Nicholas Scull II was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1687. His father was surveyor Nicholas Scull, who died in 1703. Scull decided to become a surveyor, like his father, and apprenticed under Thomas Holme. He also studied under Jacob Taylor. He married Abigail Heap in 1708. Heap would have three sons with Scull: Edward, John, and Nicholas III. All three would become surveyors. The couple also had a daughter, Mary.
Mid-life and career
He assisted in surveying the Old York Road, which his father helped bring to the area as of 1697. Scull became the first deputy surveyor for Philadelphia in 1719. He became deputy surveyor for both Philadelphia and the area in and around Buck, Pennsylvania, in 1733. Scull's work took him to survey rivers such as the Schuylkill and Lehigh. He handled land disputes in Delaware Water Gap region between the Dutch, French and early Pennsylvania settlers. In 1737, he participated in the surveying which led to the Walking Purchase. He worked closely with Benjamin Eastburn, who would later hire Scull's son as a surveyor. Scull ran for Philadelphia County sheriff in 1744. He won, and from 1744 to 1746 he served as sheriff before he was asked to replace William Parsons as Surveyor General. Scull became Surveyor General in 1748, and his son Edward took over his position as deputy surveyor of Philadelphia and Buck.
As Surveyor General he published multiple maps of the Philadelphia region, including at times with George Heap. His work was inspired by Lewis Evans. He was a member of the Junto as of 1730, and was noted by Benjamin Franklin as being a book lover and able to speak in local the Delaware language.
Death and legacy
He died in 1761 and was buried in Whitemarsh Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Scull's 1752 map of Philadelphia was adapted and republished by William Faden in London in 1777 during the American Revolution.
- A Map of Philadelphia and Parts Adjacent, 1752, by Nicolas Scull and George Heap, first edition, 1752, University of Pennsylvania
- To the Honourable Thomas Penn and Richard Penn, Esqrs., true & absolute proprietaries & Governours of the Province of Pennsylvania & counties of New-Castle, Kent & Sussex on Delaware this map of the improved part of the Province of Pennsylvania, 1759, Library of Congress
- "A Plan of the City and Environs of Philadelphia, 1777". Library of Congress. World Digital Library. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
- Bedini, Silvio A. "History Corner: The Scull Dynasty of Pennsylvania Surveyors". Professional Surveyor Magazine. Archived from the original on 1 January 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
- Parkhill, S.M. "Despite Surveyor-general Post, Lasting Fame Eluded Scull". Two Rivers Heritage. The Morning Call. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
- "1753 map of Philadelphia, by Nicholas Scull and George Heap, first edition". Maps. West Philadelphia Community History Center. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
- "To the Honourable Thomas Penn and Richard Penn, Esqrs., true & absolute proprietaries & Governours of the Province of Pennsylvania & counties of New-Castle, Kent & Sussex on Delaware this map of the improved part of the Province of Pennsylvania". Map. Library of Congress. Retrieved 1 January 2014.