Thursday, April 20, 2017

Early Seed Dealers & Nursery Owners - Richmond, Virginia

Dealers near Richmond, Virginia

In this bustling new capitol, Richmond, Peter Bellet had competition for the gardening business. In the spring of 1791, Southgate’s General Store advertised fresh, imported garden seeds. Twenty years earlier, garden seeds were being offered at Campbell's Store in Richmond, and also at Miles Taylor's Store in 1775. Taylor was selling seeds imported from Italy.

In the 1760s, William Wills of Richmond & his asscociate John Donley in Petersburg, offered imported garden seeds for sale at their stores. Also in Petersburg, A. Adams advertised seeds that he had for sale in the Virginia Gazette and Petersburg Intelligencer on February 24, 1797. In 1798, Stratchan & Maury of Spotsylvania County were offering grafted apple trees for sale in the same publication. Joseph Davenport offered seeds for sale in his Petersburg store in 1803. By 1803, Samuel Bailey was selling grafted apple trees in New Kent County.

The spring of 1792, a seed dealer named Minton Collins was importing flower roots and seeds from London & offering them for sale at the Shot Factory, at Richards Denny’s store near the market house, & at James Dove’s on the main street. In the fall of 1792, Collins consolidated his stock at Denny’s store & had imported new seeds & flower roots to sell to his growing clientele. By the next spring, he had collected enough capital to open his own shop, devoted solely to garden stock. In 1793, Collins introduced the West India Burr Gherkin (Cucumis anguria), a pickling cucumber plant, originally brought from Angola to the Caribbean by slaves.

Collins’ Seed & Flower Store sat on the north side of Main Street between the post office & the bridge over the James River. He sold retail to the general public & wholesale, or at least “upon moderate terms,” to country shopkeepers from surrounding Virginia communities. By the turn of the century, Collins was also receiving seed from the northern states & had customers in Richmond, Norfolk & Portsmouth.

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