Stephen Carmick (1718-1774)

This is a brief biographical sketch about Stephen Carmick (sometimes also spelled Carmack).  Near the end of his life, Stephen Carmick owned a large plantation in Southwark, a small portion of which later became Morris Street.

Stephen Carmick
A portrait of Stephen Carmick identified by one of his descendants.

Stephen Carmick was born around 1718 and died a few years before the start of the American Revolution.  He married Anna Christina Kock at Trinity Church in New York in 1755.  Although family records differ on the number of children they had, his obituary stated that at the time of his death there were “ten small children” who survived him.

Records on Carmick’s early life are scarce.  He was born in Salem Town, New Jersey, to Peter Carmick (died 1759) and Sarah Hall (1689-1748), and had at least three siblings. Carmick’s father appears to have been a successful merchant who owned, amongst other assets, a tract of land spanning over 3900 acres in Cumberland County called “Buckshutem.” Carmick likely inherited a portion of this property as he was paying taxes for 300 or so acres in that very county late into his life.

Sometime after moving to Philadelphia, Carmick established himself as merchant and importer of dry goods, pewter, cutlery, and brass articles from England.  In 1751, his store was located under that of Captain William Spafford’s on Market Street near the wharf.   By 1760, his store and residence were located on the east side of Water Street, at the “third door above Market Street,” on a lot that extended to the Delaware River.  Carmick eventually purchased additional lots throughout the city and, a few years before his death, he acquired Andrew Bankson’s plantation in Southwark.

Carmick was an active parishioner at Christ Church and, on one occasion, he organized an assistance program for the poor at the school house.  He was also a member of the Common Council of Philadelphia, where he was summoned for inquests on a number of criminal cases.

Carmick died unexpectedly from an epileptic fit at age 54 and was buried in the Christ Church burial ground.  The Bankson plantation may have been his largest land purchase and whatever plans he may have had for developing that land went with him to the grave.  His children eventually sold the plantation, along with some of Carmick’s other holdings, to a wine merchant named Paul LaBrousse who operated a vineyard on the land.