina.
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