- Art Gallery -








Landlord of the “Golden Ball” and “Bunch of Grapes”











“Cole’s Inn,” “The Bakers’ Arms,” and “Golden Ball”



Also a List of Taverns, Giving the Names of the Various Owners
of the Property, from Miss Thwing’s Work on “The Inhabitants
and Estates of the Town of Boston,
1630-1800,” in the Possession of the
Massachusetts Historical





Copyright, 1917, by





The Inns of Old Boston have played such a part in its history that an illustrated edition of Drake may not be out of place at this late date. “Cole’s Inn” has been definitely located, and the “Hancock Tavern” question also settled.

I wish to thank the Bostonian Society for the privilege of reprinting Mr. Watkin’s account of the “Bakers’ Arms” and the “Golden Ball” and valuable assistance given by Messrs. C. F. Read, E. W. McGlenen, and W. A. Watkins; Henderson and Ross for the illustration of the “Crown Coffee House,” and the Walton Advertising Co. for the “Royal Exchange Tavern.”

Other works consulted are Snow’s History of Boston, Memorial History of Boston, Stark’s Antique Views, Porter’s Rambles in Old Boston, and Miss Thwing’s very valuable work in the Massachusetts Historical Society.






I. Upon the Tavern as an Institution 9
II. The Earlier Ordinaries 19
III. In Revolutionary Times 33
IV. Signboard Humor 52
V. Appendix; Boston Taverns to the Year 1800 61
VI. Cole’s Inn 73
VII. The Bakers’ Arms 76
VIII. The Golden Ball Tavern 80
IX. The Hancock Tavern 89
X. List of Taverns and Tavern Owners 99





Capt. John Marston Frontispiece
The Sign of the Lamb 17
The Heart and Crown 18
Royal Exchange Tavern 24
Portrait of Joseph Green 26
Portrait of John Dunton 28
The Bunch of Grapes 34
Cromwell Head Board Bill 44
The Cromwell’s Head 44
The Green Dragon 46
The Green Dragon Sign 47
The Liberty Tree 50
The Brazen Head 51
The Good Woman 52
The Dog and Pot 53
How Shall I Get Through This World? 54
The Crown Coffee House 62
Old Newspaper Advertisement 64
Julien House 65
The Sun Tavern 68
The Three Doves 70
Jolley Allen Advertisement 70
The Bakers’ Arms 75
Sign of Bunch of Grapes 80
Sign of Golden Ball 80
Map showing Location of Cole’s Inn 88
Coffee Urn 90
Map of Boston, 1645 98
Bromfield House 102
Fireman’s Ticket 104
Portrait of Governor Belcher 106
Exchange Coffee House, 1808-18 108
Exchange Coffee House, 1848 110
Hatch Tavern 112
Lamb Tavern 114
Sun Tavern (Dock Square) 122
Bonners’ Map of Boston, 1722 124






[Pg 9]




The famous remark of Louis XIV., “There are no longer any Pyrenees,” may perhaps be open to criticism, but there are certainly no longer any taverns in New England. It is true that the statutes of the Commonwealth continue to designate such houses as the Brunswick and Vendome as taverns, and their proprietors as innkeepers; yet we must insist upon the truth of our assertion, the letter of the law to the contrary notwithstanding.

No words need be wasted upon the present degradation which the name of tavern implies to polite ears. In most minds it is now associated with the slums of the city, and with that particular phase of city life only, so all may agree that, as a prominent feature of society and manners, the tavern has had its day. The situation is easily accounted for. The simple truth is, that, in moving on, the world has left the venerable institution standing in the eighteenth century; but it is equally true that, before that time, the history of any civilized people could hardly be written without making great[Pg 10] mention of it. With the disappearance of the old signboards our streets certainly have lost a most picturesque feature, at least one avenue is closed to art, while a few very aged men mourn the loss of something endeared to them by many pleasant recollections.

As an offset to the admission that the tavern has outlived its usefulness, we ought in justice to establish its actual character and standing as it was in the past. We shall then be the better able to judge how it was looked upon both from a moral and material stand-point, and can follow it on through successive stages of good or evil fortune, as we would the life of an individual.

It fits our purpose admirably, and we are glad to find so eminent a scholar and divine as Dr. Dwight particularly explicit on this point. He tells us that, in his day, “The best old-fashioned New England inns were superior to any of the modern ones. There was less bustle, less parade, less appearance of doing a great deal to gratify your wishes, than at the reputable modern inns; but much more was actually done, and there was much more comfort and enjoyment. In a word, you found in these inns the pleasures of an excellent private house. If you were sick you were nursed and befriended as in your own family. To finish the story, your bills were always equitable, calculated on what you ought to pay, and not upon the scheme of getting the most which extortion might think proper to demand.”

Now this testimonial to what the public inn was eighty odd years ago comes with authority from one[Pg 11] who had visited every nook and corner of New England, was so keen and capable an observer, and is always a faithful recorder of what he saw. Dr. Dwight has frequently said that during his travels he often “found his warmest welcome at an inn.”

In order to give the history of what may be called the Rise and Fall of the Tavern among us, we should go back to the earliest settlements, to the very beginning of things. In our own country the Pilgrim Fathers justly stand for the highest type of public and private morals. No less would be conceded them by the most unfriendly critic. Intemperance, extravagant living, or immorality found no harborage on Plymouth Rock, no matter under what disguise it might come. Because they were a virtuous and sober people, they had been filled with alarm for their own youth, lest the example set by the Hollanders should corrupt the stay and prop of their community. Indeed, Bradford tells us fairly that this was one determining cause of the removal into New England.

The institution of taverns among the Pilgrims followed close upon the settlement. Not only were they a recognized need, but, as one of the time-honored institutions of the old country, no one seems to have thought of denouncing them as an evil, or even as a necessary evil. Travellers and sojourners had to be provided for even in a wilderness. Therefore taverns were licensed as fast as new villages grew up. Upward of a dozen were licensed at one sitting of the General[Pg 12] Court. The usual form of concession is that So-and-So is licensed to draw wine and beer for the public. The supervision was strict, but not more so than the spirit of a patriarchal community, founded on morals, would seem to require; but there were no such attempts to cover up the true character of the tavern as we have seen practised in the cities of this Commonwealth for the purpose of evading the strict letter of the law; and the law then made itself respected. An innkeeper was not then looked upon as a person who was pursuing a disgraceful or immoral calling,—a sort of outcast, as it were,—but, while strictly held amenable to the law, he was actually taken under its protection. For instance, he was fined for selling any one person an immoderate quantity of liquor, and he was also liable to a fine if he refused to sell the quantity allowed to be drank on the premises, though no record is found of a prosecution under this singular statutory provision; still, for some time, this regulation was continued in force as the only logical way of dealing with the liquor question, as it then presented itself.

