INSCRIPTION: Engraved on the handle: “Cassidey, Decbr., 25, 1849” (as a Christmas gift to James Cassidey [1792-1866] and Sophia Jennett Cassidey [1806-1881); engraved where the bowl and handle meet: “H.J & H.B.C. / NOV. 9, 1899” (for the marriage of Herbert Jennett Cassidey [1874-1941] and his wife Helen Burroughs Cassidey [1877-1967]); engraved on the back of the handle: “FAL & HDC / 1877” (probably for the 20th wedding anniversary of Francis A.L. Cassidey [1836-1889] and his wife Henrietta Dell Cassidey [1839-1893]).
MARK: Struck on reverse of handle with intaglio “T.W. BROWN” mark in a rectangular reserve and manufacturer’s marks for the New York City firm Gale & Hayden (intaglio stacked “G&H” in an oval reserve, an intaglio circle, and an intaglio date “1849” in a diamond reserve.
MAKER: Thomas William Brown (1803-1872) was born in New York City although both of his parents were born in Bladen County, North Carolina. Brown apprenticed as a silvermsith in New York City and in 1822 he married Harriet Sophia Day in New Brunswick, New Jersey. The couple moved to North Carolina by 1823 when Brown opened a shop in Wilmington, the city where he lived the rest of his life. Five years later, in 1828, he married Carolina Amelia Marshall in Wilmington. After the death of his second wife, Brown married a third time in 1846. He formed a partnership in Wilmington with William S. Anderson (1820-1871), known as Brown & Anderson, which thrived until Anderson’s death in 1871. Brown’s continued under his own name until his death in October 1872. The business was then known as T. W. Brown & Sons, operated by Brown’s son and stepson. See George Barton Cutten and Mary Reynolds Peacock, “Silversmiths of North Carolina, 1696-1860”, 2nd rev. ed. (Raleigh: North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, Division of Archives and History, 1984).
Gale & Hayden was the partnership of William Gale Sr. (1799-1867) and Nathaniel Hayden (1805-1875). The firm was active from 1846 until 1850 in New York City. See entry for William Gale Sr. in William Erik Voss, “Silversmiths & Related Craftsmen” (online: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~silversmiths/makers/silversmiths/92434.htm [accessed 31 August 2017]).
FORM: Large silver ladles were popular for serving punch or soup. Most had plain hemispherical bowls, others were round, and a few had scalloped or shaped bowls. Smaller ladles of silver were most often designated for serving sauces and gravy.