Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Library Research Report Series - 1420
Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Library
(See List of ILLUSTRATIONS on following Page.)
|I. SUMMARY (see three following pages)|
|II. OWNERS OR OCCUPANTS OF LOT No. 48:|
|1. Michael & Joanna Archer, 1720-ca. 1732||Pages 1-7.|
|2. William Parks, before 1746-1750||8-15.|
|3. William Hunter, 1750-1761||16-29.|
|4. Joseph Royle, 1761-1766||29-33.|
|5. Alexander Purdie and John Dixon, 1766-1775||33-38.|
|6. John Dixon and William Hunter, 1775-1778||38-49|
|7. John Dixon and Thomas Nicolson, 1779-1780||49-51|
|8. The Hunter Estate, 1781-1805||52-54.|
|9. Robert Greenhow, 1805-1818||54-59.|
|10. 19th & 20th Century Owners AFTER lot was divided||60-79.|
|III. ACTIVITIES IN OR CONNECTED WITH 18th CENTURY PRINTING OFFICE:|
|3. Letter-Foundery & Letters||C-E.|
|4. Printers and Printing||F-K.|
|5. Diderot and Gessner||L-M.|
|6. The Printer's Grammar||N.|
|IV. BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF THE PRINTERS ON LOT #48:|
|1. William Parks||i-xv.|
|2. William Hunter||xvi-xxx.|
|3. Joseph Royle||xxxi-xliii.|
|4. Alexander Purdie||xliv-liii.|
|5. William Hunter (Jr.)||liv-lxvi.|
|6. John Dixon||lxvii-lxxii.|
|1. Plat of Williamsburg showing Colonial Lots||Summary (1)|
|2. Scale drawing showing section of Frenchman's Map and Foundations excavated on Lot #48||Summary (3)|
|3. Foundations of "Reynolds House" in Northeast Corner of Lot #48||42.|
|4. Foundations in Southeast Corner of Lot #48, showing Drain||45.|
|5. Picture of Old Printing Office, ca. 1889||63.|
|6. Houses to west of Old Printing Office, ca. 1889||67.|
|7. Bookbinder and tools (illustration ca. 1807)||A.|
|8. Printing Press (illustration ca. 1754)||G.|
|9. Plates from Diderot's Encyclopedia, showing Composing Room, Wetting Room and Press Room, - also Presses, Utensils and Tools (ca. 1765)||After pg. L.|
|10. Interiors of German Printing Offices, ca. 1743, from C. F. Gessner's book||Page M.|
|11. Plate from The Printer's Grammar, giving rules for capitalizing, italics, etc., 1755||After pg. N.|
[This is not a complete index to report - it merely notes references to the buildings on Lot #48; the Printing Office and its activities, furnishings, etc.; its value at various periods; and the Gazettes published there.]
Colonial Lot #48 was the second half-acre lot (running from Duke of Gloucester to Nicholson Street) from the western side of the block now bounded by Nicholson Street north, Duke of Gloucester Street south, Colonial Street east, and Botetourt Street west. [See plat, opposite page.]
1720-ca. 1732: A dwelling-house was erected on Lot #48 by Michael Archer, who purchased the lot in 1720. He (d. 1727) or his wife, Joanna (d. 1732) occupied the property for some years.
SEE PAGES 1-7 following.
1746-1750: By March, 1746, and possibly some years earlier, William Parks, printer, had established his Printing Office on Lot #48. There he printed, published, and bound books; published a weekly paper, The Virginia Gazette; sold books and stationery supplies; and kept the Post Office. Parks died in 1750 on a voyage to England.
SEE PAGES 8-15.
1750-1775: William Hunter, who was Parks' assistant, continued Parks' activities on Lot #48, purchasing the property in 1751. Hunter died in 1761, leaving the property to his natural son, William Hunter, when he came of age. The activities begun by Parks were carried on by the following succession of printers, half interest in the business belonging to young Hunter: Joseph Royle (1761-1766); Alexander Purdie and John Dixon, (1766-1775); and, in 1775, John Dixon and young
William Hunter. Hunter, who was a Loyalist, dropped out of the business at about the end of 1778. However, the Printing Office was continued by John Dixon and Thomas Nicolson from 1779 of 1780, when they followed the capital of Virginia to Richmond.
SEE PAGES 29-51.
1781-1805: William Hunter, or his estate, continued to own Lot #48 until 1805, when it was sold to Robert Greenhow. Hunter, who had joined the British Army in 1781, subsequently moved to London. He deeded his Virginia property to his father-in-law, the Rev. Joseph Davenport, for the benefit of his minor sons, who remained in Virginia with their grandfather. Davenport, who lived at Yorktown, probably rented out Hunter's property, but we have found no record of tenants on Lot #48 during this period. SEE PAGES 52-54.
1805-1817: Robert Greenhow, a Williamsburg merchant (who lived and kept store on another site), owned this lot until 1817-1818, when he sold it in sections. He probably leased it prior to selling; but we have not found record of the tenants. SEE PAGES 54-60.2
1817-1927: After 1817, the following persons owned portions of Lot #48:
Southwest portion of lot: Robert Greenhow sold the southwest and northern part of the lot to Thomas Sands in 1817. In 1818, Sands sold the southwest part (a 33 foot front) to James Scallion, merchant. Scallion (who died ca. 1823) or his widow probably occupied and kept a store in the old Printing Office through 1845. The property was charged against James Scallion's estate in the Williamsburg Land Tax records through 1855. It passed to Joseph Walthall in 1856. Joseph or Thomas Walthall had a store in the building for many years. A late resident of Williamsburg recalled the building ca. 1861, noting that there was then a grocery and dram-shop in one end of it, and a shoe-shop in the other. Susan A. Walthall sold the property to Mrs. Delia A. Braithwaite in 1892. The old Printing Office building was destroyed by fire in April, 1896, with the other buildings on the block. In 1897 Mrs. Braithwaite deeded this portion of the lot, together with the land to the east of it which she also owned, to her son and daughter, William B. and Virginia Bruce Braithwaite. The Braithwaites built a new store on the property, which was burned in the 1920's. Virginia Bruce Braithwaite, now Mrs. Virginia Braithwaite Haughwout, owns this property today.
SEE PAGES 57-61 and 63-79.
Southeast and central portion of lot: Robert Greenhow sold the southeast section of Lot #48, including the building in the Duke of Gloucester Street corner, to James Scallion in 1817. Scallion sold it to Thomas Sands, who, in 1818, sold it to Richardson Hubbard-the building then called "the tailor's Shop." Hubbard owned the property until 1824, when it passed to Nicholas Ennis. Philip Moody obtained it from Ennis' estate in 1828; and in 1830 Robert Anderson (who had in 1819 obtained the central part of the lot from George Lang) purchased it. Anderson or his estate owned this part of Lot #48, and property on Lot #49, to the east, for many years. The eastern and central part of Lot #48, running back 148 feet, passed from Robert Anderson's estate to R. A. Lively in 1881. Except for a small strip of land (about ten feet wide) at the east of what had been Lot #48, the southeast and central portion of the lot passed from Lively to Samuel Smith in 1886; and from a trustee for Smith to Mrs. Delia Braithwaite in 1891. As in the case of the southwest part of the lot, Mrs. Braithwaite deeded the portion she purchased from Smith to William B. and Virginia Bruce Braithwaite in 1897. Mrs. Virginia Braithwaite Haughwout (formerly Virginia Bruce Braithwaite) owns the property today. Except for the 10 foot strip at the eastern side of the original lot #48, Mrs. Haughwout now owns the lot back to the Nicholson Street line. The 10 foot strip, which was part of the land purchased from Anderson estate by R. A. Lively, in 1881, was sold by Lively to James Edloe &c in 1882. This strip was included in a lot purchased in 1927 by Dr. W. A. R. Goodwin for the Williamsburg Restoration. (See abstract of title to the "Gary Lot" in Colonial Williamsburg files.)
SEE PAGES 57-63 and 67-79.
Northern portion of Lot #48: There is confusion concerning this part of the lot. Robert Greenhow sold it to Thomas Sands in 1817-with the southwestern part of the lot which Sands subsequently sold James Scallion. Apparently Thomas Sands continued to own the northern part of the lot for a time at least; and possibly for a 3 number of years. It is impossible to identify this property among the several lots for which he was taxed in Williamsburg, or to trace its sale through the tax records. By 1882 this property belonged to Robert F. Cole, son of Jesse Cole, but we do not know how he came into possession of it. It passed to his son, Edward P. Cole, who deeded it to his brother, Robert R. Cole in 1891. Late deeds to adjoining property mention this as the "Pryor lot" - so the Cole family may have leased the house built (ca. 1777) for Mrs. Reynolds to the Pryors at some time. A Christopher Pryor first appeared in the Personal Property Tax Records for Williamsburg in 1854, but owned no real estate in town as late as 1861 (after which there is a gap in our tax records). Robert R. Cole still owned the property in the 1920's, the "Reynolds" house having burned in April, 1896, with all the other buildings on the block. SEE PAGES 57-61 and 68-79.
The "Frenchman's Map" of ca. 1782, and recent archaeological investigations, indicate that there were several buildings on Lot #48: (1) A building in the southwest corner, with a smaller building to the north of it, was indicated by the Frenchman, and foundations of both have been uncovered. The first, facing on Duke of Gloucester Street, was probably the house erected by Michael Archer 1720-1722, which subsequently became the Printing Office. The second may have been an outbuilding at that early period, or it may have been built later. Type excavated within its foundations point to its having been used by printers on the site. An advertisement for sale of the Printing Office in 1751 mentioned "the Printing-Office, Out-houses, and Lot"-but no specific outbuilding was noted in the records.
(2) A building in the southeast corner of the lot was indicated by the Frenchman, and excavations uncovered its foundations, and also those of a building behind it. No eighteenth century references have been found to the building facing Duke of Gloucester Street, other than its indication on the Frenchman's Map; and no references of any kind have been found concerning the building behind it. Several advertisements in the Virginia Gazettes mention stores or shops "next door to the Printing-Office," but none of these can be established definitely as occupying a building belonging to the printers. The front building was noted in an insurance policy to adjoining property in 1806; it was specifically mentioned as "a tailor's Shop" ca. 1817-1818.
(3) A building in the northeast corner of the lot, evidently facing on Nicholson Street, was shown on the Frenchman's Map, and excavation uncovered its foundations and also those of its outbuildings. This was doubtless the house built for Mrs. Reynolds ca. 1777.
[See sketch of section of Frenchman's Map and Foundations uncovered-opposite page.]
For some years after the City of Williamsburg was laid off in half-acre lots, no buildings stood on Lot #48, on the north side of Duke of Gloucester Street. In September, 1717, Lot #47 at the northeast corner of Duke of Gloucester and what is now Colonial Street, was purchased; and by June, 1719, buildings had been erected and the property was valued at £131.1
In January, 1720, Lot #48, adjoining #47 to the east, was granted to Michael Archer "gent" of Williamsburg, with the usual stipulation that "one Good Dwelling house or houses" be built upon it within twenty-four months, or the lot would revert to the city. As it remained in Archer's possession for some years, it is evident that he fulfilled the requirements, and built a house "containing twenty foot in width, and thirty foot in length, at the least... of ten foot pitch, and within six foot of the street,"2 within the specified period.
On January 6, 1719/20, by deed of lease, Michael Archer3 was granted 2. Lot #48 for five shillings and "the yearly Rent of One grain of Indian Corn to be paid on the Tenth day of October yearly if it be demanded."1
On January 7, 1719/20, the deed of release was drawn up, which read in part as follows:
THIS INDENTURE2 made the seventh day of January...One thousand seven hundred & nineteen [1719/20] BETWEEN the feoffees or Trustees for the...City of Williamsburgh of the one part and Michael Archer of the sd City Gent of the other part WITNESSETH That Whereas the sd Michael Archer by one Lease to him by the sd Feoffees or Trustees bearing date the day before the date of these presents is in actual & peaceable possession of the premises herein after Granted to the intent that by Virtue of the Statute for Transferring uses into possession he may the better be enabled to accept a Conveyance & Release of the Reversion & Inheritance thereof to him & his heirs for ever the sd Feoffees or Trustees for divers goods [sic] Causes & Considerations them thereunto moving but more especially for & in Consideration of the sum of fifteen shillings Good & Lawfull money to them in hand paid at & before the ensealing & Delivery of these presents the receipt whereof...they do Acknowledge HAVE Granted Bargained sold Remised Released & Confirmed...unto the sd Michael Archer one lott of Ground in the sd City Of Williamsburgh, designated in the Platt of the sd City by this figure (48) with all Woods thereon Growing or being...TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the sd Granted premises & 3. every part there of wth the appurces unto the sd Michal [sic] Archer & to his heirs for ever...YIELDING and Paying the Quitrents due & Legally accustomed to be paid for the same to the only use & behoof of him the sd Michael Archer his heirs & Assigns forever under the Limitations & Reservations here after mentioned & not other-wise THAT IS TO SAY that if the sd Michael Archer his heirs or assignes shall not -within the Space of Twenty four months next ensueing the date of these presents begin to build & finish upon each Lott of the sd Granted premises one Good Dwelling house or houses of such Dimentions & to be placed in such manner as by one Act of Assembly made at the Capitol the Twenty third day of October 1705 Entituled an Act directing the building the City & Capitol of Williamsburgh &c. is directed or as shall be Agreed upon prescribed & directed by the Directors appointed for the settlement & Encouragement of the City...THEN it shall & may be lawful to & for the sd feoffees or Trustees...into the sd Granted Premises & every part thereof with the Appurces to Enter & the same to have again as of their former Estate...IN WITNESS whereof John Clayton Esqr & Wm Robertson Two of the Feoffees...have hereunto Set their hands & Seals the day & year abovewritten Signed Sealed & delivered in presence of us-
JOHN CLAYTON (seal)
WIL ROBERTSON (seal)
Janry 7th 1719 [/20]
Then Recd of Michl Archer the Sum of fifteen Shillings Current money being the Consideration money within mentioned
At a Court held for York County January the 18th 1719 [/20] John Clayton Esqr & Wm Robertson Gent...presented & acknowledged this their Deed of Release for one Lott of the sd Land lying in this County to Michl Archer (with Rect thereon) On whose mo[tio]n it is admitted to Record
Test Phi: Lightfoot CL CUR
Michael Archer doubtless occupied the house he built on Lot #48 until his death in February, 1726 [/27], and his widow, Joanna Archer continued on it for several years thereafter. We base this statement on information in deeds to Lot #47, adjoining Lot #48 to the west; which deeds mention the Archers' property as follows:
[February 7, 1721/22. Joseph Freeman to Thomas Jones.]
All that lott...described in the plott of the said City by the Figure (47) and adjoyning on the Great Street between the Store house now in the Tenure of Archibald 4. Blair Gent and the house now in the Tenure of Michael Archer....1
[August 4, 1722. Thomas Jones to Christopher DeGraffenried.]
All that lot and half acre of ground... described... by the figure 47, and adjoining on the Great Street between the storehouse now in the tenure of Archibald Blair and the house now in the tenure of Michael Archer...2
[June 1728. Christopher & Barbara DeGraffenreid to John White.]
All that lott of ground... denoted in the plan of the said City by the figures 47- and adjoining to the Lott now in the Tenure and Occupation of Mrs Joanna Archer Widow...3
[January 7, 1728/9. John & Margaret White to Richard Packe.]
All that Lott of Ground... denoted in the plan of the Said City by the figures 47 and Adjoining to the Lott now in the Tenure and Occupation of Mrs Joanna Archer Widow...4
In September, 1729, Mrs. Joanna Archer purchased a house and two lots, #16 and #17, on the south side of Duke of Gloucester Street, from John James Flournoy, watchmaker, for £160-the deed noting that Flournoy was then occupying the property.5 We do not know whether Mrs. Archer moved to her new property, or remained on Lot #48, as we can find no further record concerning her ownership of the latter lot. She died on October 1, 1732, and was buried beside her husband in Bruton churchyard.6 There is 5. record that Joanna Archer's estate owned Lots #16 and #17 as late as May, 1745, for "The Dwelling-house, Kitchen, Meat-house, Stable, and other convenient Out-houses... with the 2 Lots they are upon, being Part of the Estate of Mrs. Joanna Archer deceas'd, and where Doctor Kenneth Mackenzie now lives" were advertised for "Sale to the highest Bidder" at that time.1 No mention was made of any other Archer property.
It may be that something happened to Mrs. Archer's house on Lot #48, between the last date at which we know she occupied the property (January, 1729)2 and the date of her purchase of Lots #16 and #17 (September, 1729). In December, 1729, the Archer property was not mentioned as the eastern boundary to Lot #47 as it had been in 1722, 1728, and January, 1729. Instead of the lot in the "Tenure and Occupation of Mrs Joanna Archer Widow," being noted as the eastern boundary, the "house of Henry Gill" was given, as follows:
Henry Gill had come into possession of Lots #49 and #50 in May, 1707; and although he died in 1721, Lots #49 and #50 still seem to have belonged to his estate in 1729.4 As there is no indication that Henry Gill or his 6. estate ever owned Lot #48, the above quoted deed might indicate that no building stood on #48 by December 15, 1729. However, it is also possible that an error was made in recording the bounds of #47 - and that an earlier deed to Lot #47 was followed (made before Archer built his house on Lot #48) which gave "the store house of Mr Archibald Blair and the house of Henry Gill" as boundaries.1 Lack of information makes it impossible for us to settle this point insofar as documentary evidence is concerned. Archaeological investigation may throw some light on the matter. No will, appraisal, or settlement of Mrs. Joanna Archer's estate has been found in the York County Records; nor was any deed to Lot #48 (after that to Michael Archer in 1720) recorded there until 1751.2 Possibly the settlement of Mrs. Archer's estate was recorded in the General Court Records, which have been destroyed.
[Samuel & Sarah Hyde to Richard Packe, December 15, 1729]
One certain lot or half acre of ground... designed in the plat of the said city by the figures 47, and adjoining the great street between the storehouse of Mr Archibald Blair and the house of Henry Gill (excepting out of the said premises one piece of the said lot of ground on the North end thereof the breadth of the said lot and 30 foot in length)...3
The following mention, in 1737, of a store "which was formerly Mrs. Archer's," might refer to the building on Lot #48, if it still stood in 1737, or to a building on Lots #16 and #17, which belonged to Mrs. Archer's estate3 at that time:
[Williamsburg, May 27, 1737.]
JUST Imported,4 from London, by William Hooper, and to be at his Store, (which was formerly Mrs. Archer's) in Williamsburg, the following Goods, Viz. Broad-Cloaths of all Sorts; Druggets, Duroys, German Serges, Kerseys, Camblets, Sagathees, Duffils, Scarlet Ditto, with suitable Trimmings for them, of 7. Gold, Silver, or Plain. Velvets of several Colours, to match any Pattern. Aloopeens, Shagreens, Brocades, Matua Silks, Flower'd Silks, Starrets, Paduassoys, and Jeans. Manteels, Manteelets, Velvet Hoods; Capes ready made of Velvet or Black Silk with a very fashionable Snail, Black Scarlet, or Mix'd Colours: Or, if any Person would rather buy the Goods, they may have very fashionable Patterns given them, with Directions how they should be made.
All Sorts of Goods for Mourning both for Men and Women: Also Hats, Wiggs, Stockings, Shoes; Haberdashery, Cutlery, &c. If Gentlemen or Ladies have a Mindto have Suits of Cloaths, or Stays, made of any of the above-mentioned Goods, they shall be cheaper served than ever and made by the best Workmen from London. He also sells New-Market and Great Coats, ready made. For any of Which, they may they have pay in Bills, Cash, or Tobacco: And if any Persons have Tobacco to dispose of for Goods, with some Money,) let them apply to the said William Hooper, who will deal as Reasonable as any Man. If any Gentlemen are desirous of having Suits of Cloaths made up in England, they may have them done according to their Directions, by applying to the said Hooper, without any further Trouble, and on Reasonable Terms...
This is the only time William Hooper is mentioned in the records at our disposal.
No further reference, direct or indirect, has been found to Lot #48, until March, 1746, when (again in connection with Lot #47) it is evident that the Printing 0ffice stood on Lot #48. Mrs. Sarah Packe occupied Lot #47,1 when Edmund Pendleton published the following notice:
THE Subscriber purposing to give his Attendance, as a Practitioner of the Law, at the next General Court, in April, gives this Notice thereof; and that all Persons who have Occasion, may apply to him at his Lodgings at Mrs. Packe's, next Door to the Printing-Office, in Williamsburg, during the Time of the Court...2
Subsequent records definitely establish Lot #48 as the site of William Parks' Printing Office, although we do not know when or from whom he obtained the lot.
William Parks,1 printer of Annapolis, Maryland, opened a printing office in Williamsburg in 1730. At least five publications were issued from his Williamsburg press in that year; and, although he continued to operate his Annapolis press until 1737, he probably left much of the work there to assistants.
In 1731, Parks advertised that he would take subscriptions for a proposed Virginia Miscellany "at his House.. near the Capitol, in Williamsburg."2 "Near the Capitol" usually referred to a site adjoining or within a few doors of Capitol Square, and Lot #48 was about two blocks distant from Capitol Square. Therefore, although we are uncertain of the status of Mrs. Archer's house on Lot #48 in 1730-1731, it seems unlikely that Parks' first Williamsburg establishment was on that site. He may have had a dwelling-house and shop "near the Capitol," and purchased Lot #48 from Mrs. Archer's estate after her death in 1732.3 We do not know where Parks lived in Williamsburg, but we are quite sure that he did not live on Lot #48 after his printing office was established on that site.9.
We know that the Printing-Office was situated on Lot #48, next door to Mrs. Packe's, by March, 1746;1 and its location was evidently well established at that time, as Edmund Pendleton used it to guide possible clients to his lodgings "at Mrs. Packe's."
By that time, Parks had many business interests in Williamsburg: He was public printer for the Virginia Assembly-his annual salary of £120 in 1732 being increased to £280 in 1744.2 He began publishing The Virginia Gazette in Williamsburg in 1736,3 having discontinued his Maryland Gazette about the end of 1734. He did bookbinding "reasonably, in the best Manner,"4 at his Printing Office, which, in 1738 also became the Post-Office.5 He also had "a Bookseller's Shop" at the Printing Office in 1742, and agreed with the faculty of the College of William and Mary to supply the students with their books.6 In 1743, with help 10. from Benjamin Franklin, he built and operated a Paper Mill in James City County near Williamsburg, on a creek which ran into Princess Anne's Port (or College Landing).1 For a number of years, Parks also had "Several dealings" of "great Variety" with Mrs. Sarah Packe, who occupied Lot #47 adjoining the Printing Office to the west; and he apparently owned stock in a store which was on her lot.2
The printing and publishing business, bookbindery, bookseller's shop, and post office were all conducted on Lot #48. According to an advertisement for sale of Lot #48 in 1751, its buildings consisted of "the Printing-Office" and "Out-houses."3
Parks imported books from England, and also purchased a few from or through Benjamin Franklin of Philadelphia.4 In 1745 he advertised:
JUST imported, and to be Sold by William Parks in Williamsburg, a considerable Quantity and great Variety of Books, on Divinity, History, Physick, Philosophy, Mathematicks, School-Books, in Latin and Greek, among which are some very neat Classicks. A large Quantity of large Church and Family Bibles and Common Prayer Books, Sermons, Plays &c. too tedious to mention.5
He also sold stationery supplies at the Printing-Office: paper by the quire and by the ream; blank books (day books, ledgers, account books, etc.) bound in "rough calf," parchment, or marble paper; sticks of sealing wax; wafers by the box; "Papers of Ink Powder"; "Viols of 11. Red Ink"; slates and slate pencils; lead pencils; pewter "Ink Potts"; pounce and pounce boxes; quill pens; playing cards (often "Harry Cards" or "Highlander Cards"1); alphabets; prints, framed and unframed, etc.2
Accounts with numerous persons in Williamsburg and throughout the Virginia Colony were itemized in a day book kept at the Printing Office by William Hunter, who conducted the business for Parks' estate for some months after his death, and later purchased it. (See note 2 below). Titles of books sold at the Printing Office were noted in these accounts, as were other items.
Besides printing for the Assembly, publishing the Virginia Gazette and numerous books and pamphlets,3 printing yearly almanacs (stitched, or bound in "rough calf" or marble paper), and printing advertisements [handbills], and tickets for lotteries, balls, and assemblies, the office printed blanks which were sold singly or by the quire: commissions, summons, bills of exchange, bills of lading, bonds, manifests, leases and releases, etc.412.
As to assistants employed by Parks, we know that William Hunter worked for him and, by 1749, was in charge of the office when Parks was absent.1 (In July, 1742, Parks discharged James Davis, an indentured servant, from further service "upon relinquishing his right to freedom dues,"2 but we do not know whether Davis worked at the Printing Office or elsewhere.) After Parks' death in 1750, Hunter continued to operate the Printing Office for the Parks' estate until June, 1751, when Hunter purchased it. A Day Book kept at the Printing Office after Parks' death indicates that Parks had employed at least seven men: three besides Hunter for printing (as well as an indentured servant and a slave), and one for bookbinding.3 The salaries of Joseph Johnson, Sr., Joseph Johnson, Jr., and Edward Cumins were paid by Hunter, and charged against Printing, as were the sums he paid Parks' estate for Thomas Chaddock (probably an indentured servant), and hire of Caesar, a slave. And the wages of John Stretch were charged against Bookbinding.4 Hunter also paid board to Lydia Charlton for four servants for 1-¼ years, and for two servants for 17 days, and recorded payments for clothing, etc. for the servants.5 It is to be doubted that Parks had facilities on Lot #48 to house many, if any, of his employees-although one or two may have lived over the Printing Office or outbuildings.13.
Parks purchased three fire-places (doubtless the newly invented "Pennsylvania Fire-Place" or Franklin Stove) from Franklin in 1746.1 We do not know, of course, where these were used. As previously noted, we do not know where Parks lived in Williamsburg - his "Pasture in Williamsburg" was mentioned in 1737.2 In 1747 he was appointed sheriff of James City County,3 which would point to his living in the James City County portion of Williamsburg if it were not for the fact that he owned other property in that county.4 No house in Williamsburg, other than the Printing Office, was mentioned in the settlement of his estate.
In May, 1749, Parks agreed with the Virginia Assembly to print a "compleat Body of the Laws of this Colony, as now revised and corrected," for £1250 current money of Virginia - 1000 books to be finished and delivered by June 10, 1751.5
In March, 1750, Parks sailed for England on board the "Nelson" from Yorktown, leaving William Hunter in charge of the business. He was taken ill "with a plurisy" on board, and died on April 1, 1750, before reaching England. He was buried at Gosport, England.6 Parks wrote his 14. will the day before he died, leaving his estate (except for a few bequests to two sisters) to his daughter, Eleanor Parks Shelton. He requested that his wife, Eleanor Parks, and his son-in-law, John Shelton, complete the printing of the Virginia Laws; and he appointed John Shelton, Benjamin Waller, and William Prentis his executors.1
Parks' debts were large, and most of his property had to be sold to pay them.2
Notice was given in the Gazette on January 31, 1751, that "the Printing-Office, Out-houses, and Lot"3 would be sold at auction the following March.
William Hunter, Parks' assistant in the Printing-Office, was high bidder at the auction, and the sheriff of York County "Granted, Bargained Sold... unto the said William Hunter... the aforementioned Printing Office and Lott which is denoted in the Plan of the City of Williamsburgh... by the figures (48)" for £131 sterling.4
The account of the settlement of Parks' estate5 records the price paid by Hunter for the Printing Office in Virginia currency, as well as the price he paid for Parks' printing materials: 15.
|By Sale of the Printing Office Do [taken by)|
|By ballance of sundry Printing Materials )|
|Sold- Mr Wm Hunter after paying him )|
|for Compleating the Laws as Pr Account Settled)|
|will more fully appear )||359. 1.5-¼|
A day book kept at the Printing Office by William Hunter noted the expenditure of £163.15.0 for "House in Williamsburg No 48,"1 under date June 21, 1751.
Parks' son-in-law, John Shelton, raised enough from the sale of the various properties to pay off most of Parks' debts, which amounted to more than £6500 in Virginia currency. It is not known what remained for his daughter, Eleanor Parks Shelton, Parks' heir, or for his widow, Eleanor Parks, who renounced his will--having been left nothing at all by that instrument. Unfortunately, the appraisements of Parks' Williamsburg and James City County properties were not recorded.2 The appraisement of his Hanover County property, and Shelton's settlement of the estate are all that we have found in the York County records.
Mr. Lawrence C. Wroth, an authority on colonial printers, stated that the £359 currency (or £288 sterling) which Hunter paid for "sundry Printing Materials" offered "sufficiently clear evidence that this Williamsburg shop was one of the larger and more adequately equipped establishments of the period... The sum of £83 sterling in the mid-eighteenth century was, roughly calculated, the equivalent [ca. 1938] of two thousand dollars in terms of our own currency."3
William Hunter1 may have learned the printing business as an apprentice in Parks' Williamsburg office. When Parks sailed for England in March, 1750, he left Hunter in charge of the office, to carry on the business, publish the Virginia Gazette, keep the post office, etc. As previously noted, Parks died on April 1, 1750, before reaching England. In his will, Parks requested that his widow, Eleanor Parks, and his son-in-law, John Shelton, complete the printing of the revised collection of Laws of Virginia, which he had agreed with the Assembly to finish by June 10, 1751.
News of Parks' death reached Virginia, and was doubtless published by Hunter in the Virginia Gazette on May 24, 1750. Although that issue is not extant, the Pennsylvania Gazette copied the notice.2
William Hunter agreed with Parks' executors to complete the publication of the revised laws of Virginia. Hunter re-established The Virginia Gazette,3 under his own name as printer, January 3, 1751, evidently intending to purchase the Printing-Office and equipment as soon as it came up for sale. On January 31, 1751, notice was given that: 17.
ON the first Wednesday in March next will be SOLD, at Auction, for Sterling Money, the Printing-Office, Out-houses, and Lot, lately belonging to Mr. William Parks, deceas'd, in Duke of Gloucester Street, in Williamsburg. Possession to be delivered about the Middle of June next.1The date on which possession was to be delivered was doubtless set to allow for the completion of the printing of the Laws.2
The sheriff of York County, Ellyson Armistead, to settle judgments against Parks' estate, "did Levy Seise and take into his Possession the Printing Office and the Lott and Appurtenances thereunto belonging and after due Publication made of the Sale thereof by Auction the said Ellyson Armistead did set up the said Printing Office and the Lott and Appurtenances for Sale." William Hunter was the highest bidder, and the "Printing Office and Lott which is denoted in the Plan of the City of Williamsburgh where the same lies by the figures (48)," bounded by Duke of Gloucester and Nicholson Streets on the south and north, Mrs. Sarah Packe on the west, and John Holt on the east, was sold to him for £131 sterling. Although "Out-houses" were mentioned in the advertisement of January 31, 1751, above noted, no outbuilding was considered worthy of special mention in the deed of sale to Hunter, dated June 14, and recorded on June 15, 1751: 18.
THIS INDENTURE1 made the fourteenth Day of June... One thousand seven hundred and fifty one... BETWEEN Ellyson Armistead Gent. Sherif of the County of York of the one part and William Hunter of the City of Williamsburgh Printer of the other part WHEREAS by one Act of Parliament made the thirteenth day of January in the Year of our Lord MDCCXXXI. Intituled "An Act for the more easy recovery of Debts in his Majestys Plantations and Colonies in America" among other Things It is Enacted that from and after the twenty ninth day of September MDCCXXXII. the Houses Lands Negroes and other Hereditaments and Real Estate Scituate or being within any of the said Plantations belonging to any Person indebted shall be liable to and chargeable with any Just Debts Duties and Demands of what nature or kind so ever owing by any such Person to his Majesty or any of his Subjects and shall and may be Assets for the satisfaction of Debts due by Bond... AND WHEREAS John Lidderdale and John Harmer Merchts surviving Partners of Thomas Chamberlayne Merchant deceased by Judgment of the County Court of James City bearing date the tenth day of December last past did recover against John Shelton & Eleanor his Wife which said Eleanor is Daughter and Heir of William Parks Gent deceased Eight hundred forty three Pounds twelve Shillings and ten Pence Sterling and one hundred and twelve Pounds of Nett Tobacco and fifteen Shillings or one hundred and fifty Pounds of Tobacco and for the more speedy obtaining the same and in pursuance of the afore recited Statute have sued out of the said Court his Majestys Writ of Fieri Facias bearing Date the twenty third Day of January last past and returnable to the second Monday in March then next directed to the Sherif of York County whereby he was commanded that of the Lands and Tenements which were of the said William Parke decd in fee Simple at the time of his death in the hands of the said John Shelton and Eleanor his Wife he caused to be made the Sun of Eight hundred forty three Pounds twelve Shillings and ten pence Sterling and One-hundred and twelve Pounds of Nett Tobacco and fifteen Shillings or One hundred and fifty Pounds of Tobacco which the said John Lidderdale and John Harmer Surviving Partners of Thomas Chamberlayne Merchant decd lately in the said Court have recovered against the said John Shelton and Eleanor for their Damages which they sustained as well by reason of the said William Parks his not performing a certain Promise and Assumption to the said John Lidderdale John Harmer and Thomas Chamberlayne in his Lifetime made by the said William Parke in his Lifetime as for their Costs by them about their Suit in that behalf expended as by the said Judgment and Fieri Facias with the Sherifs return thereon remaining of record 19. may more fully and at large appear. By Virtue of which said Writ of Fieri Facias the said Ellyson Armistead being then and now Sherif of the said County of York did Levy Seise and take into his Possession the Printing Office and the Lott and Appurtenances thereunto belonging and after due Publication made of the Sale thereof by Auction the said Ellyson Armistead did set up the said Printing Office and the Lott and Appurtenances for Sale and the said William Hunter being the highest bidder for the same NOW THIS INDENTURE WITNESSETH that the said Ellyson Armistead for and in Consideration of the Sum of One hundred and thirty one Pounds Sterling to him in hand paid by the said William Hunter the receipt whereof he doth hereby acknowledge HATH Granted Bargained Sold Aliened Enfeoffed and Confirmed... unto the said William Hunter his Heirs and Assigns the aforementioned Printing Office and Lott which is denoted in the Plan of the City of Williamsburgh where the same lies by the figures (48)-and is bounded on the South by Duke of Gloucester Street on the North by Nicholson Street on the East by the Lotts of Mr John Holt and on the Vest by the Lott of Mrs Sarah Packe with the Appurtenances and the Reversion and Reversions... TO HAVE AND TO HOLD all and Singular the Premises with the Appurtenances lying and being in the Parish of Bruton in the County aforesaid to him the said William Hunter his Heirs and Assigns... IN WITNESS whereof the said Ellyson Armistead hath hereunto set his hand and Seal the day and Year first within written.
Ellyson Armistead (L.S.)
Received the fourteenth day off June MDCCLI the Sum of One hundred and thirty one Pounds Sterling being the Consideration Money within mentioned) Sterl:
In the account of settlement of William Parks' estate the sum paid by Hunter for "The Printing Office" was given in Virginia Currency as £156:14:7.1 In a Day Book kept by Hunter at the Printing Office,2 under the date June 25, 1751, £163:15:0 was noted as the sum paid: 20.
134. House in Williamsburg No 48
Dr to Cash - - - - - - - - - 163:15:-
According to the account of settlement of Parks' estate,1 Hunter also paid £359.1.5-¼ for "sundry Printing Materials":
|By ballance of sundry Printing Materials )|
|Sold Mr Wm Hunter after paying him for )|
|Compleating the Laws as Pr Account )|
|Settled will more fully appear )||[£]359.1.5-¼|
Hunter's Day Book2 contained an entry that the account "Bought Books" owed the Estate of William Parks £100 on April 6, 1751; and on July 23, 1751, Hunter purchased "30 Books of Gold Leaf" from Parks, estate, as well as some paper: "304 Rooms of Crown" and "103 Rms of Kings Arms" for £183.6.2; also two Bowls, a white Horse £4, a Bed £2:10, a Pewter Pan 6/, and a Watch £8.
Hunter continued all of Parks' activities: He was paid £80 by William Parks' estate "For performing the public Business 'til June last by Contract,"3 and in December, 1751, was appointed public printer at a salary of £300, which was increased to £350 in 1759.4 The Printing Office continued to sell books and stationery supplies;5 advertising a long list of titles in May, 1751, as well as "a large Assortment of Copper Plate Prints, of various Dimensions, fit for framing," as being 21. "Just IMPORTED, and to be Sold reasonably at the Printing-Office."1
In 1757, "THE COMPLETE HORSEMAN: or, POCKET FARRIER," was advertised as "Just Imported and to be Sold, at the Printing Office":
Where likewise may be had all Sorts of Blank Books, for Accounts, &c. ruled or unruled; also Stationary of all Kinds, viz. Quills, Sealing-Wax, Wafers, Inkstands, Pocket Cases, Playing Cards, Ink-powder, Sand and Pounce Boxes, with Pounce, Folio Paper Cases, Pasteboard Files and Laces, with various Sorts of small Books for Children, and a large collection of Classicks for the Use of Schools.2
As noted, Hunter carried on the publication of the Gazette when Parks left for England, and may have continued it until he began publication under his own name-January 3, 1751.3 He also published books, pamphlets, almanacs, and printed tickets and blank forms (see page 11 of this report.)
Besides the paper used for printing at the office, Hunter purchased and sold writing-paper, printing-paper, etc., by the ream and by the quire-customer's accounts in the Day Book listing quires of "Fr. Demy," "Post Paper," "Pro Patria," "Gilt Paper," "Royall," etc. The Day Book also itemized Hunter's orders4 for paper, several of which are here quoted: 22.
October 11, 1750] PAPER Dr To Capt James Main
Stivers Sterl For 5 Rms No 5 72 6/6 £1:6:- 5 4 60 5/5 ½ 1: 7: 3 ½ 2 6 95 8/8 -:17: 4 3 3 57 5/2 ½ -:15: 7 ½ 10 1 38 3/5 ½ 1:14: 7 10 2 48 4/4 ½ 2: 3: 9 10 3 57 5/2 ½ 2:12: 1 34 Print Paper 19 1/8 ½ 2:18:1 13: 5: 3 wrong calculated 3 £13:15: 0 Payable in 6 Months 60 Pr Ct advance 8: 5: 0 £22: 0: 0
July 3, 1751] Sundry Accounts Drs To Colo John Hunter viz.
