Humphreys, Joshua (1751-1838)

Philadelphia shipbuilder.

Trained as a ship carpenter. Formed a partnership with his cousin John Wharton (1774) and built a Continental navy frigate, the Randolph. U.S. naval architect (1794-1801); designed six warships for the new U.S. navy and personally oversaw the construction of the United States. Ardent Federalist; his son Clement Humphreys was involved in a political fracas with Benjamin Bache (1797).

Son of Joshua Humphreys of Haverford, Pennsylvania. Quaker; disowned for building warships.

First letter in correspondence: February 20, 1789; James J. Farley, “‘To commit ourselves to our own ingenuity and industry’: Joshua Humphreys and the Construction of the U.S. United States, 1794-1799,” Explorations in Early American Culture, v (2001), 288-327; Merle T. Westlake, Jr., “Josiah Fox, Gentleman, Quaker, Shipbuilder,” PMHB, lxxxviii (1964), 317.