Colonial Tavern Keepers

Descendants of Colonial Tavern Keepers qualify for membership in the Flagon and Trencher Society. Those persons, either male or female, who can prove direct descent from a person conducting a tavern, inn, ordinary, or other type of hostelry prior to 4 July 1776 (within the area which became the first 13 states).

Flagon and Trencher Society

In colonial times, taverns, ordinaries, pubs and other hostelries were usually kept in a person’s home and no other building existed for this purpose. Therefore, the majority of the “taverns” as we think of them in that time probably did not have names. In smaller municipalities named taverns were probably not the rule. In larger ones the taverns had names to distinguish them apart.

The key to establishing membership is proving that your ancestor was licensed by the local authority to conduct the business of keeping an ordinary, hostelry, inn or hotel or licensed to sell spirituous liquors. The name of the establishment is not necessary. Brewers do not qualify.

Here’s to our ancestors! Without them where would be?
Flagon and Trencher Traditional Toast

To the old, long life and treasure;
To the young, all health and pleasure;
To the fair, their face,
With eternal grace,
And the rest, to be loved at leisure.
Ben Jonson

A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry.
Ecclesiastes 10:19

Here’s champagne to our real friends
and real pain to our sham friends. To the militia:
Invincible in peace;
invisible in war.
Good company, good wine, good welcome make good people.

Drink down all unkindness.
Shakespeare, Merry Wives of Windsor, Act 1

Better to pay the tavernkeeper than the druggist.
Spanish proverb

It is around the table that friends understand best the warmth of being together.
Old Italian saying

Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.
Benjamin Franklin

Wine is sunshine held together by water.
Galileo Gallileo

Sir Richard (Williams) CROMWELL (1504 – 1544)  (Wikipedia) father   Morgan WILLIAMS (1469 – ) was an ale brewer and innkeeper at Putney, a district in south-west London 5 miles south-west of Charing Cross.  Morgan’s father-in-law  Walter CROMWELL was also a brewer.  I remember Catherine was a sympathetic older sister in and Walter was an abusive father in Hillary Mantel’s novel Wolf Hall.

Capt. Robert ANDREWS (1560 – 1643) On Sept. 3,1635,Robert Andrews was licensed “to keep ordinarye(an Inn) in the plantacon where he lyves during the pleasure of y court.” This is the earliest reference to a public house in the records of Ipswich.  Robert lived near the South Church.

John GOODALE (1563 -1625 ) The family name Goodale  applied to the maker or seller of good ale, i.e., a bewer or tavern keeper. Our lineage commences with Thomas Goodale, the Elder who was born in the 1530′s and died prior to 03 October 1588, Both at Downham, Norfolk which is located in the far western end of the county and a few miles south of Kings Lynn.

Stephen HOPKINS (1580 – 1644) (wiki)

Keeping in mind the delicate balance in Plymouth between (Saints and Strangers) “covenant” and “noncovenant” colonists, it is reasonable to assume that Hopkins must have been a leader of the non-Separatist settlers, and in his career at Plymouth can be seen some of the ambiguity that attached to the non-Separatists living in a Separatist colony. Even though he was an Assistant Governor from 1633 to 1636 he often found himself in conflict with the Plymouth authorities over his tavern.

2 Oct 1637 – He was presented twice, first for suffering men to drink in his house on the Lord’s day before meeting ended, and for allowing servants and others to drink more than proper for ordinary refreshing, and second for suffering servants and others to sit drinking in his house (contrary to orders of the court), and to play at shovel board and like misdemeanors is therefore fined fourty shillings.”

2 Jan 1637/38 – Hopkins was presented for suffering excessive drinking in his house “as old Palmer, James Coale, & William Renolds”

Jan 2 1637 : “Presentment by the Grand Jury.
“1. William Reynolds is psented for being drunck at Mr Hopkins his house, that he lay vnder the table, vomitting in a beastly manner, and was taken vp betweene two. The witness hereof is Abraham Warr, als Hoop, als Pottle, and sayth that there was in company Francis Sprague, Samuell Nash, & Georg Partrich.
2. Mr Hopkins is psented for sufferinge excessiue drinking in his house, as old Palmer, James Coale, & William Renolds, John Winslow, Widdow Palmers man, Widdow Palmer, Thomas Little, witnesss & Stepheen Travy

