1836 - William Wood Thackara Signature as Witness on Philadelphia Deed
This is a deed written in 1836 between George H Ball (a carpenter) and William Musser (a leather merchant and War of 1812 soldier) for a dwelling place and shop in Philadelphia. The shop is listed as being on 7th St North between High Street (today's Market Street) and Mulberry Street (today's Arch Street) in 'Old City' Philadelphia.
Today this block in Philadelphia contains the Federal FBI building, the Federal Court House, and one of the Federal Prisons in Pennsylvania. It is only two blocks from Christ's Church Cemetery and the grave of Benjamin Franklin, and 1 1/2 blocks from Independence Hall. Unfortunately, the building that was sold to William Musser is long gone but Musser was originally from Lancaster. PA and was a soldier in the War of 1812. He had a friend who was also in the War of 1812 who signed this indenture as a witness who is famous in his own right.
William Wood Thackara, a third generation immigrant from England, was the son of James Thackara who was an important engraver who was the curator of art for the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts from 1816-1828 and was a prolific and important engraver and artist, among other things including serving as the clerk in the PA House of Representatives from 1807 to 1810. His works can be found in the Library of Congress, in private collections, and in the collections of universities.
His son William worked with him for a time and then voluteered for the army on September 1, 1814. He became a member of the Third Company of Washington Guards and kept a diary of his experiences with the Washington Guards when he was stationed at Camp Bloomfield near Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, and at Camps Brandywine and Camp du Pont near Wilmington, Delaware. They were to protect, in part, the DuPont gunpowder works in Wilmington, Delaware. There have been articles and books written about WW Thackara including one about the “William Wood Thackara Diary” that is at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
William went on to be an engraver, printer, and conveyancer (real estate lawyer) and lived until 1839 at the young age of 48.
It is 15" x 26"
Land deeds like this one are sometimes the only information available to us about life during the 18th and early 19th centuries. From this type of document, we learn where people lived, their status in life, the amount of land they owned, who their neighbors were, and the names of their wives and children. Many times a child or wife's name will appear in these deeds that has been omitted from the genealogical records of our ancestors. To find the true story of your ancestors, land deeds and other contemporaneous documents are the most important documents to use.