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The Geddy Family

The Geddy family decorating for Christmas

Tradesmen with Scottish heritage

James Geddy Sr. probably arrived in Virginia from Scotland sometime before 1733. Geddy was primarily a gunsmith, but he also worked in wrought iron and cast brass. By 1738, he had located his business on two lots on a site on the northeast corner of Palace Green and Duke of Gloucester Street, where he worked until his death in August 1744.

On his death, he bequeathed all of his personal and real property to his wife, Anne. In addition, Geddy left seven of his children five shillings each. James and Anne's eighth child, Sarah, was born before he died but after the will was written and therefore was not included.

Sons carry on family business

In 1750, Mrs. Geddy sold the easternmost of her two lots to James Taylor, a Williamsburg tailor. From an August 1751 advertisement in the Virginia Gazette, we know that Geddy's sons David and William carried on their father's gunsmith and brass founding business on the corner lot.

There are few subsequent records of David Geddy, but we know that William continued to live and work in Williamsburg, probably in the same location, even after his younger brother James bought the property from their mother. The archaeological record shows that brass founding and gun work continued on the site into the early years of the Revolution, and in 1776, the Committee of Safety paid William Geddy for "casting ball, repairing arms &c." Though he lived and worked in town, William owned no land in Williamsburg, having instead a 326-acre farm about ten miles outside the city. An 18th-century house, built either by William or his son William Jr., still stands on this property.

Silversmith business established

James Geddy Jr. was born in 1731 and purchased the corner lot from his mother in 1760, establishing his silversmith and jewelry business there. There is some reason to believe that after her husband’s death, Anne Geddy rented part of her property to Samuel Galt, a local silversmith, and apprenticed James Jr. and his younger brother John to Galt. James Geddy Jr. built the current two-story L-shaped structure on the property in 1762. He operated as a silversmith on this site until late 1777, when he moved to Dinwiddie County, Virginia, and then to Petersburg, where he died in 1807.

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