PAPER Sterling For 2 Reams fine writing Imperial1 £ 7.-.- 5 It fine writing Demy @ 20/ 5.-.- 2 Do fine thick Post @ 16/ 1.12.- 10 Do superfine Foolscap @ 13/ 6.10.- 10 Do second fine Do @ 8/6 4.5.- 2 Do superfine Royall @ 38/ 3.16.- 5 a superfine Pott a @ 9/6 2.7.6 10 Do second fine Pott @ 6/ 3.-.- 4 Rms blue Paper @ 6/6 1.6.- 10 Rms fine Demy @ 20/ 10.-.- 10 Rms Second Do @ 16/ 8.-.- 9 Rms fine Foolscap @ 12/ 5.8.- 10 Do second Foolscap @ 9/6 4.15.- 10 Do thick Pott @ 9/6 4.15.- 67.14.6
July 23, 1751] Sundry Accounts Drs To Wm Parks's Estate
Paper For 304 Rms of Crown @ 10/-:- 152:-:- 103 Rms of Kings Arms 31:6:2 £183:6:2
April 15, 1752] Sundry Accounts Drs to Colo John Hunter, viz.
Paper For 5 Rms fine Demy [£] 5: 5: - 2 Rms Royall 4: 6: - 50 Rms Printing Crown @ 5/9 14: 7: 6 10 Rms Foolscap @ 12/ 6:-:- 108 Bundles of fine Crown 15/ 81:-:- 60 pr Ct Advance 66:11: 2 177: 9: 8
Books and pamphlets, magazines, etc. were brought into the Printing Office for binding; and, of course, publications printed at the Office1 were bound there. Small publications (almanacs, pamphlets, etc.) were sometimes simply stitched, or were bound in "rough calf," or marble paper. From skins ordered, it is evident that calf and sheep skins were most frequently used in binding. On August 28, 1750, Hunter purchased "a Servant Lad, Paul, and sundry Bookbinding Tools" from the estate of Robert Stevenson.2 On December 31, 1751 the bookbinder's salary was entered in the Day Book:
|Bookbinding Dr To John Stretch|
|For his Wages from the 14th of January to this)|
Charges for stitching "the Bishop of London's Letter" were recorded on August 4, 1750: 24.
|To Paper for 1 Rm Qrs||27/|
|To Bookbinding for Stitching 500||5/|
|To Allowance for Journeymen's Wages||15/|
From the above, it is evident that Hunter employed a binder, who probably had the help of an apprentice, and occasional help of journey-men.
On July 3, 1751, the Office purchased skins through Col. John Hunter for bookbinding: "20 Doz: Calve Skins @ 25/" and "20 Doz: Sheep Skins @ 16/" totalling £41:-:-. The "30 Books of Gold Leaf" purchased from Parks' estate on July 23, 1751, has already been noted. On April 15, 1752, "Sundry Accounts" owed Col. John Hunter for Binding, as follows:
|For 1000 wt Pasteboard for Folios||£ 8:-:-|
|500 Do for octavos||4:-:-|
|40 Doz: Calf Skins @ 25/||50:-:-|
|20 Doz: Sheep @ 16||16:-:-|
|3 Dozen Books Gold Leaf||2:14: -|
|2 Dozen red Bazil1 Skins||1: 4: -|
|6 pr Ct Advance||49: 2: 9|
|131: 0: 9 ½|
As to printing assistants, Hunter purchased a servant, Thomas Chaddock, and hired a slave, Caesar, from William Parks' estate which he charged against printing;2 and he paid wages to three other men, as follows:
|June 1, 1751]|
|Printing Dr To Joseph Johnson Senr|
|For his Account of Work to this Day - -||[£] 44:14:0 ¼|
|Printing Dr To Joseph Johnson Junr|
|For his Account of Work to this Day - -||22:5:6|
|August 22, 1751]|
|Printing Dr to Edward Cumins|
|For his Account of Work to this Day - -||37:19:3 ½|
|December 31, 1751]|
|Printing Dr To Sundry Accounts|
|For their Account of Work to this Day viz|
|Joseph Johnson Senr - - - - - - - -||[£]25:18:6 ½|
|Joseph Johnson Junr - - - - - - - -||23: 9:4 ½|
|Edward Cumins - - - - - - - - - - -||7:14:-|
One or more of these three men who were paid wages was debtor "To Cash" each month for varying sums.
Hunter also entered payments in the Day Book for board, clothing, etc. for "servants" - doubtless his printers and occasional journeymen:
|December 17, 1751]|
|Houshold Expences Dr To Eliza Selkridge|
|For Washing From the Middle of July to the|
|1st Novr - - - - - - - - - - - - - -||1:13:9|
|Houshold Expences Dr To Lydia Charlton|
|For the Board of 4 Servants 1-¼ Year||42: 0: 0|
|The Board of 2 for 17 Days||:15: 4|
|December 31, 1751]|
|Printing Dr To Houshold Expences|
|For boarding and Cloathing three Servants||£38:-:-|
|Printing Dr To Houshold Expences|
|For boarding & Cloathing 1 Servant||15:-:-|
Throughout the Day Book there were numerous purchases charged against "Houshold Expences" for an assortment of items; but as many of these were sold to outside customers, and the payments credited to "Houshold Expences," it is evident that such items were not always for use in the Printing-Office. Such purchases included rum by the hogshead, pipes of Madeira, boxes of lemons and oranges, beer and cheese, candles, tallow, "183 lbs Gross of Cocoa Nutts,"1 etc. In some printing houses it was customary for the employees to drink beer; and in one London printing-house an "alehouse boy" attended "always in the house to supply 26. the workmen."1 We do not know that Hunter subscribed to such "lubrication" of employees — but there were substantial purchases of rum and beer charged to "Houshold Expences."
We have found no information in the Day-Book 1750-1752 concerning the Printing-Office building, except the before-mentioned sum of £163:15:0 charged to Cash "House in Williamsburg No 48" on June 25, 1751 (about the time of its purchase); a payment for "House in Williamsburg" of £4:7:6 to David Middleton, a Williamsburg carpenter, on September 24, 1751; and another payment of 14 shillings to Middleton on November 9, 1751 "For shingling a Shed" for the "House in Wmsburg."
Hunter continued the Post-Office at his Printing-Office, the colophon of his Virginia Gazette stating that it was "Printed by WILLIAM HUNTER, at the P0ST-0FFICE; by whom Persons may be supplied with this Paper."
The Day Book listed charges for postage against the accounts of various individuals, and also noted payments to post riders — apparently ca. 1751 at the rate of £10 per annum. John Thornton, Joseph Bishop, and John Spaldwin were paid as riders in varying amounts.
On August 10, 1753, the British Postmaster-General appointed Benjamin Franklin and William Hunter to succeed Eliott Benger, deceased, as Deputy Post-master of all his Majesty's Provinces on the Continent of 27. North America, at a joint salary of £600 per annum.1 After this, the colophon of Hunter's Virginia Gazette read: "WILLIAMSBURG: Printed by WILLIAM HUNTER, at the GENERAL POST-OFFICE ..."
Through this association, Hunter and Benjamin Franklin became good friends; and Franklin visited Hunter in Williamsburg in 1756.2 In Franklin's account books, Hunter was charged for paper, writing-paper, £4 paid an engraver; £2 for cuts; 17/6 for "half wintering the horses"; £2.11.7 for "his part of 3 doz, post-horns," etc.3
For some time Hunter was in ill health, and ca. 1757 he went to England, where he remained until the spring of 1759. In July, 1759, after his return to Williamsburg, he wrote Mrs. Franklin news of her husband, whom he had left in London, and added "My Absence in England was very long, but I have at length happily succeeded in the Recovery of my Health."4 In his absence Hunter's printing office was probably run by Joseph Royle, who was his foreman for several years before his death. Apparently John Stretch, the bookbinder, served as deputy postmaster for at least part of the time Hunter was ill or absent; for in April 1757, Stretch gave notice that as he proposed to leave the Colony that summer he was "under absolute Necessity of settling Mr. HUNTER'S Books and Affairs," before his departure.5 In the same Gazette Stretch listed postage rates to Great Britain, signing himself "Deputy Postmaster."28.
William Hunter lived only a year or so after his return from England, dying in August, 1761. We do not know where he lived in Williamsburg. It may be that he leased Lots #266, 267, 268, and 700, on Nicholson Street, from William Nelson. After Hunter's death his executors paid William Nelson the balance of a year's rent for unspecified property. In his will, Hunter stated that Joseph Royle lived with him; and after Hunter's death, Royle purchased the above noted four lots and dwelling-house from William Nelson.
William Hunter requested that Joseph Royle carry on the printing business after his death, for the joint interest of himself and Hunter's natural son, William1 (then about seven years old); and left Royle a legacy if he agreed to do so. He left his son William all his stock in partnership with James Tarpley, a Williamsburg merchant; and "also my Houses2 and Lott in Williamsburgh, No. 48, where the Printing Office is now kept," when he reached the age of twenty-one years. Hunter left other bequests to his brother & three sisters and to a number of friends. An appraisement of his estate listed a substantial amount of furniture by rooms.3 The following items "At the Office" appear at the end of the appraisement. They are copied here as "the Office" may have been at the Printing Office:
At the Office
1 bed bolster 2 pr Sheets Rugg blanket Counterpin and bedstead 7 10 - 1 bed bolster, Rugg blanket bedstead 3 - - 1 bed bolster blanket bedstead and pr Sheets 4 - - 1 Musket and Sword 40/ 8 Chairs £3 24 pictures & Maps 30/ 6 10 - 1 pr Candlesticks 5/ 3 old Tables 5/ - 10 - 29. 1 pr Tongs Shovel and Milk pot 2/ - 12 - 3 pieces of - 5 - 1 Grind stone - 7 6 Amount of 5 - - 1 deal 5 - - 3 18 5
Unfortunately, the last several lines of the appraisement are torn and for the most part illegible.
The settlement1 of William Hunter's estate listed "Cash in his House at his Death [£] 68.15.6; and cash "at the Printing Office [£] 556.16.9."
In his will2 dated April 11, 1761, and proved and recorded on August 17, 1761, William Hunter made the following request:
It is my Will and Desire, that my Executors, hereafter named, shall enter into partnership with Joseph Royle3, who now lives with me, for his the said Joseph Royle's prosecuting and carrying on the Business I am at present engaged in at the Printing Office in Williamsburgh to and for the equal Benefit and Profit of the said Joseph Royle, and my natural Son William Hunter who now lives with Benjamin Weldon during the Minority of [----torn William Hunter]
The next paragraph of the will is illegible, but the few words which can be read indicate that Hunter left Royle a specified sum "as a Compensation to the said Joseph Royle for his personal Management and Care of the said Business." In an account of the settlement of Hunter's estate it was noted 30. that £1770.8.9 ½ was "paid Joseph Royle the Legacy given to him and William Hunter Natural Son of Mr Hunter."1
Royle succeeded Hunter as public printer, at a salary of £350 per annum, which was increased in 1764 to £375 per annum. He continued to publish The Virginia Gazette, with the colophon, "WILLIAMSBURG; Printed by J. ROYLE, and Company, at the Post-Office." Very few copies of his gazette are extant, but he continued Hunter's numbering of the issues. The paper was discontinued the November before Royle's death.2
A Day Book3 kept during Royle's management of the Printing Office, from January, 1764 through January, 1766, itemized purchases made by hundreds of Virginians, including Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Henry Washington, Francis Fauquier, Peyton Randolph, Peter Randolph, John Randolph, Edmund Pendleton, Robert Carter, William Byrd, etc. Under Royle's direction, the office continued to print books, pamphlets, almanacs, advertisements [handbills], lottery tickets and tickets for balls and assemblies, blank forms, etc.;4 to do binding; and to sell books and stationery supplies.5 From monthly summaries of sales, it is evident that the largest income was derived from Books and Stationery Supplies.631.
Royle paid "William Hunter Inft" £15 a year for rent of the printing office1 - which he operated for their joint interest.
On May 24, 1764, the Printing Office owed "Wm Caslon & Son, for Types and Brass Rule [£] 50:-:-" Sterling. In June, 1764, the following entry appeared in the Day Book: "William Caslon & Son To Acct Bills, -for Moore on Backhouse £50 Stg, - 60 - - - - [£] 80:-:-."
The following names appeared frequently in Royle's Day Book under the heading "Sundry Accounts Drs to Cash":2 Edward Cumins (who had been employed by Hunter - his wages charged to Printing), Alexander Purdie, John Bishop, John Barnes, John Beard (or Baird), John Scammel, William James Lewis. We do not know anything about Lewis; but from other entries in the Day Book it is evident that Purdie (probably Royle's printing foreman) and Dixon worked for an annual salary; and that Bishop, Barnes, Beard, and Scammel were post-riders. Cumins probably worked in the printing department, as he did when employed by Hunter.
On December 30 and 31, 1765, the following entries were made in the Day Book:3
|Alexander Purdie Dr to Profit & Loss|
|For 1 ½ Years Interest on (his Bond for) £105:- )|
|due the 20th Instant )||7:17:6|
|G.A.0. Dr to Sundry Accounts £200-|
|To Alexander Purdie for his Salary||[£] 100:-:-|
|To John Dixon for Ditto||100:-:-|
Concerning the post-riders, the following notations appeared in the Day Book: 32.
|November 9, 1765]|
|G.A.0. Dr to Sundry Accounts £75:-:-|
|To Joseph Bishop for Riding Post from|
|1st January to the 31st Octo 1765||[£] 62:10:-|
|To John Scamell, for Ditto||12:10:-|
|Dec. 31, 1765]|
|Genl Post Office Dr to Sundry Accots||£90:|
|To John Barnes, for riding Post from|
|Williamsburg, to Urbanna & Hobbs Hole,|
|To John Beard, for riding Post from|
|Wmsburg to York, Hampton & Norfolk, 1 Year||40:-:-|
|G.A.0. Dr to John Barnes|
|For Distributing News Papers &c||[£] 7:10:-|
Royle also had two negro men slaves, Matt and Aberdeen, at the Printing Office.1
Royle received considerable criticism for not having a free press,2 which resulted, after his death in 1766, in a new printer's coming to Williamsburg.
Royle married William Hunter's sister, Rosanna Hunter, and they had two sons, William and Hunter Royle - the latter born in 1765.3 He lived on the property purchased from William Nelson on Nicholson Street (Lots #266, 267, 268 and 700). He died in January, 1766.
In his will, written on January 20, 1766, Joseph Royle requested that Alexander Purdie (who then lived with him) carry on the printing business for himself and Royle's son William Royle (during his minority) and young William Hunter - who owned one half of the business. If Purdie agreed, Royle left Purdie his half of "all the Stock I have in Partnership with William Hunter at the Printing Office, comprehending in our Books 33. of Accounts under the Titles of General Account of Office, Stationary, and Books, to the Amount of the Sum of Five hundred pounds Virginia Currency... as a Compensation... for his Personal Management and Care of the said Business during the Minority of my said son William Royle."1
An inventory and appraisement2 of Royle's estate listed the furniture in his dwelling-house, and, at the end:
One half the Stock in Partnership with William Hunter Infant, at the Printing Office in Williamsburgh; including, Account of Books, Stationary, Printing, Materials, & two Negro Men named Matt, and Aberdeen [£] 1265.12.10-¾
A parcel of Printing Materials sold to Mr Wm Holt 261.10.10
Sundry outstanding Debts to be Accounted for when received -- - -
The administration accounts of Joseph Royle and Company, as kept by the executors of Royle's estate from 1766 until young William Hunter came of age in 1775, throw no further light on the printing office or its furnishings.3
As requested in Joseph Royle's will, Alexander Purdie4 (who was working in Royle's office in 1764, and possibly earlier), took over the "Personal Management and Care of the said Business"5 - half interest to be for himself and young William Royle - the other half belonging to young William Hunter by his father's will.34.
He continued to do printing and binding, and to sell books and stationery supplies, as did his predecessors. The Virginia Gazette, which was discontinued a few months before Royle's death, was re-established by Purdie, who continued Royle's numbering of the issues, Number 772 for March 7, 1766, bearing the colophon: "WILLIAMSBURG: Printed by ALEX. PURDIE, and COMPANY, at the POST-OFFICE; by whom Persons may be supplied with this PAPER." In this issue Purdie stated:
TIRED with an involuntary recess from business for these four months past, the advantage which a news paper is generally looked upon to be of by the community, and the encouragement I have already met with from a number of the late customers to the VIRGINIA GAZETTE, have determined me to resume its publication, at the usual price of 15 s. a year... The press shall likewise be as free as any Gentleman can wish, or desire...
Despite repeated assurances as to the freedom of his press,1 the criticisms of Royle's press were not forgotten, and a printer from Maryland, William Rind, came to Williamsburg in May, 1766, to enter into competition with Purdie. Purdie's Gazette of May 9, 1766, carried Rind's announcement that he had "now settled in Williamsburg" to carry an the printing business, and proposed to "begin the publication of a NEWSPAPER on Friday next, which will be regularly continued."2
On June 20, 1766, about six months after taking charge of the business, Purdie went into partnership with John Dixon,1 who had also been employed by Joseph Royle at the Printing Office, publishing the following announcement:
I BEG leave to acquaint my friends and customers that I have just entered into partnership with Mr. John Dixon in conjunction with whom I have purchased all the materials, stock in trade, &c. belonging to the estates of the late Mr. William Hunter and Mr. Joseph Royle. The acquaintance which Mr. Dixon has had in the business, and the satisfaction that I believe he has hitherto given in his department, encourages me to hope that we shall have the countenance and favour of all former customers to this OFFICE, as well as of the publick in general, we being determined to make it our constant study to merit approbation.
From the administration account of William Hunter, Sr's estate, we know that Purdie and Dixon paid the Hunter estate £60 a year interest "on their Bond for Printing Materials &c."3; and also made payments of substantial amounts to the estate of Joseph Royle and Company.4
Purdie and Dixon petitioned the General Assembly to be appointed public printers for the Colony - a position all of their predecessors at the Printing Office had held; but the appointment was given to the new printer, William Rind, in November, 1766.536.
However, all the other activities of their predecessors were carried on: they published the Virginia Gazette "at the POST OFFICE," and also various books and pamphlets; and sold books and stationery supplies. They did book-binding - on March 14, 1766, Purdie gave notice:
GENTLEMEN may now be supplied, on a short notice, at the Printing Office, Williamsburg, with BLANK BOOKS of all sizes, ruled or unruled, and bound either in Calf or Vellum. OLD BOOKS also new bound, and any thing in the BOOK BINDING business executed in the cheapest and best manner.1
In the same year, Purdie and Dixon advertised that subscriptions would be taken at the Printing Office for "excellent pieces of sculpture in relievo of Lord CAMDEN and Mr. PITT," for a "set in elegant gilt frames seven guineas, and in plain frames three guineas."2
In their Gazette for March 26, 1767, Purdie and Dixon gave notice that "On MONDAY next, at III o'Clock in the Afternoon, will begin the Auction of a choice Collection of BOOKS, PICTURES, &c. at the Old Printing Office in Wmsburg" - the old office to distinguish it from William Rind's new Printing Office.
In 1770, Purdie and Dixon gave notice that they had agreed to take all their "printing paper from a company of Gentlemen in Philadelphia who have lately set up a large PAPER MANUFACTORY, and intend, if they can be sufficiently supplied with LINEN RAGS, to make all sorts of fine writing paper."3 They offered all families who would save and bring linen rags to the Post Office three half pence a pound "ready money."
We do not know much about the workmen employed by Purdie and Dixon. On July 25, 1766 they advertised for "An Apprentice to the PRINTING BUSINESS"; and in September, 1766, they advertised for "a Journeyman Printer to whom good wages will be given."4 In 1771, they gave notice that an apprentice 37. "JAMES CAREY, a Lad about seventeen Years of Age, whom (out of Compassion, and through his Importunity) we paid thirteen Pounds for "had run away from the Printing Office."1 Young William Hunter, to whom the Printing Office on Lot #48 would belong when he came of age, evidently served as an apprentice at the office for a time. On December 24, 1770, £10 was paid the estate of William Hunter, deceased, by Purdie and Dixon as interest on their bond for printing materials (usually £60 a year) - "£50 the residue being allowed them as an apprentice fee with William Hunter."2
John Dixon, who was young Hunter's uncle-in-law, was also his guardian at this time.
Nothing is known concerning the buildings on the Printing Office Lot at this period. In 1772 a charge was made against William Hunter's estate of £70:11:7 ½ "for Necessary's for William Hunter for Teaching him Music and to Dance and for a Drain to his Printing Office Lot."3
It was apparently decided well in advance of young Hunter's coming of age that he would go into business with John Dixon when he was twenty-one; for in June, 1773, and at intervals thereafter, notice was given that the partnership between Purdie and Dixon was "drawing near to a Conclusion."438.
On December 1, 1774, it was announced that "the Partnership of Purdie & Dixon" would "expire the 18th Instant." In the same issue of the Gazette, Alexander Purdie gave notice that he was going into business for himself, in the house formerly occupied by Mess. Tarpley, Thompson & Company, where he would do printing, sell books and stationery, and publish a Virginia Gazette with the motto "ALWAYS FOR LIBERTY AND THE PUBLICK GOOD."1 The last issue of the Gazette printed by Purdie and Dixon was dated December 29, 1774.
On December 1, 1774, John Dixon and William Hunter gave notice that they would continue the Virginia Gazette "upon good Paper and new Type," having a free press; do printing work; and sell books and stationery:
AS the Partnership of Purdie & Dixon will expire the 18th Instant, we think it necessary to inform the Publick the THE VIRGINIA GAZETTE will be printed by us from the first of next Month, upon good Paper and new Type, assuring them no Pains or Expense shall be wanting to make the Gazette as useful and entertaining as ever, and that our Press shall be as free as any in America. Our constant Study will be to give Satisfaction to all Customers for any Thing in our Business, and Orders from the Country shall punctually complied with, either for BOOKS, STATIONARY, or PRINTING-WORK. -We beg Leave to send our Papers regularly to the old Subscribers: If any Gentlemen choose to discontinue their Subscriptions at the End of the Year, we request the Favour of them to let us know by that Time. We are
The Publick's obedient Servants,
In the same paper, Dixon stated "...I flatter myself that my Conduct, while in Company with Mr. PURDIE, met with general Approbation, and that 39. my future Endeavours to serve the Publick, in Conjunction with Mr. HUNTER, Son of the late Mr. WM. HUNTER of this City, Printer, will render me an Object worthy of their Encouragement."1
On December 28, 1774, William Hunter signed a receipt for the estate which was turned over to him by his father's executors, including:
... a bond from Alexander Purdie John Dixon and Haldenby Dixon to the said Executors dated the twenty first day of June 1766 the Penalty of Two thousand four hundred Pounds current Money for the payment of twelve hundred Pounds current Money with Lawful Interest for the same being for the said Hunter's part of Printing Materials Books Stationary Ware &c at the Printing Office sold the said Purdie by the said Executors the Interest on which has been received and accounted for by the said Executors to June 21st 1772.
Also the said Executors written Agreement with the said Purdie and Dixon for renting the said Printing Office to them the Rents for the same having been duly accounted for by the said Executors.2
The first issue of The Virginia Gazette "Printed by JOHN DIXON and WM. HUNTER, at the POST OFFICE," was Number 1222, dated January 7, 1775.
On January 21, 1775, Dixon and Hunter advertised for "An APPRENTICE to the Printing Business ... a Lad about 14 Years of Age, with a tolerable Education."
On March 18, 1775, they advertised as follows in their Virginia Gazette:
A COMPLETE ASSORTMENT OF
All Kinds of STATIONARY,
At Dixon & Hunter's Printing Office:
BEST Writing Paper, Imperial, Royal, Medium, Demy, Thick and Thin Post, Propatria and Pot, by the Ream, of smaller quantity; Gilt, Plain, and Black Edge Paper for Letters; Parchment; Inkpowder; best large Dutch Quills 40. and Pens; red and black Sealing Wax and Wafers; Memorandum Books; Red Ink, in small Vials; Red Inkpowder; Pounce and Pounce-Boxes; Black Lead Pencils; all Sizes of neat Morocco Pocket Books; all Sorts and Sizes of Pewter Inkstands; best Edinburgh Inkpots, for the Pocket; best Playing Cards.---Legers, Journals, Day-Books, and all Sorts and Sizes of Blank Books for Merchants Accounts or Records. Blanks of all Kinds for Merchants, County Court Clerks, &c. &c. &c.
Old BOOKS new BOUND, and all Kinds of BOOK-BINDING done at this Office, either in the NEATEST or CHEAPEST Manner, according to Directions; and where any Thing in the PRINTING BUSINESS is expeditiously performed, on moderate Terms.1
On November 25, 1775, the entire front page of Dixon and Hunter's Virginia Gazette was given over to "A Catalogue of BOOKS for Sale by DIXON & HUNTER at their Printing-Office, at a very low Advance, for ready Money"; the titles being divided into folios, quartos, octavos, and duodecimos - and running over to the second page of the paper. On December 9, 1775 they listed "SONG BOOKS and SCHOOL BOOKS For SALE at this OFFICE"; and on December 30, 1775 again published the long catalog as given on November 25th.2
On January 6, 1776, Dixon and Hunter advertised for sale at their Printing-Office, "A large and exact VIEW of the late BATTLE at CHARLESTOWN, Elegantly coloured, Price one Dollar"; also, a map of "The present SEAT of CIVIL WAR," by an able draughtsman who was "on the Spot at the late Engagement."
Until 1776, Dixon and Hunter continued to state that their Gazette was printed "at the Post-Office," although Alexander Purdie had been appointed postmaster for Williamsburg by Benjamin Franklin in October, 1775.3 However, some letters were still left at Dixon and Hunter's office 41. in 1776, for on July 29, 1776 notice was printed in their Gazette that "All those who have Letters to send to the Eastern Shore, of Virginia, for any of the Officers or Soldiers in that Station, are desired to lodge them at Mr. Purdie's or Mess. Dixon and Hunter's Office."
On January 16, 1777, the warehouse of Dixon and Hunter - a building which may have been on Lot #48 - was robbed: In the night of Thursday the 16th instant the printers of this paper had their warehouse broke open, robbed of six loaves of sugar, half a box candles, &c. A reward of five Pounds will be paid on the discovery and conviction of the offender.1
In August, 1774, John Dixon and his wife Rosanna, had purchased Lot #47, adjoining Lot #48 to the west, from George Pitt for £650, evidently intending it for young Hunter's dwelling house when he came of age. They sold it to Hunter for £650 on February 13, 1775.2 Hunter married his cousin, Elizabeth Hunter Davenport, in December, 1776, and doubtless occupied this house for a time.3
In June, 1777, William Hunter and Elizabeth his wife deeded a strip of land sixty-four feet deep across the Nicholson Street end of Lot #48 to Hunter's mother, Elizabeth Reynolds, the deed reading in part:
...Whereas the said William Hunter is desirous & willing to make a settlement & provision for the said Elizabeth Reynolds his Mother for her support & maintenance during her natural life suitable to his own estate & circumstances... & in consideration of the natural love & Affection 42. which he hath & beareth unto the said Elizabeth Reynolds his mother ... do give & grant & sell unto the said Elizabeth Reynolds during her natural life all that parcel or part of the printing office lot situate & being in the City of Williamsburg that is now divided from the said lot Northerly on the back street by a new line of paleing running from the line of Sarah Water's lot Westerly to the line of the lot formerly of Doctor George Pitts now the property of the said William Hunter & measuring from the said back street along the line of the said Sarah Waters up to the said new paleing sixty four feet South from thence Westerly to the line of the other described lot thence Northerly to the said back street & so to the Beginning together with all Houses, outhouses, yards Gardens...1
Hunter erected a small house on the back of Lot #48 for his mother, and he also agreed to pay her an annuity of £40 and furnish a "servant maid fit & able to serve wait & attend"2 her.
An account with William Hunter kept by Humphrey Harwood, a Williamsburg mason and builder, listed repairs in 1776 (probably to the dwelling-house on Lot #47 which Hunter doubtless occupied after his marriage), and building in 1777 (probably the house and kitchen for his mother on the back of Lot #48.) In July, 1778 the account noted a charge of £23 for "4600 bricks, lime & laying them in wall at the office" - doubtless the printing office. As we cannot be certain in some instances, which of Hunter's properties the Harwood account concerns, it is here copied in full:3 43
|2||MR WILLIAM HUNTER||DR|
|October||23||To 500 bricks 13/9 20 bushs of lime 15/. a Grate wt 74 ½ lb @ 7 ½ d||£3.15.3-¾|
|To Altering a Grate 6/3 by R.B. to laying a harth & Seting up a grate 10/||-.16.3|
|To layg 2 harth 5/. & fixing a Grate 7/6. 18 bushs of lime @ 9d & 1 ½ do hair 2/3||1.8.3|
|To mendg Larthing & plastering 22/6. & 5 days labour @ 2/.||1.12.6|
|To Whitewashing Chamber & parlour 7/6. & 4 Other Rooms & a passage @ 3/9||1.6.3|
|To Mendg Oven & Ash House 2/. to 200 larths 2/. & A bushel of hair 1/6||-.5.6|
|To Cash lent you at Majr Hornsby's to pay for a bowl & 2 Muggs 7/.||-.7.-|
|November||25||To half a Dozen Walnut Chairs 90/ & A Mahoganay tea table 36/0||6.6.-|
|February||1||To 8 days labour @ 2/. Cleeng bricks. (8th) 15 days labour 30/ digg Celler||2.6.-|
|15||To 22 do labr @ 2/. Cartg 4 loads of Sand 8/. 140 bushs lime @ 9d||7.17.-|
|To 3750 bricks @ 27/6 (20th) to 4000 Do @ 27/6 & Cartg 1 load of Sand 2/.||10.13.1-½|
|20||To building Cellar walls 100/. & 9 days labour @ 2/. & Carting a load Sand 2/.||6.0.-|
|March||17.||To 100 bushels of lime @ 9d 10000 bricks @ 27/6. 21 days labr @ 2/ & 5 lods of Sand 2/.||20.2.0|
|22||To building kitching Chimney & Oven 65/. & build Do to Dwelg House 80/||7.5.-|
|May||11||To 20 bushs of lime 15/. 230 bricks @ 2/9. 1/4 bush whitewh 9d & Setg a Grate with Rubd bricks 20/.||2.2.3|
|To turning 2 trimers & laying 2 harth 10/. & 1 Days labour 2/.||-.12.-|
|15||To 1800 larths 22/6 to 2 bushels of hair 4/. & 20 do lime 15/. & 1 load Sand 2/.||2.3.6|
|To Larthing & plastering Chamber below 70 yds @ 6d||1.15.-|
|26||xxxxxxx [2 lines crossed out in ms.]|
|June||29||To 40 bushls of lime 30/. 2 do hair 4/. 9 Days labour @ 2/.||2.12.-|
|To 2000 larthes 25/. & larthing & plaistering 101 yards @ 6d||3.15.6|
|June||29||xxxxxx [2 lines crossed out in ms.]|
|Novemr||18||To 2 bushs of lime 2/ & altering a Grate 5/. & labours work 1/6||.8.6|
|January||4.||To 2900 Nails @ 20/ pr M. 700 larthes @ 2/. & 28 bushels of lime @ 1/3||5.7.-|
|To 1 bushel of hair @ 2/6 4 days labour @ 3/6||-.16.6|
|To larthing & plastering 60 yards @ 7 ½ d||1.17.6|
|June||4th||to a Qr of Veal 22/6||1.2.6|
|June||10th||To 7000 bricks, Lime and Laying in Chimney at Quarter 100/. pr M.||£35.0.0|
|To 8 ½ days Cart hier Carting bricks & lime out to your Quarter @ 40/.||17.0.0|
|To 2 ½ bushels of Mortar 4/6 & mending Plastering 5/. & labr. 2/. & ---m Barham, Tenant Whitewashing 3 Rooms & passage||2.7.-|
|27.||To 3 bushels of Wheat @ 8/||1.4.-|
|July||2||To 4600 bricks, lime & laying them in wall at the office @ 100/.||23.0.-|
|26.||To A Quarter of Veal 20/. (Aug 24th) To 2500 Wall bricks @ 70/.||9.15.-|
|August||24||To 15 bushs of lime a 1/6. to bricking up top of well 18/. & labr 6/||2.6.6|
|April||17th||To 1 bushel of lime pr your Man (24th) to 530 bricks 100/ & 6 bushs of lime 6/||7.2.-|
|To underpining paleing 40/. & 1 Days labour 18/.||2.18.-|
|June||24||To 2 bus lime 12/. & Repairing front Steps 30/ & labours work 8/||3.2.-|
|Decemr||5||To Sundry work Done to Amount of||184.9.-|
|Januy 25th||By a large Copper Kettle for the factory||£ 9.0.0|
|December 23rd||By Cash in part per Account||41.2.6|
|February 5th||By Office Account 48-5 & Cash £35.9||41.7.5|
|October 20th||By Cash £ 15.0.0||£ 15.0.0|
|March 19th||By Cash in full||76.15.0|
|January 26th||By His Account £37.4.0||£ 37.4.-|
|By Cash to Ballance £160.7.0||160.7.-|
|37||Mr WILLIAM HUNTER||DR|
|January||30th||Ditch 290 yards @ 4d||£ 4.16. 8|
|April||24||To A Quarter of Veal 5/ £ 13.10s. (May 29th) to a Qr Do £ 12.0.0||.10.-[sic]|
|May||30||To whitewashing a Room @ 3/9 A passage & 2 Closets @ 3/9||.11. 3|
|October||30||To 87 bushels of Wheat @ 6/3||2.11. -|
|March||9||To bricks & Repairing Chimney for Mrs Hunter 5/||.5.-|
Apparently something happened to the Printing Office wall in 1778. Note the entry in Hunter's account with Harwood just quoted on July 2, 1778: "To 4600 bricks, lime & laying them in the wall at the office @ 100/ £23:0:0." In June, Harwood charged the Corporation of Williamsburg £27 for "5400 bricks, Lime & laying them in the wall at printing office @ 100/"; and on July 4 the Corporation was charged for "Repairing the Lower end of the Dranes 20/. & 2 Days labour @ 4/." Harwood's account1 with the Corporation follows:
|12||THE CORPORATION OF WMSBURG||DR|
|Septemr||6th||To bricks Mortar & Repair Pump wall 6/||£ -. 6. -|
|Novemr||23||To takeing up The Grate from Office Drane 10/-||-.10. -|
|June||24||To takeing up the Grate at Majr Hornsbys Door and Repairg the wall 12/||-.12. -|
|To 4 bushels of Mortar 6/. & labours work 3/||-.10. -|
|30||To 5400 bricks, Lime & laying them in the wall at printing office @ 100/.||27.00. -|
|To 50 bushels of Lime @ 1/6. & working up old bricks 60/, & 6 Days labour @ 4/||7.19.- [?]|
|To 12 Days labour filing up the Street at 4/||2.8. -|
|July||4||To Repairing the Lower end of the Dranes 20/ & 2 days labour @ 4/.||1.8.-|
|March||3d||By Cash of Mr John Carter- Chamberlane for the Corporation & by Order of the Common Hall)||£ 40.13. -|
It is probable that there were many disagreements between Dixon and young Hunter as to the conduct of the press and the policy of the newspaper; for Dixon was a patriot,1 and Hunter was in sympathy with the British from the outbreak of Revolutionary hostilities, although he did not join the British Army until June, 1781. Hunter subsequently stated that he was, from the first, "firmly attached to the British Constitution & ever averse to the proceedings of the Americans";2 and he also said that "he declined his Business in 1777 as he found he could not continue according to his Prin[cip]les."3
When the Gazette was first issued by Dixon and Hunter, it continued the motto which Purdie and Dixon had used on their masthead since November 19, 1767: "IN CIVITATE LIBERA LINGUAM MENTEMQUE LIBERAS ESSE DEBERE."4 This motto was dropped with the June 1, 1776 issue which was printed on a much smaller sheet of paper; but on November 15, 1776, a new motto appeared on the masthead: "The Freedom of the Press is one of the great Bulwarks of Liberty, and can never be restrained but by despotic Goverments."547.
In spite of Hunter's statement quoted in the paragraph above as to declining his business in 1777, his name continued to appear with Dixon's as publisher of the Gazette through 1778 - the last extant issue, December 4, 1778, bearing both of their names.
In March, 1779, the partnership being dissolved, it was requested that "ALL persons indebted to the late partnership of Dixon & Hunter, for gazettes, books, &c." pay off their balances, the books being lodged with William Hunter, who would settle all the accounts.1
William Hunter joined Cornwallis' Army when it was in Williamsburg in June, 1781, and sailed from Yorktown with the British for New York after their surrender; from there going to Nova Scotia. Hunter returned to Williamsburg "under the Faith of the Treaty of Peace," to attend to some business matters, but according to his statement to the British Commissioners, he was "banished from his Native Country."2 In 1784 he went to London, where he remained.
Hunter made his father-in-law, Joseph Davenport, Rector of Charles Parish, Yorktown, his attorney in Virginia, deeding him his Virginia property including the two lots in Williamsburg - Lot #47 (which he had previously tried to sell) and Lot #48 for the benefit of his two infant sons, William and Joseph Hunter:
...all those Houses Tenements and lots of land lying and being in the said City of Williamsburg bounded as follows to wit on the south side by the main street on the West by the Street running between the said Lots and those of Robert Prentis on the north by the Back Street between these Lots and those of Elizabeth Hay Widow and on the East by the Lots of Sarah Waters widow and known in the 48. plan of the said City by the Numbers 47 and ------ [blank 48]....1
Hunter subsequently reported to the British commissioners that Joseph Davenport had been able to preserve for their use the personal and landed property which "in the year 1782 he had conveyed to his Father in Law Joseph Davenport for the use of his Children."2
However, Hunter petitioned the Commissioners of the British Treasury for relief because of his losses in Virginia.
In his claims for losses he suffered in Virginia, he valued his two Williamsburg lots as follows:
|1 House and Lott in the City of Williamsburg3||N 47||£600|
|1 Ditto Ditto||N 48||650|
|1 Ditto Ditto||350|
|Household & Kitchen Furniture in Value about||500|
|Debts due on Account of his Business||1200|
|1 Sett of Printing Materials||300|
|A small Quantity of Merchandize in value about||100|
Hunters losses were also estimated in sterling in the report to the British Commissioners:4
|1.||A House & Lot in the City of Williamsburg No 47||£ 450:-:-|
|2.||A Do 48||487:10:-|
|Household & Kitchen Furniture||375:-:-|
|A set of Printing Materials||225:-:-|
|A small quantity of Merchandize about||75:-:-|
The property in Williamsburg was further described to the Commissioners as follows:1
As to a House in Williamsburgh No 48
This he says was devised him by his Father by Will.
Produces a paper which he says is a true Copy to the best of his belief of his Fathers Will and which is dated the 11 April 1761 & whereby Wm Hunter his Father devised to him in Fee a House in Williamsburgh No 48.
This Will is Witnessed by two Witnesses only
Values this at £650 Currency.
As to another House No 47.
