Biography

MASTER BUILDER
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Born: c. 1679, Died: 1738

The trail of early master builder Jacob Usher is faint at best. He is traditionally listed by The Carpenters' Company as one of its earliest members, although no Company records prior to the 1760s survive to confirm the date or fact of his election. He first appears in Philadelphia as a servant of one Thomas Hooton in 1693 and was not yet of age when his stepfather, Nathaniel Harding--Jacob Usher's mother having reversed the usual pre-modern pattern by outliving at least two of her three known husbands--wrote his will in 1699/1700. Usher was probably of age the next year, however, when he declared his intention to marry Ruth Wood (b.1680). In 1708/09, Pentecost Teague reported to the Philadelphia Monthly meeting that he had provided a place for James West with Jacob Usher, carpenter. In 1721 Usher advertised in the American Weekly Mercury that he wished to sell 250 acres of land in Chester County, and in 1723 and 1724 he was paid for measuring the carpenters' work at the new Philadelphia prison and work house.

Written by Roger W. Moss.

Clubs and Membership Organizations

  • Carpenters' Company of Philadelphia

 

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