When the law also prohibited a citizen from entertaining a stranger in his own house, unless he gave bonds for his guest’s good behavior, the tavern occupied a place between the community and the outside world not wholly unlike that of a moral quarantine. The town constable could keep a watchful eye upon all suspicious characters with greater ease when they were under one roof. Then it was his business to know[Pg 13] everybody’s, so that any show of mystery about it would have settled, definitely, the stranger’s status, as being no better than he should be. “Mind your own business,” is a maxim hardly yet domesticated in New England, outside of our cities, or likely to become suddenly popular in our rural communities, where, in those good old days we are talking about, a public official was always a public inquisitor, as well as newsbearer from house to house.

On their part, the Puritan Fathers seem to have taken the tavern under strict guardianship from the very first. In 1634, when the price of labor and everything else was regulated, sixpence was the legal charge for a meal, and a penny for an ale quart of beer, at an inn, and the landlord was liable to ten shillings fine if a greater charge was made. Josselyn, who was in New England at a very early day, remarks, that, “At the tap-houses of Boston I have had an ale quart of cider, spiced and sweetened with sugar, for a groat.” So the fact that the law once actually prescribed how much should be paid for a morning dram may be set down among the curiosities of colonial legislation.

No later than the year 1647 the number of applicants for licenses to keep taverns had so much increased that the following act was passed by our General Court for its own relief: “It is ordered by the authority of this court, that henceforth all such as are to keep houses of common entertainment, and to retail wine, beer, etc., shall be licensed at the county courts of the shire where[Pg 14] they live, or the Court of Assistants, so as this court may not be thereby hindered in their more weighty affairs.”

A noticeable thing about this particular bill is, that when it went down for concurrence the word “deputies” was erased and “house” substituted by the speaker in its stead, thus showing that the newly born popular body had begun to assert itself as the only true representative chamber, and meant to show the more aristocratic branch that the sovereign people had spoken at last.

By the time Philip’s war had broken out, in 1675, taverns had become so numerous that Cotton Mather has said that every other house in Boston was one. Indeed, the calamity of the war itself was attributed to the number of tippling-houses in the colony. At any rate this was one of the alleged sins which, in the opinion of Mather, had called down upon the colony the frown of Providence. A century later, Governor Pownall repeated Mather’s statement. So it is quite evident that the increase of taverns, both good and bad, had kept pace with the growth of the country.

It is certain that, at the time of which we are speaking, some of the old laws affecting the drinking habits of society were openly disregarded. Drinking healths, for instance, though under the ban of the law, was still practised in Cotton Mather’s day by those who met at the social board. We find him defending it as a common form of politeness, and not the invocation of[Pg 15] Heaven it had once been in the days of chivalry. Drinking at funerals, weddings, church-raisings, and even at ordinations, was a thing everywhere sanctioned by custom. The person who should have refused to furnish liquor on such an occasion would have been the subject of remarks not at all complimentary to his motives.

It seems curious enough to find that the use of tobacco was looked upon by the fathers of the colony as far more sinful, hurtful, and degrading than indulgence in intoxicating liquors. Indeed, in most of the New England settlements, not only the use but the planting of tobacco was strictly forbidden. Those who had a mind to solace themselves with the interdicted weed could do so only in the most private manner. The language of the law is, “Nor shall any take tobacco in any wine or common victual house, except in a private room there, so as the master of said house nor any guest there shall take offence thereat; which, if any do, then such person shall forbear upon pain of two shillings sixpence for every such offence.”

It is found on record that two innocent Dutchmen, who went on a visit to Harvard College,—when that venerable institution was much younger than it is to-day,—were so nearly choked with the fumes of tobacco-smoke, on first going in, that one said to the other, “This is certainly a tavern.”

It is also curious to note that, in spite of the steady growth of the smoking habit among all classes of people, public opinion continued to uphold the laws directed to[Pg 16] its suppression, though, from our stand-point of to-day, these do seem uncommonly severe. And this state of things existed down to so late a day that men are now living who have been asked to plead “guilty or not guilty,” at the bar of a police court, for smoking in the streets of Boston. A dawning sense of the ridiculous, it is presumed, led at last to the discontinuance of arrests for this cause; but for some time longer officers were in the habit of inviting detected smokers to show respect for the memory of a defunct statute of the Commonwealth, by throwing their cigars into the gutter.

Turning to practical considerations, we shall find the tavern holding an important relation to its locality. In the first place, it being so nearly coeval with the laying out of villages, the tavern quickly became the one known landmark for its particular neighborhood. For instance, in Boston alone, the names Seven Star Lane, Orange Tree Lane, Red Lion Lane, Black Horse Lane, Sun Court, Cross Street, Bull Lane, not to mention others that now have so outlandish a sound to sensitive ears, were all derived from taverns. We risk little in saying that a Bostonian in London would think the great metropolis strangely altered for the worse should he find such hallowed names as Charing Cross, Bishopsgate, or Temple Bar replaced by those of some wealthy Smith, Brown, or Robinson; yet he looks on, while the same sort of vandalism is constantly going on at home, with hardly a murmur of disapproval, so differently does the same thing look from different points of view.

[Pg 17]As further fixing the topographical character of taverns, it may be stated that in the old almanacs distances are always computed between the inns, instead of from town to town, as the practice now is.

Of course such topographical distinctions as we have pointed out began at a time when there were few public buildings; but the idea almost amounts to an instinct, because even now it is a common habit with every one to first direct the inquiring stranger to some prominent landmark. As such, tavern-signs were soon known and noted by all travellers.




Then again, tavern-titles are, in most cases, traced back to the old country. Love for the old home and its associations made the colonist like to take his mug of ale under the same sign that he had patronized when in England. It was a never-failing reminiscence to him. And innkeepers knew how to appeal to this feeling.[Pg 18] Hence the Red Lion and the Lamb, the St. George and the Green Dragon, the Black, White, and Red Horse, the Sun, Seven Stars, and Globe, were each and all so many reminiscences of Old London. In their way they denote the same sort of tie that is perpetuated by the Bostons, Portsmouths, Falmouths, and other names of English origin.




