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The Builders of North Carolina

Biographies from NCSU Libraries, Architects and Builders Collection


Some of the most prolific builders in North Carolina history have left their marks in what is now Vance County.  Over the years, there have been a number of architects and carpenters who have contributed to the landscape of this County, with many of the buildings they constructed still standing.  The following is a list with a brief biography which can be read in their entirety by clicking onto their names. 


Hill Carter Linthicum (1860-1919)

Born in Virginia, the son of architect William H. Linthicum and Susan Carter, the family having moved to North Carolina while still in his youth, Hill C. Linthicum had a prolific architectural practice that encompassed several North Carolina communities before he settled in Vance County in the latter part of the 19th century.  During his lifetime, he was the designer of such buildings in Henderson as the D. L. Parker House, the Holy Innocents Episcopal Church, and his own residence, the Hill C. Linthicum House, as well as a number of other sites in the counties of Durham, Hertford, Perquimans, and the surrounding areas. Linthicum married Elizabeth Freeborn of Canada in the 1880s and the family tradition was carried on by their son, H. Colvin Linthicum, who became an renowned architecture in his own right.

Henri Colvin Linthicum (1886-1952)

H. (Henri) Colvin Linthicum, born in Henderson, North Carolina, the son of architect Hill C. Linthicum, joined in his father's practice as a young man and after his father's death had his own extensive practice in North Carolina. He was the third generation in the building professions: his grandfather, Hill's father, William H. Linthicum, was a builder in Virginia and then in Durham, North Carolina. Linthicum married Katherine Ottino of Wythe County, Virginia around 1910 and moved to Durham to raise their family. While most of his work was done in Durham such as the Rex Hospital and West Durham Southside School, he also built the McCoin Building in Henderson and the National Guard Armory in Wilmington, North Carolina.

John Lynch (1760s-1800)

John Lynch (fl. 1760s-1800) was a carpenter in Virginia and North Carolina, known in North Carolina as the builder of St. John's Episcopal Church in present Vance County, the only surviving colonial church in the North Carolina Piedmont. A resident of Mecklenburg County, Virginia, and later Surry County, North Carolina (both adjoining the line between the two colonies), Lynch may have been a native of Canterbury, England. In the 1760s and 1770s he took a number of apprentices to the carpenter's trade in Mecklenburg County, where he maintained a house and a joiner's shop. He built the county jail in 1765, and was licensed to keep an ordinary in 1774. He is cited in Susan Bracey's history of Mecklenburg County as its best-known early carpenter.

James Robert Thrower (1825- ca 1910)

James R. Thrower (b. ca. 1825), was a carpenter active in Warren and nearby counties in the middle and late 19th century. Born in Halifax County, North Carolina, the 25-year old carpenter was listed in 1850 among several journeymen carpenters in the Warrenton household of builder Jacob W. Holt. He is one of the few of Holt's carpenters whose subsequent careers are known.  In 1854, he married Ann Eliza Fowlkes, daughter of Hiram Fowlkes and Jane Bradshaw of  Burkeville, Nottaway County, Virginia, and they started a family which by 1900 was listed as having been consisting of 14 children, with only 6 of them still living by that time. James had moved his family to Henderson, North Carolina by 1870, where he started working for the Raleigh and Gaston Railroad.  Perhaps the most prominent building that Thrower is responsible for building is the Vance County Courthouse in 1884.


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