5 Jun 1638 – He was presented for selling beer for two pence a quart which was not worth a penny a quart, and for selling wine at excessive rates “to the oppressing & impovishing of the colony”; he was fined £5 for some of these offenses, including selling strong waters and nutmegs at excessive rates

5 June 1638 : “Presentments by the Grand Jury…
“Mr Steephen Hopkins is prsented for selling beere for ij d the quart, not worth j d a quart. Witness, Kenelme Winslow.
“Item, for selling wine at such excessiue rates, to the opressing & impouishing of the colony. Kenelme Winslow & John Winslow, witnesses.”

Thomas LUMBERT (1582 – 1665) Thomas was an Innkeeper.  Plymouth Colony Records show that on 3 Dec. 1639 Thomas Lumbert was “allowed to keepe Victualling, or an ordinary, for entertainement of passengers, and to draw wyne at Barnstable he keeping good order in his house”.

John MASTERS (1584 – 1639)  On 3 Sep 1635 “John Maistrs” was licensed to keep an ordinary at Cambridge.  On 4 June 1639 for some unknown offense “John Masters, having license, was discharged”

Deacon John PARMENTER Sr. (1588 – 1671) – The Parmenter Tavern, established by Deacon John in 1643, when a license for the “house of entertainment ” was issued 10 May 1643. This naturally provided a livilehood for the Deacon and his wife. Prior to opening this business Deacon John probably farmed along with his son John Jr.. When John Jr. took over the ownership and management of the Tavern is not presently known, but in 1653-4 another license was issued to John, Jr. This was seven years before Deacon John moved to Roxbury to marry his second wife in 1660.

Capt Edmund GREENLEAF (1590 -1671) Edmund was one of the original settlers of Quasca Cunquen, afterward Newbury, where each of the first settlers was granted a house lot of at least four acres, with a suitable quantity of salt and fresh meadow. In addition to this, he had a grant of twelve acres, which shows him to have been one of the eighteen principal pioneer settlers. Edmund lived near the old town bridge in Newbury, where he kept a tavern. By trade, he was a silk dyer.

Thomas FORD (1590 – 1676)  – In June 1644, the General Court voted that each of the three River towns should arrange that some responsible inhabitant “keepe an Ordinary” as accommodation for strangers passing through. Soon after his marriage to Ann, Thomas Ford moved to Hartford and established the first tavern there, in the home of her former husband Thomas Scott, standing at the corner of State and Front streets. John Winthrop Jr. visited the inn on 17 November 1645 and noted it in his journal. Soon after his marriage Thomas purchased a house and two acres of land in Hartford from Samson Shore. Thomas maintained the inn until 1648.  Although he  kept his lands at Windsor, on 9 March 1652 he sold the tavern to Thomas Cadwell.  Today, the Arch Street Tavern, located around the corner the tavern Thomas established 367 years before was just voted best happy hour in the state by Connecticut magazine.

The Front Street District is the final phase of Adriaen’s Landing, a state and privately-funded master planned development intended to attract activity to downtown by way of residents, retail, and other commercial activity. The plan includes the existing Connecticut Convention Center, Connecticut Science Center (opening spring 2009), and the 409 room Marriott Hartford Hotel.

The Front Street District is a major development project in downtown Hartford. is located directly across Columbus Boulevard from the Connecticut Convention Center and the Marriott Hotel. When completed, the project will include 150,000 square feet  of building area that will be occupied by restaurant, entertainment and retail spaces.   In total, over $1 billion of public and private capital has been invested in new development projects in downtown Hartford including the Adriaen’s Landing master plan area.

Capt. Edward BANGS (1591 – 1678)  was a shipwright and served on several town committees, holding a responsible position within the community. Edward Bangs signed his will and several deeds. He was also an Innkeeper (“Liberty is granted unto Edward Bangs to draw and sell wine and strong waters at Eastham, provided it be for the refreshment of the English, and not to be sold to the Indians,”

William HILTON Sr. (1591- 1656) William was in Dover by 1628, later moving to Kittery (1648) and York (1651). He served in various official capacities,including juror and committeeman, in Dover, and York. While in Kittery he was a tavern keeper and ferry operator.

