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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Geddy, John

by Claiborne T. Smith, Jr., 1986


John Geddy, silversmith and patriot, was born in Williamsburg, Va., the son of James and Anne Geddy. His brother, James, was a prominent silversmith whose restored shop on Duke of Gloucester Street is one of the exhibition buildings in Colonial Williamsburg. Ann Geddy, a younger sister of James and John, was the wife of the Reverend Henry John Burges, whose father, the Reverend Thomas Burges, was the last Church of England clergyman in Halifax County, N.C. She died in 1771.

John Geddy settled in the town of Halifax in 1768 at the time of his marriage to Patience McKinnie of Halifax County. From Halifax, he advertised in the Virginia Gazette in 1773 that he had for sale a large assortment of silver and goldsmiths' work and was able to repair clocks and watches and to do engraving of all sorts. In August 1774, he was elected to represent the borough of Halifax in the Assembly in the place of Joseph Montfort; the same year he was a member of the Provincial Congress at New Bern. He again represented his county in the Provincial Congress at Hillsborough in 1775. Geddy was appointed first major of the Halifax County militia in 1776 and promoted to lieutenant colonel two years later. In 1779 he resigned his commission to become captain of a volunteer company of horse. After the war, he was a member of the House of Commons from Halifax in 1783 and sheriff of the county in 1785 and 1786. About 1790 he moved to Cool Harbor, near Louisburg in Franklin County. In 1797 he advertised in the North Carolina Journal that he would be in Raleigh to repair clocks and watches when the Assembly convened. He died in Franklin County two years later.

Geddy's wife, Patience, was the daughter of John and Mary McKinnie. Her sister Mary was the wife of Colonel Nicholas Long. Another sister, Martha, married Dr. Charles Pasteur, a physician during the American Revolution; he represented the town of Halifax in the House of Commons in 1785. Patience and John Geddy had five daughters: Betsy, who never married; Sally, who married William Hill, the secretary of state of North Carolina for many years; Martha, who married John Marshall of Raleigh; Mary, who married William Gilmour of Halifax, and Anne, who married Dr. Richard Fenner of Franklin County. Mrs. Geddy died in 1814.


Archives, Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (Winston-Salem), for information on John Geddy.

Walter Clark, ed., State Records of North Carolina, vols. 12 (1895), 13 (1896), 19 (1901), 21 (1903).

George B. Cutten, The Silversmiths of Virginia from 1694–1850 (1952).

Deeds and Wills of Halifax County (County Courthouse, Halifax).

William L. Saunders, ed., Colonial Records of North Carolina, vols. 9, 10 (1890).

Williamsburg Virginia Gazette, 29 July 1773.

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