Economy & Trades, Colonial Williamsburg, Day 4

Day four was another one of my favorite days in Virginia.

We started the day in the basement of The Brick House Tavern(our hotel). There we met our first “Person of the Past,” Mr. Greenhow.

Brick House TavernMr. Greenhow is the owner of the Greenhow shop in Williamsburg.

Colonial WilliamsburgHe discussed all of the issues of colonial trade. Money was very rare in colonial times. They did not have paper money, only money made of precious metals. Thus, credit was often used in the colonies. When coin was used, the shop owner always had scales in the store. Value was determined by the weight of the coin(the weight of the precious metal).

WilliamsburgIf the total was only have the cost of the coin, the coin was cut in half and one half was returned to the customer in change. Often they cut their coins into 8 pieces, thus money often being called “pieces of eight.”

After Mr. Greenhow’s presentation and a few lesson presentations, we were left to visit the tradeshops on our own. This was so much fun! Williamsburg has many working trade shops in town. The items that are made in these shops are made the way they would have been in the 18th century.

WilliamsburgThe Shoemaker

WilliamsburgThe weaver

Williamsburg Trade Shop



The Wheeler. Interesting fact: This is the last hand made wheeler in the United States. They, like all of the other trade shops, are actual working shops. They are backlogged 3 years right now due to the fact they are the last ones left.

WilliamsburgThe Blacksmith – He is making a golf club putter!

WilliamsburgThe Silversmith – I watched him make a letter “K” charm. I later bought it! I will post pictures of it. Interesting fact: Paul Revere was a silversmith(and he had 16 children! 3 were named John, 2 were named Mary, and 2 were named Elizabeth. Many of the repeat names did not live past infancy.)






The Wig-Maker. There were often signs outside the shops that were just pictures. This was so illiterate people could know what the store was for.

Dinner that evening was at Shield’s Tavern. The food in Williamsburg was wonderful!

That evening we saw a program called Papa Said, Mama Said. It consisted of African story tellers telling some of their “lesson” stories. Again, no photography or video allowed :o(

When we got out of the program it was storming like crazy! I felt like I was back in Oklahoma again!

Coming up Next: Day 5: Road to Revolution!!


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