This was bought he says by his Guardian John Dixon in 1774 - on his Acct for £650 Cury and conveyed to him on his coming of Age.
Values it at this Sum.
Another House in Williamsburgh
His House he built on part of the Ground whereon the House No 48 stood
He conveyed it to his Mother for her Life.
Believes the House Cost him the Money charged Vizt 350 £.
All the Articles togr with his Landed property in the year 1782 he conveyed to his Father in Law Joseph Davenport for the use of his Children - And he has been able to preserve the same for their use.
It would appear that John Dixon continued in the Printing Office on Lot #48 after he and William Hunter dissolved their partnership. Although we have found no record of an agreement between the two, it is probable that Dixon rented the office and Hunter's part of the materials from Hunter. As noted, Hunter's name continued on the Virginia Gazette as co-publisher into December, 1778.2
Dixon took a new partner, Thomas Nicolson, into the business. The first issue of their Virginia Gazette was published in "WILLIAMSBURG: Printed by JOHN DIXON and THOMAS NICOLSON," on February 12, 1779. Their 50. masthead informed the public that, "All Persons may be supplied with this PAPER at Ten Dollars a Year, and have ADVERTISEMENTS (of a moderate Length) inserted for Ten Shillings... PRINTING WORK done at this Office in the NEATEST Manner, with Care and Expedition."
On December 4, 1779, notice appeared in Dixon and Hunter's Gazette that, because of the "great increase in the prices of all the necessaries of life, and the very extravagant price which we are obliged to give for paper and every other article used in the printing business," the price of the Gazette would be raised "to FIFTY DOLLARS per annum."
The Printing Office on Lot #48 was no longer the Post Office,1 nor were the printers at the Office the public printers for Virginia, although they did some printing for the Commonwealth.
In 1779, the General Assembly passed an act to move the seat of government from Williamsburg to Richmond,
They printed a supplement to the April 8, 1780 issue. The next regular issue of their Gazette was printed by Dixon and Nicolson in Richmond on May 9, 1780. Their paper was discontinued with or soon after the issue of May 19, 1781; and Dixon began publication of a new paper in Richmond in 1783.
A brief account of Humphrey Harwood, builder and mason of Williamsburg, with John Dixon "Printer," in 1780, may concern other Dixon property in or near Williamsburg. However, as it may have to do with the Printing Office (especially if Dixon's lease on it continued through the remainder of the year) it is copied here: Colo J0HN DIX0N (Printer)3 DR
|Februy 22||To ½ bushel of lime (August 26th) 4 bus of lime @ 9 dolls hair 6 dolls||£ 13.19.-|
|August 26||To Mending plastering 20 dollars, & labours work 15 Do||10.10.-|
|To Whitewashing 3 Rooms, & 2 Passages @ 45 do||67.10.-|
|91£ @ 70 for 1 is = to 26£ /3-¼|
|£ 1. 6. 3-¼|
There are numerous gaps in our information concerning lot #48 after April, 1780, when John Dixon and Thomas Nicolson moved their printing-office to Richmond.
As already noted, William Hunter (who joined the British army in June, 1781) deeded his Virginia property to his father-in-law, the Rev. Joseph Davenport, to be used for the benefit of his infant sons, William and Joseph Hunter.1 Although the Commonwealth of Virginia confiscated many loyalist properties,2 Hunter subsequently stated that "what real Estate he had he saved by conveying them safe to his Wifes Father, & he had Interest enough to preserve it for his Children."3 In his will, dated March 1, 1788, Joseph Davenport included the following item:
Item. the small concerns of my two Grand sons William Hunter and Joseph Hunter must necessarily fall under the care of their Grand Mother and uncle they are at present in confusion but by application to a good accomptant and his assistance may be soon liquidated.4In September, 1789, William Hunter "now of the City of London" did "in Consequence of the death of the said Joseph Davenport, hereby renew and convey the same Trust and Power [of Attorney] before mentioned to William Davenport son of the aforesaid Joseph Davenport."553.
It is probable that Joseph and William Davenport leased the buildings on Lots #47 and #48 to various tenants; but we have found no record of such transactions nor reference to any occupant of either lot until well into the nineteenth century. The lots were not charged to the Davenports, but were listed as belonging to the estate of William Hunter in the Williamsburg Land Tax records,1 as follows:
|Year:||Name:||No. of Lots:||Annual value:|
|1782)||- William Hunter's Estate||2||£10:0:0|
|1783)||- William Hunter Senr Estate||4||2:0:0|
|1785)||William Hunters Estate||2||15:0:0|
|William Hunter Senr||4||3:0:0|
|1786)||- William Hunter's Estate||2||18:0:0|
|1788)||- William Hunter Senr||4||2:10:0|
|1789)||- William Hunter's Estate||2||25:0:0|
|1791)||- William Hunter Senr||4||2:10:0|
|1792||William Hunter's Estate||4||[sic] 25:0:0|
|William Hunter Senr||4||[no value given]|
|1792/3)||William Hunter's Estate||4||25: 0: 0|
|through||[William Hunter Sr not listed after 1792 -|
|1797)||no mention of transfer of property noted.]|
|1798||William Hunter's Estate||4||$83.34|
|1803)||- William Hunter's Estate||3||$50.00|
|1804)||- John Smith [via Hunter]||1||$50.00|
|1805||Robert Greenhow [via Hunter]||1||$50.00|
|" " " "||¾||33.34|
|" " " "||¼||21.67|
We do not fully understand the above tax record: what two lots were charged to William Hunter, Senior, valued at £2; why they disappeared 54. without note of transfer in 1792; why William Hunter's Estate was charged with two lots from 1782 through 1791, and with four lots, without any added valuation, from 1792 through 1802; or what happened to the lot John Smith purchased from the Hunter Estate in 1803. Possibly Smith failed to complete its purchase, and it was the lot sold by the Hunter estate to Robert Greenhow, valued at $50, in 1805. However, this explanation would still leave some Hunter property accounted for, unless the discrepancies can be attributed to the carelessness of tax commissioners in identifying lots and portions of lots.
In any case, after 1805, William Hunter's name disappeared from the tax records. By that time deeds to Williamsburg property in the York County portion of the city (which were formerly recorded in the York County Court records), were recorded in the Williamsburg Court records, and they were destroyed during the War Between the States. Therefore details as to property transfers are missing, and only scattered information can be gathered from the tax records (which are extant) and occasional insurance policies.
The Williamsburg Land Tax records quoted above show that Robert Greenhow1 obtained two lots from William Hunter's Estate in 1805: one 55. lot at an annual value of $50, which seems to have been Lot #47; ¾ of a lot at an annual value of $33.34, which appears to have been the western part of Lot #48 - including the old Printing-Office; and ¼ of a lot which was, apparently, the eastern front portion of Lot #48, including a building which adjoined the Anderson storehouse on Lot #49.
In 1796, a Mutual Assurance Society Policy (No. 114) insuring a storehouse1 on Lot #49, adjoining Lot #48 to the east, stated that the storehouse (then owned by Matt Anderson and occupied by Leroy Anderson) was "situated between William Hunter" and Sarah Waters. In 1806, a policy (No. 668) for the same storehouse, then owned and occupied by Robert Anderson, noted that it was "situated between the Lott of Francis Teterel East and the Lott of Robert Greenhow West."2 This second policy also stated that the Anderson storehouse was "distanced 3 feet from one wooden house & 60 feet from another Do" - establishing the fact that another building besides the old printing office was on the front or Duke of Gloucester Street side of Lot #48. Foundations of a small 56. building in the southeast corner of the lot have been uncovered1-believed to be those of the building which stood on the ¼ of Lot #48 which Robert Greenhow purchased in 1805. The "Frenchman's Map" of ca. 1782 indicated a building on this approximate site - although it is shown as joining the building to the east of it.
Robert Greenhow owned the two lots purchased from Hunter's estate for some years, but we do not know how he used them. Greenhow occupied a house and store on Lot #159,2 until he moved to Richmond ca. 1810. He also owned a storehouse on Lot #56,3 (formerly Robert Nicolson's) which he leased to various tenants. He insured both of these properties; but, unfortunately, he carried no insurance on Lots #47 and #48. In 1815, another policy to Robert Anderson's storehouse on Lot #49 (No. 1509) stated that Anderson's building was between "Greenhows lot on the West and Teterels lot on the North and the East."4
The Williamsburg Land Tax records show that Robert Greenhow sold Lot #47 to Anthony Dufort5 in 1816, as follows: 57.
1816, Dufort, Anthony 1 [lot] $100 [annual value]
Via Robert Greenhow, House & Lot in
Williamsburg bounded on the east, by
another lot of said Greenhow, and by
Cary Drummond's Lot W.
[Note: William Cary Drummond owned Lot #46 at this time. See report on "Archibald Blair Storehouse," Block 17, Lot #46.]
Williamsburg Land Tax records list several transfers in 1817, 1818, and 1819 which apparently concern Robert Greenhow's Lot #48:
1817 Sands, Thomas Senr1 3 1/2 [lots] $200 [annual value]
1 Via Robert Greenhow: house and lot
on the north side of the main Street
58. of sd city, bounded on the south
by said street, on the north by
the back street, on the west by
Dufort's lot and to the east in one
part by Mr Scallion's property
[see below], on the north east
by Wm. Coleman's lots: And ½
via Simon Block...
1817 Scallion, James1 1 [lot] $30 [annual value]
Via Robert Greenhow: house and lot
in said city, on the north side of
the main street, adjoining Ro.
Anderson's lots, also the lots
of Robert Greenhow.
The above transfers would indicate that Thomas Sands purchased the western and northern part of Lot #48, from Duke of Gloucester to Nicholson Street, which part included the old printing office and the house William Hunter had built for his mother, Mrs. Reynolds. James Scallion purchased the south eastern portion of Lot #48, which part included the building adjoining Robert Anderson's storehouse.
In 1818, additional transfers of the above property changed the above picture: 59.
1818 Scallion, James 1 [lot] $66 [annual value]
Via Thomas Sands - house and lot
situated on the north side of the
main street, bounded on the east
by George Lang's lot [see below],
on the north by Thomas Sands's lot
and the back street, and on the
west by Doctr Dufort's lot containing
33 feet front
1818 Lang, George [1 lot $15 annual value]1
1 Via Thomas Sands, a lot or parcel
of land bounded on the south by the
main street, on west by James Scallion,
on the South [sic] by the said
Sands's lot and on the west [sic]
by the lots Ro: Anderson Wm Coleman &
the tailor's shop.
1818 Hubbard,2 Richardson 1 [lot] $40 [annual value]
Via Thomas Sands, house and lot which
he purchased of Scallion and by
Scallion purchased of Robert Greenhow
and is called the tailor's Shop.
From the above it would seem that in 1818 James Scallion purchased the western front portion (a thirty-three foot strip) of lot #48, which part included the old Printing Office and had an annual value of $66. Scallion sold Thomas Sands the eastern front portion of Lot #48 with the building "called the tailor's Shop," and Sands, in turn, sold this to Richardson Hubbard. This property had an annual value of $40. George Lang purchased the central front portion of lot #48, which apparently included no buildings and was valued at $15 annual rent. Thomas Sands continued to own some (or all) of the back of Lot #48, although no buildings were mentioned thereon.
In 1819, Robert Anderson,1 who owned the storehouse on Lot #49 (adjoining Richardson Hubbard's building on Lot #48), purchased George Lang's central portion of Lot #48, the annual value of which had increased from $15 to $25: 61.
1819 Anderson, Robert 5 [lots] $345 [annual value]Thomas Sands still owned the back or Nicholson Street part of Lot #48, although we have found no reference to the house which William Hunter built for his mother, Elizabeth Reynolds, on the part of Lot #48 which Sands still held.
1 Via George Lang - a certain piece
or parcel of a lot of land bounded
on the N by the lot of Thomas Sands
E by the lots of said Anderson,
Richardson Hubbard Wm Coleman and
F Teterel, and on the S by the Duke
of Gloucester street, and on the
West by the said Hubbard and the
lots of James Scallion. [Note:
When he purchased Lang's lot Anderson
already had 4 lots valued at $320. MG]
The Williamsburg Land Tax Records throw no further light on the Nicholson Street portion of Lot #48. However, they do enable us to trace the owners of the Duke of Gloucester Street portion of the lot for a time:
The southeastern comer of Lot #48, including the building known in 1818 as "the tailor's Shop," belonged to Richardson Hubbard1 from 1818 until 1824 - at a yearly rent of $40 - the building valued at $250, the lot and building at $300. In 1823, when Robert Anderson insured his storehouse on Lot #49, the policy stated that it was "between the lots of Francis Teterel North and East - and Richardson Hubbard West." (See Mutual Assurance Society Policy No. 5008.) In 1824, Richardson Hubbard's building on Lot #48 was transferred to Nicholas Ennis,2 at the same valuation. Ennis, who purchased another house and lot in 1824, owned the two properties until 1827, when they were charged against his Estate. In 1828, Ennis' building on Lot #48 (still valued at $250 for 62. the building - $300 for lot and building, but at a yearly rent of $25) was transferred to Philip Moody "Via Richard Coke ex[ecutor] of N. Ennis." In 1830 it passed to Robert Anderson "Via Henry Edloe trustee for Philip Moody," still valued at $250 for building - $300 for lot and building; the yearly rent increased to $50. Robert Anderson continued to own this building for a number of years. As has been noted, he owned and occupied the storehouse on Lot #49, immediately to the east of the building on Lot #48, for some years before he purchased the latter building. Robert Anderson's insurance policies to the storehouse on lot #49, give its western boundary as follows: 1830- "my own other lands and lots on the West" (Mutual Assurance Society Policy No. 7574); 1838- "another lot of mine on the West" (Policy No. 10,991); and 1846 - "another lot of said Anderson West and main Street on the South" (Policy No. 14,373). The Land Tax Records charged Robert Anderson with from 7 to 12 lots in Williamsburg between the years 1830 (when he purchased the building on Lot #48) and 1861; and it is impossible to be certain which of these is the southeastern portion of Lot #48. From the Mutual Assurance Society Policy cited above, it is apparent that he owned this property in 1846, and he probably continued to own it until our Land Tax Records end, after 1861. In 1846 Anderson's 12 lots were valued as follows:
|Owner:||Lot:||Value Lot & Building:||Value of Building:||Yearly Rent:|
|Anderson, Robert||1||$50||--||--||Via Patty Gillett|
|1||$700||$650||$ 75||Via Isabella Turne|
|1||$50||--||--||Via Peter Gillett|
|1||$25||--||--||Via Nelly Bolling|
As noted (see page 61), Robert Anderson purchased the central front portion of Lot #48 from George Lang in 1819 - this piece of land, apparently without buildings, having an annual value of $25. This land may have been added to Anderson's property adjoining it to the east; or it may have been one of the ten lots for which his estate was still taxed in 1861. In the various transfers of Anderson property between 1819 and 1861, which are recorded in the Williamsburg Land Tax Records, we are unable to identify this property. However, it was still in his possession at the time of his death in 1859.
In 1818 (see page 59), James Scallion purchased a lot via Thomas Sands, bounded on the west by Doctor Dufort's lot [#47], "containing 33 feet front." This was evidently the southwest corner of Lot #48 on which the old Printing Office stood. After 1824 this property was charged to James Scallion's estate, and continued to be so charged through 1855. From 1820 through 1839, the building and lot were valued at $525 - the building itself at $500 - and the annual rent was noted as $66. The building continued to be valued at $500 through 1855; but in 1840 the value of the lot was increased from $25 to $100. In 1851 the annual rent was decreased from $66 to $60.1
James Scallion, who obtained a retail merchant's license in Williamsburg in 1812,2 and continued to renew it each year through 1823, may have occupied the Old Printing Office as a shop and a dwelling-house. As the property was charged to his estate in 1824, and as Margaret Scallion obtained a retail merchant's license in that year, Jams Scallion must have died ca. 1823-1824. Margaret Scallion 64. (doubtless his widow) continued to obtain a merchant's license through 1843, after which such licenses were no longer recorded in the Personal Property Tax Records. It is probable that she continued to occupy the property as a dwelling-house and shop - as the Scallion estate was only taxed for the one piece of property. A "John D. Scellen" (as Scallion was sometimes spelled in the tax records), age 16 years, was living with "Mrs. Scellen," in Williamsburg, and attended the College of William and Mary, in 1836-1837.1
In 1828, "Mrs. Margarett Scelleon" had a chimney built on her property by R. T. Booker, whose account book included the following charge:
March 1st 1828 to building Chimney as per bargn -- $30 Drawn off & paid2
In a collection of Galt Manuscripts, at present on deposit with Colonial Williamsburg, there are several bills receipted by Margaret "Scellen," as follows:
Cts 18 pounds of lard - - - - - - - $3.00 2 pair of shoes - - - - - - - -- 1.50 $4.50 Cts
Received payment. M. Scellen July 2nd 1841 Received of Mrs. Galt $1.68cts for two pairs of shoes and one peck of potatoes. Jan. 6th 1842 M. Scellen Received 90 Cts for one bushel and half of meal. Dec. 1st 1842 M. Scellen ...lard - - - - - - --- $2.-6 1 pair shoes - - --- - - - 1.25 $3.31 Received payment in full Margert Scellen
We do not know when Mrs. Margaret Scallion died. She may have rented the Old Printing Office, or a part of it, to a John Wrenn ca. 1845 for a few months; for the following notes were found among the papers of George W. Southall, a Williamsburg attorney:
$100. On or before the first of January 1847 I promise and bind my self my Heirs &c to pay to Margaret Scellin the sum of one hundred dollars, the same being for the Rent of the House & lot on which I now live and for the hire of a negro girl named Mary Fancy also for the purchase of one Doz chairs & one table. Witness my hand & seal this 13th day of Dear 1845.
John Wrenn [Endorsed]
John Wrenn's Bond $100.00 due 1 Jany 1847. 1st January 1847. Credit this bond as of this date by Eighty dollars and fifty two cents, being for rent of house and hire of girl for three months twenty two 50/100 dollars and nett sale of furniture fifty eight dollars & two cents, leaving balance due nineteen 48/100 dollars. Sept. 18/46. Geo. W. Southall Atty.
$19.02 On or before the first day of January 1847. I George W. Southall promise to pay or cause to be paid to Margaret Scallin or her assigns the just and full sum of Nineteen dollars and two Cents Current Money of Virginia for which payment I bind myself my heirs...
As Witness my hand and Seal this 28th day of September 1846.1
Margaret Scallion's name was listed in the Williamsburg Personal Property Tax records (she paying tax on one or two slaves) through 1845. The records for 1846 and 1847 are missing; and by 1848 her name had disappeared from the list. As stated, the lot and building continued to be charged to James Scallion's estate through 1855, the building valued at $500-lot and building at $600-after which the Scallion name disappeared from the Williamsburg Land Tax Records. In 1856, Joseph Walthall was first listed as owning a lot and building in Williamsburg, 66. the building valued at $500 - the lot and building at $700.1 There is no record of transfer from the Scallion estate to Walthall, but as Joseph Walthall is known to have subsequently owned the Old Printing Office, it is possible that he obtained it via Scallion's estate in 1856.
In 1876, Joseph Walthall took advantage of an act of 18732 which provided that every householder should be entitled to hold exempt from seizure or garnishee for debt property not exceeding the value of $2000. Walthall claimed his dwelling-house on Francis Street (doubtless property he purchased via Richardson Hubbard in 18593) and the house and lot on Duke of Gloucester Street, which he probably obtained via the Scallion Estate in 1856, as his "homestead exemption," as follows:
This Indenture Witnesseth, that I, Joseph M. Walthall... do hereby declare my intention to claim such homestead exemption: and I do hereby set apart & describe the property which I claim as my homestead aforesaid: To Wit, the lot & the dwelling house & outhouses thereon where I now reside... [bounded north by Francis Street, East by Mrs. Gillam's and Mrs. Camm's lots, South by Ireland Street and West by Queen Street] The house & lot now occupied by Thomas Walthall as a Store Situate in the said City & bounded South by Duke of Gloucester Street, West by the Barziza lot, North by the lot of said Barziza & Ro: F Cole & East by lot belonging to the Estate of the late Ro: Anderson.4
This definitely establishes Walthall as owning the Old Printing Office portion of Lot #48, as Philip Barziza owned Lot #47 to the west. 5 67. It also indicates that Robert Anderson's estate still owned the central and eastern front portion of Lot #48.
A late resident of Williamsburg, who recalled the town ca. 1861, stated that one end of the old Printing Office was occupied as a shoeshop, and the other end as a grocery and dram-shop at about the time of the War Between the States:
Mrs. Victoria Lee, a late inhabitant of Williamsburg, also described the town as she recalled it ca. 1861, mentioning this area as follows:
On the southwest corner of the square bounded by Duke of Gloucester, Nicholson, Colonial, and Botetourt (site of present Pitt-Dixon House] there was a long rambling two story, frame dwelling ...
To the east of the house just described and separated from it by a narrow alley, was a very old story and a half frame house with dormer windows and two doors opening on Duke of Gloucester Street, and on a level with it. Tradition has it... that the first newspaper to publish the Declaration of Independence was printed in this house. The front doors were on a level with the street, and the back door was about ten feet from the ground. At this point the back-bone of this peninsula seems to have been intersected by a ravine running north and south, and it is plainly seen that Duke of Gloucester Street is filled in here, and a retaining wall built from the western to the eastern side of this depression, along which now runs a railing to protect pedestrians from injury.
The old house referred to was used, in the writer's day, one end for a shoe shop and the other for a grocery and dram shop. The retaining wall extended, within the writer's memory, about two feet above the sidewalk and was used as a loafers' retreat ... every ... house on this square, was burned in the big fire which occurred about thirty years ago, known as the Harris fire.1
A small, frame building, used as a shop, stood on the site of the present furniture store. Just west of this building was a frame, story and a half 68. house, also used as a shop. In 1862, a Hebrew by the name of Mordecai Hofheimer ran this shop. It may be that there were two shops between Hofheimer's store and the "Widow's Retreat" [site of present "Pitt-Dixon House"] but after seventy years I can't be sure. However, I am sure that if there were buildings there, they were both small and a story and a half high. A shoe shop was kept by Mr. Walthall in one of these buildings - the one furthest west, i.e. the one nearest the "Widow's Retreat."
On the corner of this block, that is on the site of Ned Debrick's [Debriss'] house which was wrecked a year or so ago, was a very long house, which Mr. Sidney Smith used to call "Widow's Retreat," because it was occupied by four widows [site of present Pitt-Dixon House]. This was a story and a half building with four entrances opening onto Duke of Gloucester street ... 1
Joseph Walthall2 or his estate owned the Old Printing Office portion of Lot #48 until his widow, Susan A. Walthall, sold it to Delia A. Braithwaite in 1892. In 1891, Delia A. Braithwaite (wife of William H. Braithwaite) had purchased the eastern front portion of Lot #48 from J. W. Morris, trustee for Samuel and Ann Smith, who had bought it from Robert A. Lively in 1886. Lively bought this portion of the lot in 1881 from commissioners in a suit against Robert Anderson's estate. The deeds concerning transfers of these portions of Lot #48 follow:
Commissioner Old to Lively - 1881] [Whereas by a decree entered June 29, 1880 in the Chancery Court of Richmond in a suit between the Dismal Swamp Land Company and others and Robert Anderson's personal representatives and others, William W. Old and H. C. Cabell were appointed special commissioners to sell Robert Anderson's property at public auction, and certain Williamsburg lots were offered for sale on July 8, 1881, and R. A. Lively was purchaser at this sale of a lot for the sum of $100.50]69.
"... Now therefore this Deed, Witnesseth: That for and in consideration of... One hundred 50/100 Dollars... the said Wm. W. Old... doth grant... unto the said R. A. Lively... A Certain lot or parcel of land in the said City of Williamsburg lying on the North Side of the Main or Duke of Gloucester Street described in the said above recited decree of sale as lot No. 7 and as fronting on the said Main or Duke of Gloucester Street forty Nine feet, and running back One hundred and forty Eight feet and adjoining the lot of J. M. Walthall ... "1
Lively to Edloe & Potts - 1882]
This Deed made this 11th of July 1882. between R. A. Lively & Florence E. his Wife of the first part and James W. Edloe & George W. Potts of the second part... That for and in Consideration of the Sum of Twenty Dollars the parties of the first part do Sell unto the parties of the Second part: all their right title & interest in a certain lot of land... measuring on the front (Main Street) ten (10) feet, and the same on the rear, and running back 150 ft. more or less, and bounded as follows Viz: on the South by Main Street on the North by the lot of Ro. F. Cole; on the East by the property recently sold to the parties of the Second part (under a Certain Contract) by the parties of the first part and also by the property of Isaac Hofheimer, and on the West by R. A. Lively's ...2
Lively to Smith - 1886]
This deed made this 12th day of May 1886 between Robt A. Lively and Florence E. Lively his wife of the County of York of the first part and Samuel Smith, of the City of Williamsburg of the second part Witnesseth, That for and in consideration of the sum of One hundred and seventy five dollars $175.00/100 in hand 70. paid... the said Robt A. Lively and Florence E. his wife do grant with general warranty, unto the said Samuel Smith a certain lot of land in the City of Williamsburg, bounded as follows - South by Main St. North by R. F. Cole's lot. East by James W. Edloes lot and west by Joseph M. Walthalls lot. This lot of land is a portion of lot No. 7 bought of W. W. Old Spl. Comr in the suit of "The Dismal Swamp Land Co. & others vs Andersons per: rep: & others" This lot is supposed to be thirty nine (39 feet) feet more or less on the front (Main St.) and running back one hundred and fifty Eight (158 feet) More or less.1
Smith to Braithwaite - 1891]71.
This Deed made this 31st day of January 1891 between J. W. Morris trustee of the first part and Delia A. Braithwaite wife of Wm H. Braithwaite of the second part Witnesseth that whereas Samuel Smith & Ann his wife did on the 4th day of April 1889 convey to the said J. W. Morris as trustee a certain lot of land in the City of Williamsburg to secure Brinkley [or Brailseen?] & Beaman a debt therein mentioned & default having been made in the payment therein secured: And whereas the said J. W. Morris being so required by the creditors therein secured did after due advertisement expose the said lot at public auction, at which said auction Delia A. Braithwaite, ... was the highest bidder at the price of Five hundred & fifty dollars which has been paid in cash - Now therefore this deed witnesseth that the said party of the first part doth grant with special warranty to the said party of the second part all that certain lot of land fronting 39 feet on Main or Duke of Gloucester Street & running back 158 feet between parallel lines North & South & more accurately described in the said deed of Samuel Smith & Ann his wife & duly recorded in the Clerks Office of the City of Williamsburg... Deed Book No. 2 page 187... [See above]2
Walthall to Braithwaite - 1892]
This Deed made this 10th day of September... 1892 between Susan A. Walthall of the City of Williamsburg... of the first part and Delia A. Braithwaite of the said City... of the second part - Witnesseth that in consideration of the sum of Two hundred and twenty five dollars in hand paid the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged the said Susan A. Walthall doth grant unto the said Delia A. Braithwaite with general warranty all that lot of land with the buildings thereon situated in the City of Williamsburg known as the "Walthall Store Lot" bounded as follows, on the North by the lot of R. R. Cole: on the East by the property now occupied by the said Delia A. Braithwaite: on the South by Duke of Gloucester Street: and on the West by the property of Edward Debress.1
In 1896, there were two buildings on the Duke of Gloucester Street portion of Lot #48 owned by Mrs. Braithwaite - the Old Printing Office to the west, and a storehouse to the east. We do not know when the building to the east was erected. Both buildings burned in April, 1896, in a fire which destroyed all of the buildings on the block. Mr. John S. Charles, the late resident of Williamsburg who described the Old Printing Office ca. 1861, also described the other buildings in the block which were destroyed in this fire:
[See p. 67 for reference to Old Printing Office and "Pitt-Dixon House"] there was only one other house on this square fronting on the Duke of Gloucester street, and that was a very long two story frame building2 just east of the depression referred to. This house had a store in the front part and rooms in the rear and upstairs were used as a dwelling.
On the S. E. corner of the Duke of Gloucester and Botetourt streets there were towering brick gables of a big building with two sets of semicircular stone steps. 3 Those walls are distinctly 72. remembered by the writer. They were pulled down about 1870 and a big frame house was erected on the site. The only dwelling that stood on this square, facing on Nicholson street, was a two story wooden dwelling1 that stood in the valley. This along with every other house on this square, was burned in the big fire which occurred about thirty years ago, known as the Harris fire.2
The following account of the fire of 1896 appeared in the Virginia Gazette3 for April 25, 1896:
TEN HOUSES BURNED SUNDAY.
About 3 a.m. Sunday, the people were aroused from their slumbers by the cry of fire, and in an incredibly short time nearly the whole population of the town was at the scene of the conflagration. Those first upon the ground saw the flames bursting from the rear of the frame storehouse of Mrs. Delia Braithwaite. In a few minutes the fire had communicated with the adjoining buildings on either side of Mrs. Braithwaite's house. There being neither water nor aparatas [sic], it was evident that the whole block, including the immense mercantile house of Samuel Harris, must go. A vain attempt was made to save Harris' big building, but seeing the uselessness of further fighting the flames, the town engine being hors de combat, and water scarce, the doors of the establishment were thrown open and the work of removing the goods commenced. A large proportion of the $20,000 stock was saved, though slightly damaged. In the rear were hundreds of feet of lumber, thousands of shingles, 60 barrels of corn, 1300 bushels oats, cord wood, all of which were destroyed, including a warehouse, stables and other outbuildings, with harness, a carriage, etc.
East of Harris' a small frame house of Capt. Lane's was destroyed. Back of Harris' a large frame building belonging to Sheriff M. R. Haraell and one owned by R. R. Cole, went up in the fire.73.
West of where the fire originated the work of destruction was going on. The fire swept everything in its path, and only by heroic work was it stopped at Colonial street. Three houses were destroyed in this space, making a total of ten besides outbuildings.
The largest loser was Samuel Harris, whose loss is certainly not less than $10,000. He carried $2000 insurance on his stock with the Va. Fire and Marine. Ned Debris, colored, had no insurance and is a heavy loser. Jim Wilkinson, colored, house burned, no insurance. Mrs. Braithwaite lost two houses, on one there was $600. insurance in the Va. State, and on her goods $2000 in Lloyd's. On the building of J. A. W. Jones, colored, was $500. in Va. State. The Hofheimer building was insured for $500. in Va. Fire and Marine. All the other houses were not insured. The net loss was nearly $15,000.
The origin of the fire is a mystery, but is supposed to have been caused by rats and matches or by spontaneous combustion. Had the fire engine been in working order the flames might have been arrested before they reached Harris', but nothing could have saved the others. The citizens and students worked heroically to save goods and buildings.
Misses Virginia and Ruth, two young daughters of Mrs. Braithwaite, who were asleep over the store,1 were awakened by a colored boy throwing a shoe through the window into their room. They had to jump from a shed into the street and in doing so Miss Ruth sprained her ankle. Billie Williams, a well known character [sic] about town, and several sick colored people, were carried from their beds the former in a lordly state of intoxication as usual.
THEY WILL REBUILD.
Samuel Harris win rebuild at once. The new building will be 50 x 100 ft. two stories high, with gallery. He expects to be in his new establishment, which will be of frame and up to date in every particular, within three months. In the meantime he will be found at Teiser's old stand. He feels very grateful to the people of Williamsburg and to the students for their help in saving his goods, and for expressions of sympathy.
Mrs. Braithwaite will build a handsome two story frame house on her old site. Others will either sell or rebuild. It is to be hoped attractive houses will adorn what was formerly an eye-sore to the town.
In 1897, the year after the fire, Mrs. Delia Braithwaite1 deeded her part of Lot #48 to two of her children, William B. and Virginia Bruce Braithwaite:
[Braithwaite to Braithwaite - Consideration $5.00 October 13, 1897]
… the said Delia A. Braithwaite party of the first part doth grant unto the said William B. Braithwaite and Virginia Bruce Braithwaite parties of the second part with General Warranty, all that certain lot or parcel of land, situate on the North side of Main or Duke of Gloucester Street... and bounded as follows. North by the lot now owned by R. R. Cole: East by lot now owned by John A. W. Jones: South by Main or Duke of Gloucester Street and West by lot now owned by Edward Debress, the lot or parcel of land hereby conveyed embraces the lot of land purchased by the said Delia A. Braithwaite, from J. W. Morris.. trustee, on the 31st day of January 1891 and the lot of land purchased by the said Delia A. Braithwaite from Susan A. Walthall on the 10th day of September 1892, Deeds for these purchases are duly recorded in Williamsburg Deed Book No. 2 respectively at pages 490 and 491…2
A large new store building was erected on the above part of Lot #48, where Mrs. Braithwaite and her son and daughter, William B. and Virginia Bruce Braithwaite kept a store - selling a great variety of items, including coffins. William B. had a bicycle repair shop in part of the building.3 75. After Mrs. Delia Braithwaite's death, there was litigation concerning her estate, which resulted in a sale of some of her property, including the portion of Lot #48 which she had deeded to William B. and Virginia Bruce Braithwaite in 1897. 1 Virginia Bruce Braithwaite by that time married to Leffered M. A. Haughwout, purchased the part of Lot #48 and the store for $6000 by deed dated August 11, 1920:
THIS DEED, made the 11th day of August, 1920, between ... Special Commissioners... parties of the first part, and Virginia Braithwaite Haughwout... party of the second part...
WHEREAS, pursuant to the decree aforesaid [decree of Circuit Court of the City of Williamsburg... 15th day of June.. 1920.. the Special Commissioners] did on the 9th day of August, 1920, offer for sale at public auction in front of the courthouse door... the property hereinafter set forth and described; and Whereas, at said sale the said Virginia Braithwaite Haughwout, being the highest bidder therefore, became the purchaser of the property... for the sum of six thousand ($6000.00) dollars...
ALL that certain lot or parcel of land, together with the buildings and improvements thereon, situated on the North side of Main or Duke of Gloucester Street... bounded as follows: North by lot now owned by R. R. Cole; East by lot now owned by John A.W. Jones; South by Main or Duke of Gloucester Street and West by lot now owned by Edward Debress, the lot... hereby conveyed embracing the lot of land purchased by the said Delia A. Braithwaite from J. W. Morris, Trustee. On the 31st day of January 1891, and the lot... purchased by the said Delia A. Braithwaite from Sarah A. Walthall on the 10th day of September 1892, being the same property conveyed by Delia A. Braithwaite to William B. Braithwaite and Virginia Bruce Braithwaite by deed dated October 13, 1897 ... 2
The store on this property was destroyed by fire in the early 1920's. Mrs. Virginia Braithwaite Haughwout owns the site today - her property now extending back to the Nicholson Street line.
There is a gap in our information concerning the back or Nicholson Street part of Lot #48, on which William Hunter erected a house for his mother, Mrs. Reynolds, ca. 1777. As far as we can discover, the property belonged to Thomas Sands ca. 1817;1 but we do not know how he used or when he disposed of it. Sands owned several other lots in Williamsburg for some years; but we can identify no transfer of property from Sands as this portion of Lot #48. This part of the lot had come into the possession of Robert F. Cole, son of Jesse Cole, by 1882 (see deeds to front portion of Lot #48 cited on pages 69 and 70). Robert F. Cole inherited his father's estate2; and his son, Edward P. Cole, evidently inherited this Nicholson Street portion of Lot #48 from Robert F. Cole.3 In January, 1891, Edward P. Cole, deeded a number of lots to his brother Robert R. Cole, among them this property:
THIS DEED, made this Sixth day of January...  between Edward P. Cole and Florence Cole his wife ... and Robert B. [sic - later changed to Robert R.] Cole... Witnesseth, that in consideration of the conveyance of certain real estate in the said City of Williamsburg... 77. whereof the late R. F. Cole died seized and possessed... and of the sum of five dollars by the said Robert R. Cole to the said Edward P. Cole in hand paid... the said Edward P. Cole... doth grant and release unto the said Robert R Cole, the following... lots of land, to wit:...1
Also all that certain other piece or parcel of land... commonly known as the "Pryor Lot" and bounded as follows. North by Nicholson Street, South by the lot of John A. Jones West by the property of Edward Debress & West by the property of Samuel Harris ...
In 1906, R. R. Cole's administrator sold this property to Mrs. Delia A. Braithwaite for $250:
THIS DEED, made this twenty-seventh day of March... between H.N. Philips, Administrator... of R. R. Cole, deceased, ... and Delia A. Braithwaite...
WHEREAS, R. R. Cole, late of the County of James City, now deceased, was, in his lifetime, lawfully seized in fee simple of a certain lot, piece or parcel of land situate... in the City of Williamsburg... commonly known as the "Pryor" lot, and bounded as follows: On the North by Nicholson Street, on the East by the property of Arthur D. Harris, formerly belonging to Samuel Harris; and on the South and West by the property of William B. and Virginia B. Braithwaite, which said land was conveyed to the said R. R. Cole... by deed from Edward P. Cole... bearing date on the 6th day of January, 1891...
NOW THIS DEED, THEREFORE, WITNESSETH: That the said H. N. Phillips... for ... ($250.00)... paid by the said Delia A. Braithwaite... doth... grant... unto the said Delia A. Braithwaite... all of the above described lot...2
We have found no information on the "Pryor" connection with this property. Possibly the Pryors leased it from the Cole family. The name did not appear on land tax list up to 1861. 3 C.J.D. Pryor, of Alabama, announced the opening of a Male & Female Seminary in Williamsburg in January, 1854. 478.
In his "Recollections of Williamsburg" ca. 1861, Mr. John S. Charles mentioned "a two story wooden dwelling that stood in the valley," as the "only dwelling that stood on this square, facing on Nicholson Street."1 If this was the house built for Mrs. Reynolds ca. 1777, it burned in the fire of 1896. In the newspaper account of the fire it was stated that at the back of Samuel Harris' property "a large frame building belonging to Sheriff M. R. Harrell and one owned by R. R. Cole, went up in the fire."2 As noted, this part of the lot was purchased by Mrs. Delia A. Braithwaite, and now belongs to Mrs. Haughwout. It was also described in the Chancery Court Order of June 15, 1920, which necessitated the sale of some of Mrs. Delia A. Braithwaite's property as:
Third: A certain lot... commonly known as the Pryor lot, and bounded as follows: On the North by Nicholson Street; on the East by the property of Arthur D. Harris formerly belonging to Samuel Harris, and on the south and west by the property of William B. and Virginia B. Braithwaite which said land was conveyed to the said R. R. Cole in his lifetime, by deed from Edward P. Cole... bearing date on the 6th day of January, 1891 ...3
In 1927, Dr. W.A.R. Goodwin purchased property to the east of the Haughwout property for the Williamsburg Restoration. The property, including a strip of the western part of the original Lot #48, was described in the deed as follows;
All that certain lot... situate... on the north side of Duke of Gloucester Street, and bounded and described as follows: On the north by Nicholson Street and a part of the old Cole lot; east by the Hofheimer lot, now the property of W. A. R. Goodwin; south by Duke of Gloucester 79. Street.; and, west by the Braithwaite property now owned by Mrs Virginia B. Haughwout. Being the same property conveyed to the said Robert Cary Gary by Norvell L. Henley, Trustee and W. A. Bozarth by deed dated September 3rd, 1907, and recorded in D. B. #5, at page 167.1
Excavations in recent years on Lot #48 (the parts owned by Mrs. Haughwout and by the Williamsburg-Restoration) indicate buildings as follows: A building in the southwestern corner, with a smaller building behind it; a building in the southeastern corner with a smaller building behind it; and a building in the northeastern corner - the Nicholson Street end of the lot - with outbuildings behind it. A scale drawing2 showing these foundations and also the buildings indicated on the "Frenchman's Map" of ca. 1782 may be seen opposite the SUMMARY at the front of this report.