[Pg 19]




As early as 1638 there were at least two ordinaries, as taverns were then called, in Boston. That they were no ordinary taverns will at once occur to every one who considers the means then employed to secure sobriety and good order in them. For example, Josselyn says that when a stranger went into one for the purpose of refreshing the inner man, he presently found a constable at his elbow, who, it appeared, was there to see to it that the guest called for no more liquor than seemed good for him. If he did so, the beadle peremptorily countermanded the order, himself fixing the quantity to be drank; and from his decision there was no appeal.

Of these early ordinaries the earliest known to be licensed goes as far back as 1634, when Samuel Cole, comfit-maker, kept it. A kind of interest naturally goes with the spot of ground on which this the first house of public entertainment in the New England metropolis stood. On this point all the early authorities seem to have been at fault. Misled by the meagre[Pg 20] record in the Book of Possessions, the zealous antiquaries of former years had always located Cole’s Inn in what is now Merchants’ Row. Since Thomas Lechford’s Note Book has been printed, the copy of a deed, dated in the year 1638, in which Cole conveys part of his dwelling, with brew-house, etc., has been brought to light. The estate noted here is the one situated next northerly from the well-known Old Corner Bookstore, on Washington Street. It would, therefore, appear, beyond reasonable doubt, that Cole’s Inn stood in what was already the high street of the town, nearly opposite Governor Winthrop’s, which gives greater point to my Lord Leigh’s refusal to accept Winthrop’s proffered hospitality when his lordship was sojourning under Cole’s roof-tree.

In his New England Tragedies, Mr. Longfellow introduces Cole, who is made to say,—

“But the ‘Three Mariners’ is an orderly,
Most orderly, quiet, and respectable house.”

Cole, certainly, could have had no other than a poet’s license for calling his house by this name, as it is never mentioned otherwise than as Cole’s Inn.

Another of these worthy landlords was William Hudson, who had leave to keep an ordinary in 1640. From his occupation of baker, he easily stepped into the congenial employment of innkeeper. Hudson was among the earliest settlers of Boston, and for many years is found most active in town affairs. His name is on the[Pg 21] list of those who were admitted freemen of the Colony, in May, 1631. As his son William also followed the same calling, the distinction of Senior and Junior becomes necessary when speaking of them.

Hudson’s house is said to have stood on the ground now occupied by the New England Bank, which, if true, would make this the most noted of tavern stands in all New England, or rather in all the colonies, as the same site afterward became known as the Bunch of Grapes. We shall have much occasion to notice it under that title. In Hudson’s time the appearance of things about this locality was very different from what is seen to-day. All the earlier topographical features have been obliterated. Then the tide flowed nearly up to the tavern door, so making the spot a landmark of the ancient shore line as the first settlers had found it. Even so simple a statement as this will serve to show us how difficult is the task of fixing, with approximate accuracy, residences or sites on the water front, going as far back as the original occupants of the soil.

Next in order of time comes the house called the King’s Arms. This celebrated inn stood at the head of the dock, in what is now Dock Square. Hugh Gunnison, victualler, kept a “cooke’s shop” in his dwelling there some time before 1642, as he was then allowed to sell beer. The next year he humbly prayed the court for leave “to draw the wyne which was spent in his house,” in the room of having his customers get it elsewhere, and then come into his place the worse for liquor,—a[Pg 22] proceeding which he justly thought unfair as well as unprofitable dealing. He asks this favor in order that “God be not dishonored nor his people grieved.”

We know that Gunnison was favored with the custom of the General Court, because we find that body voting to defray the expenses incurred for being entertained in his house “out of ye custom of wines or ye wampum of ye Narragansetts.”

Gunnison’s house presently took the not always popular name of the King’s Arms, which it seems to have kept until the general overturning of thrones in the Old Country moved the Puritan rulers to order the taking down of the King’s arms, and setting up of the State’s in their stead; for, until the restoration of the Stuarts, the tavern is the same, we think, known as the State’s Arms. It then loyally resumed its old insignia again. Such little incidents show us how taverns frequently denote the fluctuation of popular opinion.

As Gunnison’s bill of fare has not come down to us, we are at a loss to know just how the colonial fathers fared at his hospitable board; but so long as the ‘treat’ was had at the public expense we cannot doubt that the dinners were quite as good as the larder afforded, or that full justice was done to the contents of mine host’s cellar by those worthy legislators and lawgivers.

When Hugh Gunnison sold out the King’s Arms to Henry Shrimpton and others, in 1651, for £600 sterling, the rooms in his house all bore some distinguishing name or title. For instance, one chamber was called[Pg 23] the “Exchange.” We have sometimes wondered whether it was so named in consequence of its use by merchants of the town as a regular place of meeting. The chamber referred to was furnished with “one half-headed bedstead with blew pillars.” There was also a “Court Chamber,” which, doubtless, was the one assigned to the General Court when dining at Gunnison’s. Still other rooms went by such names as the “London” and “Star.” The hall contained three small rooms, or stalls, with a bar convenient to it. This room was for public use, but the apartments upstairs were for the “quality” alone, or for those who paid for the privilege of being private. All remember how, in “She Stoops to Conquer,” Miss Hardcastle is made to say: “Attend the Lion, there!—Pipes and tobacco for the Angel!—The Lamb has been outrageous this half hour!”

The Castle Tavern was another house of public resort, kept by William Hudson, Jr., at what is now the upper corner of Elm Street and Dock Square. Just at what time this noted tavern came into being is a matter extremely difficult to be determined; but, as we find a colonial order billeting soldiers in it in 1656, we conclude it to have been a public inn at that early day. At this time Hudson is styled lieutenant. If Whitman’s records of the Artillery Company be taken as correct, the younger Hudson had seen service in the wars. With “divers other of our best military men,” he had crossed the ocean to take service in the Parliamentary forces, in which he held the rank of ensign, returning home to[Pg 24] New England, after an absence of two years, to find his wife publicly accused of faithlessness to her marriage vows.

The presence of these old inns at the head of the town dock naturally points to that locality as the business centre, and it continued to hold that relation to the commerce of Boston until, by the building of wharves and piers, ships were enabled to come up to them for the purpose of unloading. Before that time their cargoes were landed in boats and lighters. Far back, in the beginning of things, when everything had to be transported by water to and from the neighboring settlements, this was naturally the busiest place in Boston. In time Dock Square became, as its name indicates, a sort of delta for the confluent lanes running down to the dock below it.

