William Mitchell

William Mitchell Pocket Watch

William Mitchell Pocket Watch

William Mitchell Jr. trained as a silversmith in Boston and worked in Richmond Virginia from 1818 to 1845. He was initially in partnership with Elisha Taft from 1818 to 1820 under the firm Taft & Mitchell before establishing his own silversmith business that he grew to be largest in Virginia. Mitchell retailed a large range of products including both clocks and watches. He retired in 1845 and sold the business to his younger brother Samuel and John Tyler who continued under the name Mitchell & Tyler. Catherine Hollan has extensive information on Mitchell in her Virginia Silversmiths book (Hollan, 538-544).

Early Southern American Watchmakers

Few watch examples from southern states are known. Also shown on this website are Kentucky examples by Evans Beard of Louisville and George Nichols of Lexington; Virginia examples by Mordecai Miller of Alexandria and William Mitchell of Richmond that has its original American gold case; and Walter Ramsay of Raleigh North Carolina.

Y&D American Gold Case

Y&D Silversmith Mark

Y&D Silversmith Mark

Full plate detached lever fusee movement, serial number 2293 with stop feature, three arm balance, white enamel dial with seconds, gold hands and dust cover. Movement engraved "DETACHED" and "PATENT" on the Balance table. Typical markings for imported lever movements of this period, estimated to be around 1830.

Rare 18K gold American (consular) case, signed Y&D New York, with an eagle above "18" in the cameo that tested between 16 and 18 carat. This New York case maker is unidentified but has been observed on other watches. Few American watches cased in gold survive because they were scrapped for cash during one of the many economic downturns that occurred in the past 200 years.

For other examples of English imported movements cased in America see John Cragg, David Taylor, Thomas Blundell, George Harlow.

William Miller Watchmaker

William Mitchell Jr. watch paper displayed for reference.

Watches of every Description, Jewelry, Silver & Plated Ware, Wm. Mitchell Jr, Watchmaker & Jeweller, Richmond, VA.

Additional References and recommended reading:

  • Catherine Hollan, Virginia Silversmiths, Jewelers, Clock- and Watchmakers, 1607-1860, Their Lives and Marks, Hollan Press, Missouri, 2010