Mary GoodwinSeptember, 1952
Note: In Denis Diderot's ENCYCLOPÉDIE, OU DICTIONNAIRE RAISONNÉ DES SCIENCES, DES ARTS, ET DES MÉTIERS, Vol. IV (Neufchastel: 1765), pages 70-77, there is an article on Relieure, or Bookbinding. Illustrations of this craft appear in Volume X of Diderot's RECUEIL DE PLANCHES, SUR LES SCIENCES, LES ARTS LIBERAUX, ET LES ARTS MÉCHANIQUES. Unfortunately this volume is missing from the set of Diderot at the William & Mary College Library. If desired, photostats can be ordered form the Library of Congress.
[From A NEW AND COMPLETE DICTIONARY OF ARTS AND SCIENCES; COMPREHENDING ALL THE BRANCHES OF USEFUL KNOWLEDGE. London: Printed for W. Owen, at Homer's Head, in Fleet-street, 1763. Vol. I, page 348.]
BOOK-BINDING, the art of gathering and sewing together the sheets of a book, and covering it with a back, &ca. It is performed thus: the leaves are first folded with a folding-stick, and laid over each other in the order of the signature; then beaten on a stone with a hammer, to make them smooth, and open well, and afterwards pressed. While in the press they are sewed upon bands, which are pieces of cord or pack-thread; six bands to a folio book, five to a quarto, octavo, $0, which is done by drawing a thread thro' the middle of each sheet, and giving it a turn round each band, beginning with the first, and proceeding to the last. After this the books are glued, and the bands open and scraped, for the better fixing the paste-boards; the back is turned with a hammer, and the book fixed in a press between two boards, in order to make a groove for fixing the paste-boards; these being applied, holes are made for fixing them to the book, which is pressed a third time. Then the book is at last put to the cutting-press, betwixt two boards, the one lying even with the press, for the knife to run upon, the other above it, for the knife to run against: after which the paste-boards are squared.
The next operation is the sprinkling the leaves of the book, which is done by dipping a brush into vermilion and sap-green, holding the brush in one hand, and spreading the hair with the other; by which motion the edges of the leaves are sprinkled in a regular manner, without any spots being bigger than the others.
Then remains the covers, which are either of calf-skin, or of sheep-skin; these being moistened in water, are cut out to the size of the book, then smeared over with paste, made of wheat flour, and afterwards stretched over the paste-board, on the outside, and doubled over the edges withinside; after having first taken off the four angles, and indented and platted the cover at the head-band: which done, the book is covered, and bound firmly between two bands, and then set to dry. Afterwards it is washed over with a little paste and water, and then sprinkled fine with a brash, unless it should be marbled; when the spots are to be made larger by mixing the ink with vitriol. After this the book is glazed twice, with the white of an egg beaten, and at last polished with a polishing-iron passed hot over the glazed cover.
[From A NEW AND COMPLETE DICTIONARY OF ARTS AND SCIENCES; COMPREHENDING ALL THE BRANCHES OF USEFUL KNOWLEDGE. London: Printed for W. Owen, at Homer's Head, in Fleet-street, 1763. Vol. I, pages 348-349]
BOOKSELLER, one who trades in books, whether he prints them himself, or gives them to be printed by others.
Booksellers are in many places ranked among the members of universities, and entitled to the privilege of students, as at Tubingen, Salisburg, and Paris, where they have always been distinguished from the vulgar and mechanical traders, and exempted from divers taxes and impositions laid upon other companies.
The traffic of books was antiently very inconsiderable, in so much, that the book-merchants both of England, France, and Spain, and other countries, were distinguished by the appellation of stationers, as having no shops, but only stalls and stands in the streets. During this state, the civil magistrates took little notice of the booksellers, leaving the government of them to the universities, to whom they were supposed more immediate retainers; who accordingly gave them laws and regulations, fixed prices on their books, examined their correctness, and punished them at discretion.
But when, by the invention of printing, books and booksellers began to multiply, it became a matter of more consequence, and the sovereigns took the direction of them into their own hands; giving them new statutes, appointing officers to fix prices, and grant licences, privileges, &c.
Authors frequently complain of the arts of booksellers. Lord Shaftsbury gives us the process of a literary controversy blown up by booksellers. The publication of books depend much on the taste and disposition of booksellers.
Among the german writers, we find perpetual complaints of the difficulty of procuring booksellers: many are forced to travel to the book fairs at Frankfort or Leipsic, to find booksellers to undertake the impression of their works.
[From A NEW AND COMPLETE DICTIONARY OF ARTS AND SCIENCES; COMPREHENDING ALL THE BRANCHES OF USEFUL KNOWLEDGE. London: Printed for W. Owen, at Homer's Head, in Fleet-street, 1763. Vol. II, pages 1327-1328]
Letter FOUNDERY, or Casting of printing letters. The first thing requisite is to prepare good steel-punches, on the face of which is drawn the exact shape of the letter with pen and ink, if the letter be large, or with a smooth blunted point of a needle, if small; and then, with proper gravers, the cutter digs deep between the strokes, letting the marks stand on the punch; the work of hollowing being generally regulated by the depth of the counter punch: then he files the outside, till it is fit for the matrice.
They have a mould to justify the matrices by, which consists of an upper and under part, both which are alike, except the stool and spring behind, and a small roundish wire in the upper part, for making the nick in the shank of the letter. These two parts are exactly fitted into each other, being a male and female gage, to slide backwards and forwards...
Then they justify the mould, by casting about twenty samples of letters, which are set in a composing-stick, with the nicks towards the right hand; and comparing these every way with the pattern-letters, set up in the same manner, they find the exact measure of the body to be cast.
Next they prepare the matrix, which is of brass or copper, an inch and a half long, and of a proportionable thickness to the size of the letter it is to contain. In this metal is sunk the face of the letter, by striking the letter-punch the depth of an n. After this, the sides and face of the matrice are justified, and cleared, with files, of all bunchings that have been made by sinking the punch.
Then it is brought to the furnace, which is built upright of brick with four square sides, and a stone at top, in which is a hole for the pan to stand in. They have several of these furnaces. ...
Printing-letters are made of lead, hardened with iron or stub-nails. To make the iron run, they mingle an equal weight of antimony, beaten small in an iron mortar, and stub-nails together. They charge a proper number of earthen pots, that bear the fire, with the two ingredients, as full as they can hold, and melt it in an open furnace, built for that purpose. ...
When it bubbles, the iron is then melted, but it evaporates very much. This melted compost is ladled into an iron pot, wherein is melted lead, that is fixed on a furnace close to the former, 3 lb of melted iron to 25 lb of lead; this they incorporate according to art.
The caster taking the pan off the stone, and having kindled a good fire, he sets the pan in again, and metal in it to melt. If it be a small bodied letter, or a thin letter with great bodies, that he intends to cast, his metal must be very hot, and sometimes red hot, to make the letter come. Then taking a ladle, of which he has several sorts, that will hold as much as will make the letter and break, he lays it at the hole where the flame bursts out; then he ties a thin leather, out with its narrow end against the face, to the leather groove of the matrice, by whipping a brown thread twice C about the leather groove, and fastening the thread with a knot. Then he puts both pieces of the mould. together, and the matrice into the matrice-cheek; and places the foot of the matrice on the stool of the mould, and broad end of the leather on the wood of the upper haft of the mould, but not tight up, lest it hinder the foot of the matrice from sinking close down upon the stool, in a train of work. Afterwards laying a little rosin on the upper part of the mould, and having his casting ladle hot, he, with the boiling side, melts the rosin and presses the brad end of the leather hard down on the wood and so fastens it thereto. Now he comes to casting, when placing the under half of the mould in his left hand, with the hook or jag forward, he holds the ends of its wood between the lower part of the ball of his thumb and his three hinder fingers; then he lays the upper half of the mould upon the under half, so as the male gages may fall into the female; and, at the same time, the foot of the matrice places itself upon the stool, and clasping his left hand thumb strongly over the upper half, he nimbly catches hold of the bow or spring, with his right hand fingers at the top of it, and his thumb under it, and places the point of it against the middle of the notch in the backside of the matrice, pressing it forwards as well towards the mould, as downwards, by the shoulder of the notch, close upon the stool, while at the same time with his hinder fingers, as aforesaid, he draws the under half of the mould towards the ball of his thumb, and thrusts, by the ball of his thumb, the upper part towards his fingers, that both the registers of the mould may press against both sides of the matrice, and his thumb and fingers press both sides of the mould close together.
Then he takes the handle of his ladle in his right hand, and with the ball of it gives two or three strokes outwards upon the surface of the melted metals to clear it of the scum; then he takes up the ladle full, and having the mould in the left hand, turns his left side a little from the furnace, and brings the geat of his ladle to the mouth of the mould; and turns the ugh part-of his right hand towards him, to pour the metal into it, while, at the same instant, he puts the mould in his left hand forwards, to receive the metal with a strong shake, not only into the bodies of the mould, but, while the metal is yet hot, into the very face of the matrice, to receive its perfect form there as well as in the shank. Then he takes the upper half of the mould off, by placing his right thumb on the end of the wood next his left thumb, and his two middle fingers at the other end of the wood: he tosses the letter, break and all, out upon a sheet of waste paper, laid on a bench, a little beyond his left hand; and then is ready to cast another letter, as before, and likewise the whole number in that matrix.
Then, boys, commonly employed for this purpose; separate the breaks from the shanks and rub them on a stone, and after-wards a man cuts them all of an even-heights which finishes the fount for the use of the printer. See the next article. A workman will ordinarily cast 3000 of these letters in a day. The perfection of letters thus cast, consists in their being all severally square and straight on every side; and all generally of the same height, and evenly lined; without stooping one way or other; neither too big in the foot, nor the head; well grooved, so as the two extremes of.the foot contain half the body of the letter; and well ground, barbed, and scraped, with a sensible notch, &c. See the article PRINTING.
[From A NEW AND COMPLETE DICTIONARY OF ARTS AND SCIENCES; COMPREHENDING ALL THE BRANCHES OF USEFUL KNOWLEDGE.. London: Printed for W. Owen, at Homer's Head, in Fleet-street, 1754. Vol. III, pages 1887-1888]
LETTER, a character used to express one of the simple sounds of the voice; and as the different simple sounds are expressed by different letters, these, by being differently compounded, become the visible signs or characters of all the modulations and mixtures of sounds used to express our ideas in a regular language. Thus, as by the help of speech, we render our ideas audible; by the assistance of letters we render them visible, and by their help we can wrap up our thoughts, and send them to the most distant parts of the earth, and read the transactions of different ages. As to the first letters, what they were, who first invented them, and among what people they were first in use, there is still room to doubt: Philo attributes this great and noble invention to Abraham; Josephus, St. Irenaeus, and others, to Enoch; Bibliander, to Adam; Eusebius, Clemens Alexandrinus, Cornelius Agrippa, and others, to Moses; Pomponius Mela, Herodian, Rufus Festus, Pliny, Lucan, &ca to the Phoenicians; St. Cyprian, to Saturn; Tacitus, to the Egyptians; some, to the Ethiopians; and others, to the Chinese; but, with respect to these last, they can never be entitled to this honour, since all their characters are the signs of words, formed without the use of letters; which renders it impossible to read and write their language, without a vast expence of time and trouble; and absolutely impossible to print it by the help of types, or any other manner but by engraving, or cutting in wood. See the article PRINTING.
Letters make the first part or elements of grammar; an assemblage. of these compose syllables and words, and these compose sentences. The alphabet of every language consists of a number of letters, which ought each to have a different sound, figure, and use. …
Grammarians distinguish letters into vowels, consonants, mutes, liquids, diphthongs, and characteristics. They are also divided into labial, dental, guttural, and palatal. See the articles LABIAL, DENTAL, &c. And into capital and small letters. They are also denominated frog the shape and turn of the letters; and in writing are distinguished into different lands, as round texts german-text, round-hand, italian, &c. and in printing, into roman, italic, and black letter. The term letter, or type among printers, not only includes the Capitals, and small Capitals, and small letters, but all the points, figures, and other marks, cast and used in printing; and also the large ornamental letters, cut in wood or metal, which take place of the illumined letters used in manuscripts. The letters used in printing are cast at the ends of small pieces of metal, about three quarters of an inch in length; and the letter being not indented, but raised, easily gives the impression, when, after being blacked with a glutinous ink, paper is closely pressed upon it. See the articles PRINTING and TYPE. A fount of letters includes small letters, capitals, small capitals, points, figures, spaces, &c. but besides these they have different kinds of two-lined letters, only used for titles, and the beginning of books, chapters, &c.
[From A NEW AND COMPLETE DICTIONARY OF ARTS AND SCIENCES; COMPREHENDING ALL THE BRANCHES OF USEFUL KNOWLEDGE. London: Printed for W. Owen, at Homer's Head, in Fleet-street, 1754. Vol. III, pages 2541-2545]
PRINTER, a person who composes and takes impressions from moveable characters ranged in order, or front-plates engraven, by means of ink, and a press; or from blocks of wood cut in flowers, &c. and taken off in various colours on calicoes, linnens, silks, &c.
The most curious of these arts, and that which deserves the most particular explication is the first; for to the printers of books are chiefly owing our deliverance from ignorance and error, the progress of learning, the revival of the sciences, and numberless improvements in arts, which without this noble invention would have been either lost to mankind, or confined to the knowledge of a few. The first printers were Guttenberg, Fast, Schoeffer, Mental, and Koster; and the first who practised this art in England was Fred. Corseilles, who brought it over from Harlem, in the reign of king Henry VI. The great printers famous for the correctness and elegance of their works, were Aldus, and Paulus Manutius; the two Bodii; William and Frederic Morel; Oporin; Frobenius; Robert Henry, and Charles Stephens; Gryphius, Turnebus, Torres, Commelin, Plantin, Raphelengius, Vascosan, Bleau, Crispin, and the two Elzevirs; and among these, the learned printers were the Manutii, the Stephenses, the Bodii, Turnebus, Morel, &c. Plantin had the title of architypographus, or arch-printer, given him by the king of Spain in consideration of his printing the polyglot of Antwerp. The printers of Germany, &c. generally cast their own letter, and sell their own books: these are in many places ranked among the members of universities, and entitled to the privilege of students: in England, they are esteemed a part of the company of stationers and booksellers. See BOOKSELLER.
PRINTING, the art of taking impressions from characters or figures moveable, or immovable, on paper, linnen, silk, &c. There are three kinds of printing, the one from moveable letters for books; the other from copper-plates for pictures; and the last from blocks in which the representation of birds, flowers, &c. are cut for printing calicoes, linnens, &c. the first, called common press-printing, the second rolling press-printing, and the last calicoe, &a. printing. The principal difference between the three consists in this, that the first is cast in relievo in distinct pieces, the second engraven in creux, and the third cut in relievo, and generally stamped, by placing the block upon the materials to be printed and striking upon the back of it.F1
Method of PRINTING. The printing-letters or types, as they are sometimes called, we have already taken notice of, and have described the method of forming and casting them under the articles LETTER and LETTER-FOUNDERY.
The workmen employed in the art of printing are of two kinds; compositors, who range and dispose the letters into words, lines, pages, &c. according to the copy delivered them by the author; and pressmen, who apply ink upon the same, and take off the impression. The types being cast, the compositor distributes each kind by itself among the divisions of two wooden frames, an upper and an under one, called cases; each of which is divided into little cells or boxes. Those of the upper case are in number ninety-eight; these are all of the same size, and in them are disposed the capitals, small-capitals, accented letters, figures, &a, the capitals being placed in alphabetical order. In the cells of the lower case, which are fifty-four, are placed the cm:Al letters with the points, spaces, &c. The boxes are here of different sizes, the largest being for the letters most used; and these boxes are not in alphabetical order, but the cells which contain the letters oftenest wanted, are nearest the compositor's hand. Each case is placed a little aslope, that the compositor may the more easily reach the upper boxes. The instrument in which the letters are set is called a composing-stick, see plate CCX. fig. 3. no2, which consists of a long and narrow plate of brass or iron, &c. c c, on the right side of which arises a ledge bb, which runs the whole length of the plate, and serves to sustain the letters, the sides of which are to rest against it: along this ledge is a row of holes which serve for introducing the screw f, in order to lengthen or shorten the extent of the line, by moving the sliders e, d, farther from, or nearer to the short ledge at the end a. Where marginal notes are required in a work, the two sliding-pieces e, d, are opened to a proper distance from each other; in such a manner as that while the distance between d and c forms the length of the line in the text, the distance between the two sliding-pieces forms the length of the lines for the notes on the side of the page. Before the compositor proceeds to compose, he puts a rule, or thin slip of brass-plate, cut to the length of the line, and of the same height as the letter, in the composing stick, against the ledge, for the letter to bear against. Things thus prepared, the compositor having the copy lying before him, and his stick in his left-hand, his thumb being over the slider d; with the right, he takes up the letters, spaces, &c. one by one, and places them against the rule, while he supports them with his left thumb by pressing them to the end of the slider d; the other hand being constantly employed in setting in more letters: the whole being performed with a degree of expedition and address not easy to be imagined.
A line being thus composed, if it end with a word or syllable, and exactly fill the measure, there needs no farther care; otherwise more spaces are to be put in, or H else the distances lessened between the several words, in order to make the measure quite full; so that every line may end even. The spaces here used are pieces of metal exactly shaped like the shanks of the letters; these are of various thicknesses, and serve to support the letters, and to preserve a proper distance between the words; but not reaching so high as the letters, they make no impression when the work is printed. The first line being thus finished, the compositor proceeds to the next; in order to which he moves the brass-rule from behind the former, and places it before it, and thus composes another line against it, after the same manner as before: going on thus till his stick is full, when he empties all the lines contained in it into the gaily. See the article GALLY. The compositor then fills and empties his composing-stick, as before, till a complete page be formed, when he ties it up with a cord or pack-thread, and setting it by, proceeds to the next, till the number of pages to be contained in a sheet is completed: which done, he carries them to the imposing-stone, there to be ranged in order, and fastened together in a frame called a chase, and this is termed imposing. The chase is a rectangular iron-frame, of different dimensions, according to the size of the paper to be printed, having two cross pieces of the same metal, called a long and short cross, mortised at each end so as to be taken out occasionally. By the different situation of these crosses the chase is fitted for different volumes: for quartos and octavos, one traverses the middle lengthwise, the other broadwise, so as to intersect each other in the center: for twelves and twenty fours, the short cross is shifted nearer to one end of the chase: for folios, the long cross is left entirely out, and the short one left in the middle; and for broad-sides, both crosses are set aside. To dress the chase, or range and fix the pages therein, the compositor makes use of a set of furniture, consisting of slips of wood of different dimensions, and about half an inch high, that they may be lover than the letters: some of these are placed at the top of the pages, and called head-sticks; others between them to form the inner margin; others on the sides of the crosses to form the outer margin, where the paper is to be doubled; and others in the form of wedges to the sides and bottom of the pages. Thus all the pages being placed at their proper distances, and secured from being injured by the chase and furniture placed about them, they are all untied, and fastened together by driving small pieces of wood called quoins, cut in the wedge-form, up between the slanting side of the foot and side sticks and the chase, by means of a piece of hard wood and a mallet, and all being thus bound fast together, so that none of the letters will fall out, it is ready to be committed to the pressman. In this condition the work is called a form; and as there are two of these forms required for every sheet, when both sides are to be printed, it is necessary the distances between the pages in each form should be placed with such exactness, that the impression of the pages in one form shall fall I exactly on the back of the pages of the other, which is called register.
As it is impossible but that there must be some mistakes in the work, either through the oversight of the compositor, or by the casual transposition of letters in the cases; a sheet is printed off, which is called a proof, and given to the corrector; who reading it over, and rectifying it by the copy, by making the alterations in the margin, it is delivered back to the compositor to be corrected. For the characters used in correcting a sheet for the compositor, see CORRECTION.
The compositor, then unlocking the form upon the correcting-stone, by loosening the quoins or wedges which bound the letters together, rectifies the mistakes by picking out the faulty or wrong letters with a slender sharp-pointed steel-bodkin, and puts others into their places; but when there are considerable alterations, and particularly where insertions or omissions are to be made, he is under a necessity of over-running. Thus, if one or more words to be inserted in a line cannot be got in, by changing the spaces of a line for lesser ones, part of the line must be put back into the close of the preceding one, or forward into the beginning of the subsequent one, and this continued till the words are got in. After this another proof is made, sent to the author, and corrected as before; and, lastly, there is another proof, called a revise, which is made in order to see whether all the mistakes marked in the last proof are corrected.
The pressman's business is to work off the forms thus prepared and corrected by the compositor; in doing which there are four things required, paper, ink, balls, and a press. To prepare the paper for use, it-is to first wetted by dipping several sheets together in water: these are afterwards laid in a heap over each other; and to make them take the water equally, they are all pressed close down with a weight at the top. The ink is made of oil and lamp-black, for the manner of preparing which, tee the article Printing INK.
The balls by which the ink is applied on the forms, are a kind of wooden funnels with handles, the cavities of which are filled with wool or hair, as is also a piece of alma-leather or pelt nailed over the cavity, and made extremely soft by soaking in urine, and by being well rubbed. One of these the pressman takes In each hand, and applying one of them to the ink-block, dabbs and works them together to distribute the ink equally, and then blackens the form which is placed an the press, by beating with the balls upon the face of the letter.
The printing-press represented in plate CCX. fig. 3. no1. is a very curious though complex machine; the body consists of two strong cheeks aa, placed perpendicularly, and joined together by four cross-pieces; the cap b; the head c, which is moveable, being partly sustained by two iron-pins, or long bolts; that pass the cap; the shelves dd, which serve to keep steady a part called the hose, and the winter e, which bears the carriage, and sustains the effort of the press beneath. The spindle f is an upright piece J of iron pointed with steel, having a male-screw which goes into the female one in the head about four inches. Through the eye g of this spindle is fastened the bar k, by which the pressman makes the impression. Part of the spindle is inclosed in a square wooden frame called the hose, h and its point works into a brass-pan supplied with oil, which is fixed to an iron-plate let into the top of the platten. At each corner of the hose, there is an iron-hook fastened with pack-thread to those at each corner of the platten i, in such a manner as to keep it perfectly level. The carriage ll is placed afoot below the platten, having its fore-part supported by a prop called the fore-stay, while the other rests on the winter. On this carriage, which sustains the plank, are nailed two long iron-bars or ribs, and on the plank are nailed short pieces of iron or steel called cramp-irons, equally tempered with the ribs, and which slide upon them when the plank is turned in or out. Under the carriage is fixed a long piece of iron called the spit, with a double wheel in the middle, round which leathergirts are fastened, nailed to each end of the plank; and to the outside of the spit is fixed a rounce m, or handle to turn round the wheel. Upon the plank is a square frame or coffin, in which is inclosed a polished stone on which the form n is laid; at the end of the coffin are three frames, viz. the two tympana and frisket: the tympans o are square, and made of three slips of very thin wood, and at the top a piece of iron still thinner; that called the outer tympan is fastened with hinges to the coffin: they are both covered with parchment; and between the two are placed blankets, which are necessary to take off the impression of the letters upon the paper. The frisket p is a square frame of thin iron, fastened with hinges to the tympan; it is covered with paper cut in the necessary places, that the sheet, 'which is put between the frisket and the great or outward tympan, may receive the ink, and that nothing may hurt the margins. To regulate the margins, a sheet of paper is fastened upon this tympan, which is called the tympan-sheet, and on each side is fixed an iron point, which makes two holes in the sheet, which is to be placed on the same points, when the impression is to be made on the other side. In preparing the press for working, the parchment which covers the outer tympan is wetted till it is very soft, in order to render the impression more equable; the blankets are then put in, and secured from slipping by the inner tympan; then while one pressman is beating the letter with the balls q, covered with ink taken from the ink-block: the other person places a sheet of white paper on the tympan-sheet, turns down the frisket upon it to. keep the paper clean and prevent its slipping; then bringing the tympana upon the form, and turning the rounce, he brings the form with the stone, &c. weighing about 300 pounds weight, under the platten; pulls with the bar, by which means the platten presses the blankets and paper close upon the letter, whereby half the form is printed; then easing the bar, he draws the form still forward, gives a second pull, and letting go the bar, turns back the form, takes out the printed sheet and lays on a fresh one; K and this is repeated till he has taken off the impression upon the full number of sheets the edition is to consist of. One side of the sheet being thus printed, the form for the other is laid upon the press, and worked off in the same manner.
The following illustrations are from Volume VII of Plates for Diderot's Encyclopaedia :1RECUEIL DE PLANCHES, SUR LES SCIENCES, LES ARTS LIBERAUX, ET LES ARTS MÉCHANIQUES, AVEC LEUR EXPLICATION. Tom. VII [Paris: 1769. Denis Diderot, ed.]
Under "Imprimerie en caracteres," in Volume VII noted above, there are twelve pages of explanation of the drawings, followed by nineteen engravings. Photostats of
nine11 a of these engravings follow:
A work which must have been invaluable to printers was published in London in 1755 - The Printer's Grammar by John Smith. This work included detailed instructions as to the proper use of types and type ornaments (mentioning William Caslon's types); directions for correcting copy (grammar, punctuation, use of capitalization, italics, etc.); directions for imposing in all sizes (folios, quartos, octavos, twelves, sixteens, eighteens, twenty-fours, etc. up to 112's); directions and illustrated lay-outs for fount cases, etc. Photostats of pages 200-202 from this Grammar, giving directions to Compositors for preparing copy, note the "modern" change of the rule for capitalizing all nouns, and italicizing proper names, follow these notes. The text of the title-page, shows the scope of this work:
THE PRINTER'S GRAMMAR:LONDON: Printed for the Editor; And Sold by W. Owen...MDCCLV.
Wherein are Exhibited, Examined, and Explained,
THE SUPERFICIES, GRADATION, and PROPERTIES OF
The different Sorts and Sizes of METAL TYPES, cast by Letter
Sundry ALPHABETS, of Oriental, and some other Languages; Together with the Chinese Characters: the FIGURES of Mathematical, Astronomical, Musical, and Physical Signs; Jointly with Abbreviations, Contractions, and Ligatures: The Construction of Metal Flowers - Various Tables, and Calculations -Models of different Letter-Cases; Schemes for Casting off Copy, and Imposing; And Many other REQUISITES for attaining a more perfect knowledge both in the
THEORY and PRACTICE of the ART OF PRINTING.
With DIRECTIONS to Authors, Compilers, &c. how to Prepare
Copy, and to Correct their own Proofs.
The Whole Calculated for the Service of All who have any
Concern in the Letter Press.
By JOHN SMITH, Regiom.
In 1787 a new edition of THE PRINTER'S GRAMMAR (printed by L. Wayland and sold by T. Evans) was published. This edition included most of Smith's Grammar, as noted above, with the addition of a "History of Printing"; and of type specimens of Fry and Sons (pages 273-316), and "Practical Directions to Pressmen" (pages 317-369). Concerning the Type Specimens, the editor noted: "Since the first appearance of SMITH'S Printer's Grammar... many very useful improvements have been made in the letter Foundery of Messrs. FRY and Son, which was begun in 1764... The plan on which they first sat out, was an improvement of the Types of the late Mr. BASKERVILLE of Birmingham... But the shape of Mr. CASLON'S Type has since been copied by them with such accuracy as not to be distinguished from those of that celebrated founder." The "Practical Directions to Pressmen" included instructions for building and setting up a press, and all phases of operating a press, including the mixing and grinding of colors. It was stated that "Red is the chief colour that is used with Black in book printing; of Reds there are two sorts in general use, viz; Vermilion and red Lead..." (page 363).
From John Smith's THE PRINTER'S GRAMMAR, London: 1755.
THE PRINTER's GRAMMAR.
[...]when nothing but a close attention to the sense made the subject intelligible.
Pointing, therefore as well as Spelling and Methodizing some Authors Copies being now become part of a Compositor's business, it shews how necessary it is for Master Printers to be deliberate in chusing Apprentices for the Case, and not to fix upon any but such as have either had a liberal education, or at least are perfect in writeing and reading their own language, besides haveing a taste of Latin, and some notion of Greek and Hebrew; and, withal, discover a genius that is capable of being cultivated and improved in such knowlege as contributes to exercise the Art with address and judgment. Had this been always the aim and object of the Planters and Nurses of our Art, Printing would make a more respectable figure, and be more distinguished from mechanical business. But the hopes of gaining by apprentices, makes some (master) printers not concern themselves about capacity, but are contented with a lad that can read in the Bible, whom they think sufficiently qualified to compose Street Pamphlets and Half-peny Volumes. In the mean time the young man is injured: for, being out of his time, he is thrust upon the trade, empty and ignorant of what is required of a good workman. But that we may not go further in this digression, we will return to observing the most material circumstances that come under the consideration of Compositors in pursuing their business.
Having therefore taken notice of the state of our Copy, and knowing into what Heads and Sub-heads the Matter is divided, we fold and place one leaf or more of it before us, and begin our work, with composing as many lines as the length of our pages is to consist of, besides one line more, instead of the direction line; and then we cut a Scabbard or Reglet for a Gage, to measure and to make up all our pages by. But before we actually begin to compose, we should be informed, either by the Author, or Master, after what manner our work is to be done; whether the old way, with Capitals to Substantives, and Italic to Proper names; or after the more neat practice, all in Roman, and Capitals to Proper names, and Emphatical words. Accordingly if the first method is to be observed, we put a Capital letter, not only to all Substantives, but also upon the following occasions; viz.
- 1.After a Full-point, that denotes the conclusion of a Sentence; but not after one that stands for a mark of Abbreviation.
- 2.To proper names of Kingdoms, Provinces, Cities, Mountains, and Rivers; which are put in Italic besides.
- 3.To names of Kingdoms, Provinces, Cities, Mountains, and Rivers; which are put in Italic besides.
- 4.To names of Arts and Sciences; as also of those that profess them.
- 5.To names of Dignity and Quality, whether Ecclesiastical, or Civil.
- 6. To names of Festivals.
- 7.To words that express the Title of the Subject.
On the other hand; if a work is to be done in the more modern and neater way, we pay no regard to put any thing in Italic but what is underscored in our Copy: neither do we drown the beauty of Roman Lower-case Sorts by gracing every Substantive with a Capital; but only such as are Proper names, or are words of particular signification and emphasis.
It being a rule to begin the first page of the work with the nominal part of it, and to set it off conspicuously besides, we consider the size of our work, and chuse a Head-piece for it; which we place at the top of the fist page, and then set the Name of the work, by way of a Half-Title, each line in Letter a size less than we propose to use in the mean Title; which lines we branch out, with suitable distances between, yet so that we secure as much room, at least, as the depth of the Face, besides two lines of Matter after it, does require. But the want of room for all this, sometimes obliges us, either to reduce the Head-piece, or else to contrast the Head it self, and to lessen the Whites between. And because in such cases we are not always provided with Cuts that suit the measure of our work, but are either too long, or too short, we use the following expedient; viz. When the Head-piece of Slip is too long for our measure, we let one half of the excess go into the back, and the other half into the outside of the Margin; by lessening gte Furniture in the back accordingly, to make room for the Cut, yet so that the letter part of the page may have its right Margin; which is given it by running down a Reglet, or Quadrats, of the same mensuration as the [...]
[Notes on WILLIAM PARKS by Mary R. M. Goodwin. From Appendix of her research report on THE PRINTING OFFICE, Block 18 Colonial Lot #48 (1952), 79 pages and Appendix, pp. I-LXII.]
William Parks, printer of Maryland and Virginia, was connected with a printing office in Ludlow, Shropshire, England, in 1719. He is believed to have been a native of Shropshire but, unfortunately, there are few records concerning his early life. According to Mr. Wroth1, the earliest definite reference to Parks yet to be found is in the first issue of The Ludlow Post-Man, or the Weekly Journal, which Parks published in Ludlow, dated October 9, 1719. On March 20, 1719/20, the baptism of "William, son of William Parks and Elianor,"2 was recorded in the Ludlow Parish Register. Several publications printed by Parks in Ludlow in 1719-17203 are still in existence.
In 1721, William Parks was printing in Hereford. One book published in that yearn by "Will. Parks," Hereford is now in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.4 By the summer of 1723, Parks had moved again, and was in the printing business in Reading (Berkshire, England), where the first issue of The Reading Mercury, or Weekly Entertainer, was published by "W. Parks, and D. Kinnier, next Door to the Saracen's Head, in High-street," on July 8, 1723.5
The exact date of Parkes departure from England for America is not known, but he was in Maryland in March, 1726, and possibly earlier. On November 6, 1725, Thomas Bordley, Esq., acquainted the Maryland Assembly that he had "sent for a printer on the Encouragement given him by the Resolves of the House";6 and on March 17, 1725/26, William Parks, printer, presented a petition to the Maryland Assembly for printing the laws of that province. He was appointed public printer for Maryland shortly thereafter.7 On his press at Annapolis he printed the laws of Maryland for 1725/26, and for some years thereafter, and also a number of books.8 Parks started publishing The Maryland Gazette in September, 1727.9ii
In December, 1726, soon after he established his press at Annapolis, Parks petitioned the Virginia Council for the "privilege" of printing the laws of that Colony.1 The matter was "referred till next Council"; but does not seem to have been acted upon until February, 1727/28, when the Governor and Council presented to the House of Burgesses "A petition & Proposals of William Parks for printing a complete body of the Laws of this Colony now in force, and also the Laws to be made hereafter from time to time."2 At that time a committee was appointed to agree with Mr. Parks for printing the laws.3 The publication did not appear, however, until 1733 - after Parks had set up a printing press in Virginia.4
Parks established his press in Williamsburg in 1730 - possibly shortly after he announced in The Maryland Gazette his return from a trip to England5-where he probably went to obtain supplies for his new printing office. He continued to operate his Annapolis press until 1737, although he seems to have moved to Virginia in 1730, and to have left most of the work in Maryland to assistants.6 At least five publications were issued from Parks' Williamsburg press in 1730, and were offered for sale at his printing offices in Annapolis and Williamsburg: The New Tobacco Law passed in May, 1730; The Acts of the Virginia Assembly passed in the May, 1730 session; The Dealer's Pocket Companion, a table of values "of any Commodity"; Governor Gooch's A Charge to the Grand Jury; and J. Markland's Typographia, An Ode to Printing.7
The location of Park's Williamsburg printing-office in 1730 has not been established. An announcement by Parks of a proposed publication ( a Virginia Miscellany) appeared in the American Weekly Mercury of Philadelphia on July 15, 1731, stating that subscriptions would be received by him "at his House, near the Capitol, in Williamsburg."8 As "near the Capitol" usually meant within a few doors of Capitol Square, it is doubtful that Lot #48, which we know Parks occupied by March, 1746,9 would have answered that description, it being two blocks distant.iii
For the first six or seven years after establishing his press in Williamsburg, Parks issued publications from both presses (although he left most of his Annapolis work to assistants there), and he was public printer for both Maryland and Virginia.1 In June, 1732, he petitioned the Virginia House of Burgesses to "establish such a Salary for Printing the Laws, Proclamations, and Journals of Assembly, for Public Use, as may enable him to continue to carry on his business of Printing in this Colony."2 He was allowed £120 per annum, which was increased from time to time, until 1744, when he received £280 per annum3--at which rate he continued for the remainder of his life.