Here, for a time, was centred all the movement to and from the shipping, and, we may add, about all the commerce of the infant settlement. Naturally the vicinity was most convenient for exposing for sale all sorts of merchandise as it was landed, which fact soon led to the establishment of a corn market on one side of the dock and a fish market on the other side.

The Royal Exchange stood on the site of the Merchants’ Bank, in State Street. In this high-sounding name we find a sure sign that the town had outgrown its old traditions and was making progress toward more citified ways. As time wore on a town-house had been built in the market-place. Its ground floor was[Pg 25] purposely left open for the citizens to walk about, discuss the news, or bargain in. In the popular phrase, they were said to meet “on ’change,” and thereafter this place of meeting was known as the Exchange, which name the tavern and lane soon took to themselves as a natural right.


THE ROYAL EXCHANGE TAVERN (Merchants Bank site, State Street)
The tall white building, mail coach just leaving


A glance at the locality in question shows the choice to have been made with a shrewd eye to the future. For example: the house fronted upon the town market-place, where, on stated days, fairs or markets for the sale of country products were held. On one side the tavern was flanked by the well-trodden lane which led to the town dock. From daily chaffering in a small way, those who wished to buy or sell came to meet here regularly. It also became the place for popular gatherings,—on such occasions of ceremony as the publishing of proclamations, mustering of troops, or punishment of criminals,—all of which vindicates its title to be called the heart of the little commonwealth.

Indeed, on this spot the pulse of its daily life beat with ever-increasing vigor. Hither came the country people, with their donkeys and panniers. Here in the open air they set up their little booths to tempt the town’s folk with the display of fresh country butter, cheese and eggs, fruits or vegetables. Here came the citizen, with his basket on his arm, exchanging his stock of news or opinions as he bargained for his dinner, and so caught the drift of popular sentiment beyond his own chimney-corner.

[Pg 26]To loiter a little longer at the sign of the Royal Exchange, which, by all accounts, always drew the best custom of the town, we find that, as long ago as Luke Vardy’s time, it was a favorite resort of the Masonic fraternity, Vardy being a brother of the order. According to a poetic squib of the time,—

“’Twas he who oft dispelled their sadness,
And filled the breth’ren’s hearts with gladness.”

After the burning of the town-house, near by, in the winter of 1747, had turned the General Court out of doors, that body finished its sessions at Vardy’s; nor do we find any record of legislation touching Luke’s taproom on that occasion.

Vardy’s was the resort of the young bloods of the town, who spent their evenings in drinking, gaming, or recounting their love affairs. One July evening, in 1728, two young men belonging to the first families in the province quarreled over their cards or wine. A challenge passed. At that time the sword was the weapon of gentlemen. The parties repaired to a secluded part of the Common, stripped for the encounter, and fought it out by the light of the moon. After a few passes one of the combatants, named Woodbridge, received a mortal thrust; the survivor was hurried off by his friends on board a ship, which immediately set sail. This being the first duel ever fought in the town, it naturally made a great stir.


Noted Boston merchant and wit, died in England, 1780

By Joseph Green at a Masonic Meeting, 1749
“Where’s honest Luke,—that cook from London?
For without Luke the Lodge is undone;
’Twas he who oft dispelled their sadness.
And fill’d the Brethren’s heart with gladness.
For them his ample bowls o’erflow’d.
His table groan’d beneath its load;
For them he stretch’d his utmost art.—
Their honours grateful they impart.
Luke in return is made a brother,
As good and true as any other;
And still, though broke with age and wine,
Preserves the token and the sign.”
—“Entertainments for a Winter’s Evening.”

We cannot leave the neighborhood without at least[Pg 27] making mention of the Massacre of the 5th of March, 1770, which took place in front of the tavern. It was then a three-story brick house, the successor, it is believed, of the first building erected on the spot and destroyed in the great fire of 1711. On the opposite corner of the lane stood the Royal Custom House, where a sentry was walking his lonely round on that frosty night, little dreaming of the part he was to play in the coming tragedy. With the assault made by the mob on this sentinel, the fatal affray began which sealed the cause of the colonists with their blood. At this time the tavern enjoyed the patronage of the newly arrived British officers of the army and navy as well as of citizens or placemen, of the Tory party, so that its inmates must have witnessed, with peculiar feelings, every incident of that night of terror. Consequently the house with its sign is shown in Revere’s well-known picture of the massacre.

One more old hostelry in this vicinity merits a word from us. Though not going so far back or coming down to so late a date as some of the houses already mentioned, nevertheless it has ample claim not to be passed by in silence.

The Anchor, otherwise the “Blew Anchor,” stood on the ground now occupied by the Globe newspaper building. In early times it divided with the State’s Arms the patronage of the magistrates, who seem to have had a custom, perhaps not yet quite out of date, of adjourning to the ordinary over the way after[Pg 28] transacting the business which had brought them together. So we find that the commissioners of the United Colonies, and even the reverend clergy, when they were summoned to the colonial capital to attend a synod, were usually entertained here at the Anchor.

This fact presupposes a house having what we should now call the latest improvements, or at least possessing some advantages over its older rivals in the excellence of its table or cellarage. When Robert Turner kept it, his rooms were distinguished, after the manner of the old London inns, as the Cross Keys, Green Dragon, Anchor and Castle Chamber, Rose and Sun, Low Room, so making old associations bring in custom.

It was in 1686 that John Dunton, a London bookseller whom Pope lampoons in the “Dunciad,” came over to Boston to do a little business in the bookselling line. The vicinity of the town-house was then crowded with book-shops, all of which drove a thriving trade in printing and selling sermons, almanacs, or fugitive essays of a sort now quite unknown outside of a few eager collectors. The time was a critical one in New England, as she was feeling the tremor of the coming revolt which sent King James into exile; yet to read Dunton’s account of men and things as he thought he saw them, one would imagine him just dropped into Arcadia, rather than breathing the threatening atmosphere of a country that was tottering on the edge of revolution.

But it is to him, at any rate, that we are indebted for a portrait of the typical landlord,—one whom we[Pg 29] feel at once we should like to have known, and, having known, to cherish in our memory. With a flourish of his goose-quill Dunton introduces us to George Monk, landlord of the Anchor, who, somehow, reminds us of Chaucer’s Harry Bailly, and Ben Jonson’s Goodstock. And we more than suspect from what follows that Dunton had tasted the “Anchor” Madeira, not only once, but again.