Roger SHAW (1594 – 1661) Roger was for a time Vintnor and Keeper of the Ordinary in Hampton New Hampshire, and in 1650 he was empowered and ordered by General Court “to sell wine or any sort of strong liquors to Christians and the Indians, as in his judgment shall seem meet and necessary, on just and urgent occasions, and not otherwise.”

Nicholas SNOW (1600 – 1676)  1670 – he, with Capt. Jonathan SPARROW, was appointed to visit the ordinaries in Eastham, Plymouth Colony, and see that there was no excessive drinking; and the same year was one of the Grand Inquest.

Martha BEAMSLEY (1606 – 1668) “In”answer to the petition of Martha Beamesly, of Boston, widow, humbly desiring the favor of this Court to grant her license to distill & retail strong waters, &c., the Court judgeth it meet to grant her request, she giving security to the secretary for the keeping due order, without offence or prejudice to the law & order of the County Court”

Robert ABELL (c. 1605 – 1663)  Robert Abell came from London in 1630 and resided first at Weymouth and then moved to Rehoboth in 1643. In 3 July 1656 RA was allowed by the court to keep an ordinary in Rehoboth.

Lt. Edward WOODMAN (1606 – 1694) a mercer and wine merchant, was licensed 12 January 1637/1638 to sell wine and strong drink in Newbury, Mass.  Among his commissions from the state was “to see people marry” which he later resigned saying “An unprofitable commission: I quickly laid aside the works, which has cost me many a bottle of sacke and liquor, where friends and acquaintances have been concerned.”

Lt. William CLARKE (1610 – 1690) In 1671, he was licensed to sell “wine, cider or liquor for a year”in new settlement of Squakheag (Northfield) Massachusetts.

Barent Jacobsen KOOL (1610 – 1676)  On April 13, 1654, Barent became a wine and beer carrier for the Dutch West India Company. He watched the company warehouse and was appointed by the New Amsterdam burgomasters as an exciseman. He, along with Joost Goderus, boarded ships in New Amsterdam, searched their contents, and levied duty on the goods they found. On September 21, 1663, Barent was appointed as a public porter and was elected foreman (Elder of the Beer Porters) on July 17, 1665.

Gerrit Frederickse LANSING (1610 – c. 1655) was was the father of the Lansing family – the most numerous family group to live in early Albany.   John Lansing, Jr. (the younger – even though he was the son of Gerrit), orJohn 5 Lansing– an innkeeper who was the fifth generation “John” in his particular line.

William FISKE (1613 – 1654)  According to Wenham, Mass town records William Fiske received liberty from the General Court in 1643 to keep an ordinary (public house) In 1646 he was licensed to sell wine and strong water

Edward STURGIS (1613 – 1695) 7 Jul 1646 – Granted a license “to keep an ordinary and draw wyne” in Yarmouth

Bartholomew HEATH (1615 – 1681)  moved to Haverhill, Massachusetts as early as 1642-1646, where he was an innkeeper. Haverhill was a new village, founded in 1640, and then considered to be in the wilderness and controlled by Indians. Bartholomew and Hannah were some it’s first inhabitants.  Bartholomew as appointed  Constable and Selectman there.

John PARMENTER Jr. (1616 – 1666) John became a freeman in May 1642; kept a tavern or ordinary, at which the committee of the Colonial Court and Ecclesiastical Council for the settlement of difficulties in Sudbury, in 1655, was held.

Thomas SKINNER I (1617 – 1704) Thomas had been a victualler (English innkeeper) in Chichester and was, on May 31, 1652, licensed to keep an ordinary in Malden.  He was admitted a freeman in Malden, May 18, 1653. Thomas received a license to operate an inn formerly licensed to a John Hawthorne, who had been convicted of forgery in neighboring Lynn, MA. It is unclear whether Thomas operated both inns or if he sold or abandoned his original venture. In 1654, a Malden property was transferred from a Roland Lathorne to Thomas Skinner who, in turn, rented it to Thomas Call. It was located near the corner of Cross and Walnut Streets, about 5 blocks from Joseph Hills’ homestead. By 1657, Thomas Skinner retired from his inn-keeping occupation and the license to operate the inn and tavern was transferred to his eldest son, Abraham, on April 16, 1657. There are indications the Inn/tavern owned by Abraham was called the ‘Surf and Turf’.

