SAMUEL POWELL, The Rich Carpenter

Powell House
Powel House, 244 South Third Street

Samuel Powell, 1673-1756, known as the 'rich carpenter', was one of the greatest contributors to the growth of early Philadelphia by building over ninety homes that he then rented. Samuel Powell was also known for his building of bridges including the drawbridge over Dock Creek at Walnut Street in 1718. In 1700 Samuel married Abigail Wilcox, 1679–1713, daughter of Barnabas Wilcox, Justice of Philadelphia, 1686 to 1690. Living on the northeast corner of Second and Pine Streets, Samuel and Abigail Powell had three children.

Samuel and Abigail Powell's first child, Samuel Powel, 1704–1759, would later drop the second "l" from the name. Also a carpenter like his father, he added to the housing stock owned by the family. This second Samuel Powel married Mary Morris, daughter of Anthony Morris.

Samuel Powell
Samuel Powel
Elizabeth Willing Powell
Elizabeth Willing

The son of Samuel and Mary Powel was the third Samuel Powel. After returning to Philadelphia from his famous seven years Grand Tour of Europe, this Samuel Powel married Elizabeth Willing and completed his town House on South Third Street. Here at the Powel House, he and Elizabeth would entertain all of the leading figures of the Revolution. The Powel's were very close friends of Washington who would dine at their house more than any other in Philadelphia. John Adam's wrote to his wife Abigail in Boston of having "attended another sinful feast at the Powel's. Having been the last Mayor of Philadelphia before the Revolution and the first Mayor of the city after the war, Samuel would come to be known as "the Patriot Mayor". With his wife safely far outside of the city during Philadelphia's first Yellow Fever Epidemic in 1793, Samuel Powel stayed at their country estate "Powelton" just outside of the city. Returning to check on his servants that remained in the city, Samuel would be bitten by a mosquito caught the fever and died childless in the town house on South Third Street. His home, the Powel House , like Dr. Physick's, are both today house museums owned by the Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks.

Samuel and Abigail Powell's second child, Debora Powell, 1706–1730, married Joshua Emlen, 1701–1776, known as "the tanner"; Joshua owned a tannery located on Dock Creek. Their son, Samuel Powel Emlen, 1730–1799, known as 'the Quaker seer', would by his second wife, Sarah Mott, have their daughter Elizabeth Emlen, wife of Dr. Philip Syng Physick.

Samuel and Abigail Powell's third child, Sarah Powell, 1713–1751, would marry Anthony Morris Jr. Anthony's sister Mary, was married to Sarah's brother Samuel Powel.

To illustrate the close connections that many old Philadelphia families share, Abigail Wilcox Powell's elder sister Hanna Wilcox had married John Rhoades in 1692. Hanna Wilcox Rhoades' great grandson, then US Navy Lieutenant David Conner, would marry her sister Abigail Wilcox Powell's great, great granddaughter, Dr. Physick's daughter, Susan Dillwyn Physick in 1828.