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James Geddy Jr. - Silversmith and Retail Business

Virginia Colony Silversmith

James Geddy Jr. became Williamsburg's best-known colonial silversmith, but he sometimes apologized in ads in the Virginia Gazette for his "Shop's being too high up Town," or too far from the main business district located near the Capitol. Advertisements from 1766 to 1777 indicate that Geddy sold silver and gold items imported from England and also English jewelry and plate. In addition, Geddy sold goods that he and other colonial craftsman made, advertising them as "new made work" or "country made work," and repaired silver and watches. He also did engraving, purchased old gold and silver, assayed ore, and sold tools of the silversmith, jeweler, and clockmaker trades.

Worked with other Craftsmen

Geddy also worked with other craftsmen. His brother-in-law, William Waddill, a silversmith and engraver, opened a shop in Williamsburg near the printing office in 1767. Geddy may have been associated with Waddill by October 1768, since at that time he advertised English imported silver for sale "next door to the Post Office." Waddill definitely was working with Geddy at as an engraver by June 1772. He appears to have continued to work with Geddy until the latter left Williamsburg in 1778.

In 1770, William Waddill made eight silver handles, ten silver escutcheon plates, and a large silver plate for the coffin of Lord Botetourt. Both the silver and the original bill for the work still exist and are owned by the College of William & Mary. In 1776, Virginia's treasurer paid Waddill for engraving new plates for paper money. Examples of this work also exist.

In 1775 Geddy advertised that he had received the services of a watch and clock finisher, although he first advertised watch repair work in 1767.

James Geddy advertised that the following items were for sale between 1766 and 1777:

  • Jewelry - rings of silver and gold, rings with stones, diamond rings, lockets of silver and gold, brooches of silver and gold, brooches with stones, earrings, mourning rings, wedding rings, and necklaces
  • Buckles - shoe buckles, knee buckles, stock buckles, and neck buckles
  • Buttons - crystal buttons, gold buttons, silver buttons, stone buttons, and other buttons
  • Watch materials - silver watches, watch keys, and watch chains
  • Silver flatware - spurs, teaspoons, tongs, tablespoons, tureen ladles, and punch ladles
  • Silver hollowware - cream buckets chased, pap ladles, cans, and salts
  • Combs - horn, tortoiseshell, and other materials;
  • Tools - silversmith, goldsmith, and watchmaker's tools
  • Miscellaneous - thimbles, crescents, hair sprigs, pins, bells, etui cases, instruments, Morocco pocketbooks, seals, and seals with stones

For further reading: