Samuel Powell, "Rich Carpenter" of Philadelphia

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Samuel Powell, "Rich Carpenter" of Philadelphia's Geni Profile

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Samuel Powell

Birthdate: (82)
Birthplace: Stoke Parish, St. Gregory, Somersetshire, England, United Kingdom
Death: Died in Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Samuel Powle and Deborah Powle
Husband of Abigail Powell
Father of Ann Powell; Samuel Powell; Deborah Emlen; Ann Powell and Sarah Morris

Occupation: Carpenter, Home Builder
Managed by: Nicholas C. Woomer-Deters
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Samuel Powell, "Rich Carpenter" of Philadelphia

Born: c. 1673, Died: 1756

Biography from the American Architects and Buildings database

Samuel Powell came to Philadelphia as a child in 1685 and was probably apprenticed to his uncle John Parsons, carpenter from Somersetshire. Powell's marriage in 1700/1 to the prosperous orphan Abigail Wilcox was witnessed by William Penn, Edward Shippen, Samuel Carpenter, and David Lloyd (among others) and he inherited substantially from the Parsons--hardly a rags to riches story. Powell became a Regulator of Party Walls and Partition Fences in 1712 and, "being a Man remarkable for his Care in promoting Regularity in the Buildings" (quoted by Bridenbaugh in Rebels and Gentlemen), was soon elected to the Common Council (1717 and 1729).

A founder or early member of The Carpenters' Company, he was known--according to a long-time resident of the city--as the "rich carpenter." (This observation appears to originate in Watson's Annals, v.1, p. 9.) Indeed, Powell made speculative building a big business, moved into foreign trade, and accumulated a vast estate for the time consisting of over ninety properties (according to Joseph Jackson) in and around Philadelphia. The only building that can be firmly attributed to him is the Philadelphia Court House of 1710, although he was responsible for the Dock Street bridge of 1718, a bridge over Cobb's Creek c.1732, and another bridge over Dock Street in 1735-37.

Powell's son of the same name followed the trade of carpentry and was also elected to the Common Council and later became an Alderman; he pre-deceased his father, however, and the accumulated wealth of Samuel Powell the elder passed to Samuel Powel, III. Of him one historian of Philadelphia has written, "the benefits of inherited wealth, superior education and ample leisure, the experiences of extended travel and the effects of changing tastes produced a rounded, urban and cultivated person." Unfortunately, Samuel Powel, III, gentleman (1738-1793), has been confused with another Samuel Powel (see above, d.1815).

Written by Roger W. Moss Philadelphia Buildings

Samuel Powell, 1673-1756, known as the 'rich carpenter', was one of the greatest contributors to the growth of early Philadelphia by building over ninety homes that he then rented. Samuel Powell was also known for his building of bridges including the drawbridge over Dock Creek at Walnut Street in 1718. In 1700 Samuel married Abigail Wilcox, 1679–1713, daughter of Barnabas Wilcox, Justice of Philadelphia, 1686 to 1690. Living on the northeast corner of Second and Pine Streets, Samuel and Abigail Powell had three children.

Samuel and Abigail Powell's first child, Samuel Powel, 1704–1759, would later drop the second "l" from the name. Also a carpenter like his father, he added to the housing stock owned by the family. This second Samuel Powel married Mary Morris, daughter of Anthony Morris. Additional Information

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Samuel Powell, "Rich Carpenter" of Philadelphia's Timeline

November 2, 1673
Somersetshire, England, United Kingdom
December 10, 1702
Age 29
Age 30
August 24, 1706
Age 32
July 24, 1708
Age 34
April 29, 1713
Age 39
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
June 27, 1756
Age 82
Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States