Thomas  HUCKINS (1618 – 1679) 1 Mar 1653 – Thomas was licensed to sell wines and strong waters in Barnstable until the next June court. He had probably been authorized to keep an ordinary, or public house, during the previous ten years. He was for several years receiver of the excise imposed on the importation of wines and liquors and powder and shot. In the last mentioned year, he was captain of the packet, and he brought into the town for himself 35 gallons of wine and 9 of brandy, besides liquors and powder and shot for other persons.

“When Mr. Huckins settled there, a stream of fresh water run all the year on the south of his house, through a morass impassable by teams. In this isolated spot he kept an ordinary, as taverns were then called, for the accommodation of travellers. It is however to be presumed that the lovers of ‘strongwater’ knew the paths that lead to his house.”

William WOODCOCK Sr.’ son John Woodcock (1627 – 1701) The first settlement within the bounds of the town of Attleborough was in the neighborhood of the Baptist meetinghouse, where Hatch’s old tavern still stands. It was commenced by Mr. John Woodcock, his sons and their families, soon after the first division in 1669. Here he built a public house on the “Bay Road,” and fortified it as a garrison, and laid out lands to the amount of about three hundred acres, which afterwards made an excellent farm. Woodcock’s house was occupied for a garrison.

Woodcock Garrison House all dressed up for Christmas

It was licensed in 1670, according to the following record :—

“July 5th, 1670. John Woodcock is allowed by the Court to keep an Ordinary at the ten mile river (so called) which is in the way from Rehoboth to the Bay ; and likewise enjoined to keep good order, that no unruliness or ribaldry be permitted there.”—Old Col. Rec.

Jan Juriaensen BECKER (c. 1630 – 1697)   In 1655 the West India Company resolved to reduce the Swedish colony on the Delaware by conquest. Director General Stuyvesant set sail with a fleet and bloodlessly took Fort Christina. Jan Becker [age 25] went with him and was posted as clerk of the colony.  In 1658 he was made provisional commisary or commander.   In 1660 a permanent commander was sent.  He found Becker insubordinate and engaged in violating the law by trading liquor to the Indiana for game. So Becker was brought to Manhattan tried before the  Burgomaster.   Jan was fined 300 guilders for selling liquor to the Indians. He proved the Fort’s new commandant also sold liquor and his fine was dismissed, though he was banished from South River.

On being returned to Manhattan, and out of his job with the Company for want of anything better to do (as he himself said in a petition to the Company) he opened a tavern. It was located just east of Bowling Green, on the part of Marketfield Street now covered by the produce Exchange. Not far away was the anchoring place and dock at Whitehall and Pearl Streets. Across the street was the Fort and in the fort was the church.

On the fourth of August 1660, a Sunday, his son Jeuriaen was born, and there was a tapping of casks for the neighbors and midwives and a carousing. There followed a prosecution for disturbing the peace, and the services in church, and a fine. Not all went well with the tavern business. The visiting sailors were not always quiet. Too many patrons were trusted.

In 1663, he got in trouble again  for liquor selling at Greenbush, Rensselaerswyck, New York.

John PROCTOR Jr. (1632 -1692)  was a successful farmer, entrepreneur, and tavern keeper who lived far from Salem Village center, on the edge of Salem Town. He had never been directly involved in Salem Village politics or litigation with the Putnams, but his interests were diametrically opposed to those of the old, established village elite. He had risen to considerable wealth and prestige. But to the Putnams, with their defensive, inflexible outlook, Proctor and his wife remained hated outsiders.

Although farming was his primary business, Proctor’s wife and daughter ran a local tavern on Ipswich Road. Proctor seems to have been an enormous man, very large framed, “impulsive,” with great force and energy. Proctor is described on several occasions, from various sources as a strong-willed beast of a man. Charles Upham writes, “He was a man of Herculean frame…he had great native force and energy…he was bold in his spirit and in his language.” Although an upright man, he seems to have been rash in speech, judgment, and action. It was his unguarded tongue—that would eventually lead to his death.

