Monday, March 14, 2011

Amanuensis Monday - a Seaver Merchant in Washington D.C.

Genea-blogger John Newmark (who writes the excellent TransylvanianDutch blog) started a Monday blog theme many months ago called Amanuensis Monday. What does "amanuensis" mean? John offers this definition:

"A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another."

The subject today is a notice in the City of Washington Gazette, dated 14 December 1820, page 4, accessed on GenealogyBank (  William Seaver, whose identity I did not know until yesterday, started this interesting grocery business.

This notice reads (with the different components of each product type in one line):

Wholesale and Retail
Grocery and Commission Store

The subscriber informs his friends and the public, that he has taken the large and commodious store, the west-house in Varnum's new Row, on Pennsylvania Avenure: where he intends keeping a complete assortment of Groceries, consisting in part, of the following articles:

New Orleans, St. Croix, and Leaf  } SUGARS.

Gunpowder, Imperial Young Hyson  } TEAS

Oranges, Almonds, English Walnuts, Muscatel, Bloom and Keg Raisins, Prunes and other } FRUITS

London particular Madeira, London particular Teneriffe, Sicily Madeira and Choice Claret } WINES

Nutmega, Cinnamon, Pepper, Alspice and other } SPICES

Cognac Brandy, Spanish Brandy, Best Holland Gin, Best American do [Gin], Jamaica spirits, Antigua do [Spirits], New England do [Spirits], and other } LIQUORS.

Best Havana Segars, best London bottle Mustard, Keg do Honey, Sugarhouse West and India Molasses, Mould and Dipt Candles, Cheese, Jamieson's Crackers, Windsor and brown Soup, Chocolate, &c &c
"Best Esmily Flour, Buckwheat Flour and Penobscot Potatoes.

A great variety of other articles, on hand, which, with additional supplies, daily expected, will form a complete assortment.

N.B. All goods sent home for customers gratis, and if not approved, taken back, and the money returned.

Isn't that an interesting notice?  The products sold in a grocery store in 1820 were different from those sold in 2011, aren't they?  The same notice appeared in this newspaper into January 1821 in an effort to get the business started and thriving.

What happened to this William Seaver?  Who was he?  Where was he born?  Who were in his family?  We'll find out during the next week here on Genea-Musings.

No comments: