Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Stagecoach And Tavern Days

From the book, Stagecoach And Tavern Days, included taverns, various drinks, implements, modes of transportation, signs, and plenty of pictures.

Travel in the South in the Thirties

The early taverns were not opened wholly for the convenience of travellers; they were for the comfort of the townspeople, for the interchange of news and opinions, the sale of solacing liquors, and the incidental sociability; in fact, the importance of the tavern to its local neighbors was far greater than to travellers. 

The Exchange Coffee-house of Boston was one of the most remarkable of all these houses. It was a mammoth affair for its day, being seven stories in height. During the glorious days of stage-coach travel, its successor, built after it was burnt in 1818, had a brilliant career as a staging tavern, for it had over two hundred bedrooms, and was in the centre of the city. 

At a sumptuous dinner given to President Monroe, who had rooms there, in July, 1817, there were present Commodores Bainbridge, Hull, and Perry; ex-President John Adams; Generals Swift, Dearborn, Cobb, and Humphreys; Judges Story, Parker, Davis, Adams, and Jackson; Governor Brooks, Governor Phillips, and many other distinguished men.

Any account of old-time travel by stage-coach and lodging in old-time taverns would be incomplete without frequent reference to that universal accompaniment of travel and tavern sojourn, that most American of comforting stimulants—rum.  ...“Rhum made from sugar-canes is called kill-devil in New England.” 

The tavern has ever played an important part in social, political, and military life, has helped to make history. From the earliest days when men gathered to talk over the terrors of Indian warfare; through the renewal of these fears in the French and Indian War; before and after the glories of Louisburg; and through all the anxious but steadfast years preceding and during the Revolution, these gatherings were held in the ordinaries or taverns.  

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