Daniel WOODWARD (1653 – 1713)  was christened on 2 Sep 1653 in Medford, Mass.   It is supposed that he was the Daniel Woodward, of Medford, who was licensed by the Court, May 1, 1690, to keep an inn.

Storm Albertse Van Der ZEE (Bradt) (1663 – 1712)   Growing up on the Normanskill, by the mid-1650s he was trading lumber, furs, and tobacco in New Amsterdam – probably on his father’s behalf. In 1662, he obtained a lot and then a house in Beverwyck. Thereafter, he settled in Albany – forming a number of trading partnerships, opening a tavern, and marrying Hilletie Lansing.

Running a tavern and other enterprises frequently brought him before the Albany magistrates.  When Storm died, a  joint will left everything to his wife with provision that half the estate be divided among their children when they reached adulthood. At the same time, she stood to inherit a share of her father’s estate in Holland. Within a year,  she had remarried. Her second husband was Willem Ketelhuyn – who took over her husband’s tavern.

Johannes BECKER (1663 – 1712) At Albany the brothers-in-law Hogan and Becker conducted a tavern. In a letter to Johannes Becker from Lieut. Matthew Shanks, sailing for England, with a promise to pay in time his indebtedness for drinks. The back of the letter served for a reckoning of drinks served to the first citizens of Albany. The date is 1698. Shortly after 1700 Johannes removed to a farm on the Van Rensselaer patroonship, in the town of Bethlehem, near the hamlet once known as Becker’s Corners, now Selkirk.

Nathaniel PEASE I (1700 – 1771) Like his grandfather, he was a weaver by trade. In 1759 he settled in Blandford, Massachusetts, where for several years he carried on a public house in connection with farming.  In 1771 he sold his tavern to his son Levi and is said to have removed to Stephentown, New York, where he died.

Benjamin COLMAN’s son Col. Dudley Colman (1745-1797)  was the last owner of the famous  Bunch of Grapes Tavern.  Col. Dudley Coleman applied for and received a license to operate the tavern on State Street in Boston in 1790 and continued to run it until his death.  The tavern was demolished in 1798.

Col Dudley Colman (1745-1797) Collection of Fogg Musuem Harvard.  For the reverse see his father’s page.

The Bunch-of-Grapes was a tavern located on King Street (State Street today) in Boston,Massachusetts, in the 17th and 18th centuries. Typical of taverns of the time, it served multiple functions in the life of the town. One could buy drinks, concert tickets, slaves; meet friends, business associates, political co-conspirators.

1789 Bunch of Grapes Meeting Notice

Located in the center of town activity, the facade of the Bunch-of-Grapes building featured iconic signage: “Three gilded clusters of grapes dangled temptingly over the door before the eye of the passer-by.”

Sign of the Bunch of Grapes

Notable events occurred on tavern premises. “On Monday, July 30, 1733, the first grand lodge of Masons in America was organized here by Henry Price, a Boston tailor, who had received authority from Lord Montague, Grand Master of England, for the purpose.” They  formed what was appropriately named First Lodge No. 126 (now St. John’s Lodge—Massachusetts does not number their Masonic lodges). It was, in fact, the first lodge in America that the Grand Lodge had authorized (unlike earlier lodges that existed in Pennsylvania), and Price’s position as “Provincial Grand Master of New England and Dominions and Territories thereunto belonging” gave him the sole right to charter new lodges in the Colonies.

Bunch of Grapes Plaque 1925

A replica of the sign that hung over the door of the Bunch of Grapes tavern was carved from a block of wood from the U.S.S. Constitution and now hangs in the Grand Lodge building in Boston.

Bunch of Grapes Replica Hanging in the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts Building in Boston

In 1769, the tavern offered tickets for sale for “Love in a Village,” the first professional opera performance in Boston.  Artist Christian Remick (b.1726) displayed his paintings in the tavern in 1769.

A darker chapter in the tavern’s history involved slavery. For potential buyers, a “search for slave labor in Boston began and ended along the bustling King Street corridor that connected the warehouses of Long Wharf to the commercial center of town. Three of Boston’s busiest public houses — the Royal Exchange, the Crown Coffee-House, and the Bunch of Grapes tavern- lined that half-mile stretch. All offered fine drink and lively conversation, and at times all served as clearinghouses for slaves.”

