Biography

MASTER BUILDER
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Died: 1734

The master builder Joseph Harrison was the son of John I and Mary Harrison and the brother of John II and Daniel Harrison. According to Pastor Eric Bjork, Joseph and John II helped their father complete Holy Trinity Church, Wilmington, DE in 1698, and both are known to have worked at Gloria Dei Church, Philadelphia, the following year. In 1702 he married Mary Van Luvening, and in 1710 he married Katharine Noble.

In 1719, Joseph Harrison was working for James Logan at his country house, Stenton, although the amounts and dates of payments do not suggest an attribution of that important structure to him. In the early 1720s, Harrison--together with William Gray and the brick layer Joseph Redman--agreed to remove the arch at the end of Mulberry and Front Streets. In 1722, Harrison and Thomas Redman presented the Common Council with a "Compleat Draught" of a New Prison and Work House that they erected over the following year. The structure was measured for carpentry in August of 1724; it is the only building that may be firmly attributed to Harrison.

Like his brother John II, Joseph Harrison was an early member and possible founder of The Carpenters' Company. The loss of Company records during the Revolution makes it impossible to prove the fact or date of his membership.

Written by Roger W. Moss.

Clubs and Membership Organizations

  • Carpenters' Company of Philadelphia

 

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