Biography

MASTER BUILDER
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Born: c. 1735, Died: 1813

Master builder James Pearson was an early member of The Carpenters' Company, although the actual date of his election is unknown because of the loss of all Company records prior to 1763. In those earliest surviving records, Pearson is mentioned as a member of the important "Committee to Sett prises." Among the most active members of The Company throughout his life, Pearson served as Warden (1764-1766), Assistant (1771-1773, 1785-1788), and as a member of virtually every special committee. A member of the American Philosophical Society, Pearson was one of the official observers of the transit of Venus (June 3, 1769) from the State House yard (Independence Square). An active supporter of the Revolution--as were most of his fellow Company members--Pearson manufactured firearms for the Committee of Safety (1775). In the 1780s he made extensive repairs to the State House for which his bills survive in the Pennsylvania Archives, Harrisburg, PA.

When Company member Ezekiel Worrell died, his widow petitioned The Company for help in "placing one of her sons Apprentice to a House Carpenter." Company records strongly suggest that that son was Joseph Worrell and that he was taken as an apprentice by Pearson. On 21 January 1788, "James Pearson proposed Joseph Worrel [sic.] Son of ye Late Ezekial Worral [sic.] as a member of The Company."

Written by Roger W. Moss.

Clubs and Membership Organizations

  • American Philosophical Society
  • Carpenters' Company of Philadelphia

Links to Other Resources

 

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