In the revolutionary era, “the Bunch of Grapes became the resort of the High Whigs, who made it a sort of political headquarters, in which patriotism only passed current, and it was known as the Whig tavern.”  Paul Revere and others gathered here.

Bunch of Grapes Tavern

However during the British occupation of Boston, British troops met at the tavern. In January 1776, James Henry Craig, company commander of the 47th (Lancashire) Regiment of Foot, arranged a meeting at the tavern: “The ancient and most benevolent of the Friendly Brothers of St. Patrick. The Principal Knot of the 47th Regiment is to meet at the Bunch of Grapes on Thursday the 29th inst. at eleven o’clock in the forenoon. . . . All the Friendly Brothers in the army are requested to meet at the same place at one o’clock, on business relating to the order in general. J.H. Craig, S.P.K. 47th Reg.

After the Siege of Boston ended in March 1776, “General Washington was handsomely entertained” at the Bunch-of-Grapes, as was Lafayette, and General John Stark.

General Rufus Putnam formed the Ohio Associates at the Bunch of Grapes Tavern

In  1786, Rufus PutnamBenjamin TupperSamuel Holden Parsons and Manasseh Cutler, met at the Bunch of Grapes tavern to form the Ohio Company of Associates, which  pioneered the development of the territory around the Ohio River Under the leadership of General Rufus Putnam, the company was formed on March 1, 1786 and  the first township laid out at Marietta Ohio.

Ohio Lands — The boundaries of the Ohio Company Purchase are shown on the lower right.

The first contract was for the Ohio Company to purchase 1,500,000 acres  of land at the confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum rivers, from a point near the site of present-day Marietta, to a point nearly opposite present-day Huntington, West Virginia, for a payment of $1 million in government securities, then worth about 12¢ specie to the dollar. The contract also provided that one section of land in every township be devoted to the maintenance of public schools, another section be set apart for religious uses, and two entire townships be reserved for a university.

The second contract was an option to buy all the land between the Ohio and the Scioto rivers and the western boundary line of the Ohio Company’s tract, extending north of the tenth survey township from the Ohio, this tract being preempted by Manasseh Cutler and Winthrop Sargent for themselves and others for the Scioto Company. Cutler’s original intent was to buy only about 1,500,000 acres  for the Ohio Company, but on the July 27, Congress authorized a grant of about 5,000,000 acres  of land for $3,500,000; a reduction of one-third was allowed for bad tracts, and it was also provided that the lands could be paid for in United States securities.

The proposed purchase by the Scioto Company is shown in red. The proposed purchase of 1,500,000 acres (6,100 km2) by the Ohio Company is in blue. The final dimensions of the Ohio Company is in green, including the First Purchase, Second Purchase, and Donation Tract.

Owners of the tavern included: William Davis (prior to 1658); William Ingram (1658); John Holbrook (1680); Thomas Waite (1731); and Elisha Doane (1773).  Keepers of the tavern included: Francis Holmes (1690–1712); Mrs. Francis Holmes (1712-ca.1731); William Coffin (1731–1733); Edward Lutwich (1734); Joshua Barker (1749); Mr. Weatherhead (1750-ca.1757); Joseph Ingersol (1764–1772); John Marston (ca.1776-1778); William Foster (1782); James Vila (1789); and Dudley Colman (1790).

The Bunch-of-Grapes building was demolished in 1798.


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6 Responses to Colonial Tavern Keepers

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  3. markeminer says:

    Added the story of the Bunch of Grapes Tavern (bef, 1653 – 1798) on King Street (now State St) in Boston. Benjamin COLMAN’s son Col. Dudley Colman (1745-1797) was the last owner, applying for and receiving a license to operate the tavern in 1790 and continued to run it until his death. The tavern was demolished in 1798. Many notable events occurred on tavern premises including the founding of the first grand lodge of Masons in America in 1733, political headquarters the the High Whigs (Patriots) during the Revolution, and the organization of the Ohio Company of Associates in 1786.

  4. Pingback: Deacon Benjamin Coleman | Miner Descent

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