JOHN DUNTON, Bookseller, 1659-1733


George Monk, mine host of the Anchor, Dunton tells us, was “a person so remarkable that, had I not been acquainted with him, it would be a hard matter to make any New England man believe that I had been in Boston; for there was no one house in all the town more noted, or where a man might meet with better accommodation. Besides he was a brisk and jolly man, whose conversation was coveted by all his guests as the life and spirit of the company.”

In this off-hand sketch we behold the traditional publican, now, alas! extinct. Gossip, newsmonger, banker, pawnbroker, expediter of men or effects, the intimate association so long existing between landlord and public under the old régime everywhere brought about a still closer one among the guild itself, so establishing a network of communication coextensive with all the great routes from Maine to Georgia.

Situated just “around the corner” from the council-chamber, the Anchor became, as we have seen, the favorite haunt of members of the government, and so acquired something of an official character and[Pg 30] standing. We have strong reason to believe that, under the mellowing influence of the punch-bowl, those antique men of iron mould and mien could now and then crack a grim jest or tell a story or possibly troll a love-ditty, with grave gusto. At any rate, we find Chief Justice Sewall jotting down in his “Diary” the familiar sentence, “The deputies treated and I treated.” And, to tell the truth, we would much prefer to think of the colonial fathers as possessing even some human frailties rather than as the statues now replacing their living forms and features in our streets.

But now and then we can imagine the noise of great merriment making the very windows of some of these old hostelries rattle again. We learn that the Greyhound was a respectable public house, situated in Roxbury, and of very early date too; for the venerable and saintly Eliot lived upon one side and his pious colleague, Samuel Danforth, on the other. Yet notwithstanding its being, as it were, hedged in between two such eminent pillars of the church, the godly Danforth bitterly complains of the provocation which frequenters of the tavern sometimes tried him withal, and naïvely informs us that, when from his study windows he saw any of the town dwellers loitering there he would go down and “chide them away.”

It is related in the memoirs of the celebrated Indian fighter, Captain Benjamin Church, that he and Captain Converse once found themselves in the neighborhood of a tavern at the South End of Boston. As old comrades[Pg 31] they wished to go in and take a parting glass together; but, on searching their pockets, Church could find only sixpence and Converse not a penny to bless himself with, so they were compelled to forego this pledge of friendship and part with thirsty lips. Going on to Roxbury, Church luckily found an old neighbor of his, who generously lent him money enough to get home with. He tells the anecdote in order to show to what straits the parsimony of the Massachusetts rulers had reduced him, their great captain, to whom the colony owed so much.

The Red Lion, in North Street, was one of the oldest public houses, if not the oldest, to be opened at the North End of the town. It stood close to the waterside, the adjoining wharf and the lane running down to it both belonging to the house and both taking its name. The old Red Lion Lane is now Richmond Street, and the wharf has been filled up, so making identification of the old sites difficult, to say the least. Nicholas Upshall, the stout-hearted Quaker, kept the Red Lion as early as 1654. At his death the land on which tavern and brewhouse stood went to his children. When the persecution of his sect began in earnest, Upshall was thrown into Boston jail, for his outspoken condemnation of the authorities and their rigorous proceedings toward this people. He was first doomed to perpetual imprisonment. A long and grievous confinement at last broke Upshall’s health, if it did not, ultimately, prove the cause of his death.

[Pg 32]The Ship Tavern stood at the head of Clark’s Wharf, or on the southwest corner of North and Clark streets, according to present boundaries. It was an ancient brick building, dating as far back as 1650 at least. John Vyal kept it in 1663. When Clark’s Wharf was built it was the principal one of the town. Large ships came directly up to it, so making the tavern a most convenient resort for masters of vessels or their passengers, and associating it with the locality itself. King Charles’s commissioners lodged at Vyal’s house, when they undertook the task of bringing down the pride of the rulers of the colony a peg. One of them, Sir Robert Carr, pummeled a constable who attempted to arrest him in this house. He afterward refused to obey a summons to answer for the assault before the magistrates, loftily alleging His Majesty’s commission as superior to any local mandate whatever. He thus retaliated Governor Leverett’s affront to the commissioners in keeping his hat on his head when their authority to act was being read to the council. But Leverett was a man who had served under Cromwell, and had no love for the cavaliers or they for him. The commissioners sounded trumpets and made proclamations; but the colony kept on the even tenor of its way, in defiance of the royal mandate, equally regardless of the storm gathering about it, as of the magnitude of the conflict in which it was about to plunge, all unarmed and unprepared.



[Pg 33]




Such thoroughfares as King Street, just before the Revolution, were filled with horsemen, donkeys, oxen, and long-tailed trucks, with a sprinkling of one-horse chaises and coaches of the kind seen in Hogarth’s realistic pictures of London life. To these should be added the chimney-sweeps, wood-sawyers, market-women, soldiers, and sailors, who are now quite as much out of date as the vehicles themselves are. There being no sidewalks, the narrow footway was protected, here and there, sometimes by posts, sometimes by an old cannon set upright at the corners, so that the traveller dismounted from his horse or alighted from coach or chaise at the very threshold.

Next in the order of antiquity, as well as fame, to the taverns already named, comes the Bunch of Grapes in King, now State Street. The plain three-story stone building situated at the upper corner of Kilby Street stands where the once celebrated tavern did. Three gilded clusters of grapes dangled temptingly over the door before the eye of the passer-by. Apart from its[Pg 34] palate-tickling suggestions, a pleasant aroma of antiquity surrounds this symbol, so dear to all devotees of Bacchus from immemorial time. In Measure for Measure the clown says, “’Twas in the Bunch of Grapes, where indeed you have a delight to sit, have you not?” And Froth answers, “I have so, because it is an open room and good for winter.”




This house goes back to the year 1712, when Francis Holmes kept it, and perhaps further still, though we do not meet with it under this title before Holmes’s time. From that time, until after the Revolution, it appears to have always been open as a public inn, and, as such, is feelingly referred to by one old traveller as the best punch-house to be found in all Boston.

When the line came to be drawn between conditional loyalty, and loyalty at any rate, 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.[Pg 35] With military occupation and bayonet rule, still further intensifying public feeling, the line between Whig and Tory houses was drawn at the threshold. It was then kept by Marston. Cold welcome awaited the appearance of scarlet regimentals or a Tory phiz there; so gentlemen of that side of politics also formed cliques of their own at other houses, in which the talk and the toasts were more to their liking, and where they could abuse the Yankee rebels over their port to their heart’s content.

