January 5

What was advertised in a colonial newspaper 250 years ago this week?

Jan 5 - 1:2:1766 Massachusetts-Gazette Supplement
Supplement to the Massachusetts-Gazette (January 2, 1766)

“LEMMONS, by the Box or smaller Quantity,” “Grocery and other Wares,” “Wiggs of all sorts,” and “a Number of other Articles not herein mentioned.”

John Goldsmith offered a variety of imported goods for sale “at the Corner of John Hancock, Esq’s Wharff” in Boston.  What was Goldsmith’s role in making these items available in the colonial marketplace?  Was he a merchant or a shopkeeper?  Residents of Boston who read the Massachusetts-Gazette likely would have known, but the advertisement does not answer this question definitively for twenty-first century readers.  Given that Goldsmith offered “choice LISBON LEMMONS, by the Box or smaller Quantity,” he may have operated as both wholesaler and retailer, depending on the needs of his customers.

Both his location and list of wares (“LEMMONS” and “Seamen’s Cloaths,” in particular) suggest that he often did business provisioning ships and their crews in Boston’s busy harbor.  How, then, did “Wiggs of all sorts” relate to the rest of his merchandise?

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