Parks stopped publishing The Maryland Gazette on or shortly after November 29, 1734.4 In 1736 he began the publication of a newspaper in Virginia - The Virginia Gazette - the first issue of which appeared on August 6, 1736. The first issue of this paper has not been found - the first extant copy is Number 6 "From Friday September 3, to Friday, September 14 1736." A copy of "The PRINTER'S INTRODUCTION" to the first issue, setting forth its purposes, was printed in The Virginia Historical Register in 1853.5 The subscription price for the paper was 15 shillings per Annum. By October, 1736, Parks advertised "BOOK-BINDING is done reasonably, in the best Manner."6
We do not know where Parks lived in Williamsburg--he either rented property, or owned property in the James City County portion of the town,7 for there is no record of his owning a lot other than #48 (the printing office site) in the York County portion of Williamsburg. The James City County records have been destroyed. In 1736, Parks advertised for two horses which had strayed or were stolen from him in Williamsburg, and in 1737 "William Parks's Pasture in Williamsburg" was mentioned in an advertisement for a stray mare.8
In 1738, Parks was commissioned by Alexander Spotswood, then Deputy Post-Master-General of America, to carry a stage from Williamsburg to Edenton in North Carolina, "to be perform'd once a Month." Letters to the southward were to be left with "William Parks at the Printing-Office."9 In 1739, in a notice concerning the stages, which by then were continued from Edenton to South Carolina, Parks stated that "The Printer of this Paper keeps the POST-OFFICE in Williamsburg."10 iv In 1746 he was calling his printing office (then on Lot #48) the post-office, for the colophon to his paper read:Williamsburg Printed by W. PARKS, at the POST-OFFICE. By whom Persons may be supply'd with this Paper, at 15s per Ann. And BOOK-BINDING is done reasonably, in the best Manner.1
From this itis apparent that Parks' printing-office, and the post-office, were then in the same place on Lot #48.v
In 1742, one James Davis, an indentured servant belonging to Parks, was "discharged from further service to the sd Wm Parks upon his relinquishing his right to freedom dues."1 It is not known how many apprentices or assistants Parks employed at his printing-office. William Hunter, who succeeded him as printer, is said to have learned the business as an apprentice to Parks, and was in charge of his printing office in 1749, when Parks was away.2(See page 12 of this report for additional information on assistants at Printing Office.) In addition to printing and binding books, editing the Gazette, and keeping a post office, Parks had a book shop at his printing office;3 for in 1742, the Faculty of the College of William and Mary agreed to the following arrangement:Mr Wm Parks intending to Open a Booksellers Shop in this Town, and having proposed to furnish the Students of this College, with Such Books at a reasonable price as the Masters Shall direct him to send for, and likewise to take all the School Books now in the College, and pay 35 pr Ct on the Sterling cost to make it Currency, his proposals are Unanimously agreed to.4
In 1745 Parks advertised as just imported "a considerable Quantity and great Variety of Books..."5
In 1743, with help from Benjamin Franklin, Parks began construction of a paper-mill in James City County, on a branch which ran Into College Creek at Princess Anne Port (commonly known as College Landing).6 This papermill was in operation by 1745, for in The Virginia Gazette for April 11-15, 1745, he advertised: THE Printer hereof, having a Paper-Mill now at Work, near Williamsburg, desires all Persons to save their old Linnen Rags; for which he will give ready Money, in Proportion to their Fineness. There is evidence in Benjamin Franklin's accounts, that Franklin advanced money to a carpenter capable of building a paper, mill, and to a paper-maker for Parks; and that he also sold rags to Parks, and received paper from him.7V-A
The following account from Benjamin Franklin's Ledger "D"1 and George Simpson Eddy's comments concerning the account, may be of interest here:
WILLIAM PARKS [WILLIAMSBURG, VA.] DR 1742 Oct. 8 for a bundle of scabboard £ 0- 4- 0 for stove rods and brasses 6- 0 for 6 books of leaf gold 1- 1- 0 for 100 pocket almanacks 1- 5- 0 1743 Mar. 29 for cash advanced Shuts & the carpenter, as per his bond 33-10- 0 30 for cooper's ware 4- 4 for mash to Shütz 1- 0 for rags 915 lbs. at 1 ½d. per lb 5-14- 4 ½ for cash to Fallen 1- 0 May 20 for hair. lines 2- 6- 3 Aug. 27 for paper delivered to T. Grew to write copies of almanacks 4-10 Sept. 16 for 160 lbs. milled board (English) at 6d 4- 0- 0 55 lbs. Dutch board at 9d 2- 1- 3 1 doz. skins 1- 8- 0 22 for 4 skins 9- 4 for a hair cloth 1- 6 Oct. 3 for cash paid Mr. Baxter, N East 39- 1- 1 28 for 20 lbs. hair lines 1- 5- 7 ½ Nov. 9 for cash 3-12- 0 for 100 pocket almanacks 1- 5- 0 9 sheets embossed paper 3- 0 1743/4 Jan. 13 for cash paid for hair ropes 2- 3- 9 Feb. 11 for 9 skins at 2/6 1- 2- 6 for a pair molds 5- 0- 0 for 2 doz. hair cloths 1-16- 0 22 for sundries, paper & ink-powder delivered Mr. Grew 7- 0 6 for 4 dos. Catos at 36/ per dos. and 100 Pamelas at 5/ 32- 4- 0 for some hair lines, 30 lbs 1--17- 6 25 for cash lent yourself when at Philadelphia 30- 0- 0 Sept. 3 for more cash, with sundries, paper, books &c 22 7- 6 11 for cash paid silk dyer 12- 0 " " " Theophilus Grew for 7 copies almanacks ... 21- 0- 0 Oct. 3 for a Pensilvania Law book, to have a Virginia one in exchange 1-15- 0 5 for each paid the mold maker 20- 0- 0 Nov. 12 for paper delivered Mr. Lane per order 9-12- 0 24 for Dash paid meld maker 4- 0- 0 Dec. 8 for 150 pocket almanacks 1-17- 6 V-B 1744/5 Jan. 28 for cash paid mold maker [£] 2- 0- 0 June 25 for 1700 lbs. fine pick't rags at 4d 28- 6- 8 paid for picking & porterage 2- 2- 6 " " 3 hogsheads & packing 1- 1- 0 27 for sundry books, paper &c 15-11-10 Nov. 28 for 100 pocket almanacks 1- 5- 0 1745/6 Feb. 12 for cash paid silk dyer . . . . 0-16- 0 for cash paid Prothonotary, charges . . 1- 2- 0 June 3 for sundries paid W. Bradford, lawyers &c. 27- 8- 6 Nov. 11 for 3 fire-places 15- 0- 0 & porteridge - 1- 0 18 for 200 pocket almanacks . . . . 2-10- 0 1747 June 2 for rags per Justice & Griffin, 9767 lbs. gross deduct for tare of 10 hogsheads .... 1000 8767 lbs at 1 ½ d 54-15-10 ½ for cash paid for cask, cooperage & packing 2-13- 0 for 25 lbs. glue at 1/ 1- 5- 0 Sept. 10 for a protested bill of exchange £ 25-0-0 sterling, on Messrs Guidart & Sons £25-0-0 charges .4 -3 damages 20 per cent 5-0-0 30-4-3 at 182 ½ advance 55- 7- 6 for 60 reams paper, boxes & porteridge 27-12- 6 Nov. 17 for 100 pocket almanacks 1- 5- 0 1748/9 Jan. for cash paid Theophilus Grew for 17 copies at £ 3 51- 0- 0 for paper delivered to do to write them on 6- 0 Api. 24 for cash paid W. Rigden 2 guineas 3- 8- 0 548-16- 8 ½ CR 1742 Oct. 8 by cash left in my hands . . . . 11-10- 0 1742/3 Jan. 26 " " per post 11-13- 6 Mar. 30 by a bill £ 5-7-5 sterling currency . . 8-12- 0 1744 Sept. 3 by paper left for me at Apoquinimy 55-12- 9 by £ 50 sterling paid last year to Mr. Banger at 165 per cent 82-10- 0 1744/5 Mar. 7 by a bill of exchange £ 50 sterling at 175 87-10- 0 V-C 1747 Mar. 28 by cash 8 pistoles [£] 10-16- 0 June 2 by a bill exchange £ 20 sterling at 182 ½ 36-10- 0 by a bill of exchange £ 25 sterling on Guidart & Sons, sent home in the winter 1746/7, at 180 45- 0- 0 1748 Apl. 16 by my order in favor of Jo. Mitchel 8- 4- 6 20 by cash of Parker 16 pistoles (Clark's debt) 21-12- 0 1748/9 Jan. by an order on James Parker £ 24 Virginia currency 30- 2- 0 Mar. 12 by cash of Parker (remainder of Clark's debt) 6- 5- 6 July 20 by ballance of your lottery acct 15- 0 by " of Mr. Dixon's " 15-18- 9 by Mrs. Hannah Swan's note 2-14- 0 435- 6- 0 Ballance due to B. F 113-10- 8 ½ 548-16- 8 ½
For interesting and valuable discussions of the business career of William Parks, see "History of Printing in Colonial Maryland," and "William Parks, Printer and Journalist of England and Colonial America," both by Mr. Lawrence C. Wroth, the learned librarian of the John Carter Brown Library.
The foregoing account shows not only that Franklin shipped to Parks over 10,000 pounds of rags, but, also, that it was through Franklin that Parks obtained molds for use in his paper mill at Williamsburg. Observe that in September, 1744, Franklin took from Parks paper to the value of £ 55-12-9, which paper may have been made at the mill of Parks at Williamsburg, which Mr. Wroth says was established about 1744. Note also that in September, 1747, Franklin shipped 60 reams of paper to Parks.
I draw the attention of my readers to the annual shipments of Pocket Almanacs sent by Franklin to Parks. Among the most interesting items in this account are the sums paid by Franklin, for the account of Parks, to Theophilus Grew, the mathematician and philomath of Philadelphia, for manuscript copies of almanacs.
In Franklin's Receipt Book is the following receipt: Dec. 10, 1744, Received of Benjamin Franklin £ 3-9-8, which, with cash at sundry times before, and sundries in the shop since July last, is in full of £ 21 he assumed to pay for Wm. Parks of Virginia.V-D
In this ledger is an account with William Hunter of Williamsburg, Va., in which Hunter is charged, under date of March 3, 1757, "for ballance of Wm. Parks's acct, £ 113-10-8 ½" (that being the exact balance due from Parks to Franklin, as shown at the foot of the account, and which balance had remained due to Franklin since July 20, 1749). At the end of his account with Hunter, Franklin has written the following: Memo. June 1, 1763, when I was lately down in Virginia, the above account was adjusted with Mr. Hunter's Executors, all but the articles of paper, and the ballance of Parks's acct which is lost.
Thus it appears that, as late as 1763, the debt of Parks to Franklin had not been paid, and that Franklin considered it as lost. For copies of the will of Parks and of the account of his executors, see William and Mary College Quarterly, issues of April and July, 1922. In neither of these documents is there any mention of Franklin or of the indebtedness of Parks to him.
The account with Parks, as transcribed above, was made up by Franklin himself, from the account as kept by his bookkeeper. From the latter it appears that the following charges were made against Parks:
1742 Oct. 8 for cash advanced to Sheets the papermaker, per verbal order . . . £ 5- 0-0 " 23 advanced to Sheets 8- 0-0 For cash paid the carpenters 5- 0-0 1742/3 Jan. 26 for cash paid Sheets the papermaker's wife 1- 0-0 Mar. 2 do 5- 0-0 " 24 cash E 2-10-0 which makes in all since Sheets went away £ 10-10-0 " 29 cash paid Sheets 50/ which makes in all by Sheets wife, himself & carpenter for which I have taken Shutz's bond payable to Parks & Parks is Dr to me for same . . 33-10-0
In the Gazette* of September 23, 1742, is this advertisement: An honest and diligent Person that is capable of building a good Paper-Mill, and another that under-stands the Making of Paper, are wanted to undertake and carry on that Business in a neighbouring Colony. Any such Persons that want Employment, will meet with a Person who will give good Encouragement, if they apply to the Printer of this Paper on the 25th instant.
In Franklin's Receipt Book are these two receipts, signed by Johan Conrad Shütz: V-E Dec. 1, 1744, recd of B. Franklin £ 2-0-0 on account of Mr. Parks.
Feb. 4, 1744/5, " " " " 20 shillings, which makes £ 20 in all received of him in full on Mr. Parks's account (of Williamsburgh)
It thus appears that Sheets and Shutz were one and the same person. The writer believes that the foregoing "ad" was published at the request of Parks, after consultation with Franklin, and that Johan Conrad Shütz (usually called Conrad Shütz) was engaged to build and equip the paper-mill which Parks subsequently operated at Williamsburgh; it is probable that Shütz, accompanied by one or more carpenters, went to Williamsburgh and erected the mill. Shütz may even have remained there long enough to get the mill started in the making of paper. Conrad Shutz very soon after this began manufacturing paper at Philadelphia, and sold a large quantity thereof to Franklin. On March 2, 1744, Franklin charged Thomas Wilcox £ 6 for cash he had paid to Shutz for making two molds for Wilcox.
I think it likely that Parks was in Philadelphia on October 8, 1742, as he is given credit on that date for cash left in the hands of Franklin, amounting to £ 11-10-0. On the same date £ 5 was advanced to Shüitz, "as per verbal order." This must mean the verbal order of Parks.
Note that Franklin shipped some rags to Parks, as early as March 30, 1743, and that he charged Parks for them at the rate of 1 ½ penny per pound, which was the price at which he sold rags to the Philadelphia papermakers.
The charge against Parks of £ 27-8-6, on June 3, 1746, is more fully described in the account as kept by Franklin's bookkeeper, where the entry is: "for sundries paid in the suit Bradford vs. Parks, £ 27-8-6." Preceding that entry is the following: "Feb. 12, 1745/6, cash paid charges to J. Hamilton, in his [Parks's] suit with W. Bradford, £ 1-2-0." In Franklin's transcript of the account, the last-mentioned item appears as "cash paid Prothonotary, charges." J. Hamilton was a Philadelphia lawyer of eminence. The writer has not had an opportunity to investigate this suit of Bradford against Parks, and leaves the subject to be examined by others who may be interested therein.
As Mr. Eddy explains above, Franklin helped Parks find someone to erect his paper-mill, and advanced money for Parks to the workman. The mill was erected in James City County, on what has since been known as "Paper Mill Branch," running into College Creek, and so to James River at College Landing.1 It was in operation in 1745 when Parks advertised for linen rags (see page V for copy of advertisement); and probably continued in operation until Parks, death in 1750. We do not know what happened to it after Parks' executors sold it for £96:3:9, nor do we know who bought it. Samples of the paper made in Parks' mill, bearing the Virginia arms and a Crown over the initials WP, were located in 1938.2VI
For a number of years Parks was in business with Mrs. Sarah Packe,1 who owned Lot #47, adjoining the Printing-Office lot to the west.2 In 1749, when apparently planning to take a long trip, he drew up an agreement with Mrs. Packe which read, in part, as follows:WHEREAS Several dealings have subsisted for many Years between William Parks & Sarah Pack of Wmsburgh which have not been so exactly settled between them as they ought by reason of the great Variety of them therefore — To prevent all Disputes that may happen after the Death of us the Subscribers or either of us, we do mutually agree as follows:VII
That William parks's Estate shall pay to Sarah pack…in case he the said William Dies before the said Sarah the Sum of five Hundred Pounds, that is to say One Hundred Pounds a year for five Years. And also that the said Sarah Pack in case of the Death of the said William shall have use & enjoy the Plantation of the said William near Williamsburgh called Thomas's Plantation for her natural Life and so long as She shall Live thereon together with the stock of cattle &c thereon and three Negroes that use to work there Caesar excepted. In consideration whereof that the said Sarah Pack do fully release Discharge and acquit the said William Parks his Heirs Executors & Administrators from all Bargains Contracts Dues Debts and Demands whatsoever from & between them and shall also relinquish her Right & Title to any share of the Debts due on the store Book in Partnership in Williamsburgh between them: Except such of the Debts now due in the said Book which the said Sarah is to have one half of — and the said William the other half this to affect only the Store—Goods in Williamsburgh the goods that were sent from Williamsburgh to my storehouse at Hanover Court-house in the time of the small Pox in williamsburgh are between us both and the said Sarah Pack is to receive one Half of the Debts for them & Wm Parks the other half. and Wm Parks is to pay one Half of the Debt due to Elizabeth Ballard, on Bond and Sarah Pack the other Half; This Agreement is made only in case of the Death of either Party … nevertheless, it is agreed, that if both the said Parties live & meet together again that unless both of them agree this shall continue and be binding to them… that then it be void & have no Effect. IN WITNESS to this agreement we hereto mutually set our Hands and Seals this Nineteenth Day of August 1749.
Wm Parks /s/ Sarah Packe /s/3
In May, 1749, Parks was ordered to be taken into custody by the sergeant-at-arms of the House of Burgesses, and brought before the bar of the House for printing "a malicious and scandalous Libel, highly injouriously reflecting upon the Proceedings" of that House. Subsequent examination showed that the items objected to by the House had been printed by William Hunter, who had charge of the office during Parks' absence at Yorktown, at the command of the Council, and Parks was discharged out of custody of the sergeant-at-arms without paying fees.1
Parks owned property in Maryland called "Park Hall"; a lot in Annapolis; a lot on which he was building a house in New-Castle, Virginia; a plantation in Hanover County, on which he had a number of slaves, white servants, cattle, hogs, horses, etc.; "Hanover Courthouse"; the plantation known as "Thomas's Plantation" near Williamsburg, which he mentioned in his agreement with Sarah Packe; the Printing-Office Lot #48 in Williamsburg; land in James City County; and the paper-mill on Paper Mill Creek in that county.2 As stated before, we do not know where he lived in Williamsburg--but think it probable that he either leased his dwelling-house, or lived in or near the city on his land in James City County. No Williamsburg dwelling-house was mentioned in the settlement of his estate.
With of group of other men, Parks took up large tracts of land in Orange and Augusta Counties in 1740 and 1745. In 1749, having formed a land company to develop these western lands, they petitioned for more time to complete surveys.3
In 1747, William Parks was appointed sheriff of James City County.4
In May, 1749, the Virginia Assembly received Parks' proposals for printing a "compleat Body of the Law as of this Colony, as now revised and corrected"; and agreed to pay him 1250 pounds current money for delivering one thousand books of the laws "on the same sort of Letter and paper as the last complete Collection of the Laws...with the Arms of Virginia stamp'd on each Book to be compleatly finished by the 10th day of June...1751."5 An Advance of £400 was allowed Parks on this job in May, 1749.
On March 22, 1750, Parks boarded the "Nelsen" , and sailed for England. He was taken ill on the trip, and on March 30th wrote his will, leaving his estate to his daughter Eleanor, wife of John Shelton; with legacies to his sisters, Jane Spilsbury and her children, and Elizabeth Parks. He desired his wife Eleanor and his son-in-law, John Shelton, to "carry on and complete Printing the laws of Virginia." John Shelton of Hanover County, and Benjamin Waller and William Prentis, of Williamsburg, were appointed executors of his will. Parks died on board the "Nelson" on April 1, 1750, and was buried at Gosport, England. The Virginia Gazettes for the period are missing, but the following notice, evidently copied from The Virginia Gazette, appeared in The Pennsylvania Gazette6 for July 12, 1750: VIII WILLIAMSBURG, May 24.Parks' will was presented, proved, and recorded at the York County Court on June 11, 1750.1 The court appointed Joseph Davenport, John Coulthard, Robert Stevenson, and Hugh Orr, or any three of them, to appraise the personal estate and slaves of William Parks in York and James City Counties; and also appointed Edward Garland, John Dabney, Robert Jenings, and Francis Smith to do the same for his personal estate in Hanover County.2 The Hanover County appraisement was made and returned to the court in due order;3 but we have found no record of the appraisement for York and James City Counties, although it was again, ordered to be made on July 16, 1750; this time Hugh Orr, John Coulthord, Joseph Johnson and Thomas Hornsby, or any three of them, being appointed to "Appraise in Current Money the Slaves and Personal Estate of William Parks Decd in York and James City Counties and return the Appraisement to the Court."4
Since the last Gazette, arrived in York river, the Hatley, Capt. Hill, and the Nelson, Capt. Watson, both from London; by whom we have the account of the death of Mr. WILLIAM PARKS, the late printer of this paper: [the Virginia Gazette] He took his passage in Capt. Watson, and went on board the 22d of March, good health; but was soon seized with a plurisy, of which he died the 1st of April, and was buried at Gosport. His character was so generally known, and esteem'd, by all who had any acquaintance with him, that it would be vain to aim at it. He was assiduous in carrying on the public business, as printer to this colony, and gave general content; so that his death may be esteem'd a public as well as a private loss.
As noted above, Parks left his entire estate to his daughter Eleanor Shelton and her heirs, after all his "Just Debts and Legacys" were discharged. No mention was made in his will of any other surviving children.5 Eleanor Shelton and her husband, John Shelton, one of the executors of Parks' will, lived in Hanover County, and, we are told, had nine children.6 One of their daughters, Sarah Shelton, married Patrick Henry (ca. 1754).
Unfortunately Parks' debts were large, and much of his property had to be sold to satisfy judgments of various merchants, etc., against his estate. "Hanover Courthouse," the Paper Mill near Williamsburg, the Printing-Office on Lot #48 in Williamsburg, his lot and house in New Castle, and a number of slaves, stock and cattle in Hanover, were sold by his executor, John Shelton, to pay off debts, awards, etc. of more than seven thousand pounds. In his account of the settlement of the estate, John Shelton showed a credit of £6211.15.3 obtained by sale of property and debts due Parks, and noted that he believed he had available "sufficient to pay" off two judgement which had not yet been settled.7 His daughter probably inherited some of his Hanover property. No mention was made in the settlement of the plantation known as "Thomas's" near Williamsburg, noted IX in the agreement with Sarah Packe, or of Parks' Maryland property, other then cash paid an attorney in Maryland for "Docking the Intail" of Park Hell and a lot in Annapolis,1 It is probable that she inherited these properties also. Parks' land in James City County, 249 acres, was not sold in 1755, when the sheriff of that county advertised it to be sold at public auction "before Mr. Finnie's Door."2
On December 12, 1750, Parks' widow, Eleanor Parks, renounced "all benefit and advantage" which she "might claim by the said last Will and Testament" of William parks, "According to the Act of Assembly of Virginia in that case made and provided."3 Parks only mentioned his wife in his will in connection with completing the publication of the revised laws of Virginia, and she was evidently dissatisfied with the will. Acts of Assembly passed in 1705 and 1728, declared that a widow was entitled to one-third part of her husband's estate; and that "when any widow shall not be satisfied with the provision made for her by her husband's will, it shall and may be lawful for such widow, within nine months after her husband's death, ...to declare, that she will not accept, receive, or take the legacy or legacies to her given and bequeathed, or any part thereof, and will renounce all benefit and advantage which she might claim by such last will."4 Whereupon she could claim her "full and equal third part of all her deceased husbands lands, tenements, and other real estate..."5
Nothing further is known of Mrs. Eleanor Parks, or of what she received through this renunciation.
William' Parks' Printing Office on Lot #48 in Williamsburg, and his printing materials and equipment, were purchased by William Hunter, who had worked in Parks' office for some years, and who re-established, after a few months, The Virginia Gazette, and succeeded Parks as public printer.6
A list of William Parks' imprints known to be in existence is published in Lawrence C. Wroth's William Parks Printer and Journalist of England and Colonial America.7 The Virginia Gazettes published by William Parks in Williamsburg, which are now extant, have been indexed and microfilmed by the Institute of Early American History and Culture (Williamsburg: 1950), as have subsequent Virginia Gazettes through 1780.8
Copies of William Parks' will, the appraisement of his personal estate in Hanover County, and the settlement of his estate up to 1754 follow: X
THE WILL OF WILLIAM PARKS,1 who died on Board "The Nelson" on April 1, 1750:
IN THE NAME OF GOD AMEN I William, Parks of the City of Williamsburgh in the Dominion of Virginia Gent being Sick and Weak of Body but of Perfect and Sound Mind and Memory do make and Ordain this my last Will and Testament in Manner and form following That is to say I bequeath my Soul to God hoping through the Merits of Christ the same shall be saved and my Body to be buried in a decent manner.
IMPRIMIS- I give and bequeath all my Estate whether Real or Personal to my Daughter Eleanor Shelton and the Heirs of her Body lawfully begotten after all my Just Debts and Legacys hereafter bequeath are duly discharged.
ITEM I give and bequeath to my Sister Jane Spilsbury fifty Pounds Current Money of Virginia.
ITEM I give and bequeath One hundred Pounds like Money to be divided equally amongst my Said Sister Jane Spilsburys Children to be paid to my brother in Law Thomas Spilsbury or his lawful Attorney.
ITEM I give and bequeath to my Sister Elizabeth Parks fifty Pounds Current Money of Virginia aforesaid. It is my desire that my Wife Eleanor Parks and my Son in Law John Shelton do carry on and complete Printing the Laws of Virginia which I have undertaken. And it is my desire that the Accounts now open between Mrs Sarah Pack and me be settled by Mr John Garland on her part and Mr Benjamin Waller on my part and all Contracts or Agreements between the said Sarah Pack and me to stand void tit the determination of John Garland and Benjamin Waller aforesaid. It is my Will and desire that my Executors hereafter mentioned do take care of and perform the Articles stipulated between me and Benjamin Bayley.
I do hereby Constitute and appoint my Son in Law John Shelton of Hanover County and Benjamin Waller and William Prentis of Williamsburgh Gentlemen Executors of this my last Will & Testament- And it is my Will and desire that Mr Benjamin Waller will be pleased to Accept of twenty Pounds for executing this my Will.
In WITNESS whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my Seal this thirtieth day of March Anno Dom: One thousand seven hundred and fifty.
Wm. Parks (L. S.)
Signed Sealed and DeclaredXI
in presence of
At a Court held for York County the 18th day of June 1750. This will was proved by the Oaths of Andrew Watson Thomas Williamson and Thomas Smith Witness thereto sworn to by John Shelton one of the Executors therein named and ordered to be recorded and on the motion of the said John Shelton who with Benjamin Waller Gent. and Nathaniel Crawley his Securities entered into and acknowledged Bond according to law certificate was granted him for obtaining a Probat thereof in due form: liberty being reserved to the other Executors named in the said Will to join in the Probat when they shall think fit:
APPRAISEMENT OF WILLIAM PARKS' PERSONAL ESTATE IN HANOVER COUNTY:1
Parks's) AN INVENTORY OF THE ESTATE OF Mr William Parks decd In
Apprs ) Hanover County as Appraised by the Subscribers Vizt
1 Negro Man Named Stanton £37.-.- 1 Do Named George £37.-.- £74.- .- 1 Do Named Taylor £20.-.- 1 Do Named Ned £40.-.- 60.- .- 1 Negro Woman Named Nan £20.-.- 1 Old White Horse £4 24.- .- 2 Cows & Calves 46/. 1 Yearling -/. 4 Cows & Calves £6.-.- [illegible] 2 barrow Cows 56/. 1 large Steer 45/ 1 Bull 20/. 3 small Steers 48/ 8. 9.- 4 smaller Steers 28/. 1 small Heifer 12/ 1 old bay Horse 37/6 3.17. 6 1 Roan Horse 50/. 1 old white Do £4. 1 old Do £4. 10.10.- 1 old Cart & Wheels 15/. I pr Horses & Harness & Iron traces 12/.1. 7.- 1 old Set Smiths Tools £10. 3 Sows 20/. 7 Shoats 17/6 11.17. 6 2 Pigs 2/. ,17 Do 22/6. 6 Sows 36/ 3. O. 6 1 Silver Watch £4. 1 Scarlet Rockalow £3 7. 0.- 1 Black Velvet Waistcoat 40/. 1 Uncut Velvet Do 40/ 4. 0.- 2 pair Velvet Breeches £4.6.8 1 grey Wig & Box 35/ 6. 1. 8 1 Allapeen Coat & Waistcoat 48/. 1 old Grey Wig 6d 1 old Banyan 2/6 2.11.- 1 Negro Man Named John £37. I Negro Woman-Named Phillis £35 72.- .- 1 Negro Man Named Worcester 40.-.- 1 Negro Man Named Ned £40 80.- .- 1 Negro Man Named Peter £36.-.- 1 Negro Woman Lucy and her Child 45 81.- .- 1 Negro Woman Sarah & her Child £45. 1 Negro Man Ludlow £37 82.- .- 545.11. 2
Returned into York County Court the 18th day of May 1752 and ordered to be recorded.XII
Thos Everard Cl: Cur:
SETTLEMENT OF WILLIAM PARKS' ESTATE, LISTING DEBITS AND CREDITS, 1750-1754.1
Parks Wm ) DR The ESTATE of Mr William Parks decd returned by
Settlemt ) John Shelton Acting Exr
Current To Cash paid for a Judgment obtain'd against the Estate ) by Robt & John Lidderdale Merchts in London ) 239.13. 3 To the Sherif Clerk & Lawyers fees 10. 2. 2 To Cash paid for a Judgment obtained agst the Estate ) by Daniel Parke Custis Esqr ) 239. 1. 2-½ To the Sherif Clerk & Lawyers fees 10. 1.11 To Cash paid for a Judgment obtained against the Estate) Sterling by Messrs Lidderdale & Harmer Surviving Partners of ) 932. 9. 1-½ Thomas Chamberlayne Merchants in Bristol ) 25 Pr Cent advance on Do 233. 2. 3-½ To the Clerks Sherifs & Lawyers fees (Sherifs for Collecting £600 of the above) 17.15. 8 To a Judgment obtained against the Estate by) Capt. Andrew Watson Sterling ) 50. O. 0 25 Pr Cent 12.10. - To the Clerks Sherifs and Lawyers fees 1.19. - 1736.14. 7-½ To Cash Mr Parks's funeral Expences as Pr) Acct pd Capt Watson ) 6.15. - To Cash paid Robert Cary & Co Merchants in London 31. 5. - To Cash paid Thomas Wild as Pr Agreement made by) Mr Parks for 63 hhds Tobo ) 63. -. - To paid the Inspection of the above 63 hhds of Tobo Shipt) Lidderdale & Harmer 9. 9. - To paid David Jameson as Pr Acct for Paper 7. 2. - To the white Servants Expences from Wmsburg to Hanover Court 2. -. - To paid Hunt & Waterman Merchts in London Bond & Interest 113.16. 4 To paid Capt Geo: Hill Mariner 6.. 8. 9 p.324 [carried over]
Brot over 1751 April To Cash paid Sarah Packe as Pr Agreement and Award 100. -... 1st To Cash paid the Inspectors at Crutchfields Warehouse as Pr Accot ) 8. 4. 3 To Cash paid the Inspectors at Meriwethers Do Do . 9. 6 To Cash paid for a Judgment obtained by the Guardn of Thos Carter ) 45.16. 9 To Cash paid Mr Macnamara Attorney at Law in Maryland for his fees in Docking the Intail of a Tract of Land called) 14.15. - Park Hall and also a Lot in Annapolis and other services To the Secretarys Clerks-and other Officers fees for the above ) 13.12. 9 To my Expences for five Journies to Maryland 25.- . - To paid Doctr Thomas Smith for Attending Mr Parks in his) 6.12. 6 Sickness on board the Nelson ) 454. 6.10 To Cash paid Blackmore Hughes for finishing a House sold Mr George Webb in New Castle ) 15. -. - To paid Mr Leighton Wood Mercht in Bristol upon a Protested Bill of Exchange and Account 136. -. - XIII To paid Judgment obtained by Christopher Lilly Mercht in Bristol ) 345.16. 8 To Cash paid Harry Farmer his Share of the Crop as an Overseer for Parks ) 10. -. - To Cloathing Mr Parks's Negros 2 Years in Hanover 19.12. - To Paying their Levies & White Servants Do 1194 lb Tobo at 2d ) 9.19. - To finding Working Tools 6. -. - To Cash paid the Midwife for delivering 2 Negro Women 1. -. - To paid the Quit Rents for the Land 2 Years 3. 1. - 546. 8. 8 To 1 Negro Woman Moll valued at £10 ) Delivered to To 1 Negro Man Ben 30 ) Mrs Packe by To 1 Negro Man Worster 40 ) Agreement with To 2 Sorrel Horses £3 1 Grey Do 7 ) Mr Parks and Pr To 6 Shoats at 6/ 7 Steers at 45/ ) Order of Mr Ben: To 11 Cows at 30/. 4 three year old ) at 25/ ) Waller and others ) Arbitrators. To 7 two Year old at 20/ 5 Calves at ) To 1 Bull at 20/ 1 Tumbler & Wheels ) To 1 Leaden Tray 2 feather Beds 1 Bolster) & 2 Sheets 1 Pot rack 10. Cart & Chain) 1752 To Cash paid Sarah Packe as pr, award 100. -. - To Cash paid Mr John Hanbury Mercht in London) upon Bond ) 1186. 8. 4 To a Judgment obtained against the Estate by ) Peter Scott & Costs ) 105.13. - To a Judgment obtained against the Estate by Mr John Holt & Costs ) 59.15. 3-½ To a Judgment obtained agst the Estate by ) Colo McKenzie a Protested Bill of Exchange) 157.14. 7 To Cash paid Nathl Walthoe by Accot due to Thos Waller Bookseller London ) 159. 3.8 1708. 14.10-½ To Sundry debts pd by Mark Cosby as may more fully) Appear 663.19. 9 To sundry Debts pd by Mr Wm Hunter Wmsburg) Exclusive of the above Sums) 317.17. 4 To a Judgment obtained by Sarah Packe 118.11. 3 1100. 8. 4
Carrd over £5606.13. 3 Brot over £5606.13. 3
These 2 Judgts are not yet pd off but believe I have Avable sufficient to pay them.
To a Judgment obtained by Richard Ambler Esqr on Bond ) £500. -. - To a Judgment obtained by Messrs Bowden & Farquhar In London Bond ) 360 Sterling 25 Pr Ct 91 Interest on Do To sundry Travelling Expences
1750 THE ESTATE of William Parks decd. Cr By Sundry Goods Shipt by Mr Parks from London recd in Hanover Sterling £261. 5. 1 By sundry Goods from Glasgow recd in Hanover 269.11.9 530.16.10 Sold at 50 Pr Ct advance 265. 8. 5. £796. 5. 3 By sundry Outstanding Debts received in Hanover 121.16. 3 By 63 hhds Tobo recd of Thos Wild as Pr Agreement made by) Mr Parks and Shipt Lidderdale & Harmer - Sterling) 332.14.10 25 Pr Ct advance 83. 3. 8-½ By Cash recd of Thomas Wild Sterling 2397.7.7 25 Pr Ct advance 49. 6.10-½ 496.14. 5-½ 1830. 14. 6 By the Sale of Hanover Courthouse taken by Execution 660. 5. - By the Sale of the Paper Mill Do 96. 3. 9 By the Sale of the Printing Office Do 156.14. 7 By the Sale of five Negros in Hanover Do 220. -. - By the Sale of nine Do Do 300. -. - By the sale of five Horses Do 16. 7. 6 By the Sale of twenty one head of Cattle Hanover 16. 1. - By the Sale 29 Hogs Do .4. -. - By the Sale 1225 Gross Pork Do 12/6 7. 7. 6 By the sale 1061 Drest Do Do 19/ 10. 1. 7 By the Sale of a Cart and Traces Do 1. 7. - 1488. 7.11 By the Sale of a Parcel of Corn. Do 6. 3. 6 By the Sale of a Set of Blacksmiths Tools Do 15. -. - By the Sale of seven White Servants Men & Women Do 94. -. - By the Sale of a Silver Watch D 4. -. - By the Sale of 1 Scarlet-Rockalow £3 two Velvet) Waistcoats £4 2 pr Velvet Britches 4.6.8 Wig) & Box 35/ 1 Coat &c 48/' ) 15. 9. 8 By 1 Years Rent of Hanover Courthouse 50. By the Sale of a House & Lot in New Castle 150. -. By Cash recd of Edwd Athawes Merch in London 31.10. - By the Sale of a Negro Man Caesar at Wmsburgh 69.10. - By the Sale of a Negro Woman Bridget & Child do .. 53.10. - By the Sale of 1 pr hand Irons 22/. 2 ELbow Chairs 16/) 6 Leather Chairs 31/. ) 3. 9. - By sundry Outstanding Debts recd in Wmsburgh by Mr Hunter 526.19. 6 Carrd over 1019.11. 8
[page 326] Brot over By an Order on the Treasury payable to Colo John Hunter being the ballance due to the Estate for Printing the Laws after paying Mr Wm Hunter for his compleating the same Pr Agreement £850. -. - By ballance of sundry Printing Materials Sold - Mr Wm Hunter after paying him for Compleating the Laws as Pr Account Settled will more fully appear 359. 1. 5-¼ 1209.1.4-¼ By Cash received of the Treasurer 280. -. - By sundry Debts recd by Mark Cosby in Williamsburgh as the book cannot be found suppose it to be £383.19.9) XV being the ballance of the Money We find he paid after deducting £280 recd of Treasury out of 383.19. 9 £663.19.9 the Money we find paid by Cosby ) 663.19. 9 6211.15. 3
1754 April 25th Pr John Shelton.
Returned into York County Court the 17th Day of June 1754 and Ordered to be recorded.
Thos Everard Cl: Cur:
William Hunter, a prosperous merchant of Hampton, Virginia. The father died in 1739, his death being noted as follows in The Virginia Gazette:
Williamsburg, Octob. 26.1
Several Persons of Note have died lately in this Colony; some of which we had not timely Information of, or should have been more particular in our Account of them, viz. Mr. William Hunter a considerable Merchant, in Hampton, of good Repute…
William Hunter, Senior, was survived by a wife, Mary Anne Hunter, and six children. His will is not on file in the Elizabeth City County Records; but an appraisement of his estate listed a large supply of merchandise, as well as a sloop of 60 tons burden, a schooner, and a shallop.2 After the settlement of his debts, etc., his widow received 1/3 of a net estate of £1243.1.9½, plus 1/7 part for a deceased child; and the six surviving children received £132.0.7-¾ each, plus "Debts & Negros herein after mentioned" amounting to £792.4.5-¼.3 Names of the children were not mentioned in the settlement. We are told that there were two sons, William and John, and four daughters, Mabel, Elizabeth, Mary, and Roseana.4 Mary Anne Hunter died in 1743. Her will named only her four daughters.5
William Hunter probably learned the printing business as an apprentice to William Parks.6 We do not know when he entered Parks' service; but he was in charge of Parks' business by 1749, when it was necessary for Parks to be out of town,7 and vas by then an experienced and trusted employee.XVII
Hunter was left in charge of the printing office when Parks sailed for England in March, 1750. Parks died on the voyage on April 1, 1750. Hunter completed the publication of the revised Laws of Virginia, which Parks had agreed with the General Assembly to print, for Parks' estate.1
Hunter succeed Parks as public printer, being allowed an annual salary of £300 from December 31, 1751, until November 13, 1759, when it was increased to £350 per annum.2
Notice of William Parks' death appeared in the Virginia Gazette (published by Hunter in Parks' absence) on May 24, 1750. This issue is not extant, but the notice was quoted in The Pennsylvania Gazette of July 12, 1750. We are told that after Parks' death The Virginia Gazette was discontinued for a short time;3 but William Hunter re-established the paper in January, 1750.
Hunter's first issue of The Virginia Gazette is not extant, but must have been dated January 3, 1750/51; for Number 3, "WILLIAMSBURG; Printed by WILLIAM HUNTER, at the POST-OFFICE," was dated January 17, 1750/51, and contained the following notice signed by Hunter:
As I shall take the Liberty of sending this Paper to many of Mr. Parks's Customers, whom I have not yet had an Opportunity of seeing, I hope it will be agreeable; if otherwise, that they will order to the contrary....
In January 1750/51 William Parks' "Printing-Office, Out houses, and Lot" were advertised to be sold at public auction in March, possession to be delivered "about the Middle of June next,"4 and William Hunter was highest bidder for the property. He purchased the "Printing Office and Lott which is denoted in the Plan of the City of Williamsburgh where the same lies by the figures (48)" for £131 the deed of sale being dated June 14, 1751.5 In the account of the settlement of Parks' estate, £156.14.6 was noted as being received "By the Sale of the Printing Office Do [taken by Execution]"6 Hunter also purchased Parks' printing materials, the sale being noted in the settlement of Parks' estate:
By ballance of sundry Printing Materials Sold Mr Wm Hunter after paying him for Compleating the Laws as Per Account Settled will more fully appear ----- [£] 359.1.5-¼7XVIII
Mr. Wroth, an authority on eighteenth century printing, states that the sum of £359 currency, or, "more exactly...£288 sterling" paid for Parks' printing materials, indicates that Parks' shop was "one of the larger and more adequately equipped establishments of the period... The sum of E83 sterling in the mid-eighteenth century was, roughly calculated, the equivalent of two thousand dollars in terms of our own currency ."1
Besides printing, and publishing the Virginia Gazette, Hunter continued to keep a bookstore at the printing-office. On May 24, 1751, a long list of titles was published, as "Just IMPORTED, and to be Sold reasonably, at the Printing-Office in Williamsburg."2 Copper Plate Prints "fit for framing," were also sold there; as were blank books, stationery of all kinds, quills, sealing wax, wafers, inkstands, playing cards, ink-powder, sand and pounce boxes, folio paper cases, pasteboard files and laces, etc.3 Bookbinding was also continued there.