But, apart from political considerations, one or two incidents have given the Bunch of Grapes a kind of pre-eminence over all its contemporaries, and, therefore, ought not to be passed over when the house is mentioned.

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.

Again, upon the evacuation of Boston by the royal troops, this house became the centre for popular demonstrations. First, His Excellency, General Washington, was handsomely entertained there. Some months later, after hearing the Declaration read from the balcony of the Town-house, the populace, having thus made their appeal to the King of kings, proceeded to pull down from the public buildings the royal arms which had distinguished them, and, gathering them in a heap in front of the tavern, made a bonfire of them, little imagining,[Pg 36] we think, that the time would ever come when the act would be looked upon as vandalism on their part.

General Stark’s timely victory at Bennington was celebrated with all the more heartiness of enthusiasm in Boston because the people had been quaking with fear ever since the fall of Ticonderoga sent dismay throughout New England. The affair is accurately described in the following letter, written by a prominent actor, and going to show how such things were done in the times that not only tried men’s souls, but would seem also to have put their stomachs to a pretty severe test. The writer says:—

“In consequence of this news we kept it up in high taste. At sundown about one hundred of the first gentlemen of the town, with all the strangers then in Boston, met at the Bunch of Grapes, where good liquors and a side-table were provided. In the street were two brass field-pieces with a detachment of Colonel Craft’s regiment. In the balcony of the Town-house all the fifes and drums of my regiment were stationed. The ball opened with a discharge of thirteen cannon, and at every toast given three rounds were fired and a flight of rockets sent up. About nine o’clock two barrels of grog were brought out into the street for the people that had collected there. It was all conducted with the greatest propriety, and by ten o’clock every man was at his home.”

Shortly after this General Stark himself arrived in town and was right royally entertained here, at that time[Pg 37] presenting the trophies now adorning the Senate Chamber. On his return from France in 1780 Lafayette was also received at this house with all the honors, on account of having brought the news that France had at last cast her puissant sword into the trembling balance of our Revolutionary contest.

But the important event with which the Bunch of Grapes is associated is, not the reception of a long line of illustrious guests, but the organization, by a number of continental officers, of the Ohio Company, under which the settlement of that great State began in earnest, at Marietta. The leading spirit in this first concerted movement of New England toward the Great West was General Rufus Putnam, a cousin of the more distinguished officer of Revolutionary fame.

Taking this house as a sample of the best that the town could afford at the beginning of the century, we should probably find a company of about twenty persons assembled at dinner, who were privileged to indulge in as much familiar chat as they liked. No other formalities were observed than such as good breeding required. Two o’clock was the hour at which all the town dined. The guests were called together by the ringing of a bell in the street. They were served with salmon in season, veal, beef, mutton, fowl, ham, vegetables, and pudding, and each one had his pint of Madeira set before him. The carving was done at the table in the good old English way, each guest helping himself to what he liked best. Five shillings per day was the usual charge, which was[Pg 38] certainly not an exorbitant one. In half an hour after the cloth was removed the table was usually deserted.

The British Coffee-House was one of the first inns to take to itself the newly imported title. It stood on the site of the granite building numbered 66 State Street, and was, as its name implies, as emphatically the headquarters of the out-and-out loyalists as the Bunch of Grapes, over the way, was of the unconditional Whigs. A notable thing about it was the performance there in 1750, probably by amateurs, of Otway’s “Orphan,” an event which so outraged public sentiment as to cause the enactment of a law prohibiting the performance of stage plays under severe penalties.

Perhaps an even more notable occurrence was the formation in this house of the first association in Boston taking to itself the distinctive name of a Club. The Merchants’ Club, as it was called, met here as early as 1751. Its membership was not restricted to merchants, as might be inferred from its title, though they were possibly in a majority, but included crown officers, members of the bar, military and naval officers serving on the station, and gentlemen of high social rank of every shade of opinion. No others were eligible to membership.

Up to a certain time this club, undoubtedly, represented the best culture, the most brilliant wit, and most delightful companionship that could be brought together in all the colonies; but when the political sky grew dark the old harmony was at an end, and a division[Pg 39] became inevitable, the Whigs going over to the Bunch of Grapes, and thereafter taking to themselves the name of the Whig Club.[1]

Under date of 1771, John Adams notes down in his Diary this item: “Spent the evening at Cordis’s, in the front room towards the Long Wharf, where the Merchants’ Club has met these twenty years. It seems there is a schism in that church, a rent in that garment.” Cordis was then the landlord.[2]

Social and business meetings of the bar were also held at the Coffee-House, at one of which Josiah Quincy, Jr. was admitted. By and by the word “American” was substituted for “British” on the Coffee-House sign, and for some time it flourished under its new title of the American Coffee-House.

But before the clash of opinions had brought about[Pg 40] the secession just mentioned, the best room in this house held almost nightly assemblages of a group of patriotic men, who were actively consolidating all the elements of opposition into a single force. Not inaptly they might be called the Old Guard of the Revolution. The principals were Otis, Cushing, John Adams, Pitts, Dr. Warren, and Molyneux. Probably no minutes of their proceedings were kept, for the excellent reason that they verged upon, if they did not overstep, the treasonable.

His talents, position at the bar, no less than intimate knowledge of the questions which were then so profoundly agitating the public mind, naturally made Otis the leader in these conferences, in which the means for counteracting the aggressive measures then being put in force by the ministry formed the leading topic of discussion. His acute and logical mind, mastery of public law, intensity of purpose, together with the keen and biting satire which he knew so well how to call to his aid, procured for Otis the distinction of being the best-hated man on the Whig side of politics, because he was the one most feared. Whether in the House, the court-room, the taverns, or elsewhere, Otis led the van of resistance. In military phrase, his policy was the offensive-defensive. He was no respecter of ignorance in high places. Once when Governor Bernard sneeringly interrupted Otis to ask him who the authority was whom he was citing, the patriot coldly replied, “He is a very eminent jurist, and none the less so for being unknown to your Excellency.”

[Pg 41]It was in the Coffee-House that Otis, in attempting to pull a Tory nose, was set upon and so brutally beaten by a place-man named Robinson, and his friends, as to ultimately cause the loss of his reason and final withdrawal from public life. John Adams says he was “basely assaulted by a well-dressed banditti, with a commissioner of customs at their head.” What they had never been able to compass by fair argument, the Tories now succeeded in accomplishing by brute force, since Otis was forever disqualified from taking part in the struggle which he had all along foreseen was coming,—and which, indeed, he had done more to bring about than any single man in the colonies.

