John Parham was elected to membership in the Carpenters' Company of Philadelphia in 1812. He is most notable for the letter to Nelson Barksdale, Proctor of the University of Virginia, preserved in the Thomas Jefferson Papers, University of Virginia:
. . . I have been a Master Carpenter in this city for 17 years, and served eight years as an apprentice to my business, and have 5 apprentices myself, at a time. I have built very largely for many persons in the city, and have erected some of the finest buildings the city can boast, particularly those in Chestnut Street opposite the Academy of Fine Art. I have built lately for the following Gentlemen. viz. Captain Dunlap, Thos. Pratt Esq., Capt. Hardy, Burton Wallace Jr. I have been regularly bred to Architecture, and would therefore be of service as a draftsman. My assortment of tools and architecture works are very extensive, and I would if engaged bring them with me. As you require certificates in regard to capability, I would produce them from the Old Carpenters Hall, Wm. Strickland, archt. of the U.S. Bank etc. . . .
Parham's interest in the budding University of Virginia construction was elicited by an advertisement that appeared in Philadelphia newspapers under the heading "Workmen Wanted."
Sandra L. Tatman.
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