James Fincken (1860-1943). [B.W. Morris House 106-108 (later 422-424) Walnut Street]
Copyrighted by Alfred Percival Smith, Philadelphia, 1901. 13 ¾ x 10 5/8. With three vignettes. Very good condition.
The house at 106-108 (later 422-424) Walnut Street was erected by Benjamin Wistar Morris in 1799. Morris, born on 14 August 1762 to Samuel and Rebecca Wistar Morris, followed the family tradition and became a Philadelphia merchant. After winning a contract to build a road from Newbury, Lycoming County, up through Little Pine Creek to the New York state line, he traveled to the site on numerous occasions and in 1802-1803 built a cabin on a knoll overlooking what would later become the town of Wellsboro, which he named in honor of his wife Mary Wells, originally of Burlington, N.J. In 1805 he moved his family from Philadelphia to the cabin in Tioga County.
The engraving is meant to show the house as it looked, divided in two, in 1835. The left half, 106 (later 422), Walnut Street houses the law office of George Mifflin Wharton (1806-1870). The right half, 108 (later 424), is the boarding house of "Mrs. Crim." It was in this boarding house that Chief Justice John Marshall died on 6 July 1835.
The etching by James Fincken (1860-1943) also has three vignettes below the image. To the left is a bust portrait of John Marshall; in the center is the house as it may have appeared prior to division into two; and on the right is a then-contemporary depiction after 424 had been demolished and replaced by the Teutonia Fire Insurance building and 422 was occupied by James A. Freeman's Sons, the auction house, located here from 1845 until it removed to 1808 Chestnut Street in 1924.
Alfred Percival Smith held degrees from Haverford and Harvard Colleges and a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He was a lawyer, a member and honorary curator of the Presbyterian Historical Society, and a member of the City Print Club and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.