Connected with this affair is an anecdote which we think merits a place along with it. It is related by John Adams, who was an interested listener. William Molyneux had a petition before the legislature which did not succeed to his wishes, and for several evenings he had wearied the company with his complaints of services, losses, sacrifices, etc., always winding up with saying, “That a man who has behaved as I have should be treated as I am is intolerable,” with much more to the same effect. Otis had said nothing, but the whole club were disgusted and out of patience, when he rose from his seat with the remark, “Come, come, Will, quit this subject, and let us enjoy ourselves. I also have a list of grievances; will you hear it?” The club expected some fun, so all cried out, “Ay! ay! let us hear your list.”

[Pg 42]“Well, then, in the first place, I resigned the office of advocate-general, which I held from the crown, which produced me—how much do you think?”

“A great deal, no doubt,” said Molyneux.

“Shall we say two hundred sterling a year?”

“Ay, more, I believe,” said Molyneux.

“Well, let it be two hundred. That, for ten years, is two thousand. In the next place, I have been obliged to relinquish the greater part of my business at the bar. Will you set that at two hundred pounds more?”

“Oh, I believe it much more than that!” was the answer.

“Well, let it be two hundred. This, for ten years, makes two thousand. You allow, then, I have lost four thousand pounds sterling?”

“Ay, and more too,” said Molyneux. Otis went on: “In the next place, I have lost a hundred friends, among whom were men of the first rank, fortune, and power in the province. At what price will you estimate them?”

“D—n them!” said Molyneux, “at nothing. You are better off without them than with them.”

A loud laugh from the company greeted this sally.

“Be it so,” said Otis. “In the next place, I have made a thousand enemies, among whom are the government of the province and the nation. What do you think of this item?”

“That is as it may happen,” said Molyneux, reflectively.

[Pg 43]“In the next place, you know I love pleasure, but I have renounced pleasure for ten years. What is that worth?”

“No great matter: you have made politics your amusement.”

A hearty laugh.

“In the next place, I have ruined as fine health as nature ever gave to man.”

“That is melancholy indeed; there is nothing to be said on that point,” Molyneux replied.

“Once more,” continued Otis, holding down his head before Molyneux, “look upon this head!” (there was a deep, half-closed scar, in which a man might lay his finger)—“and, what is worse my friends think I have a monstrous crack in my skull.”

This made all the company look grave, and had the desired effect of making Molyneux who was really a good companion, heartily ashamed of his childish complaints.


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Another old inn of assured celebrity was the Cromwell’s Head, in School Street. This was a two-story wooden building of venerable appearance, conspicuously displaying over the footway a grim likeness of the Lord Protector, it is said much to the disgust of the ultra royalists, who, rather than pass underneath it, habitually took the other side of the way. Indeed, some of the hot-headed Tories were for serving Cromwell’s Head as that man of might had served their martyr king’s. So, when the town came under martial[Pg 44] law, mine host Brackett, whose family kept the house for half a century or more, had to take down his sign, and conceal it until such time as the “British hirelings” should have made their inglorious exit from the town.



After Braddock’s crushing defeat in the West, a young Virginian colonel, named George Washington, was sent by Governor Dinwiddie to confer with Governor Shirley, who was the great war governor of his day, as Andrew was of our own, with the difference that Shirley then had the general direction of military affairs, from the Ohio to the St. Lawrence, pretty much in his own hands. Colonel Washington took up his quarters at Brackett’s, little imagining, perhaps, that twenty years later he would enter Boston at the head of a victorious republican army, after having quartered his troops in Governor Shirley’s splendid mansion.

Major-General the Marquis Chastellux, of[Pg 45] Rochambeau’s auxiliary army, also lodged at the Cromwell’s Head when he was in Boston in 1782. He met there the renowned Paul Jones, whose excessive vanity led him to read to the company in the coffee-room some verses composed in his own honor, it is said, by Lady Craven.

From the tavern of the gentry we pass on to the tavern of the mechanics, and of the class which Abraham Lincoln has forever distinguished by the title of the common people.

Among such houses the Salutation, which stood at the junction of Salutation with North Street, is deserving of a conspicuous place. Its vicinity to the shipyards secured for it the custom of the sturdy North End shipwrights, caulkers, gravers, sparmakers, and the like,—a numerous body, who, while patriots to the backbone, were also quite clannish and independent in their feelings and views, and consequently had to be managed with due regard to their class prejudices, as in politics they always went in a body. Shrewd politicians, like Samuel Adams, understood this. Governor Phips owed his elevation to it. As a body, therefore, these mechanics were extremely formidable, whether at the polls or in carrying out the plans of their leaders. To their meetings the origin of the word caucus is usually referred, the word itself undoubtedly having come into familiar use as a short way of saying caulkers’ meetings.

The Salutation became the point of fusion between[Pg 46] leading Whig politicians and the shipwrights. More than sixty influential mechanics attended the first meeting, called in 1772, at which Dr. Warren drew up a code of by-laws. Some leading mechanic, however, was always chosen to be the moderator. The “caucus,” as it began to be called, continued to meet in this place until after the destruction of the tea, when, for greater secrecy, it became advisable to transfer the sittings to another place, and then the Green Dragon, in Union Street, was selected.

The Salutation had a sign of the sort that is said to tickle the popular fancy for what is quaint or humorous. It represented two citizens, with hands extended, bowing and scraping to each other in the most approved fashion. So the North-Enders nicknamed it “The Two Palaverers,” by which name it was most commonly known. This house, also, was a reminiscence of the Salutation in Newgate Street, London, which was the favorite haunt of Lamb and Coleridge.

The Green Dragon will probably outlive all its contemporaries in the popular estimation. In the first place a mural tablet, with a dragon sculptured in relief, has been set in the wall of the building that now stands upon some part of the old tavern site. It is the only one of the old inns to be so distinguished. Its sign was the fabled dragon, in hammered metal, projecting out above the door, and was probably the counterpart of the Green Dragon in Bishopsgate Street, London.




As a public house this one goes back to 1712, when[Pg 47] Richard Pullen kept it; and we also find it noticed, in 1715, as a place for entering horses to be run for a piece of plate of the value of twenty-five pounds. In passing, we may as well mention the fact that Revere Beach was the favorite race-ground of that day. The house was well situated for intercepting travel to and from the northern counties.




