Benjamin Franklin Papers

Pennsylvania Assembly Committee: Report on a Schuylkill Bridge, 20 August 1751

Pennsylvania Assembly Committee:
Report on a Schuylkill Bridge

Printed in Votes and Proceedings of the House of Representatives, 1750–1751 (Philadelphia, 1751), pp. 80–1.

[August 20, 1751]

In Obedience to the Order of the House, we have view’d the River Schuylkill,4 and sounded the Depths, and try’d the Bottom in several Places from Peters’s Island, near the Ford, down to John Bartram’s, below the Lower Ferry, and are of Opinion, that the most convenient Place for a Bridge in all Respects is against or near the End of Market-street, where Capt. Coultas5 now keeps the Ferry. We have also had under our Consideration sundry Plans of Bridges, and Computations of the Expence of building them, but not being yet prepared to compleat our Report thereon, crave further Time for that Purpose.6

Thomas Leech, Benjamin Franklin,
Peter Dicks, Israel Pemberton,
Edmund Woolley, Samuel Rhoads,
Caspar Wistar, Jacob Lewis.
Hugh roberts,
[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

4A petition for a bridge on the west side of the Schuylkill River was referred, Feb. 8, 1751, to a committee including BF (though he was clerk of the Assembly, and not yet an elected representative). “A considerable Subscription” was expected, and the committee was instructed to consider location and probable costs. 8 Pa. Arch., IV, 3408–9, 3418. It reported August 20.

5James Coultas (d. 1768), a captain in the Association regiment, 1748, operated the Middle Ferry over the Schuylkill at Market Street, 1744–55. The British army constructed a floating bridge there, 1777; but no permanent bridge was erected until 1805. PMHB, III (1879), 156–7; Robert P. Robins, “Colonel James Coultas,” ibid., XI (1887), 50–7. Aquila Rose operated the ferry, 1722–23 (see above, II, 238 n).

6No further report was made, presumably because the “considerable Subscription” was not secured.

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