William Hunter continued to keep the post-office that Parks had established at the Printing-Office, his papers carrying the colophon:
WILLIAMSBURG: Printed by WILLIAM HUNTER, at the POST-OFFICE; by whom Persons may be supplied with this Paper.4
A Day Book5 kept at the Printing Office, 1750-1752, gives much information as to the activities there just prior to and after Hunter's purchase of the property. It noted expenses and expenditures; cash received; employees; printing and binding done; books and stationery supplies sold, etc.
On August 10, 1753, the British Postmasters-General appointed "Mr. Benjamin Franklin of Philadelphia, in Pennsylvania, and Mr. William Hunter of Williamsburg in Virginia, their Deputy Postmasters and Manages of all his Majesty's Provinces and Dominions on the Continent of North America in the stead of Matt Banger, Esq., deceased, to commence this day at an allowance or salary of £600 per annum."6 Hunter served with Franklin in this capacity until his death in 1761, when he was succeeded by John Foxcroft of New York. During the period that Franklin and Hunter served together, great progress was made in the post-office system.7 Isaiah Thomas stated that Hunter "had a relation who was paymaster to the kings troops in America, by Whose influence he was appointed deputy postmaster general, with Franklin, for the colonies";8 but we have not identified this relation.XIX
Hunter and Franklin became good friends. On October 16, 1755, Franklin wrote "Col. Hunter"* from Philadelphia:
I could not avoid meeting the Assembly, who are now sitting, but must rise in two or three Days, when I purposed to proceed to Virginia; But your Letter to Mrs Nelson mentioning your Intention of being here in ten Days, and being very desirous of seeing you in order to settle our Money Acct. & concert Measures relating to a farther Supply of Cash to discharge the Waggon Affair... I shall now wait your Arrival here, fearing I might otherwise miss you on the Way.1
In March, 1756, Franklin wrote his wife from Williamsburg:
... I had a fine Journey and Passage down the Bay, being but four Days from Philadelphia to Col. Hunter's...Mr. Hunter is much better than I expected to find him, and we are daily employ'd in settling our Affairs. About the End of the Week we are to take a Tour into the Country. Virginia is a pleasant Country, now in full Spring; the People extreamly obliging and polite. I return in the Man-of-War to New York with Col. Hunter and his Lady; at least this is propos'd; but if a more convenient Opportunity offers, perhaps I may not stay so long as the End of next Month, when that Ship is to sail ... Mr. Hunter presents his compliments. I am, my dear Debby, your loving Husband, B. Franklin.2
On September 26, 1755, and in a number of subsequent issues of the Gazette, Hunter gave public Notice, that he intended to "embark for England this Fall, and being desirous of settling his Affairs before his Departure, requests those who are indebted to him to pay their Accounts at the ensuing General Court."3 However, in view of Franklin's letter of March 30, 1756, cited above, it is apparent that Hunter did not make the trip at the time first planned - probably on account of sickness. He did go to England later, sailing on the Anna, Capt. Randolph from Virginia, ca. June 20, 1757. m. [illegible]
possibly in the Man-of-War mentioned by Franklin as sailing for New York at the end of April, 1756. Franklin also went to England; for he wrote his wife from London, on November 22, 1757:
During my illness, which continued near eight weeks, I wrote you several little letters, as I was able...
Mr. Hunter is better than he has been for a long time, he and his sister desire to be remembered to you...4
On February 19, 1758 [1759?], Franklin wrote his wife from London:
Mr. Hunter and Polly talk of returning this Spring. He is wonderfully recruited. They both desire to be remembered to you.5And on May 4, 1719, he wrote a friend:
Mr. Hunter and his sister are both gone. God prosper their voyage.6XIXa
On July 22, 1759, Hunter wrote Mrs. Franklin in Philadelphia, from Williamsburg, as follows:
I arrived here the 5th Instant after a Passage of Ten Weeks from London. I have the Pleasure to acquaint you that I left Mr Franklin perfectly well the last of April. He committed his Letters for you to my Care, which I put on board the James, Capt Simpson, one of our Fleet, bound immediately to Philadelphia. -I hope she arrived safe-My Absence in England was very long, but I have at length happily succeeded in the Recovery of my Health, having been perfectly well for a Twelve Months past. With sincere. Respects to your Daughter and Family Mr Hall, and all who enquire after me, I am,
Your most obedt Servt
Wm Hunter. Mrs Franklin.1
In a manuscript account book believed to have been kept by Alexander Craig, Williamsburg saddler, there are items charged to Mr Wm Hunter, which include saddles, stirrups, "A Portmanteau wt Lock mail pillion & strapps for Watt & Cairns" (Probably post riders), "a Belt for the Post horn for Jack" etc.1
An account with "William Hunter, Williamsburgh, Va." appears in Ledger "D" of Benjamin Franklin's account books for: "half wintering the horses" in 1755; for Hunter's "part of 3 doz. post-horns" costing £3.2.0 sterling in 1756; and for paper, writing papa, cuts, etc., and "for ballance of Wm. Parks's acco't [£]113.10.82" in 1757.2
Hunter and Franklin were also associated in a project for the education of negroes; and William Hunter was one of the trustees of a school for negroes established in Williamsburg, taught by Mrs. Ann Wager.3 A payment of £7 was made by the executors of Hunter's estate "to Ann Wager for Teaching at the Negro School,"4 after his death.
Hunter returned to Virginia from England in the summer of 1759. The sister who accompanied him, mentioned by Franklin as "Polly," was probably Mary Hunter, wife of the Rev. Joseph Davenport.5
William Hunter died in August, 1761. His will, dated April 11, 1761, mentioned a natural son, William Hunter, who then lived with Benjamin Weldon;6 Joseph-Royle, foreman of his printing office, who Hunter hoped would carry on the business for his own and Hunter's son's interest; and sisters Rosanna Hunter; Elizabeth Hunter Holt, wife of John Holt; Mary Hunter Davenport, wife of the Rev. Joseph Davenport; also a brother, John Hunter; a niece, Molly Davenport; and friends, Benjamin Franklin, George Wythe, Nathaniel Walthoe, Robert Carter Nicholas, William Small, Benjamin Waller, Thomas Everard, James Tarpley and Mrs. Emilia Hunter. It also stated that he was in partnership in a business with James Tarpley.7 He left his son, William, "all my Stock in Partnership with James Tarpley, together with all the Profits arising therefrom; as also my Houses and Lott in Williamsburgh, No. 48, where the Printing Office, is now kept"; and desired that his executors, Benjamin Waller, Thomas Everard and James Tarpley, enter into partnership "With Joseph Royle, who now lives with me, for his the said Joseph Royle's prosecuting and carrying on the Business I am at present engaged, in at the Printing Office in Williamsburgh to and for the equal Benefit and Profit of the said Joseph Royle, and my natural Son William Hunter who now lives with Benjamin Weldon, during the Minority" of young Hunter.XXI
Hunter left an estate of over £8600.1 His sister Roseanna Hunter married Joseph Royle ca. 1763, and Royle carried on the printing business as Hunter requested,2 until he died in 1766. The business continued to be run, by subsequent printers, for the part interest of young Hunter until he came of age in 1775 when he entered the business,3 receiving a good estate from his father.
William Hunter did not own a dwelling-house in Williamsburg, although he lived there. It is possible that he leased property and lots on the north side of Nicholson Street, (lots #266, 267, 268, 700) back of the Printing Office Lot (#48), from William Nelson of Yorktown. Joseph Royle, who lived with Hunter at the time of Hunter's death, purchased these lots from Nelson for £500 in 1763.4 There is record in the 1764 settlement of Hunter's estate that the executors paid William Nelson the balance of a Years Rent out of the estate. (See note 1 below)
An inventory of William Hunter's estate indicated a well-furnished dwelling house. It also mentioned "82 Years in a Lease of a House and Lotts."5
There is no record that William Hunter married. His "natural son" William built a house for his mother, Elizabeth Reynolds, ca. 1777. That is the only reference we have found to young Hunter's mother.6
William Hunter's sister, Rosanna, married, first, Joseph Royle, and, second, John Dixon, both of whom became associated with the printing-office.7 His sister Elizabeth married John Holt, a merchant in Williamsburg, who left Williamsburg; in 1754, and became a printer in New Haven and then in New York.8 Hunter's sister Mary, married the Rev. Joseph Davenport, rector of Charles Parish, York County, Virginia.9
The Virginia Gazette for the date of Hunter's death is not extant, but the following notice in The Maryland Gazette for Thursday, September 3, and also in The Pennsylvania Gazette for September 10th, 1761; XXII
WILLIAMSBURG, August 21.On Wednesday Se'nnight died, at his House in this City, WILLIAM HUNTER, Esq; one of His Majesty's Deputy Postmasters General of the Continent of North-America, and Printer to the General Assembly of this Colony; a Gentleman endowed with many amiable Qualifications, which render his Death much regretted by all who had the Pleasure of his Acquaintance.1
The Virginia Gazettes, edited by William Hunter, are in existence, (except for the first two issues in 1751) for the years 1751 and 1752. After that there are only scattered copies extant: only one issue (#112) for 1753; three issues for 1754; twenty-six issues for 1755; two issues for 1756; two issues for 1757; no issues for 1758; one issue for 1759; none. for 1760; and one (#523) for 1761. Joseph Royle, who continued Hunter's printing business as requested in Hunter's will, also continued The Virginia Gazettes, but very few issues of his paper exist: one (#579 for February 12) for 1762; one for 1763, none for 1764, and one for 1765.2
William Hunter's will, the appraisement of his personal estate, and the accounts of settlement by his executors follow:
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
THE WILL OF WILLIAM HUNTER. Written on April 11, 1761; proved and recorded3 August 17th, 1761. Unfortunately some of the text is illegible.
IN THE NAME OF GOD AMEN I WILLIAM HUNTER of the city of Williamsburgh in the Colony of Virginia, being of sound and disposing kind and Memory do make publish and declare this my last Will and Testament…
It is my Will and Desire, that my Executors, hereafter named, shall enter into partnership with Joseph Royle who now lives with me, for his the said Joseph Royle's prosecuting and carrying on the Business I am at present engaged in at the Printing Office in Williamsburgh to and for the equal Benefit and Profit of the said Joseph Royle, and my natural Son William Hunter who now lives with Benjamin Weldon, during the Minority of my [torn] said son William*
And in case the said Partnership shall take place I do then give and bequeath to the said Joseph Royle one Moiety of all my stock at the office comprehended in my Books under the Articles Stationary, Account of Books and general Account of Office and Amount[illegible], by Inventories and Estimation made the thirty-first day of December, one thousand seven hundred and sixty to the sum of one thousand seven hundred and seventy pounds eight shillings and nine pence half penny, as a Compensation to the said Joseph Royle for his personal Management and XXIII Care of the said Business- And if at the Time of my Death the said Stock according to the aforesaid Valuation, should not be equal to the said Sum in that Case it is my Will and desire that the Deficiency shall be made up out of some other part of my Estate-
I do give and bequeath unto my said son William Hunter, the other Moiety of all the said Stock, together with all the profits and Advantages arising from the said partnership, to him and his Heirs for ever, if he shall live to the Age of Twenty one Years, but in Case of his death before that Time, I do then give and bequeath the same to be equally divided between my Brother and Sisters hereafter named But if the said Partnership shall not be entered into I do then give and bequeath the Whole of the said Stock to my said Son William, in the same Manner as the Moiety thereof to be disposed of by my Executors in such Manner as they shall judge best for the Interest of the said William or the Interest of my Brother and Sisters, in Case of his Death under Age.
I give and bequeath unto my said Son William Hunter, all my Stock in Partnership with James Tarpley, together with all the Profits arising therefrom; as also my Houses and Lott in Williamsburgh, No. 48, where the Printing Office is now kept, to him and his Heirs forever provided he shall live to the Age of Twenty one [Years]; But, otherwise I give and bequeath the said Stock in partnership with James Tarpley and Houses and Lotts to be equally divided between my Brother and Sisters.
I give and bequeath unto my [torn] Brother John Hunter the Sum of Fifteen Hundred Pounds to my sister Mary Davenport Wife of the Revd Joseph Davenport the Sum of one thousand Pounds. To my Sister- Rosanna Hunter the Sum of twelve Hundred Pounds to my niece Elizabeth Holt Daughter of my sister Mabell thousand two Hundred Pounds and to my Sister Elizabeth Holt Wife of John Holt the Sum of one Thousand pounds which said sum of one thousand [illegible] with whatever other sum she the said Elizabeth Holt may be entitled to by virtue of this my Will.
I do give and bequeath to her the said Elizabeth Holt to and for her own separate use, and not Subject to the Debts or under the Controul of her Husband.
I give to Miss Molly Davenport all the Books and pamphlets in the Closets and Book Cases at my Dwelling House.
I bequeath the Sum of One Hundred Pounds to be laid out by my Executors in the Purchase of Mourning Rings, and presented as a Token of my friendship to John Hunter Esqr Mrs. Emilia Hunter, Benjamin Franklin, George Wythe, Nathaniel Walthoe, Robert Carter Nicholas, William Small, Benjamin Waller, Thomas Everard, James Tarpley.
I give and bequeath to Elizabeth Duffin the Sum of one hundred Pounds.
I do nominate and appoint my Worthy Friends Benjamin Waller Thomas Everard and James Tarpley my Executors to each of whom I give and bequeath the sum of one hundred Pounds in Consideration of the Trouble that I hereby give them.
And it is my further Will and Intention that in Case my Estate should not prove Sufficient to pay off all the Legacies above mentioned all such Deficiency be made up out of the profits arising from my Stock in partnership with James Tarpley and the intended partnership with Joseph Royle; …
-------- [torn] ------------ April ------------- [April 11, 1761]
York County, to wit, I do hereby Certify that on the Thirteenth day of August 1761 personally appeared before me one of his Majesties Justices...Matthew Davenport and James Davenport, and made Oath That on Saturday the eighth day of this Instant August Mr William Hunter deceased sent for these Deponents and desired them to take Notice that it was his Will and Desire that his Executors should... pay to Mr William Small the sum of one hundred pounds Current Money which he desired the said William Small would receive as a Token of his Friendship and Esteem Which Directions were given by the said William Hunter during his last Sickness at his own House in the City of Williamsburgh...said William Hunter during his last Sickness at his own House in the City of Williamsburgh...
At a Court held for York County the 17th day of August 1761
[will proved and recorded]
APPRAISEMENT of the Estate of William Hunter Esquire, decd 24th August 1761.1
In the Parlour [ £ s. d.] 2 Large Looking Glasses 10 - - 1 Chimney Glase with Sconces 5 1 Grate Fender Tongs Shovel and Bellows with a Poker 5 10 - 12 Mahogany Chairs two of them Armed 20 - - 1 Square Maho: Table £4- 2 Card Tables £5 1 Round Table £1.15 ) 10 15 - 1 Tea Chest 18/ 1 Large Carpet £4 1 Sea piece in a Gilt -Frame 15/ 5 3 - 19 Prints with Glass in Frames £3 1 Fire Screen £1.10 4 10 -
In the Chamber 1 Bed Bedstead Curtains Bolster and Pillow 13-- 5 6 Chairs with Hair Bottoms 3. 18 - 1 Writing Table 10/ 1 Mahogany Desk £7 7 10 - 1 Book Tea Chest 15/ 1 dressing Mass 15/ 1 Carpet £1 2 10 - 1 Grate Shovel Tongs and Poker £1-5 1 Bellows & Harth Brush 5/ 1 10 - 1 Landscape in a Frame - 5 - 1 Piece the Ruins of Rome in a large Gilt Frame 3 - - 1 Small Piece in a Gilt Frame - 15 - 2 Small do with Glasses and Frames 2 - - Book sin a Closet valued by Mr Hunter and left Miss Mary Davenport 28 - -
In a Back Room 1 Bed bedstead and Curtains 5 - - 2 Chairs with Leather Bottoms 1 - - XXV [£ s. d] 1 Dressing Table and [torn]- 4. 10 - 1 Night Chair £1 4 15 - [&c. 6 lines torn and illegible] [---------] 4 Tumbler 9 Water Glass 22 Jelly and Syllabub Glasses 1 5 - 8 China Cups and 11 Saucers 12/6 3 China Bowls 10/- 1 2 6 2 Tea Pots 1 Milk Pot and 1 Sugar dish (Earthen) - - 5 - 2 Muggs 1 wash Batton and 1 punch Strainer - 3 - 4 dozen and 11 white Stone plates £1/ 12/6 2 Fruit Do 2/ 1 14 6 13 white stone dishes £1.5 13 patty pans & Custard Cups wt 1 sugar pot 8/6 1 13 6 5 Glass decanters £1 5 6-1/3 doz China plates £6 7 5 - 8 China Dishes £2 1 do Turreen with stand £1.10 - 3 10 - 5 Butter Boats £l 5 China Custard Cups & 1 Glass Salver 10/ 1 10 - 1 Sett China Compleat £5 2 pickle Saucers & 1 Stone Milk Pot 1/6 ) 5 1 6 5 Bottle Sliders and 2 Mahogany Waiters - 12 6 2 Maho: Tea Boards £1 1 plate Basket and knife Box 10/ 1 10 - 4 Japan'd Waiters and 1 Bread Basket 1 15 - 1 Tin Cheese toster Coffee pot and 2 Tubbs - 7 - 1 Rim of Cruets £2.15 1 punch Ladle 3/9 2 18 9 2 pr. Brass Candlesticks 1 10 - 12 Silver Table, 7 Tea, 1 Soop & 1 Marrow Spoon 4 Salts) at 10/ and Shovels and 1 pair Sugar Tongs wt 54 oz 9 27 4 6 7 Table and 5 Tea Spoons, 1 pr tongs & Strainer) Wt 18 oz. 5gr 5 Tea spoons 1 punch Strainer ) 3-18-12 22-10-17 8 9 1 Bed and Bolster 3 10 - 2 Cases green handled knives & forks ) 1 broken Case with Ivory handled do )with 1 Carving knife & fork 7 10 - 1 pr Steel Snuffers [torn] - 12 - 1 pr Do [torn] 1 2 6 1 Copper [torn] 2 4 - 1 Coffee [torn] - 10 - -------- -------- -------- ---- [torn and illegible]
Upstairs 1 Large Mahogany Table £4.10 1 1 Large Elbow Chair £2 6 - - 1 Bed bolster pillow Bedstead and amine- £7 4 Chairs £2 9 - - 1 dressing Table and glass £2.15 1 Card Table £3.10 6 5 - 7 Prints in Frames with Glasses 7/ 1 Side bed Carpet 10 1 old Scots do 5/ 1 2 - 1 pr hand Irons Tongs and Shovel £1 Night Table £3 4 - - 1 Stand Bason and Mugg 20/ 4 pr fine Sheets £6 5 pr Meaner do £5 12 - - 7 pr Meaner Sheets £6 6 Table Cloths at 12/ £3.12, 3 do at 10/ £1.10 11 2 - 3 Table Cloths Larger at 15/ £2.5 7 small do £1.6 9 Napkins at 2/6 4 13 6 8 Towells 10/- 6 Tea Napkins 7/6 12 Towels of Rusha Linn 9/ 12 Pillow Cases 30/ 3 2 6 XXVI [£ s. d.] 6 Counterpins £6 6 pr blankets £6 1 bed bolster pillow & bedstead £5 17 - - 1 Backgamon Table 15/ 1 pr and Irons 7/6 3 pictures in frames wt glasses 3/ 1 5 6 Wearing Apparel Sword, 2 Canes £65 2 Trunks and 2 Chests 20/ 66 - - Shirts Stockings Watch Buckles and other Warables 35 - - 6 Water plates 40/ 15 pewter plates 25/ 6 pewter dishes 18/ 4 3 - 1 Cullender 1 Dust pan, powder and pepper box and Saucepan - 4 - 1 bell Metal Skillet pestle and Mortar, Coffee and Chocolate pots 1 10 - 1 Tea Kettle Trivet and Chafindish 1 - - 2 Iron Ladles 1 flesh fork and 3 Grid Irons 10/ 2 pr flat Irons and 1 Trivet 12/6 ) 1 2 6 7 brass Candlesticks 2 egg Slices and 1 Warming Pan 1 10 - 2 brass kettles and 1 dutch Oven £3.10, 5 Iron pots, 4 hooks 30/ 5 - - 2 Frying pans 1 dripping pan and 1 Tea kettle - 10 - 1 Jack and spit with a Set----[torn]---Tongs & poker £2 4 15 - 4 pot Racks 15/ 6 tubbs Table 5/ 1 12 - 1 Grate £2 1 ne 5 - - 1 portmantua & 1 Map 7/6 1 2 6 ------- ------- ------- [5 lines torn and illegible] ------- 1 Mill for Oatmeal 10/ 2 barbers blocks and Stands 5/ - 15 - 1 Horse for Linnens 5/ 1 Chest painted paper 70ps at 4/ £14 14 5 - 2 Ruggs and 1 Stript Blanket 2 - - 4 Shoe brushes and blacking wt 1 Wigg puff - 2 6 1 Shoe Jack, 1 Grain Ben 1 Chest 15/ 2 Jarrs and barrels and other lumber £1 1 15 - 2 Cases Bottles 40/ 57 bottles of Porter 40/ 53 btles of Syder 30/ 5 10 - Claret in a Chest and hamper 3 - - 10 butter pots 2 pickle pots and 2 dunes 30/ 2½ gross empty bottles £4 5 10 - 1 pipe Vidonia Wine £20 ¼ Cask of Lisbon Wine £6 26 - - 1 pr Tarriers and Bunborer 3/ James a blind Negro Man - 3 - Diana a Negro Wench Negro Caesar £75 Negro Matt £80 £155 - - 19 Los Single Sugar qty 184 lb at 15 d 11 10 - 4 bottles Westons Snuff at 4/ - 16 - 8½ Years in a Lease of a House & Lotts 80 - - 1 Case Rapps Snuff 1 - -
At the Office 1 bed bolster 2 pr Sheets Rugg blanket Counterpin and bedspread 7 10 - 1 bed bolster, Rugg blanket bedstead 3 - - 1 bed bolster blanket bedstead and pr Sheets 4 - - 1 Musket and Sword 40/ 8 Chairs £3 24 pictures & Maps 30/ 6 10 - 1 pr Candlesticks 5/ 3 old Tables 5/ - 10 - 1 pr Tongs Shovel ---[torn]--- and Milk pot 2/ - 12 - 3 pieces of ---- - 5 - 1 Grind stone - 7 6 Amount of ---- 1937 2 2 1 deal ------ 5 - - ----- [torn] -------- 3 18 5 ---- ----- ----- 23d 1761
THE SETTLEMENT OF WILLIAM HUNTER'S ESTATE BY HIS EXECUTORS - 17641
1764 ) Hunter's) Settlemt)
DR The Estate of Mr William Hunter deceased to Benjamin Waller and Thomas Everard his Executors
To paid William Page his Wages and Account £ 7. 15. 7 To paid Ann Wager for Teaching at the Negro School 7. -. - To paid James Taylor Balance of his Account 6.18. 4 To paid Doctr Peter Hay Ditto 17. 1. 4 To paid Joseph Maynard for Copying the Post Office Accounts 1. -. - To paid Peter P [----torn----] 7. 4. - To paid Al---- Wages 24. 5. 3 To paid ----- Account 3. 12. 8 To paid ----- 13. 18. 3 To paid ----- 60. 8. 2 To paid ----- 5- 5. - To paid ----- 4. -. 2i To ----- 5. -. - To ----- 16. 11. 5½ To paid ---- for a) Ne ) 95. 10. - To paid Benjamin Powell for Peter Randolph's Order for the Money due to him by Mr Hunters Agreemt recorded in the General Court 72. 10. - To paid Colo John Hunter Capt. Hilton's Order for Mr Hunter's Proportion of 1/4 of 100 Hhds of Tobacco) 107. 1. 7 Shipped on Board the Fauquier ) To paid Eyre and Bowdoin Balance their Account 2. 18. 4 To paid William Anderson Do 9. 15. 6 To paid John Barnes Do. 11. -. - To paid William Prentis Do 24. -. 6 To paid Do his Acct against James Wilson by Mr Hunter's Ordr 9. 14. 5 To paid William Smith for Selling Goods at 2 Outcry's 4. 16. 7 To paid Lewis Burwell for a piece of mound for a Street sold Mr Hunter but Convoyed to his Devisees 67. 7.10 To paid Anthony Hay Balance his Account 14. 16.7½ To paid John Carter Do 4. 10. - To paid Joseph Royle 44. 7. To paid John Insco Do -. 1. 3 To paid Joseph Bishop Do 1. 5. - To paid Seymour Powell for the Estate of Carter Burwell decd) 14. 15. - To paid Thomas Hornsby Do 5. 13.10½ To Paid John Saunders Do 1. 19. 9 ----- ---- [&c. 11 lines torn and illegible] To paid William Nelson Esqr Balce of a Years Rent £2. 13. 9 To paid George Jackson Powell Balance his Account 2. 10. 7 To paid Joseph Royle Do 18. 19. 6 To paid Charles Turnbull and Compy Do 3. 6. 2 To paid Mr Day for Copying Accounts & Collecting 10. -. - To paid William Cabell Junr for a Mistake -. 15. - To paid James Belchers for Do 1. 15. - To paid Christopher Ford for Do 1. 5. - XXVIII To paid Mrs Wetherburn's Account 5. 9 To paid Taxes on 13 Writs -.16. 3 To paid Nathaniel Crawley's Account -. 6. - To paid William Pierce for Copying Accounts 10. -. - To paid Joseph Royle his Account To paid Benjamin Franklin Esqr. his Account In Sterling £1130.10. 5½ 60 P[er] Cent on Do 678. 6. 23 1808.16. 8 To paid William Dunlop on his Account 84.18. 3 To paid Miss Molly Davenport her Legacy of Books appraised to 28. -. - To paid Joseph Royle the Legacy given to him and William Hunter Natural Son of Mr Hunter) 1770. 8. 92 To paid William Small his Legacy 100. -. - To paid Elizabeth D [---- torn] her Legacy 100. -. - To paid Captn --------t of his Legacy 1250. 8. 7 To paid Mrs ------ Legacy 500. -. - To paid -------------- Mary his Wife) 670. -. - To paid ------------le his Legacy 1200. -. - To paid ---------acy 50. -. - To ----------- 50. -. - To------------ 50. -. - To paid ------------) Eliza ----------- ) 100. -. - To loss in a forged Treasury Bill found amongst the Money received at the Printing Office £ 2. -. - 8554.16. 5 To Balance due to the Estate 59.11. 8 £ 8614. 8. 1
CR 1764 By Cash in his House at his Death 68.15. 6 By do at the Printing Office 556.16.9 By Apthorp's Bill on Thomlinson & others Sterlg £ 300 50 P[er] Cent on Do 150 Sterlg £500 By Do on Do Sterlg £500 47½ P[er] Cent on Do 237.10 737.10. - By Salary from the Treasury as Printer 233.18. 6 By the Amount of the Appraisement of the Estate 2853.18. 5 By the Amount of the Sales more than the Appraismt 370. 7. 6 By Sale of sundry new Goods not Appraised 338.13. 4½ By the Exrs Bills on Messrs Hanbury for the Balance in his Hands --- Sterlg £504.17. 3 60 P[er] Cent on Do 302.18. 4 807.15. 7 By sundry outstanding Debts received 2216.12. 5-¾ 8614. 8. 1-¼
IN OBEDIENCE to an Order of York Court Dated the 17th day of September last past. We have Stated and Settled an Account of the Administration of the XXIX Estate of Mr William Hunter deced as above ----------
------ [torn - 8 lines illegible]
Returned into York County Court the 5th Day of October 1764 and Ordered to be Recorded.
Thos Everard Cl. Cur.
SETTLEMENT OF WILLIAM HUNTER'S ESTATE BY HIS EXECUTORS - 17731
DR THE ESTATE of Mr William Hunter deced in Accot with Benjamin Waller and Thomas Everard his surviving Exors.
1764 To paid William Johnston Bookseller in London in part of his) Decr 31 Account £50-Sterling at 60 Pr Ct £ 80. -. - 1765 March 12 To paid Colo. Phill Ludwell's Ballance 1. 8. 3-¾ June 4 To paid Thomas Everard his Account 10.19. 2 August 1 To paid William Johnston the Ballance of his Account) £107. 5. 6½ Pr Cent is 174. 6. 5-¾ 1766 Aug. 2 To paid Thomas Wilkins 3. 1. 3 1767 June 20 To paid Benjamin [sic] the Ballance of his Account 3. -. - August 1 To paid Daniel Barraud Common for Collecting £7.6.0 1770 March 17 To paid John Sykes his Account proved 2.12. 6 To paid Sundry Postages about his affairs -. 6. - To paid David Holt Guardian of Elizabeth Holt in full her Legacy at several times 100. -. - 1771 To paid Elizabeth Holt Wife of John Holt in full of her Legacy at several times 500. -. - To paid The Revd Joseph Davenport in full of his Wife Mary's Legacy at several times 330. -. - 1772 To paid Capt John Hunter in full of his Legacy at sundry times 249.11. 5 To Paid for Necessary's for William Hunter for Teaching him Music and to Dance and for a Drain to his Printing Office Lot 70.11.7½ To paid Sundry Clerks and Sherifs Fees 663 lb Tobo at 2d 5.10. 6 To paid the Printer for Advertising -. 7. - To paid James Tarpley for Mourning Rings 90.16. - To Ditto for Drawing Articles between Tarpley & Hunter W. Hunter's Half 1.12. 3 To paid Thomas Everard his Account 9. 4. 9 To [paid] Benjamin Waller in full of his Legacy 50. -. - To paid Thomas Everard in full of his Legacy 50. -. - 1773 To paid the Executors of James Tarpley deced in full of his Legacy 50. -. - To paid Clerks fees for this Settlement 60 lb Tobo at 12/6 -. 7. 6 March 1 To paid John Dixon Guardian to William Hunter the Ballance 27. 3. 3 £1811. 5. 3
CONTRA CR 1764 Octo: 5th By Ballance this day Settled with the Persons appointed by York Court [ £] 59.11. 8 1765 By Thos Knox and James Market for their Ballance £8.17.11 Sterlg 60 Pr Cent on Ditto 5.6.9 14. 4. 8 By Cash Received from the Printing Office £ 389.18. 8 By Cash of Mr William Prentis in part of so much paid 1.14. 5 1767 for James Wilson Jany 27 By Capel and Osgood Hanbury for an error in their Account £20 Sterling at 25 Pr Cent 25. O. 0 June 24 By 1 Years Interest of Purdie and Dixon their Bond for Printing Materials &c 60. O. 0 1768 June 29 By 1 Years Ditto for Ditto 60. O. 0 Decr 27th By John Thompson for his Bond for the Interest of his Debt for W Hunters part of the Store 130. 5. 0 1769 July 3 By 1 Years Interest of Purdie and Dixon on their Bond for Printing Materials &c 60. 0. 0 Decr 22 By John Thompson for his Bond for the Interest of his Debt for the Store 130. 0. 0 1770 Decr 24 By John Thompson in part of his Interest Bond 100. 0. 0 By Purdie & Dixon for ballance of Interest on their Bond for Printing Materials &c due in June last £50 the residue being allowed them as an apprentice fee with William Hunter 10. 0. 0 1771 May 4th By John Thompson in full of his Interest Bond 30.12. 6 July 3 By Purdie and Dixon for 1 Years Interest on their Bond for Printing Materials &c 60. 0. 0 1772 July 15 By Ditto - - - - Ditto 60. 0. 0 By James Hubberd in part of John Thompson's Bond for the Interest of his Bond 50. 0..0 Aug. 5th By John Tazewell in full of John Thompson's Interest Bond 84. 0. 5 By James Tarpley for Apthorps Bill £60 -.-) By Ditto - - Order on waring 10.-.-) 70. 0. 0 50 Pr Cent Exchange on Ditto 35. 0. 0 By Sundry outstanding Debts received since last settlement 380.17.11 £1811. 5. 3
E.E. Ben: Waller
IN OBEDIENCE to an order of York County Court dated February 15th 1773 WE have examined Stated and Settled a further Account of the Administration of the Estate of William Hunter Esquire deceased as above by the Vouchers produced to us by his Executors and find the same to be right and justly balanced. GIVEN under our Hands the first Day of March 1773.
See Receipt in full for this Estate Recorded in Deed Book XX Feb: 1775 Returned into York County Court the 15th day of March 1773. and ordered to be Recorded.
Thos Everard Cl: Cur:
According to an early authority on American printers, Joseph Royle was "bred to printing in England," and prior to William Hunter's death in 1761 "had for several years been a foreman in Hunter's printing house."1
We have found no record as to when Royle came to Virginia; but it is probable that he was in Hunter's employment, and in charge of the printing-office, the public printing, and The Virginia Gazette, for at least four or five years before Hunter's death as Hunter was in ill health, and spent some time (ca. 1757-1759) in England.2 At the time Hunter wrote his will (April, 1761) he stated that Royle then lived with him; and he requested his executors to "enter into partnership with Joseph Royle... for his the said Joseph Royle's prosecuting and carrying on the Business I am at present engaged in at the Printing Office in Williamsburgh to and for the equal Benefit and Profit of the said Joseph Royle, and my natural Son William Hunter who now lives with Benjamin Weldon, during the Minority" of the son William.3 He also left Royle a legacy, which we are told was £1000 currency,4 although that portion of Hunter's will is illegible. In an account of the settlement of Hunter's estate, there is record that £1770.8.9 was "paid Joseph Royle the Legacy given to him and William Hunter Natural Son of Mr Hunter."5
Joseph Royle married William Hunter's sister, Rosanna Hunter, and thus became uncle-in-law to young William Hunter.
A Day Book6 kept at the Printing Office from January, 1764, through January, 1766, gives a detailed picture of the activities there: the printing and binding done, books and stationery supplies sold, and some information as to employees. Royle paid "William Hunter Inft" £15 a year Rent for the Office. He also made certain purchases and expenditures for young Hunter which were entered in the Day Book.
In November, 1761, Royle petitioned the House of Burgesses to be allowed to succeed William Hunter as "Printer to the General Assembly" and was appointed public printer at a salary of £350 per annum, which was increased to £375 per annum in January, 1764.7
He also continued to publish The Virginia Gazette, although there are only three issues Of his paper. in existence today. The last extant copy of Hunter's Gazette is Number 523, dated January 16, 1761: "WILLIAMSBURG, Printed by WILLIAM HUNTER, at the GENERAL-POST-OFFICE." Of Royle's Gazettes, there are in existence Number 579, February 12, 1762, "WILLIAMSBURG, Printed by J. ROYLE, and Company, XXXII at the Post-Office"; No. 668 for November 4, 1763; and a supplement to the issue for October 25, 1765.1
Royle was criticised for, not having a free press, he at one time having refused to publish a pamphlet by the Rev. John Cam because of its "Satyrical Touches upon the Late Assembly."2 His successor as printer on Lot #48, Mr. Alexander Purdie, received a letter from a correspondent signing himself "A MAN OF PRINCIPLE," dated Norfolk, August 1, 1766, containing the following comments on Mr. Royle:
When Mr. Royle directed your press, it was not renowned for its freedom; and, as an instance, give me leave to mention Mr. Camm, who was obliged to go to another province before he could give an answer to a piece wrote here, and printed at Mr. Royle's press, and wherein too Mr. Camm was repeatedly called upon to answer. If a Counsellor or Burgess was only squinted at in any thing sent to the press before this period, it was either too low or too ____ but if a Governour was _________O horrible! Has it not been said that Mr. Royle owned a private license, and that.a paper was constantly parried to a certain house in Palace street to be inspected before it could be seen by the publick? If these allegations are true, how long has your house been the faithful Servants of the colony? Just as long as you, Sir, have directed the press, and no longer.3
Along the same lines, Lieutenant-Governor Francis Fauquier wrote the Board of Trade from Williamsburg on April 7, 1766:
From the 1st of November we have been without any newspaper, till very lately. The late printer to the Colony is dead, and as the press was then thought to be too complaisant to me, some of the hot Burgesses invited a printer from Maryland. Upon which the foreman to the late printer, who is also a. candidate for, the place, has taken up the newspaper again in corder to make interest with the Burgesses.4
Thomas Jefferson was doubtless in sympathy with the "hot Burgesses" mentioned by Fauquier, as he wrote some years later concerning Rind's coming to Williamsburg!-
We, had but one press, and that having the whole business of the government, and no competitor for public favor, nothing disagreeable to the governor could be got into it. We procured Rind to come from Maryland to publish a free paper.5
Jefferson, writing in retrospect, may have forgotten that he was not a member of the House of Burgesses in 1766; and that he himself was an admiring and loyal friend of the Lieutenant-Governor, Francis Fauquier.XXXIII
Joseph Royle purchased lots #266, 267, 268 and 700, on the north side of Nicholson, back and a little to the east of the printing office lot (No. 48), from William Nelson of Yorktown on May 25, 1763. He paid Nelson £500 for the "Messuage, Tenement and four Lotts of Land."1 At the time William Hunter died, Joseph Royle lived with Hunter. Hunter's executors paid William Nelson rent for a house after Hunter's death; so it is possible that Nelson leased this same property to, Hunter, which Royle purchased in 1763.
