This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
by Robert A. Leath


Bespoke Objects W


Surveyor’s Compass 1819


Jonathan Simpson


Bardstown, Kentucky Brass, silver, steel, and glass L: 14-11/16"; W: 6-5/8"


James C. Willcox, Jr., Silver Purchase Fund (Acc. 5629)


In 1819, James Kerr McGoodwin of Logan County, Kentucky procured this exceptional surveyor’s compass from the silversmith Jonathan Simpson of Bardstown. It is engraved with McGoodwin’s initials, “JKM,” and considered the finest and most elaborate of all the known compasses made by Simpson. McGoodwin was born to Scots Irish parents in Middle Tennessee and in 1795 moved to Kentucky. In 1819, he began the process of surveying for himself more than 25 land patents located in present-day Simpson County, Kentucky, and in 1822 became the county’s official surveyor.


New t o t h e C o l l e c t i o n s


hile 18th- and 19th-century craftsmen produced the majority of their objects for the mainstream market, they also catered to select clients who commissioned specially


made items for their personal use. These objects could be more highly decorated than those offered to the general public. They might feature the name or initials of the patron or perhaps memorialize the exact year it was ordered and made. In the period, these objects were referred to as “bespoke,” meaning they were privately ordered and customized to the specifications of the client. Recently, MESDA has been fortunate to acquire a number of highly significant bespoke objects. m


14


Old Salem Museums & Gardens


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