Betts, Richard K.



Betts, Richard K.


Richard K. Betts was a master builder of Philadelphia elected to the Carpenters' Company in 1841. He served as Company Warden in 1854, on the Library Committee from 1853-87, on the Managing Committee from 1855-57, 1859-61, 1863-65, 1868-70, and 1872-74. Betts served on the Book Prices Committee from 1859-63, 1866-71, and 1873-87. Betts was on the subcommittee to inquire on reoccupying Carpenters' Hall in 1856. Mark Isaksen, in his Thesis, Early Concepts of Hist Early Concepts of Historic Preservation: The Restoration: The Restoration of Carpenters' Hall, 1857-1876, Betts was the primary force behind the restoration and essentially became the first Company Historian by managing historical records and objects and putting them on display for the Carpenters' Company and the public. Betts also wrote a booklet on the history of the Carpenters' Company. Betts hailed from a Quaker family and lived on Filbert street near Schuylkill 8th. He died in 1890.

Biography from the Philadelphia Architects and Buildings site, a project of the Athenaeum of Philadelphia. Written by Tom Stokes.

Member Number


Last Name


First Name


Middle Name


Birth Date


Where Born

Lancaster, PA

Deceased Date


Spouse Name

See "Comments"


Hanna, John Brooks, Charles Meigs, Pemberton and Rodman


Samuel C.


Grace Biles


Mrs. Janeen LaFaver

Date Elected


Office Held

Warden, 1854

Committee Membership

Book Prices Committee, 1859-63,66-71,73-87
Library Committee, 1853-87
Managing Committee, 1855-57,59-61,63-65,68-70,72-74

Business Address

22 N. Sch. (CD) (1840)


Transactions APS Vol. 43, Part I (1953), page 115 The Hall proved to be a great attraction to Philadelphia visitors during the Centennial Exposition of 1876. Seventy thousand copies of the booklet "Carpenters' Hall and Its Historic Memories" by Richard K. Betts were given away at that time.(154) ---------------------------- City Directory - 1840, 45- R.K., carpenter, 22 N. Sch., 8th; house 8th near Ann. 1850 - Richard K., carpenter, Filbert near Schuylkill 8th; house 22 N. Schuylkill 8th. 1854 - Richard K., carpenter, 297 Filbert. ----------------------------- Married to: Mary Louwnes in 1830; Anna Brooks in 1835; Rebecca C. in 1852 ------------------- In his member folder is a copy of the booklet "Carpenters' Hall and its Historic Memories" written by R. K. Betts to give to visitors during the 1874 celebration; this is a revised copy printed in 1882. ----------------------------- Phila. City Directory - 1890 Richard K. Betts, measurer. Home: 2042 Arch Rodman L.Betts, bookkeeper. Home: 2042 Arch. ----------------------------- Hannah Roach paper, page 2aa About 1852, Richard K. Betts, who had been elected a member in 1841, decided that the asterisks (indicating deceased members) were too indefinite. He thereupon undertook to supply the year of death of all deceased members, as well as the year of their election. In his own rule book he entered in ink beside each name such data as he could locate, presumably drawing his information from the roll books of the Company and the minute books kept by the wardens and assorted committees. In the course of his investigations he picked up from the early surviving minutes the name of a member who should have been included in the 1786 list as a deceased member. This was Ebenezer Tomlinson who was last mentioned in the warden's minute book in 1767, when he received assistance from the Company. But for the 21 names in the 1786 Rule Book which preceded Joseph Fox's name, Betts was able to locate only two death dates, and one of those -- for James Portues -- was incorrect. --------------------------- Carpenters' Co. Minutes-1891-111 Thanks of Company to widow of R.K. Betts for valuable Book of Prices. -------------------------- Hannah Roach notes: 1837 - 22 North Schuylkill 8th st. 1850 - Filbert North of Schuylkill 8th st. 1866 - 1508 Cuthbert; h. 1511 Filbert 1886 - measurer, 2042 Arch St. In folder, copy of family relationships. Is first known compiler of Company history, who first assigned dates of election and death to the list of members in his own 1852 Book of Prices. Copy in file of invoice for Company dinner menu 1885. --------------------------- City Records D.C. Liens book #402; filed December 5, 1846; no note of satisfaction R. K. Betts vs. Thomas Blacks et al. Claim for $564.14 for work and materials against a certain dwelling house or farm house situate in Bristol township, on the east side of the Old York Road about 4 1/2 miles from the city.

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