Royle and his wife, Rosanna Hunter Royle, had two sons, William Royle and Hunter Royle - the latter son being born in 1765.2 Royle died between January 20 and January 27, 1766.3 His will was written on January 20, 1766, and was proved and recorded May 19, 1766. He requested that Alexander Purdie, who then lived with him, carry on the printing business for "the said Alexander Purdie, and my Son William Royle during his Minority...and that Articles of Agreement be entered into by both Parties in the same manner as the Partnership between the Executors of the late William Hunter Esq..; deceased in behalf of his Son William and myself." In case the partnership should take place, Royle then gave "to the said Alexander Purdie my half of all the Stock I have in Partnership with William Hunter at the Printing Office, comprehending in our Books of Accounts...to the Amount of the Sum of Five hundred pounds Virginia Currency...as a Compensation to the said Alexander Purdie for his Personal Management and Care of the said Business during the Minority of my said son William Royle." Royle left his widow, Rosanna Royle "the Sum of Fifty Pounds Virginia Currency Yearly" to be paid on the first day of January every Year, "during her natural Life," and the houses and lots #266, 267, 268 and 700, during the minority of their son William, who was to inherit the property when he reached the age of 21 years. He left his "other Son Hunter Royle... the Sum of One thousand Pounds Current Money payable on his arriving to the Age of twenty one Years." If both sons died before coming of age, and after the death of his wife, Royle left his house and lots, "together with all and singular the Profits Interest and other Estate that either of my said Sons wou'd or might have been entitled to" in trust to the Minister and Vestry of Bruton Parish, to endow a school to be known as ROYLE'S FREE SCHOOL, to be built on lots #266 and #267 on Nicholson Street, for teaching "the English Language, with propriety, Accent, Cade[nce] and Emphasis, Writing, Arithmatick and the practical --------[torn]," and purchasing books, clothing, etc. for "seven poor Children" and "binding them Apprentices to some Handicraft Trade or Business, by which they may… become useful Members of a Community." Any surplus was to be applied to erecting a "Monument to perpetuate.., the MEMORY of my worthy Friend and Benefactor, WILLIAM HUNTER Esqr, deceased."4
ROYLE'S FREE SCHOOL was never established, nor was the monument to William Hunter erected, for both William and Hunter Royle lived to inherit their father's estate. Rosanna Hunter Royle married again, becoming the wife of John Dixon, who went into partnership with Alexander Purdie, Joseph Royle's successor at the Printing-Office. "The Widow's Annuity" was paid Rosanna Hunter Royle by the executors of Royle's estate through 1771.5XXXIV
A copy of Royle's will, the inventory of his estate, and administration couts follow:
In the Name of God Amen; I Joseph Royle of the ----------[torn] in the Colony of Virginia, being of -------------------- and Memory, do make and declare --------------------- Testament in Manner and -------------------- m Will and Desire th--------------------ll enter into Pa-------------------------------------ow lives with me for ----------------------------------and carrying on every --------------------------msburg ---------- as usual, to and for the equal Benefit and Profit of the said Alexander Purdie, and my Son William Royle during his Minority and in Case of his Death before the Age of Twenty one Years then for the use of my Estate for and during the term of ten Years fully to be Completed from the time of my Death, and that Articles of Agreement be entered into by both Parties in the same manner as the Partnership between the Executors of the late William Hunter Esqr deceased in behalf of his Son William and myself, and in Case the said Partnership shall take place, I do then give and bequeath to the said Alexander Purdie my half of all the Stock I have in Partnership with William Hunter at the Printing Office, comprehending in our Books of Accounts, under the Titles of General Account of Office, Stationary, and Books, to the Amount of the Sum of Five hundred pounds Virginia Currency, (agreeable to the rates and prices mentioned in our Inventory taken December the 31th 1762, and the Invoice Book for what Goods or Materials have been Imported since taking the said Inventory) as a Compensation to the said Alexander Purdie of my said Son William Royle and in Case of his Death under Age for an during the aforesaid Term of Ten Years form the Time of my Death. And if the said Stock should not amount to five hundred Pounds, according to the aforesaid Valuation, at the time of my Death, it is ----[torn] Will and desire that the Deficiency shall be made up --------------------ther part of the said Stock shall excee-----------------------------------------------ed Pounds, that the said Alexander P--------------------------------------------d Account for the same to my Ex------------------------------------ower them to and bequeath ---------------------------m the said intended Pur-------------------------- his Heirs and A----------------------------------- Years, except so ------------------------------------------------- much thereof as it may be necessary to apply towards discharging the other Legacies herein after bequeathed. But if the said Partnership shall not be entered into, or the said Alexander Purdie shall refuse to accept of the Offer to be made to him, by my Executors according to this my Will; I do then desire my Executors to dispose of my said Stock in such Manner as they shall judge best for the Interest of my Son William Royle to whom I do give and bequeath the same, but if he shall not Attain the Age of twenty one Years, then for the Benefit of my Estate to be applied and Disposed of as herein after directed.XXXV
I give devise and bequeath unto my said Son William Royle and his Heirs and Assigns for ever, all that my Messuage House and Lotts where I now live .in the said City of Williamsburg, containing four Lotts, or half Acres of Ground numbered in the Plan of the said City, and denoted therein by the Figures 266, 267, 268, 700, with all.and singular the Tenements, Hereditaments and Appurtenances thereunto belonging, provided he shall attain the-Age of twenty one Years, and during the Minority of my said Son, I give devise and bequeath the same unto my Wife Rosanna Royle, and her Assigns, and in Case of the Death of my said Son William Royle, under Age; It is then my Will and Meaning, and I do hereby devise that my Wife or her Assigns may remain in quiet Possession of all the said Messuage Lotts Tenements and Premises for and during the Term of her Natural Life she and ---------------------------------------------ng care that no waste or Destruction be made therein ----------------------------------- same in good and sufficient Repair and after her --------------- as herein after mentioned.
I give ----------------------------------------------- Rosanna Royle my Negro --------------------------------Household and Kitchen Furn----------------------------------------------- Provisions, and Liquors tha----------------------------- my Cattle, Horses an --------------------------------------------ill and direct that all my ----------------------------------- in after bequeathed together ------------------------------------------- frugal but decent) be fully paid and Satisfied, and to the payment thereof I subject whatever shall be due to me from Company Account with William Hunter Infant before named, as will appear by the Boots kept at the Printing Office, and general Accounts Transferred to my private Ledger; And I do will and direct my Executors to pay or Cause to be paid unto my said Wife Rosanna Royle the Sum of Fifty Pounds Virginia Currency Yearly, on the first day of January every Year during her natural Life, which Annuity shall be paid & Satisfied out of the Remainder or Balance of my Partnership. Account with the said William Hunter and if that shall be insufficient, then out of the Profits arising from the intended Partnership with Alexander Purdie as. aforesaid. I give devise and bequeath unto my other Son Hunter Royle and his Heirs the Sum of One thousand Pounds Current Money payable on his arriving to the Age of twenty one Years, but if he should not attain that Age, then the said Legacy to return my Estate. All the rest residue, and remainder of my Estate Real or personal whatsoever;...not herein before or hereinafter given devised, or disposed of I give devise and bequeath... unto my said Son William Royle and his Heirs forever provided he shall live to the Age of twenty one Years, but if he shall not attain that Age, then I give devise and bequeath the same, unto my other Son Hunter Royle and his Heirs forever provided he shall ------------ the Age of twenty one Years. And it is my further Will and -----------------------------------t if my said Son William should not live to the Age -------------------ars, in that Case, all the Estate Inter---------------to him shall vest in and become ------------------------ son Hunter Royle and his Heirs ------------------------- it is my further will and in-------------------------- William or Hunter Royl------------------------ that then and immediat--------------------------ate I have ---------------------- all be vested in the Minister and Vestry of the Parish of Bruton in the County of York and Colony of Virginia for the time being and their Successors forever, IN TRUST and to and for the several purposes hereinafter mentioned; And I do hereby give devise and bequeath all my said Lotts and Tenements with their Appurtenances situate in Williamsburg aforesaid, together with all and singular XXXVI the Profits Interest and other Estate that either of my said Sons wou'd or might have been entitled to, if they had attained the Age of twenty one Years, after the Death of my said Wife Rosanna Royle unto them the said Minister and Vestry of Bruton Parish... IN TRUST that the Rents, Profits, Interest, and Issues of the Fund hereby given and devised shall be laid out and disposed of in the Purchase of Lands or Slaves or put out to Interest with good securities as the said Minister and Vestry shall Judge will best Answer the Benefit hereby intended, that is to say, It is my Will and desire that a School House be Built on any part of my Lotts denoted in the Plan of the said City of Williamsburg by the Figures 266, 267, at the Discretion of the said Ministers and Vestry which shall be called and known by the name of ROYLE'S FREE SCHOOL; And I do hereby direct that the said Minister and Vestry shall provide a Person of good Character, Capable of teaching the English Language, with propriety, Accent, Cade--- [nce] and Emphasis; Writing, Arithmatick and the practica-------------------------------------Mathematicks as a School-Master for the said ----------------------- that --------- shall be allowed and paid by the as---------------------Salary of Fifty Pounds Currency -------------------------teaching and instructing seve----------------------------and I do hereby direct, th-----------------------Williamsburg, and pa----------------------------------------------dustrious in their resp--------------------------------intenance of their Fami------------------------------------------------------the said City or Parish shall have the preference to all other Children: AND if after paying the School Master's Salary there shall remain any Balance... arising from the Fund hereby given devised and bequeathed in Trust to-the said Minister and Vestry of Bruton Parish as aforesaid " I will Order and direct that such SURPLUS be applied in erecting a Monument to perpetuate (as much as in me lies) the MEMORY of my worthy Friend and Benefactor WILLIAM HUNTER Esqr, deceased, and keeping the same in good Repair: AND the Overplus afterwards arising from the said Fund, shall be disposed of in the purchasing of such Books, as may be useful to the aforesaid seven poor Children, Clothing and binding them Apprentices to some Handicraft Trade or Business, by which they may have it in their power to become useful Members of a Community, and of Service to the Country in General. PROVIDED nevertheless that if all the Fund hereby given and devised in Trust as aforesaid to the Minister and Vestry of Bruton Parish, shall not be appropriated and applied, according to my will intent and meaning respecting the FREE SCHOOL and MONUMENT aforesaid, then and in default thereof, I do give devise and bequeath all the aforesaid Estate and Fund unto the Heirs of my` Wife Rosanna lawfully to be begotten of her Body, and in default of such Heirs, then to be equally, divided amongst the Children of her Brother John Hunter, and her Sister Mary Davenport...
… [7 lines torn and illegible]
and do nominate, constitute, and appoint my Friends George Davenport, John Tazewell And John Dixon of Williamsburg Executors of this my said last Will, to each of whom I give and bequeath the Sum of Fifty Pounds Currency, as also Five Pounds for every Hundred Pounds of such Debts due and owing unto me as they shall collect in the course of their Administration of my Estate, and I do impower my said Executors if they shall think proper or find it necessary, to Sell and Dispose of the Printing Materials I lately purchased of Mr Walter Buchanan on my own Account, and which are now in the possession of Mr John Carter, for the best Advantage to my Estate. IN WITNESS whereof XXXVII I the said Joseph Royle have hereunto set my hand and affixed my Seal this twentieth day of January One thousand seven Hundred and sixty six.
Jo Royle (L. S.)
Signed, Seal'd published and
declared by the Testator as and for his
last Will and Testament in our presence who
have Subscribed our Names as Witnesses thereto at his Request.
At a Court -------------------------19th Day of May 1766.
|1 Bay Horse||£ 20. -. -|
|1 Chair and Harness||20. -. -|
|1 Ax and Tenant Saw||-.17. 6|
|1 Umbrello||-. 7. 6|
|1 Chair Whip||-.10. -|
|1 Spade||-. 5.|
|1 Hoe||-. 2. -|
|1 pair Garden Shears||-. 4. -|
|12 Mahogany Chairs including two elbow Chairs||15. -. -|
|2 Mahogany Dining Tables||8. -. -|
|2 Do Card Tables||6. -. -|
|1 Do Tea Table||1. 6. -|
|1 Japaned Tea Board and Waiter||1.10. -|
|1 Sett of China||5. -. -|
|2 Looking Glasses and 1 Chimney Do with sconces||15. -. -|
|6 Prints ruins of Rome||1.15.|
|2 Do in its Original Splendour||-.12.|
|6 Do Arts and Sciences||2. 5. -|
|1 Map of Virginia||-. 7. -|
|1 Grate, Fender, Shovel, Tongs, and Poker||4. -. -|
|1 Wilton Carpet||5. -. -|
|1 Tea Chest||1.10. -|
|1 pair Bellows||-. 7. 6|
|1 Brush and Sh-----------[torn]||- 2. 6|
|1 Bed, Bolster and ---------||5. -. -|
|1 Walnut Beds--------------||-.18. -|
|1 Mahogany -----------||3. -. -|
|2 Do Dressing||2.10. -|
|1 Mahogany -------------||12. -. -|
|1 ------------------||4. -. -|
|6 Walnut Chairs with Hair bottoms||3.10. -|
|1 Round Mahogany Tea Table||£ 1.10. -|
|7 Coloured Prints||1.10. -|
|1 Pair Dogs, Shovel, Tongs and Poker||2.10. -|
|1 Bed Carpet||.10. -|
|2 Window Curtains||.10. -|
|1 Bed, Bolster and Pillow||5. -. -|
|1 Mahogany Card table||2.10. -|
|6 Walnut Chairs Leather Bottoms||3. -. -|
|1 Night Chair and Pan||-.15. -|
|1 Walnut Cradle||-.15.|
|1 Bed, Bedstead, Bolster, and two Pillows||6. -. -|
|1 Walnut Writing Table||-.12. 6|
|1 pair Dogs, Shovel, Fender, Tongs, and Poker||1.10. -|
|1 Garden Rake||-. 1. 3|
|16 Heads in frames double Gilt||12. -. -|
|1 Easy Chair||5. -. -|
|1 Painted Sugar Canister||-. 7. 6|
|1 Flesh Brush||-. 2. -|
|1 Rim and Castors with Silver Tops||2. -. -|
|1 Silver Punch Ladle||1. -. -|
|1 Do||Soup Spoon||2.10. -|
|1 Do Punch Strainer||1. -. -|
|1 large Japaned Tea Board and four Waiters||4. -. -|
|4 Silver Salvers||6. -. -|
|1 Do Milk ----------[torn]||2. -. -|
|2 Do Ta-------------||20. -. -|
|12 Do Tabl---------||10. -. -|
|11 Do ---------------||1.15. -|
|2 ----------------------||.15. -|
|3 D-------------------||. 7. 6|
|4½ ----------------------||3. -. -|
|1 Steel||-. 7. 6|
|21 flowered_Glasses||£1. 1. -|
|1 China Turene and Desk [sic]||2.10. -|
|3 Glass Decanters||1. 5. -|
|4 large and 4 small China Dishes||2. -. -|
|1 Carving Knife and Fork||-. 5. -|
|5 China Bowls||1. 5. -|
|1 Mahogany Couch||6. -.|
|6 Do Chairs and 1 Smiling lb with Leather Bottoms||8. -. -|
|1 Walnut Desk||3. -.|
|1 Do Press||1. -.|
|1 Mahogany Tea Chest||-. 5. -|
|1 Plate Basket||-. 5. -|
|1 Pine Table||-. 5. -|
|6 White Stone Dishes||-.12. 6|
|1 Brass Warming Pan||-. 5. -|
|3 pair Brass Candlesticks||1.10. -|
|1 Flat Do Snuffers, Stand, and two pair Snuffers||-. 5. -|
|1 Case of Ivory knives and Forks||3. -. -|
|1 Do Desert Do||2. -. -|
|1 Japaned Bread Basket||-. 2. 6|
|3 Tea Boards and two Bottle Sliders||-.15. -|
|A parcel of Knives and Forks||-. 5. -|
|1 Rim and Castor||-. 5. -|
|1 Plate Basket||-. 5. -|
|17 White Stone Plates||-. 8. 6|
|A parcel of old Ch--[hina?]||[ £]-. 5. -|
|3 Water Jugs and -------[torn]||-. 7. 6|
|1 three foot Mahog--------------||2. -. -|
|1 Hair Mattress -----------||1. -. -|
|1 Green Rugg ------------||.15. -|
|1 Mahogany -----------||1. -. -|
|1 Walnut Tab----------||.10. -|
|1 ----------------||.10. -|
|1 Fender, Shovel, Tongs and Poker||£ -. 7. 6|
|1 Window Curtain, and Wash Bason||-. 2. 6|
|1 Bed, Bedstead, Bolster, two Pillows, & 1 sett of Curtains||8. -. -|
|2 Window Curtains, 1 Wash Bason||-. 5. -|
|1 small Looking Glass||-.10. -|
|1 Fender, Shovel, Tongs, and Bellows||-. 7. 6|
|1 Portmantau Trunk||1. -. -|
|1 Black Leather Trunk||-.10. -|
|1 Silver Watch||6. -. -|
|1 Bed, Bedstead, Bolster, Pillow, and Mattress||10. -. -|
|7 Pair Blankets||5. -. -|
|1 Smoaking Chair||1. 6. -|
|5 Walnut Chairs||2.10. -|
|1 Hair Trunk||1. -. -|
|3 Window Curtains||-. 7. 6|
|6 Chamber Pots||-. 5. -|
|1 Pine Chest||-.10. -|
|1 Fire Engine, and 12 Buckets||12.10. -|
|16 Damask Napkins||1. -. -|
|12 best Do||1.10. -|
|6 Doulas Towels||-. 7. 6|
|2 large Damask Table Cloths||3. -. -|
|5 pair Pillow Cases||-.15. -|
|4 Manchester Counterpanes||5. -. -|
|1 Virginia -----------[torn]||1. -. -|
|1 Bed Quilt||-.15. -|
|6 Diaper T-------------||3.12. -|
|6½ pair Sh-----------||10 . -. -|
|4 p--------------||4. -. -|
|2 --------------------||-. 2. 6|
|1 W----------------------ttles||1. -. -|
|4 p----------------------||-. 8. -|
|19 Pewter Plates||£2. -. -|
|6 Do Water Plates||2. 8. -|
|8 Do Dishes||2. 8. -|
|4 Tin Oyster Scollops||-. 2. 6|
|1 Copper funnel||-. 5. -|
|2 Tin Do||-. 1. -|
|1 Copper Kitchen||-.15. -|
|1 Do Saucepan||1. 6. -|
|1 Do Tea Kettle, 2 Sauce pans & 1 Chocolate Pott||1.10. -|
|2 Tin Coffee Pots||-. 5. -|
|9 Iron Scewers||-. 5. -|
|2 Brass Chafing Dishes||-. 7. 6|
|1 Spice Mortar and Coffee Mill||-.12.6|
|1 Search, Sifter, and Flower Box||-. 2. 6|
|5 Pails 2 Tubs & 1 Piggin||-.12. 6|
|1 Mettal Skillet||-.10. -|
|1 Copper Kettle||3. -. -|
|1 Iron Kettle & 4 Potts||[ £]3. -. -|
|1 Frying Pan||-. 5. -|
|1 Trivet, Footman, and 3 Grid Irons||-.15. -|
|2 Copper Ladles||-. 3. 9|
|4 Pot Racks, & 1 Flesh Fork||-.12. 6|
|1 Jack and 1 Spitt||2. -. -|
|1 Pair Dogs Shovel &Tongs||1. -. -|
|2 pair Flat Irons||-.12. 6|
|4 Milk Pans||-. 2. 6|
|2 Kitchen Tables ------------[torn]||1. -. -|
|4 Portmantaus ---------------||2. -. -|
|1 Cloaths B---------------||-. 7. 6|
|1 Negro Wench||60. -. -|
|Negro Girl||30. -. -|
|Negro Girl||40. -. -|
|2 ---------------------||1. -. -|
|12 Stone Pots||£ 2. -. -|
|2 Bottle Cases & Bottles||3. -. -|
|6 empty Hogsheads||1.10. -|
|5 Pine Chests||2.10. -|
|3 Milch Cows & 1 Calf||5. -. -|
|One half the Stock in Partnership with William Hunter Infant, at the Printing Office in Williamsburgh; including, Account|
|of Books, Stationary, Printing, Materials, & two Negro Men named Matt, and Aberdeen||1265.12.10-¾|
|A parcel of Printing Materials sold to Mr Wm Holt||261.10.10|
|Sundry outstanding Debts to be Accounted for when received||£2068. 8. 8-¾.|
IN OBEDIENCE to an Order of York Court hereunto annexed; We the Subscribers have Appraised, the Estate of Joseph Royle deceased, as by this Inventory will Appear, May 26th 1766-
Anthony Hay Alexr Craig G Pitt A Davenport
RETURNED into York County Court the 16th day of June 17--------- [torn. 1766]
|Feby 22d 1766||...|
|July 18th||paid William Hunter inft 10/ 21st 10/ )|
|Aug: 17th 28th 20/)||[ £] 2.10. -|
|1767, Feby 12th||...|
|paid ditto Peter Franklins Account for )|
|Boarding &c William Hunter inft )||34.17. 4|
|Nov. 18th||To Commission on £2590.10.6 at 5 P[er] )|
|Cent paid Sundry people for Collect& )||129.10. 6-¼|
|[Total on Debit side of account]||£2590.10. 6|
|1766. Jany 27th||By Cash on Hand at Joseph Royle's decease||[ £] 149. 7. 3|
|[six pages of accounts, subscribers, &c.]|
|[Feb.] 12th||William Hunter inft Recd of John Foxcroft||45.16. 3-½|
|[8 more pages of sums paid Joseph Royle & Co.]||…|
|[1769, Decr]||22d Joseph. Royles Este recd from Purdie & Dixon)|
|a Bill of Exchange)||115. -. -|
|[1773 Nov. 23d]||Joseph Royle's Este recd of John Dixon Augst)|
|19th||140. -. -|
|[Total on Credit side of account]||£2590.10. 6|
In Obedience to an order of York County Court bearing date the 21st day of November 1774... We the Subscribers have this day examined stated and settled the foregoing Account of Administration of the Estate of Joseph Royle decd in company with William Hunter Infant and do find the same to be fairly and Justly stated... Given under our hands this nineteenth day of January 1775
/s/ Joseph Hornsby /s/ Robt Miller.
I have examined the foregoing Account and find the same to be just January 19th 1775. - William Hunter /s/
Returned into York County Court the 20th day of February 1775 and Ordered to be recorded…
|1766||Jan: 31st||To Cash paid the Sexton his Account - - - -||[£] 1. 7. 6|
|Feb: 8th||Elizabeth Solomon, her Wages||1.16. 3|
|April 17th||The Widow's Annuity||50. -. -|
|July 27th||The Widow her Annuity||50. -. -|
|October 25th||Remitted Graham Frank on Account of William Royle inft £20 Stg. 25 P[er] Cent||- 25. -. -|
|[May] 29th||Joseph Royle & Company||60. -. -|
|July 4th||The Widow her Annuity||50. -. -|
|October 24th||Remitted Hal: Dixon for the use of William Royle inft £20 Stg 20 Pr Cent||- 24. -. -|
|Decr 22d||Joseph Royle & Co a Bill of Excha||115. -. -|
|1770||May 2d||Frank and Bickerton for William Royle inft||2. 7. 2|
|July 10th||The Widow her Annuity||50. -. -|
|1771||May 16th||Remitted Hal: Dixon for the use of William Royle inft £20 Stg. 20 Pr Cent||- 24. -. -|
|July 24th||Haldenby Dixon his further Account||2. 1. -|
|The Widow her Annuity||50. -. -|
|1772||May 20th||Remitted Haldenby Dixon for the use of William Royle inft £20 Stg. 25 P Cent||25. -. -|
|28th||The Secretary his fee Bill||-. 5. -|
|1773||Aug: 15th||Remitted Haldenby Dixon for the use of William Royle inft £20 Stg. Excha 30 Pr Ct||26. -. -|
|10th||Joseph Royle & Company||39.11. 9|
|To Commissions on £1377.11.8 at 5 Pr Cent agreeable to the Will||--68.17. 7|
|[Total on Debit side of account]||£1406.16. 0½|
|1766||Jan. 31st||By Cash recd from the General Post Office||15.14.11½|
|[May 5th]||Joseph Royle and Company||8. -. -|
|Nov. 30th||Joseph Royle and Company||47.11. 9|
|[Dec.] 23d||Joseph Royle and Company||34. -. -|
|1767,||Feb. 12th||Joseph Royle and Company||[ £] 10. -. -|
|[July 4th]||Purdie and Dixon||60. -. -|
|July 27th||Purdie and Dixon||60. -. -|
|July 4th||Purdie and Dixon||60. -. -|
|Decr 22d||Purdie and Dixon a bill of Exchange||115. -. -|
|1770||July 10th||Purdie and Dixon||57.10. -|
|Decr 27th||Purdie and Dixon||222. -. -|
|1771||July 12th||Purdie and Dixon||48.14. -|
|1772||July 12th||Purdie and Dixon||48.14. -|
|1773||May 11th||John Foxcroft for James Mitchell||34. 6. 9|
|July 12th||Purdie & Dixon||48.14. -|
|Aug: 12th||John Dixon||140. -. -|
|1774||Aug: 20th||Purdie and Dixon||41.14. -|
|£ 1377.11. 8|
|Balance due to the Exors||29. 4. 4½|
|[Credit side of account- total]||£ 1406.16. 0½|
IN OBEDIENCE to an Order of York County Court- bearing date the 21st day of November 1774 and hereto annexed We the Subscribers have this day examined Stated and settled the foregoing Account of the Administration of the Estate of Joseph Royle deed and do find the same to be fairly and justly stated, and that the Balance of twenty nine pounds four shillings and four pence half penny is now due to the Executors Given under our hands this nineteenth day of January 1775
Returned into York County Court the 20th day of February 1775 and Ordered to be Recorded.
Thos Everard Cl. Cur.
Note: Included in papers filed by Wm Hunter [[illegible]], army British Loyalist claims, Public Record Office, Audit Office 13/30 was "A List of Debts due to Dixon & Hunter in Wmsburg, Virgini. 31st December, 1778," totalling £2112:15:10½. (See photostat C. W. archives. M. [illegible] 6/2/58)
Alexander Purdie was born in Scotland, and "there brought up to printing."1 We do not know exactly when he came to Virginia, but he was employed by Joseph Royle at the Printing Office on Lot AS in Williamsburg in 1764, and possibly earlier. In May, 1764 he purchased "16 Sayer's Prints in frames gilt" and 2 small "Ditto" from the Printing Office for £8.7.6. In December, 1765 Royle paid him £100 "for his Salary"; and he was credited with £7.17.6 for "14 years interest of his bond" of £105 "due the 20th Instant."2 Purdie was living with Joseph Royle when the latter wrote his will in January, 1766.
In his will,3 Royle requested that Alexander Purdie carry on the printing business on Lot #48 for the "equal Benefit and Profit of the said Alexander Purdie, and my Son William Royle during his Minority" and young William Hunter, articles of agreement being entered into "by both Parties in the same manner as the Partnership between the Executors of the late William Hunter Esqr, deceased in behalf of his Son William and myself." If the partnership should take place, Royle bequeathed "to the said Alexander Purdie my hAlf of all the Stock I have in Partnership with William Hunter at the Printing Office, comprehending in our Books of Accounts, under the Titles of General Account of Office, Stationary, and Books, to the Amount of the Sum of Five hundred pounds Virginia Currency (agreeable to the rates and prices mentioned in our Inventory taken December the 31th 1762, and the Invoice Book for what Goods or Materials have been imported since taking the said Inventory) as a Compensation to the said Alexander Purdie for his Personal Management and Care of the said Business during the Minority of my said Son William Royle and in Case of his Death under Age for and during the aforesaid Term of Ten Years from the Time of my Death." Royle died by January 27, 1766,4 and Alexander Purdie continued the business as requested in Royle's will.
The Virginia Gazette must have been discontinued for a few months prior to Royle's death, for the Lieutenant Governor, Francis Fauquier, wrote the Board of Trade from Williamsburg on April 7, 1766, "From the 1st of November we have been without any newspaper, till very lately."5 Purdie re-established the paper - the first extant issue of Purdie's gazette (probably his first issue) dated March 7, 1766, had the colophon:
WILLIAMSBURG. Printed by ALEX. PURDIE, and COMPANY, at the POST-OFFICE; by whom Persons may be supplied with this PAPER.
This issue also contained the following statement by Purdie: XLV
TIRED with an involuntary recess from business for these four months past, the advantage which a news paper is generally looked upon to be of by the community, and the encouragement I have already met with from a number of the late customers to the VIRGINIA GAZETTE, have determined me to resume its publication, at the usual price of 15 s. a year, and to insert ADVERTISEMENTS as formerly. I intend sending the Gazette to all the old customers...and should any choose to decline, they will please acquaint me... The press shall likewise be as free as any Gentleman can wish, or desire; and I crave the countenance and favour of the publick no longer than my conduct may appear to merit their approbation.…1
As noted in the sketch of Joseph Royle,2 there had been some criticism of the press, and Governor Fauquier wrote the Board of Trade on April 7, 1766 (see note 4 preceding page): "The late printer to the Colony is dead, and as the press was then thought to be too complaisant to me, some of the hot Burgesses invited a printer from Maryland. Upon which the foreman [Purdie] to the late printer, who is also a candidate for the place, has taken up the newspaper again in order to make interest with Burgesses." Purdie stressed the freedom of his press in the notice quoted above, and again on March 28, 1766:
AS I understand it is thought by some that I have neglected, or refused, to publish the account of a late transaction at Hobb's Hole:, this is to assure the publick...that I never saw the same, nor was- it ever offered to me to publish, otherwise it would have seen the light before this time: For I do now, as I have heretofore declared, that my press shall be as free as any Gentleman can wish or desire; that is, as free as any publick press upon the continent.3
William Rind, printer from Maryland mentioned by Fauquier, came to Williamsburg and on May 9, 1766, Purdie's Gazette carried Rind's announcement that he had "now settled in Williamsburg," and had "furnished himself with all the materials necessary for carrying on the PRINTING BUSINESS," and proposed "to begin the publication of a NEWS PAPER on Friday next, which will be regularly continued, if XLVI he meets with a sufficient number of subscribers..."1
In March, 1766, John Dixon, who subsequently married Joseph Royle's widow, Rosanna Hunter Royle,2 was deputy postmaster; and was also "at the Printing Office," (on Lot #48) being "Properly authorized...by the executors of William Hunter and Joseph Royle, deceased," to collect the balances due by "ALL PERSONS indebted to JOSEPH BOYLE and company."3 On June 20, 1766, Purdie made the following announcement:
I BEG leave to acquaint my friends and customers that I have just entered into partnership with Mr. John Dixon, in conjunction with whom I have purchased all the materials, stock in trade, &c. belonging to the estates of the late Mr. William Hunter and Mr. Joseph Royle. The acquaintance which Mr. Dixon has had in the business, and the satisfaction that I believe he has hitherto given in his department, encourages me to hope that we shall have the countenance and favour of all former customers to this OFFICE, as well as of the publick in general, we being determined to make it our constant study to merit approbation.4
With the above issue, Purdie's colophon changed from "WILLIAMSBURG: Printed by ALEX. PURDIE, and COMPANY, at the POST-OFFICE..." to "WILLIAMSBURG: Printed by ALEX. PURDIE, and JOHN DIXON, at the POST OFFICE..." It is not clear what "acquaintance" Mr. Dixon had "had in the business" prior to Purdie's announcement quoted above. He may have taken charge of the business side of the partnership, and left the printing to Purdie. After marrying Rosanna Hunter Royle, he became, as Royle had been, uncle-in-law to young William Hunter, who had inherited Lot #48 from his father, and half-interest in the business.
Purdie and Dixon advertised for "An Apprentice to the PRINTING BUSINESS" in July, 1766; and for "a Journeyman Printer, to whom good wages will be given" in September of that year.5XLVII
In spite of Purdie's announcements as to the freedom of his press, he was not chosen public printer, when the Assembly next considered the appointment. The printer from Maryland, William Rind, and several other printers, petitioned the House of Burgesses to be "appointed the Publick Printer." Ballots were cast in the House, and Rind won1- the count being as follows:
For William Rind, 53 For William Stark, 19 For Robert Miller, 17 For Purdie and Dixon, 10
Rind continued as Public Printer until his death in 1773; but in 1769 the Assembly gave the job of printing "the Acts of Assembly by the Committee appointed to collect them" to both printers. For in November, 1769, William Rind, Alexander Purdie, and John Dixon petitioned the Assembly to be reimbursed for a "Quantity of Leather for binding them," which had been imported from England and which had cost the printers "234 £.0s.6d Sterling" and was "unfit for the Purpose."2
In 1770, Purdie and Dixon advertised that they had agreed to take all their "printing paper from a company of Gentlemen in Philadelphia, who have lately set up a large PAPER MANUFACTORY, and intend, if they can be sufficiently supplied with LINEN RAGS, to make all sorts of fine writing paper." Purdie and. Dixon offered "three half pence ready money" for every pound of linen rags brought to the Post Office in Williamsburg.3
In 1767, Alexander Purdie and Mary, his wife, purchased and occupied, a house on the south side of Duke of Gloucester Street for £300 current money - lot #24, on the opposite side of the street, and a block to the east of the Printing-Office.4 Purdie also had a shop or store on this property, for in July and August, 1772, he offered for sale "at my House" various materials millinery, thread, earrings, necklaces, combs, stockings, and other goods.5
Purdie's wife, Mary, died on March 28, 1772, in the 27th year of her age, leaving four sons, James, Hugh, Alexander and William.6 She was buried in Bruton Churchyard, where her tombstone still stands, proclaiming her "a virtuous loving, frugal and discreet wife, and affectionate, though discerning Mother, one of the best of Mistresses.... she was Sensible Prudent Generous and honest hearted no deceit lay under her Tongue. Her Husband in Gratitude for the ardent affection she bore him and genuine esteem he had for her and in Justice to her Virtues caused this stone to be placed over her..."7 Nine months later, Alexander Purdie remarried: XLVIII
Williamsburg, December 31.
This evening was married Mr. ALEXANDER PURDIE, of this city, printer, to Miss PEACHY DAVENPORT; a Lady amiable in her person, and of an accomplished understanding.1
The partnership between Alexander Purdie and John Dixon was evidently expected to expire when young William Hunter came of age; and looking ahead to that time, they published the following notice in June, 1773:
As the Partnership between PUR.DIE and DIXON is drawing near to a Conclusion, they earnestly request all Persons indebted to them to make as speedy Payments as they can, at farthest by the General Court in October next, they having a large Sum of Money to make up for the Executors of J. Royle and Co. and it being likewise necessary that every Matter regarding the partnership should be finally settled by its Determination.2
In June, 1774, they again "most earnestly request[ed] the Favour of all Persons indebted to them to make immediate Payment" as the partnership between them would expire "at the End of the present Year."3 Similar requests appeared in their Gazettes for September 22, 1774 and November 17, 1774.
On December 1, 1774, Alexander Purdie published the following notice:
IT is a Duty incumbent on me, before I resign the Conduct of this Gazette, to return my sincere and most grateful Acknowledgments to all our Customers, and to the Publick in general, through whose Favour the Press has been for a Number of Years supported, and in a Way that (most flattering to the Printer) has given such general Satisfaction, and often recommended it to distinguished Marks of their Approbation.
Immediately after Christmas, I shall begin doing Business for myself, and intend to print a GAZETTE as soon as I am furnished with a moderate Number of Customers; for which Purpose I have sent Subscription Papers into all publick Places of the Country... Such as live convenient will please to favour me with their Commands by Letter, and those in this City who incline becoming Subscribers will be Kind enough to leave their Names at my Office, which is the House formerly occupied by Mess. Tarpley, Thompson, & Co. on the main Street, and adjoins Mr. Robert Anderson's Tavern.
In the Management of my Gazette, neither Pains nor Expense will be spared to render it worthy of the publick Favour; and the Motto I intend for it, scrupulously to be maintained, shall be, "ALWAYS FOR LIBERTY AND THE PUBLICK GOOD."XLIX
Meanwhile, I have opened a large and valuable Collection of NEW BOOKS, amongst them a great Variety for the Use of Schools; which, together with a well chosen Parcel of MUSICK, for the Harpsichord, Violin, &c. and Number of STATIONARY ARTICLES, will be disposed of on the easiest and very best Terms. I shall be exceedingly obliged to the Publick for their Favours, and intend presenting them with a Catalogue of all my Books, &c. as soon as I possible can. ...
I Beg the Favour of my BROTHER PRINTERS to the Northward to furnish me with their Newspapers, and they shall be sure to have mine, as soon as I begin to print.1
This notice was followed immediately, in the first column of the first page of the issue for December 1, with a notice from Dixon:
THE CUSTOMERS to the Partnership of PURDIE & DIXON, for Books, Stationary, &c. as well as those under whose Patronage THE VIRGINIA GAZETTE has been so long continued, will please to accept mg most grateful. Thanks for their many Favours conferred upon us. I flatter myself that my Conduct, while in Company with Mr. PURDIE, met with general Approbation, and that my future Endeavours to serve the Publick, in Conjunction with Mr. HUNTER, Son of the late Mr. WM. HUNTER of this City, Printer, will render me an Object worthy of their Encouragement.2
John Dixon went into partnership with his nephew-in-law, William Hunter, whose father had left him the Printing-Office and Lot #48, and half interest in the business.3
Alexander Purdie opened his printing-office in what had been Tarpley & Thompson's store, lot #20, on the north side of Duke of Gloucester Street, at the corner of the block in which his dwelling-house stood.4 In January, 1775, he notified his public that he was "now busily employed in fixing up my PRINTING OFFICE, the Materials for which I have just received from Philadelphia."5
The last issue of The Virginia Gazette published by Purdie and Dixon was No. 1221, dated December 29, 1774. The next Number, 1222, dated January 7, 1775, was "Printed by JOHN DIXON and WM. HUNTER, at the POST OFFICE." The first L issue of Alexander Purdie's new Gazette, with the motto as noted in his announcement quoted above, appeared on February 3, 1775. Issues of Purdie's Gazette are extant for 1775 and 1776 complete, with many supplements. The file of 1777 issues is almost complete (issues extant from January 3rd through December 19, with supplements). There are only 17 issues (some of them supplements) extant for the year 1778.1
In May, 1774, Clementina Rind, Alexander Purdie, and John Dixon all petitioned the House of Burgesses for the position of public printer - which position William Rind had held from 1766 until his death. Mrs. Clementina Rind was chosen; the vote being 60 for her, 25 for Purdie and Mrs. Rind, and 2 for Dixon and Mrs. Rind.2 Mrs. Rind died in September, 1774, and her Gazette was continued by John Pinkney, for the benefit of her children. In June, 1775, Alexander Purdie again petitioned the House of Burgesses to be appointed public printer, as did John Pinkney, and Messrs. Dixon and Hunter. Alexander Purdie won the most votes (47 to Pinkney's 43 - Dixon and Hunter receiving only 12, which were divided between the other two applicants.)3
After being appointed public printer, Purdie published the following Notice:
To the PUBLICK,
BY whose favour my earliest labours for subsistence were seconded and advanced, and whom I have already assured of my fixed purpose of serving, I must now again address myself, to confirm my former professions. My disposition to show how far I stand indebted to them... hath been hitherto circumscribed within narrow bounds. A slender stock to enter into business upon, a scarcity of necessary implements and materials, which, if to be purchased at all, were unattainable in America , but at the highest prices, threw difficulties into my way... However, the never to be forgotten distinction which I have so lately received from the Honourable the House of Burgesses, in their condescension to appoint me their printer, has enabled me to extend my business upon a larger plan, and to furnish my office with those conveniences that will assist my intentions to give satisfaction upon all occasions.4
He doubtless ordered new equipment as a result of this appointment, for in August, 1777, Purdie announced that he expected "a new complete printing apparatus," and hoped "as soon as it arrives to have it in his power to oblige all his kind customers."5LI
A week or so later, Purdie gave notice that he "WANTED IMMEDIATELY, An expert JOURNEYMAN COMPOSITOR, who will have good encouragement from the printer of this paper."1
In October, 1775, Purdie was appointed postmaster in Williamsburg, which he announced as follows:
The CONSTITUTIONAL POST being now established, all letters for the Northward, or that are lobe forwarded to the different parts, of this colony, North or South Carolina, Georgia, &c. must be sent to my office, the Hon. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, esq; having been pleased to appoint me postmaster in Williamsburg, under the authority of the GENERAL CONGRESS.2
Dixon and Hunter continued to state that they printed their paper "at the POST OFFICE" throughout the remainder of 1775, but dropped that statement in 1776.
