William Roberts was a master builder elected to The Carpenters' Company prior to the date of the earliest surviving records; he was first present at a Company meeting in 1768. Roberts was an "encourager" of the Philadelphia edition of Abraham Swan, The British Architect (1775), the first book of architecture published in America. During the Revolution he made ammunition boxes, built guard houses, and made various repairs to the State House (Independence Hall); the latter service he continued throughout the war. The resident of the Middle Ward of Philadelphia as early as 1769, he is listed in the Philadelphia directories for 1791-1800 at 163 Chestnut Street, probably the same house "on north side of Chesnut (sic) st near 5 where I now live" mentioned in his will. Roberts marched in the Grand Federal Procession of July 4, 1788, carrying a placard painted to display "designs in architecture."
Roger W. Moss.
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