(Note: the information used in this section of the blog is taken from the website 'Joshua Humphreys, "Father of the American Navy" '(managed by: private user, last updated: 11/12/2014), the Wikipedia entry for Indien (1778), and the Dictionary of American Fighting Ships entry for Indien.
Joshua Humphreys was born on June 17, 1751 in Haverford, PA. He was the son of Joshua Humphreys, Sr. and Sarah Humphreys. He had at least one brother, Charles Humphreys, who would later become a Continental Congressman. Joshua, Jr. would later marry Mary Humphreys and father two children by her, Clement Humphreys and Samuel Humphreys, later a naval architect himself. He would die on January 12, 1838 in Haverford, PA at the age of 86 years old. His residence, Pont Reading, was still a private residence as of 2014.
As a young man, Joshua, Jr. was apprenticed to a shipbuilder in Philadelphia, PA. During the Revolutionary War, he was employed as a ship designer. He played a major part in planning the Randolph, a 74-gun frigate, that was never built. After the war had ended, he became a shipbuilder in his own right in Philadelphia, PA. In 1794, Congress passed the Naval Act of 1794 which provided for the construction of six frigates, thus inaugurating the US Navy. Joshua Humphreys was called upon to design these new vessels for the nascent US Navy and began work after being appointed Naval Constructor on June 28, 1794.
The frigate South Carolina arrived in Philadelphia, PA from the Caribbean on May 28, 1782. Later, due to political and legal difficulties, she would move down the Delaware River to Billingsport, NJ. She would remain in there until beginning her final, short voyage on December 20, 1782. It is recorded that Joshua Humphreys was in Philadelphia while the frigate South Carolina was moored there and was attracted to her graceful design. He is said to have sketched the vessel while she lay at anchor. These sketches he may well have incorporated into the sleek hulls and graceful lines of the new frigates for the US Navy. Thus, this was perhaps the greatest significance, and the lasting legacy, of the frigate South Carolina, her influence on the design of latter US Navy ships.
The ghost and image of the frigate, South Carolina, speaks to us today through the lines and design of the USS Constitution - "Old Ironsides" - a ship designed by Joshua Humphreys.