Alexander Purdie died "of the dropsy"3 in April 1779. The Virginia Gazette, of April 16, published by Dixon and Nicolson, announced his death:
Mr. ALEXANDER PURDIE, of this city (printer to the commonwealth) who endured a tedious and painful illness with a Christian fortitude. His death is much regretted, as he was a tender husband, indulgent parent, and a kind master.
By his will, dated April 12, 1779, Purdie left his wife, Peachy, "one fourth part of all the Money which may arise from the sales of my Estate," plus some slaves devised to her and her heirs; and ordered the remainder of his estate to be equally divided between his sons, James, Hugh, and Alexander. His wife and children were to remain in his dwelling house for six months at the expense of the estate. He appointed John Minson Galt and Robert Anderson executors of his will, and guardians of his three children.5 There is no reference to the son William, mentioned at the time of Mary Purdie's death (1772).
An inventory of Purdie's estate listed a: large supply of plate, silver spoons, ladles, etc.; china (including "1 lot of Queens china" valued at £17.4s); a substantial supply of mahogany and walnut furniture (tables, chairs, chests of drawers, desks, corner cupboard, looking glasses, book cases, bedsteads, side board); fire irons and fenders; candlesticks; Wilton carpet, floor cloth & LII Scotch carpet; 9 china figures; beds, bedding, quilting frame, Aeolian Harp; pewter ware, spinning wheel, kitchen equipment, napkins and towels, tools, etc.1 The following items, listed at the end of the inventory, were probably in the Printing-Office:2
|1 Double Writing Desk||[ £] 20. -. -|
|1 Grate, Fender, blower & Table||6. -. -|
|22 sheets parchment £13.4, 1 table 40/||15. 4. -|
|1 odd Windsor Chair, 1 work bench||1. 4. -|
|1 Midnight Modern Conversation||-. 6. -|
|1 pine Table, 1 stool, 1 pr Steps||2. -. -|
|1 Lot Books £15.15 1 do £2.18||18.13. -|
|1 lot of books £4.10 Woods Institutes £5||9.10. -|
|4 large Church Prayer books||12. -. -|
|10 years Gazettes||10. -. -|
|A Lot of Music £5. pr. Scales & Wts £4.10||9.10. -|
|2 ink stands and sand box||1.10. -|
|1 mattrass and bedstead||10. -. -|
|40 lbs. lamp black £80 2 trunks 40/||82. -. -|
|2 press stones £10 4 stools 24/||11. 4. -|
|2 presses Compleat £150, 500 lb. Types £12.10||162.10. -|
|8 Walnut cases and 4 frames||20. -. -|
|6 Chases & 4 composing sticks||18. -. -|
|1 pr. Bellows, 1 pr. Shears, 1 doz. Gallies||7. 4. -|
|1 Imposing stone and Frame||8.10. -|
|1 pr. Dogs, 1 pr. Tongs, 1 Axe, 1 Trunk||4.12. -|
|2 Water Jugs, 2 Ink Pots||1.10. -|
|1 screw press compleat||12. -. -|
|2 Casks with Linseed Oil||24. -. -|
|1 pine Table||1.10. -|
|1 Lye Trough & Water box||3. -. -|
|1 Iron Slab and 1 pine Table||3.10. -|
|3 blankets 1 Counterpane||15. -. -|
|1 Bolster 1 pillow 1 bed quilt||6. -. -|
|2 Whips 40/ 2 Stools 40/||4. -. -|
|2 Coffee pots 1 Chocolate pot||9. -.3|
In his will, Purdie mentioned a nephew, John Clarkson, to whom he left "one Mourning Ring of the value of Fifteen pounds sterling."4 Clarkson, who may have been working for Purdie when he died, continued The Virginia Gazette, together with one of Purdie's printers, Augustine Davis, under the firm name of John Clarkson & Augustine Davis, probably through 1780, though the last extant issue of their Gazette is December 9, 1780, No. 283.5LIII
The last issue that has been found of Purdie's Virginia Gazette is Number 187 for October 30, 1778. It was probably continued by Purdie or his assistants in his printing office until his death; after which it was published, probably through 1780, by Purdie's nephew, John Clarkson, and Augustine Davis, who had worked for Purdie. The first extant issue of the Clarkson & Davis Virginia Gazette is dated May 15, 1779, Numb. 214, and the last extant issue, Numb. 283, is dated December 9, 1780. There are eleven issues extant for 1779, and six for 1780. Purdie's dwelling house and lot, and "the printing office, together with the unexpired lease of the adjoining house, used as a composing and press room,1 were offered for sale in May, 1779 by the executors of his will. Samuel Beall, merchant, seems to have purchased Lot #20,2 but it is possible that Clarkson and Davis continued to lease the adjoining house which had been used as "composing and press room."
William Hunter was the natural son of William Hunter, printer and deputy-postmaster-general of America.1 He was born about 1754.2 Of his mother, Elizabeth Reynolds, little is known.3 His father, who purchased the office and continued the printing business established in Williamsburg by William Parks, died in August, 1761, leaving his son well provided for.
At the time William Hunter, Sr. wrote his will, in April, 1761, young Hunter lived with Benjamin Weldon. By his will, Hunter left his son (provided he reached the age of twenty-one years) the printing office on lot #48 in Williamsburg, and a half-interest in the business, which he asked his assistant, Joseph Royle to continue. He also left his son all of his stock in partnership with James Tarpley, a prosperous Williamsburg merchant.4
As requested by William Hunter, Sr., Joseph Royle continued the business for his and young Hunter's joint benefit; until his death in 1766.5 Royle married William Hunter's sister, Rosanna, and thus became uncle-in-law of young Hunter.
After Royle's death, his assistant, Alexander Purdie, continued the printing business on lot #48, half interest in the business still belonging to young Hunter. Purdie took John Dixon into partnership in the business in June, 1766, and together they ran the printing business, sold books and stationery, and published the Virginia Gazette "at the POST OFFICE" until young William Hunter came of age.6
Young Hunter may have continued with Benjamin Weldon for a time after his father's death; for Royle paid £10.16.8 to Weldon "for Board &c per Acct" in July, 1764, for "William Hunter Inft." In February, 1764 the Printing Office supplied young Hunter with "1 Comm Prayer Book, no gilt," "1 Young man's Companion," "1 Clarissa &c in Miniature," "1 Rules for round Hand, Copper Plate," 3 Alphabets, ¼ C. best Dutch Quills, and 1 blank Copy Book, at a charge of £1.10:9.7
It is probable that William Hunter was sent to Philadelphia to live with Peter Franklin in 1764, for Royle paid £8.15.7 for "William Hunter Inf, Dr to William Holt For Expences to Philadelphia," in June of that year. In December, 1765, the following payment was entered in the Printing Office Day Book:
Billy Hunter, for Peter Franklin's AccotOn February 12, 1767, after Peter Franklin's death, Royle's estate paid 234.14.4 to "Peter Franklins Account for Boarding &c William Hunter inft."8LV
£54.11.8 Penn. Cures (12½ Per Cent) for [£] 48.10.4½."
After returning to Virginia young Hunter wrote Mrs. Benjamin Franklin. On February 12, 1768 he wrote from Poquoson:
I now sitt down to right to you to let you know that I am in perfect Health and I hope that these few lines will find you as they leave me at Present. Madam I have heard by Mr Foxcroft that you have not Recieved any letters from me which makes me very uneasy but I hope that you will have the Pleasure of Recieveing this. Pleas to send me a latin Grammar which you may get at the College the grammar goes by the name of lilys Grammar if you right to me you may direct yore to lb Hunter in Wmsburg to the care of Mayjor Robert Sheild in Poquoson there I live, no more at Present but Remain your Friend, William Hunter.
P.S. Pleas to give my love to all Enquiring Friends Espetially to miss Salley
He wrote Mrs. Franklin again on August 4, 1769, from Williamsburg:
I have sent you several Letters and never an answer but hope that you will be please to let me have an Answer to this. Madam I shall be very much obliged to you If you will send me a Couple of DILWORTH'S SCHOOL MASTERS ASSISTANT as I am makeing what progress I can in Arithmetick you will very much oblige your humble Servant and well wisher
Joseph Royle, and the partners, Purdie and Dixon, conducted the printing business with some success, and young Hunter's interest in it was carefully protected.2 John Dixon became his guardian, having married Hunter's aunt, Rosanna Hunter Royle, widow of Joseph Royle, probably sometime in 1767.3 In 1772, the executors of his father's estate paid £ 70.11.7 for "Necessary's for William Hunter for Teaching him Music and to Dance and for a Drain to his Printing Office Lot."4 Prior to this he probably began his apprenticeship in the Printing LVI Office, for an allowance was made to Alexander Purdie and John Dixon on their bond for the use of printing materials, etc., in the office - £ 50 being "allowed them as an apprentice fee with William Hunter."1
Purdie and Dixon evidently intended to dissolve their partnership when young Hunter came of age - Purdie to open a printing establishment of his own,2 and Dixon to go into partnership with Hunter. As early as June, 1773, Purdie and Dixon mentioned that the partnership was "drawing near to a Conclusion"; and in June, 1774 they gave notice that it would expire "at the End of the present Year."3
On December 1, 1774, Purdie announced his plans for opening a new printing office in the house "formerly occupied by Mess. Tarpley, Thompson, & Co."4 and for publishing a Gazette of his own; and his announcement was followed by Dixon's:
THE CUSTOMERS to the Partnership of PURDIE & DIXON, for Books, Stationary, &c, as well as those under whose Patronage THE VIRGINIA GAZETTE has been so long continued, will please to accept my most grateful Thanks for their many Favours conferred upon us. I flatter myself that my Conduct, while in Company with Mr. PURDIE, met with general Approbation, and that my future Endeavours to serve the Publick, in Conjunction with Mr. HUNTER, Son of the late Mr. WM. HUNTER of this City, Printer, will render me an Object worthy of their Encouragement. ...5
On December 28, 1774, his father's executors turned over to William Hunter, Jr., bonds, etc., resulting from investments of the Tarpley stock; and Hunter acknowledged rents paid by Purdie and Dixon for the printing office, and payment "for the said Hunter's part of Printing Materials Books Stationary Ware &r at the Printing Office sold the said Purdie by the said Executors" as follows:
RECEIVED6 December the twenty eighth 1774 of Benjamin Waller and Thomas Everard Executors of Mr William Hunter decd and by them assigned to me the following Bonds and Papers to Wit
A Bond dated November 3d 1767 from John Thompson junr Thomas Mann Randolph James Pride and William Byrd to the LVII said Executors in the Penalty of Five thousand Pounds Current Money with condition for the payment of Two thousand Six hundred pounds current Money on the 18th day of December 1774 with Lawful Interest the Interest on which has been duly paid and accounted for by the said Executors for the use of the said Testator's Estate and to Col. John Dixon my Late Guardian to the 18th day of December 1773. Also the said John Thompson's Bond to the said Executors dated November 3d 1767, in the penalty of Two hundred and sixty Pounds Current Money for the payment of One hundred and thirty pounds Current Money on the tenth day of December 1774 Six pounds one Shilling and a Penny part of which has been paid my said late Guardian and is for the Last years Interest on the first abovementioned Bond.
And also a Bond from the said John Dixon with Henry Dixon his Security to the said Executors dated the 12th day of August 1773 in the penalty of two hundred and eighty Pounds current Money for the payment of one hundred and forty pounds current Money being so much of the principal Money of the first above mentioned Bond received by the said John Dixon for my Uses -Which said several Bonds are in full for the said Testator's Stock in Trade with Messrs Tarpley, Thompson and Company bequeathed me by his Will. Also a bond from Alexander Purdie John Dixon and Haldenby Dixon to the said Executors dated the twenty first day of June 1766 the Penalty of Two thousand four hundred Pounds current Money for the payment of twelve hundred Pounds current Money with Lawful interest for the same being for the said Hunter's part of Printing Materials Books Stationary Ware &c at the Printing Office sold the said Purdie by the said Executors the Interest on which has been received and accounted for by the said Executors to June 21st 1772.
Also the said Executors written Agreement with the said Purdie and Dixon for renting the said Printing Office to them the Rents for the same have been duly accounted for by the said Executors
And also the Articles of Agreement entered into by the said Executors with Joseph Royle decd pursuant to their Testators directions.
Which Premises are in full of the Legacies bequeathed me by the Wi11 of the said William Hunter decd.
WILLIAM HUNTER /s/
John Waller junr
Ben: C. Waller
And I the said William Hunter do hereby Oblige myself my Executors and Administrators to indemnify the said Benjamin Waller and Thomas Everard from any Claim or demand Which they may hereafter be Liable to as Executors of William Hunter decd.
Dixon and Hunter continued The Virginia Gazette their first issue (Number 1222) dated January 7, 1775, and "Printed by JOHN DIXON and WM. HUNTER, at the POST OFFICE," opening with the following notice:
To the PUBLICK
THE many Orders we have received from the Subscribers to this Gazette for continuing them on our List, and the few who have withdrawn their Subscriptions, encourage us to hope for Success in its Publication. We now present the Publick with our Paper, as a Sample of what they are to expect from us in Future...
Whatever may be sent us in Favour of LIBERTY, or for the PUBLICK GOOD, shall be published with Cheerfulness; and in Case of a Scarcity of News, we will endeavour to supply the Room with such moral Pieces, from the best Writers, as may contribute to the Improvement of Mankind in General ...
The PAPERS will be published early every Saturday Morning...
In August, 1774, John Dixon purchased the lot and house to the west of the Printing Office Lot - lot No. 47 - from George Pitt for £ 650 current money,1 to be sold to young Hunter after he came of age. John and Rosanna Dixon sold Lot #47 to Hunter for its purchase price, £ 650 current money, on February 13, 1775,2 and Hunter probably occupied it soon thereafter.
In December, 1776, William Hunter married his cousin, Elizabeth Hunter Davenport (daughter of the Rev. Joseph Davenport, rector of Charles Parish, Yorktown, and his aunt, Mary Hunter Davenport.)3 Purdie's Gazette published notice of the marriage as follows:
Marriages.J Mr. WILLIAM HUNTER, printer, to miss BETSY DAVENPORT, daughter of the rev. Joseph Davenport, rector of Charles parish, York county.4
William and Elizabeth Hunter had two sons William and Joseph Hunter, the first being baptized at Bruton Church in 177[7?].5LIX
In June, 1777, William Hunter and Elizabeth his wife, gave Elizabeth Reynolds, Hunter's mother, a piece of land at the Nicholson Street side of the Printing Office Lot (No. 48) on which Hunter erected a house for his mother.1 In the deed to the land it was stated that "Whereas the said William Hunter is desirous & willing to make a settlement & provision for the said Elizabeth Reynolds his Mother for her support & maintenance during her natural life suitable to his own estate & circumstance... & in consideration of the natural love & Affection which he hath & beareth unto the said Elizabeth Reynolds his mother" she was to have a plot across the Nicholson Street end of Lot #48, sixty-four feet deep, with all houses, outhouses, etc., for the remainder of her natural life. He also agreed to pay her an annuity of £40 current money of Virginia, and to find and pay a "servant maid fit & able to serve wait & attend on the said Elizabeth Reynolds for the term of her natural life..."2 This is the first and only reference we have found to the identity of Hunter's mother. William Hunter, Sr. made no mention of her in his will.
William Hunter was a member of the Williamsburg Lodge of Masons, his entry fee being recorded in January, 1775.3
Although Hunter's partner, John Dixon, was a strong supporter of the cause of the American Colonies, and was colonel of the Williamsburg Militia,4 Hunter was a Loyalist. He stated that he served in the militia, and was obliged to take the oath of allegiance to the State of Virginia at the outbreak of the Revolution, but "declined his Business in 1777 as he found he could not continue according to his Principles."5 The situation in the printing office must have been strained before Hunter withdrew from the business. His name continued on The Virginia Gazette through 1778.6 On February 12, 1779, the first issue of The Virginia Gazette (Number 1) "Printed by JOHN DIXON and THOMAS NICOLSON" appeared. On March 5, 1779, it was requested that accounts due "the late partnership of Dixon & Hunter" be settled:
ALL persons indebted to the late partnership of Dixon & Hunter, for gazettes, books, &ca. are requested to pay off their respective balances as soon as possible; and those who have claims against the same are desired to apply for payment. The books are lodged with William Hunter, who will settle all accounts relative to the said partnership.7
Hunter apparently wished to continue as a printer in Virginia, for in May, 1779 he petitioned the Virginia House of Delegates to be appointed public printer to succeed Alexander Purdie - although he noted that he had no types at that time:
A petition of William Hunter, was presented to the House, and read; setting forth that he begs leave to offer his services to the General Assembly as Mr Purdie's successor in the office of public printer; that he has no LX types at present, but shortly expects every material necessary for his business, and will take care in the meantime that the Journals, laws, &c. shall be faithfully printed, and praying to be appointed printer to the Commonwealth.1
However, Purdie's nephew John Clarkson, and his partner in the printing business, Augustine Davis, were appointed public printers.2
According to his statement to the British Commissioners (see footnote 5 preceding page) Hunter was "ever averse to the proceedings of the Americans" and "embraced the earliest Opportunity of joining the Royal Army which he did when Lord Cornwallis was in Virginia in June 1781." Cornwallis was in Williamsburg from June 25, 1781 for ten days,3 and Hunter may have joined him during that time.
In his memorial to the British Commissioners, Hunter stated that he was with Cornwallis at the Siege of York, where he served as a Volunteer, but was never in action.4 Cornwallis certified that Hunter joined his command in Williamsburg "and rendered special service by procuring intelligence of the Enemy, & by every other means in his power; and that be afterwards bore arms at the Siege of Yorktown in a Company of Volunteers."5 After the British surrender at Yorktown, Hunter went to New York on the "Bonnetta," and from New York to Nova Scotia, where he stayed until 1784.6
In July, 1782, William Hunter "late of the City of Williamsburg" deeded his Williamsburg lots, 47 and 48, "bounded... on the south side by the main street on the west by the Street running between the said Lots and those of Robert Prentis on the north by the Back Streets between the sd Lots and those of Elizabeth Bay Widow and on the East by the Lots of Sarah Waters Widow"; twenty-one acres of land in James City County; the unexpired lease on twenty-four more acres of land in James City County; eight slaves, and his cattle, horses, etc. to his father-in-law, the Rev. Joseph Davenport of York County for £ 1. Hunter devised this property to Davenport "in trust for the Benefit of the Children of the said William Hunter namely William Hunter & Joseph Hunter."7 On the same date, he constituted Joseph Davenport his "true and lawfull attorney."8 He came to Williamsburg to attend to these details; but, according to his own statement, was "banished from his Native Country."
It is not known when Hunter's wife, Elizabeth Davenport Hunter, died. She may have died before he left Virginia - but was doubtless dead when he conveyed his property to Joseph Davenport for the benefit of the children - as she was not mentioned in the conveyance. He told the British commissioners that his wife was dead.LXI
Hunter left Nova Scotia for England in 1784, and in September of that year petitioned the Commissioners of his Majesty's Treasury for such relief as they might "think his Losses and Services Merit." He mentioned his "aged Mother and two Children who look up to him for Support, which he is absolutely unable to give them, being himself destitute of the Means of Subsistence."1 His estimated schedule of losses presented with this petition totalled £5135 Virginia Currency. He valued his house and lot No. 47 at £650; his house - the printing office - and lot No. 48 at £650 and the house he built for his mother on Lot #48 at £350; his household and kitchen furniture at £500; "1 Sett of Printing Materials" at £300; a Sloop of 40 Tons at £60; debts due on "Account of his Business" £1200, etc. He was apparently allowed £30 per Annum from the treasury at this time; but again petitioned the Commissioners about 1787, presenting his losses totalling £3817:10 in sterling. In this schedule of losses, his house and lot #47 was valued at £450 sterling, house and Lot #48 at £487:10, and his printing materials at £225.2 At this time Hunter was working "as a Journeyman in his own Business" and was enjoying "£30 per Annum from the Treasury."
Hunter remained in England, and our knowledge of his activities ends with the information supplied the British Commissioners.
In 1788 the Rev. Joseph Davenport died. In his will, dated March 1, 1788, he made the following statement:
Item. the small concerns of my two Grand sons William Hunter and Joseph Hunter must necessarily fall under the care of their Grand mother and uncle they are at present in confusion but by application to a good accomptant and his assistance may be soon liquidated.3
In September, 1789, "William Hunter late of the City of Williamsburg in Virginia, but now of the City of London" appointed William Davenport, son of the Rev. Joseph Davenport, his "lawful Attorney with full Powers to act for me."4
Hunter's memorial to the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury of 1784, and his schedule of losses follows:
To the Right Honourable the Lords Commissioners of his Majesty's Treasury.5
The Memorial of William Hunter, late of the Colony of Virginia, Printer, Book Seller and Stationer, Humbly sheweth:
That your Memorialist was, at the Commencement of the late Rebellion, settled in a very lucrative Business in the Colony of Virginia, but from a Spirit of Loyalty and Attachment to his Sovereign, and to avoid Persecution, was obliged to quit his Business and embraced the earliest Opportunity of joining his Majesty's Forces; LXII chasing rather to sacrifice his Life and Fortune in the Service of his King and Country than to bear Arms against them, which, though he had avoided during his Residence in Virginia, he would have been obligated to do when the British Army came into the Neighbourhood in which he lived, or suffer a further Prosecution of which he had already experienced too much.
That in Consequence of his Loyalty he has not only been deprived of the Whole of his Fortune, but banished from his Native Country, having returned thither, under the Faith of the Treaty of Peace, in order to settle his Affairs.
That your Memorialist did, both before he joined the Army, and afterwards, endeavour to render every Service in his Power to the Commanders of his Majesty's Army, which he takes the Liberty to say he believes is well known to Col. Dundas, and which will further appear by Lord Cornwallis's certificate annexed to this Memorial.
That your Memorialist has a small Family consisting of an aged Mother and two Children who look up to him for Support, which he is absolutely unable to give them, being himself destitute of the Means of Subsistence; Therefore humbly prays that your Lordships will take into Consideration his Case, and grant him such relief as you may think his Losses and Services Merit.
And your Memorialist, as in Duty bound, will ever Pray
London Septr 2 1784
No. 2 Sugar Loaf Court
An Estimate of Losses sustained by William Hunter in Consequence of his Loyalty and Attachment to his Majesty and Government viz.
Virginia Currency* 1 House and Lott in the City of Williamsburg N47 £ 650  1 Ditto Ditto N 48 650 1 Ditto Ditto 350 1 Small Farm near Williamsburg 105 4 Negro Men value £75 each 300 5 Negro Women £60 each 300 6 Negro Children from 2 to 10 Years old, average £30 each 180 1 Phaeton & pair Horses in Value 175 1 Waggon & 4 Horses 170 LXIII [Virginia Currency] 20 Head of Cattle, 30 Head of Sheep, and a Number of Hogs in value about) 100 Household & Kitchen Furniture in Value about 500 Debts* due on Account of his Business 1200 1 Sloop of 40 Tons 60 1 Sett of Printing Materials 300 A small Quantity of Merchandize in value about 100 £ 5135. [£5090]
William Hunter's subsequent memorial to the British Commission of Enquiry, his schedule of losses, and the information he gave the Commissioners concerning himself follows:
TO THE COMMRS:1 Appd by Act of Parliament for enqy into the Losses & Services of the American Loys
The Meml of WM HUNTER Bookseller & Statr
That your Memorialist was settled in the City of Williamsburg in Virginia in a very lucrative Business at the Commencemt of the late Troubles in America.
That being firmly attached to the British Constitution & ever averse to the proceedings of the Americans he embraced the earliest Opportunity of joining the Royal Army which he did when Lord CornWallis was in Virginia in June 1781.
That both before and after he joined the Regal Army he exerted his utmost Endeavors in rendering it every Service in his power as will appear by the Certifes of Lord Cornwallis and Mr James Tait annexd to the Meml
That when he joined the Royal Army he was obliged to leave his property to a very considble Amount which property he is now totally deprived of.
Your Memorialist begs leave to Observe that the three last Articles in his Estimate were lost at the Surrender of York Town And that one of the Negro Men mentioned had left him prior to joining of the Kings Army and had died in his Majesty's Service at Ports-mouth in Virginia as a Pioneer under a Captain Frazer.
Your Memorialist therefore prays that his Case may be taken into your Consideration in order that your Memorialist may be enabled under your Report to receive such Aid or Relief as his Losses and Services may be found to deserve
|Schedule of Losses sustained by WM HUNTER|
|1.||A House & Lot in the City of Williamsburg No 47||£ 450. -.|
|2.||A Do no 48----||487.10. -|
|3.||A Do||262.10. -|
|4.||A Small Farm near Williamsburg||78.15. -|
|4 Negroe Men £75 each||225. -. -|
|5 Do Women 60£ each||225. -. -|
|6 Do Children from 2 to 10 yrs old £30 each||135. -. -|
|A phaeton & pair Horses||131. 5. -|
|A Waggon & 4 Horses||127.10. -|
|20 Head Cattle, 30 Sheep & some Hogs worth abt||75. -. -|
|Household & Kitchen Furniture||375. -. -|
|Debts**||900. -. -|
|A Sloop 40 Tons burthen||45. -. -|
|A set of Printing Materials||225. -. -|
|A small quantity of Merchandize about||75. -. -|
|Sterg||£ 3817.10. -|
June 21st 1787
Evidence on the foregoing Meml of WM HUNTER
THE CLAIMANT Sworn-
He confirms the Truth thereof.
Certificates to Loyalty from
Majr Jas Tait
A Native of Virginia In 1775 he commenced Business as a Printer and Bookseller at Williamsburgh having in that year come of age & taken possession of the property his Father left. He continued there till 1781. Says he declined his Business in 1777 as he found he could not continue according to his Prinles. Says he was always attached to Great Britain - but admits he was obliged to take the Oath to the State of Virginia - and to serve in the Militia - but says this was from Necessity. He never had an Oppertunity of joining the British till 1781 unless he would have left every Thing behind him but admits he could have got away in his own Person.
Joined Lord Cornwallis and continued with him till the Seige of York Town where he served as a Volunteer but says he never was actually in Action. Went from York Town to New York in the Bonnetta and from New York to Nova Scotia where he staid till 1784 when he came to Engd and has continued ever since. His Wife is dead but he has two Children in America.LXV
What real Estate he had he saved by conveying them safe to his Wifes Father, & he had Interest enough to preserve it for his Children. He does not himself mean to return to America. He now works as a Journeyman in his own Business.
He enjoys £30 per Annum from the Treasury.
As to a House in Williamsburgh No. 48
This he says was devised him by his Father by Will.
Produces a paper which he says is a true Copy to the best of his belief of his Fathers Will and which is dated the 11 April 1761 & whereby Wm Hunter his Father devises to him in Fee a House in Williamsburgh No 48.
This Will is Witnessed by two Witnesses only
Values this at £650 Currency.
As to another House No 47.
This was bought he says by his Guardian John Dixon in 1774 - on his Acct for £650 Curt and conveyed to him on his coming of Age.
Values it at this Sum
Another House in Williamsburgh
His House he built on part of the Ground whereon the House No 48 stood
He conveyed it to his Mother for her Life.
Believes the House Cost him the Money charged Vizt 350£
As to a Farm near Williamsburgh
He bought this Farm after the Commencement of the Rebellion It consisted of 21 Acres Cannot tell what he gave for it.
These Negroes - a Phaeton & Horses A Waggon 4 Horses - 20 Head of Cattle - 30 head of Sheep and a Number of Hogs with Household Furniture valued as pr Schedule No. 1.
All the Articles togr with his Landed property in the year 1782 he conveyed to his Father in Law Joseph Davenport for the use of his Children - And he has been able to preserve the same for their use.
Besides the above he lost the several Articles in Schedule No 2 which are the same as the four last Articles in Schedule No. 1 but are herein particularized-
Admits there was due from him on Bond 650£ Cury being for the Purchase of the House above mentd to be purchd for that Sum. Besides the above his Debts did not exceed £150 Str
WM FRANCIS BICKERTON Sworn
Knew the Claimt from 1774 to 1779 always considered him as a Loyalist, but says he took the Oath to the Americans.LXVI
He was supposed to have been worth 5, or 6000 £ which was left him by his Father.
He had two or 3 Houses in Williamsburgh. His own House was well Furnished. his Printing Materials were valuable and he was in good Business.
WM JARVIS - Sworn
Did not know the Claimt till the year 1781 - Says he had himself the Misfortune to be wounded and was carried to his House which appeared to be well Furnished.
John Dixon, according to Isaiah Thomas, "was not a printer."1 Thomas may have meant that Dixon never learned printing as an apprentice to the trade; for from 1766 until his death in 1791, Dixon was in the printing and publishing business.
From entries in a Day Book kept at the Printing Office from 1764 through January, 1766, it is evident that John Dixon was working there in 1764 - although we do not know What his position was. On December 31, 1765, Royle paid Alexander Purdie and John Dixon each £100 as salary.2 Dixon may have had charge of the business side of the office, and he was also deputy postmaster. On March 7, 1766, he published the following notice in The Virginia Gazette published by Alex. Purdie, and Company:
ALL Persons indebted to JOSEPH ROYLE and company are desired to pay their respective balances, as soon as possible, to Mr. John Dixon at the Printing Office, Williamsburg; who is properly authorized for that purpose, by the executors of William Hunter, and Joseph Royle, deceased.
Shortly thereafter, Dixon published a notice concerning the schedule of post-riders in the Virginia Colony, signing himself deputy Postmaster.3 We do not know when Dixon was appointed deputy postmaster. Purdie and Dixon purchased "the materials, stock in trade, &c. belonging to the estates of the late Mr. William Hunter and Mr. Joseph Royle"; continued The Virginia Gazette, the June 20, 1766 issue being "Printed by ALEX. PURDIE, and JOHN DIXON, at the POST OFFICE"; and Purdie published the following announcement in that issue:
I BEG leave to acquaint my friends and customers that I have just entered into partnership with Mr. John Dixon, in, conjunction with whom I have purchased all the materials, stock in trade, &c. belonging to the estates of the late Mr. William Hunter and Mr. Joseph Royle. The acquaintance which Mr. Dixon has had in the business, and the satisfaction that I believe he has hitherto given in his department, encourages me to hope that we shall have the countenance and favour of all former customers to this OFFICE, as well as of the publick in general...LXVIII
The "satisfaction" Dixon had "hitherto given his department" may have referred to his work as deputy postmaster.
Besides publishing The Virginia Gazette, Purdie and Dixon carried on their other printing business, bound books, and sold imported books and stationery at their office.
In July, 1766, Purdie & Dixon advertised for "an Apprentice to the PRINTING BUSINESS"; and in September of that year, for "a Journeyman Printer, to whom good wages will be given."1
Purdie's predecessor in the business, Joseph Royle, had gained the reputation that his press was not free;2 and although Purdie announced when he took over the publication of the Gazette that his press was "as free as any publick press upon the continent,"3 the position of public printer to the General Assembly was given to a new printer in Williamsburg - William Rind. However, in 1769 the job of printing a new collection of the Acts of Assembly was given to both Rind and Purdie & Dixon.4
Prior to 1768, John Dixon married Rosanna Hunter Royle, sister of William Hunter, Sr., and widow of Joseph Royle. In 1768 a son of "John and Roseanna Dixson"5 was baptized at Bruton church. Dixon became guardian of his nephew-in-law, young William Hunter.6
In August, 1774, John and Rosanna Dixon purchased the house and Lot #47, adjoining the Printing-Office lot to the west, for £650 current money, which property Dixon turned over to William Hunter for its purchase price in February, 1775, after he came of age.7
Alexander Purdie and John Dixon evidently intended to end their partnership when young William Hunter came of age; in June, 1773, they gave notice of its conclusion, and in June, 1774, they announced that it would expire at the "End of the present Year."8 Purdie set himself up in a new printing establishment; and Dixon went into partnership with William Hunter, announcing on December 1, 1774: LXIX
THE CUSTOMERS to the Partnership of PURDIE & DIXON, for Books, Stationary, &c., as well as those wider whose Patronage THE VIRGINIA GAZETTE has been so long continued, will please to accept st most grateful Thanks … I flatter, myself that my Conduct, while in Company with Mr. PURDIE, met with general Approbation, and that my future Endeavours to serve the Publick, in Conjunction with Mr. HUNTER, Son of the late Mr. WM. HUNTER of this City, Printer, will render me an Object worthy of their Encouragement.1
The Publick's most obliged Humble Servant,
In Purdie & Dixon's Virginia Gazette for December 1, 1774, appeared the following notice concerning Dixon and Hunter's proposed continuation of that paper:
AS the Partnership of Purdie & Dixon will expire the 18th Instant, we think it necessary to inform the Publick that THE VIRGINIA GAZETTE will be printed by us from the first of next Month, upon good Paper and new Type, assuring them no Pains or Expense shall be wanting to make the Gazette as useful and entertaining as ever, and that our Press shall be as free as any in America. Our constant Study will be to give Satisfaction to all Customers for any Thing in our Business, and Orders from the Country shall be punctually complied with, either for BOOKS, STATIONARY, or PRINTING WORK.-We beg Leave to send our Papers regularly to the old Subscribers: If any Gentlemen choose to discontinue their Subscriptions at the End of the Year, we request the Favour of them to let us know by that Time. We are
The Publick's obedient Servants,
The first issue of Dixon and Hunter's Gazette, number 1922, opened with the following statement:
To the PUBLICK
THE many Orders we have received from the Subscribers to this Gazette for continuing them on our List, and the few who have withdrawn their Subscriptions, encourage us to hope for Success in its Publication. We now present the Publick with our Paper, as a Sample of what they are to expect from us in Future…
Whatever may be sent us in Favour of LIBERTY, or for the PUBLICK GOOD, shall be published with Cheerfulness; and in Case of a Scarcity of News, we will endeavour to supply the Room with such moral Pieces, from the best Writers, as LXX may contribute to the Improvement of Mankind in general; and now and then with Pieces of Wit and Humour, that tend both to amuse and instruct.
The PAPERS will be published early every Saturday Morning...
In May, 1774, John Dixon paid his "fee for Initiation" in the Williamsburg Lodge of Masons, and in June, 1775 he was appointed Treasurer of the Lodge for the ensuing year. He continued to pay his fees to the Williamsburg Lodge through 1782.2
Dixon was elected mayor of Williamsburg, for the following year, on November 30, 1774:
Yesterday being the Feast of St. Andrew [Nov. 30th], which is the Time appointed by the Charter of the City for the Election of a Mayor, JOHN DIXON, Esq; was chosen into that Office for the ensuing Year.3
The partnership between Dixon and young William Hunter was to end shortly after the beginning of hostilities between England and America. Dixon was an ardent supporter of the American colonies in the events leading up to the Revolution, and Hunter, a Loyalist, subsequently stated that he was "ever averse to the proceedings of the Americans."4
In September, 1775, John Dixon was appointed colonel of the Williamsburg Militia.5 He was also one of the men elected to represent Williamsburg in a committee of deputies for Williamsburg and the surrounding counties.6
The June 1, 1776 issue of Dixon and Hunter's Virginia Gazette appeared on much smaller sheets of paper than usual - the printers apologizing for the change, which was caused by "the present Scarcity of Paper." The motto that had been used in their masthead "IN CIVITATE LIBERA LINGUAM MENTEMQUE LIBERAS ESSE DEBERE" was dropped with the June 1, 1776 issue. The Gazette continued on small paper, and a new motto - "The Freedom of the Press is one of the great Bulwarks of Liberty, and can never be restrained but by despotic Governments" - was included in the November 15, 1776 issue of the paper.LXXI
The situation at the printing-office was doubtless becoming very strained by this time - and, according to a subsequent statement made by Hunter, the partnership between Dixon and Hunter was dissolved in 1777. Hunter told the British Commissioners appointed to inquire into Loyalist Claims that "he declined his Business in 1777 as he found he could not continue according to his Principles."1 However, The Virginia Gazette continued to carry the statement "Printed by DIXON & HUNTER" through December 4, 1778 (the last extant issue for that year), and probably until the end of 1778. In March, 1779, it was requested that "ALL persons indebted to the late partnership of Dixon & Hunter for gazettes, books, &c." pay off their balances, the books being lodged with William Hunter, who would settle all accounts relative to the partnership.2
John Dixon took a new partner, Thomas Nicolson. On February 12, 1779, the first issue of The Virginia Gazette, "WILLIAMSBURG: Printed by JOHN DIXON and THOMAS NICOLSON" appeared. They continued in Williamsburg until 1780, when the capital of Virginia was moved to Richmond; but on April 8, 1780, their Gazette carried the following notice:
The printers hereof think it a duty incumbent on them, to inform their good customers in the lower parts of the country, and the publick in general, that they propose removing their office to the town of Richmond immediately, which will suspend the publication of this gazette two or three weeks; and as soon as they can get properly fixed, their best endeavor shall not be wanting to forward the papers by post as usual.3
The next issue of their Virginia Gazette was printed in Richmond on May 9, 1780.4 They continued its publication for a time, but discontinued with or soon after the May 19, 1781 issue of the paper.5 That issue, a single sheet, gave an account of the British operations near Richmond.6
There is no record that John Dixon published a paper again until August, 1783, when he and John H. Holt established The Virginia Gazette or the Independent Chronicle. The title of this paper was changed early in 1784 to The Virginia Gazette and Independent Chronicle. Holt died June 8 1787, and John Dixon became sole publisher. Sometime between July and October, 1789, the title of Dixon's LXXII paper again changed to The Virginia Gazette, and Public Advertiser. He continued to publish the paper under this last title until his death in 1791, and his son, John Dixon, Jr., continued it until February, 1793.1
John Dixon died in Richmond on April 27, 1791. The following notice appeared concerning his death:
Richmond, May 4.
On Wednesday last departed this life, in the 51st year of his age, Mr. JOHN DIXON, Public Printer of this State.2
Dixon was public printer for the Commonwealth of Virginia from 1787, until his death.3
Rosanna (Hunter) Royle Dixon died the year before her husband. Her death was noted in a Fredericksburg paper on April 5, 1790:
Died on the 5th inst. Rosanna, wife of Col. John Dixon, printer, Richmond.4Mary R. M. Goodwin, 1952. [Printing Office Report, Block 18 Col. lot # 48]