Joseph Worrell (member) 1810

Carpenter and Master Builder

Joseph Worrell signed the Carpenters’ Company Charter along with such notable Philadelphians as Samuel Powell, (the elder) who met with Voltaire (who told him to despise all priests) the Pope, and was friends with George and Martha Washington.

The master builder Joseph Worrell was the son of Ezekiel and Ann (King) Worrell. After her husband died, Ann Worrell asked The Carpenters’ Company for help in “placing one of her sons Apprentice to a House Carpenter.” Company records from the time suggest that Joseph Worrell was said son and that he apprenticed to James Pearson, who built the platform that the Declaration of Independence was first read publicly upon. On 21 January 1788, Joseph Worrell was made a member of The Carpenter’s Company. As Worrell matured, he took an ever greater role in Company affairs being elected Company Secretary 1801-1803, Vice President 1818-1820, and President from 1821-1823 and 1827-1829.

Very little is known of Worrell’s work except that he briefly appears to have been in business with the carpenter Isaac Forsyth for which bills marked Worrell & Forsyth survive from the years 1809-1811. When The Carpenters’ Company established an architecture school in 1833, Worrell was appointed chairman of the school committee. Worrell was on the Select Council of the City of Philadelphia and was appointed as one of the committee members to oversee the design and construction of Girard College by Thomas Ustick Walter. A portrait (c.1815) of Worrell attributed to Jacob Eichholtz survives in the possession of the Carpenters’ Company of Philadelphia.

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Philadelphia Quatermaster Depot at Grays Ferry and Washington Ave Frontview of Carpenter’s Hall, Philadelphia Sideview of Carpenter’s Hall, Philadelphia Worrell House at 505 Delancey St., Philadelphia