May 21 1763

Thomas Nevell daybook, May 21, 1763

By early spring 1763 Thomas Nevell’s journeymen and apprentices were spending the working week on site at Mount Pleasant. Nevell was receiving cash installments for the work from John Macpherson roughly every two weeks in amounts that ranged between £5 and £40. Nevell credited his carpenters their time working with weekly entries in his daybook. His most capable workmen were earning £1.10 for a six day work week or 5 shillings a day. George Plim, who had been associated with Nevell the longest based the the low number “30” next to his name which indicates the page number of Plim’s records in Nevell’s book of accounts, received a slightly higher rate, 6 shillings a day.

George Plim

John Sweet

John Little

John Dubre

John Adams

James Farmer

James Keys

James Guy

William Singleton

When John Macpherson engaged Thomas Nevell to construct Mount Pleasant he entrusted him with the role of general contractor. Nevell in turn relied on his vast knowledge of the building trade in Philadelphia and his ability to oversee a team of variously skilled carpenter’s and apprentices, many of whose names appear nowhere in the historical record except for Nevell’s daybook. The record of their labor on site and at Nevell’s work yard and shop during the more than two years of construction grants us a better understanding of the community of skilled workers needed to create what survives at Mount Pleasant.

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