James Geddy House & Foundry
Allan especially enjoyed seeing the James Geddy House and Foundry. James Geddy was a gunsmith, and he and his sons lived at or operated shops at the James Geddy House and James Geddy Workshop and Kitchen.
After James died, his sons, David and William carried on the trade. But, Anne Geddy, the widow, sold this property to her son, James, Jr, who set up shop as a silversmith, goldsmith, and watch repairer. When you visit today, you can see the domestic and commercial activities of the family of James Geddy, Jr. interpreted. In the foundry behind the house, you can see skilled craftsmen cast objects of beauty out of bronze, pewter, silver, and brass. I enjoyed the architecture of the house the most because it was unusual for Williamsburg. It's a two-story, L-shaped house (the uncommon part) that was probably that way to adapt to fit the corner lot.
It was restored twice: once in 1930 and again in 1967. The entrance porch was replaced and the chimneys were rebuilt above the roof ridge. I read that the ground gutter used at the Geddy House appears often in 18th-century construction throughout tidewater Virginia.
The James geddy Foundry was reconstructed in the yard to the rear of the house.
The Geddy family operated for nearly 50 years, and artifacts of many of the articles that they made were found in the 1968 excavations of the Geddy site! I find all of this quite fascinating.
Signs of British power
I found numerous signs of British, royal power over colonial Virginia in its former capital, Williamsburg. The best visible sign was all the British flags and the Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom, like the one, on my picture, put on the rear wall of the Governor's Palace.
The Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom have evolved over many years since the 1100's. This one, in Williamsburg features different shield (only its lower left part is the same) but has the same English lion and Scottish unicorn supporting the shield as the current coat of arms. The Latin writings around the shield and below are the same today as well:
1. "Honi (or Hon Y) Soit Qui Mal Y Pense" which means ""Shame to him who evil thinks" (an ancient order of knighthood of which the Queen is Sovereign);
2. "Dieu et Mon Droit" which means "God and My Right" (the motto of the Sovereign).
I am not sure whether it's unique to Williamsburg (rather not) but I noticed that towers of both Bruton Church and some larger residential houses (mansions) were always octagonal. I have no idea why.
This octagonal, wooden tower of Bruton Church, on my picture, looks strange put on much thicker, red brick, square lower part of the tower. It simply doesn't suit here. And it seems that lack of money forced the church constructor to change design and to put lower and less expensive tower.
When you visit Williamsburg,...
When you visit Williamsburg, you should also consider visiting the College of William and Mary (located right on the grounds). It is one of (if not the oldest)colleges in the US. Even if you are not college bound, it is a neat place to see.
Colonial food - my recommendation
This reconstructed small store is placed on the site where Monsieur Dubois operated a grocer's shop in 1779.
The store was full of such traditional southern favorites and delicacies as Virginia smoked hams, preserves, peanuts, port wine and many others. I found there a lot of secret food of past times, not so easy to find anywhere else. I preferred to look at than to buy quite any, mostly expensive, food there.
- modern foods (beef sausage 5 oz. = 142 g for $3.00!),
- specialty foods (chocolate cream sauce :-),
- beverages (apple cider, ginger ale, root beer),
- meals (plantation porrige for $3.25 - for lower classes :-),
- meats (ham :-),
- ceramics and glassware,
- cookie cutters. Being at the beginning of quite expensive trip I buoght only two small bottles:
1. Sparkling Scuppernong Cider ($1.76)
2. Fentimans Ginger Beer ($2.00).
Both were drinkable but nothing special.
Add 4.5% Virginia sales tax to all above mentioned prices.
I thught about:
- cookbooks (Williamsburg Cookbook for $16.95 or Recipes from the Raleigh Tavern Bakery for $4.07)
- meats (Virginia smoked hams - 4.95 - 5.95 per lb or $8.00 a small pack of ham slices),
- peanut soup ($4.50) as I never tried it.
Just in case... I see the store online here now. Generally high or very high prices that's why a lot of food was packed and sold in very small quantities.
More details in my travelogue Colonial grocery.