Group Title: Historic St. Augustine: B7-L12 Silversmith
Title: Background information on William Sime (Simes, Sims)
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 Material Information
Title: Background information on William Sime (Simes, Sims)
Series Title: Historic St. Augustine: B7-L12 Silversmith
Physical Description: Report
Language: English
Creator: Ganong, Overton G.
Publication Date: 1975
Subject: Saint Augustine (Fla.)
12 Charlotte Street (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Sims Silversmith Shop (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida -- Saint Johns -- Saint Augustine -- 12 Charlotte Street
Coordinates: 29.896045 x -81.312121
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00091339
Volume ID: VID00006
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution.
Resource Identifier: B7-L12

Full Text

Background Information on William Sime (Simes, Sims)

In the census of 1784, taken during the opening months of the second

Spanish occupation of Florida, the following entry appears:

William Sims, native of Scotland, his intention is
to return to the British Dominions. He has a wife
and son, He is a silversmith. He has four negroes.
He lives in a borrowed house in the block of the
principal church.

No other references to this individual have been found in the documentation

relating to either the British or the Second Spanish Periods.

It is highly probable, although not irrefutably proven, that the

"Guillermo Sims" of the 1784 census was William Sime, or Simes, of Georgia.

The photostatic copy of the original, handwritten census at the St. Augustine

Historical Society reveals that the census taker had originally written Sime

but had later superimposed an 's' over the 'e'. The fact that Sime and 'Sims'

were silversmiths is further evidence that they were, in fact, the same person.

Sime, a native of Scotland, had worked in London before immigrating

to America. Just when he came, or where he first settled, is not known.

His first documented appearance was in Savannah in April, 1768, for in that

month he and a business partner named Jacob Moses advertised in the Georgia

Gazette, describing themselves as "Goldsmiths and Jewelers." Sime's part-

nership with Moses was evidently short-lived, because in March, 1769, he

advertised alone. According to his announcement, he practiced all aspects

of the goldsmith and jewelry business: "He makes mourning rings, mounts

and repairs swords, jewelry made and mended superior to any imported. "

(Here it should be noted that goldsmithing and silversmithing were in fact

the same craft. Since gold was considered more prestigious than silver,

many craftsmen who worked principally in the latter advertised themselves

as goldsmiths.)

Sometime between 1769 and 1774 Sime took another partner, a man

named Wright, but he was working independently again by April, 1774. His

last announcement in the Georgia Gazette appeared in January, 1775 the

latest date on which one can definitely place him in Savannah.

Sime was an avowed loyalist, and he was not afraid to stand up for his

principles. On September 7, 1774, he signed a resolution of loyalty to the

crown, a stand which ultimately cost him his home and property. In March,

1778, the rebel legislature of Georgia passed an Act of Attainder accusing

over 100 persons of high treason, confiscating their property, and threatening

them with death should they be apprehended. Among those so accused was

William Simes. By that time he almost certainly had taken refuge in Florida.

Sime was in East Florida, therefore, at least six years, if not longer.

It is unknown whether he was married at the time he fled Georgia or whether

he took a wife in St. Augustine. When East Florida was returned to Spain,

Sime elected to leave. Unfortunately, no source has yet come to light to

indicate where he ultimately settled.

Overton G. Ganong,

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