To resume the historical connection between the Salutation and Green Dragon, its worthy successor, it appears that Dr. Warren continued to be the commanding figure after the change of location; and, if he was not already the popular idol, he certainly came little short of it, for everything pointed to him as the coming leader whom the exigency should raise up. Samuel Adams was popular in a different way. He was cool, far-sighted, and persistent, but he certainly lacked the magnetic quality. Warren was much younger, far more impetuous and aggressive,—in short, he possessed all the more brilliant qualities for leadership which Adams lacked. Moreover, he was a fluent and effective speaker, of[Pg 48] graceful person, handsome, affable, with frank and winning manners, all of which added no little to his popularity. Adams inspired respect, Warren confidence. As Adams himself said, he belonged to the “cabinet,” while Warren’s whole make-up as clearly marked him for the field.

In all the local events preliminary to our revolutionary struggle, this Green Dragon section or junto constituted an active and positive force. It represented the muscle of the Revolution. Every member was sworn to secrecy, and of them all one only proved recreant to his oath.

These were the men who gave the alarm on the eve of the battle of Lexington, who spirited away cannon under General Gage’s nose, and who in so many instances gallantly fought in the ranks of the republican army. Wanting a man whom he could fully trust, Warren early singled out Paul Revere for the most important services. He found him as true as steel. A peculiar kind of friendship seems to have sprung up between the two, owing, perhaps, to the same daring spirit common to both. So when Warren sent word to Revere that he must instantly ride to Lexington or all would be lost, he knew that, if it lay in the power of man to do it, the thing would be done.

Besides the more noted of the tavern clubs there were numerous private coteries, some exclusively composed of politicians, others more resembling our modern debating societies than anything else. These clubs usually[Pg 49] met at the houses of the members themselves, so exerting a silent influence on the body politic. The non-importation agreement originated at a private club in 1773. But all were not on the patriot side. The crown had equally zealous supporters, who met and talked the situation over without any of the secrecy which prudence counselled the other side to use in regard to their proceedings. Some associations endeavored to hold the balance between the factions by standing neutral. They deprecated the encroachments of the mother-country, but favored passive obedience. Dryden has described them:

“Not Whigs nor Tories they, nor this nor that,
Nor birds nor beasts, but just a kind of bat,—
A twilight animal, true to neither cause,
With Tory wings but Whiggish teeth and claws.”

It should be mentioned that Gridley, the father of the Boston Bar, undertook, in 1765, to organize a law club, with the purpose of making head against Otis, Thatcher, and Auchmuty. John Adams and Fitch were Gridley’s best men. They met first at Ballard’s, and subsequently at each other’s chambers; their “sodality,” as they called it, being for professional study and advancement. Gridley, it appears, was a little jealous of his old pupil, Otis, who had beaten him in the famous argument on the Writs of Assistance. Mention is also made of a club of which Daniel Leonard (Massachusettensis), John Lowell, Elisha Hutchinson, Frank Dana,[Pg 50] and Josiah Quincy were members. Similar clubs also existed in most of the principal towns in New England.

The Sons of Liberty adopted the name given by Colonel Barré to the enemies of passive obedience in America. They met in the counting-room of Chase and Speakman’s distillery, near Liberty Tree.[3] Mackintosh, the man who led the mob in the Stamp Act riots, is doubtless the same person who assisted in throwing the tea overboard. We hear no more of him after this. The “Sons” were an eminently democratic organization, as few except mechanics were members. Among them were men like Avery, Crafts, and Edes the printer. All attained more or less prominence. Edes continued to print the Boston Gazette long after the Revolution. During Bernard’s administration he was offered the whole of the government printing, if he would stop his opposition to the measures of the crown. He refused the bribe, and his paper was the only one printed in America without a stamp, in direct violation of an Act of Parliament. The “Sons” pursued their measures with such vigor as to create much alarm among the loyalists, on whom the Stamp Act riots had made a lasting impression. Samuel Adams is thought to have influenced their proceedings more than any other of the leaders. It was by no means a league of ascetics, who had resolved to mortify the flesh, as punch and tobacco were liberally used to stimulate the deliberations.




[Pg 51]No important political association outlived the beginning of hostilities. All the leaders were engaged in the military or civil service on one or the other side. Of the circle that met at the Merchants’ three were members of the Philadelphia Congress of 1774, one was president of the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts, the career of two was closed by death, and that of Otis by insanity.




[Pg 52]




Another tavern sign, though of later date, was that of the Good Woman, at the North End. This Good Woman was painted without a head.


The Good Woman


Still another board had painted on it a bird, a tree, a ship, and a foaming can, with the legend,—

“This is the bird that never flew,
This is the tree which never grew,
This is the ship which never sails,
This is the can which never fails.”

[Pg 53]The Dog and Pot, Turk’s Head, Tun and Bacchus, were also old and favorite emblems. Some of the houses which swung these signs were very quaint specimens of our early architecture. So, also, the signs themselves were not unfrequently the work of good artists. Smibert or Copley may have painted some of them. West once offered five hundred dollars for a red lion he had painted for a tavern sign.




Not a few boards displayed a good deal of ingenuity and mother-wit, which was not without its effect, especially upon thirsty Jack, who could hardly be expected to resist such an appeal as this one of the Ship in Distress:

“With sorrows I am compass’d round;
Pray lend a hand, my ship’s aground.”

We hear of another signboard hanging out at the extreme South End of the town, on which was depicted a globe with a man breaking through the crust, like a[Pg 54] chicken from its shell. The man’s nakedness was supposed to betoken extreme poverty.

So much for the sign itself. The story goes that early one morning a continental regiment was halted in front of the tavern, after having just made a forced march from Providence. The men were broken down with fatigue, bespattered with mud, famishing from hunger. One of these veterans doubtless echoed the sentiments of all the rest when he shouted out to the man on the sign, “’List, darn ye! ’List, and you’ll get through this world fast enough!”




In time of war the taverns were favorite recruiting rendezvous. Those at the waterside were conveniently situated for picking up men from among the idlers who frequented the tap-rooms. Under date of 1745, when we were at war with France, bills were posted in the town giving notice to all concerned that, “All gentlemen sailors and others, who are minded to go on a cruise off of[Pg 55] Cape Breton, on board the brigantine Hawk, Captain Philip Bass commander, mounting fourteen carriage, and twenty swivel guns, going in consort with the brigantine Ranger, Captain Edward Fryer commander, of the like force, to intercept the East India, South Sea, and other ships bound to Cape Breton, let them repair to the Widow Gray’s at the Crown Tavern, at the head of Clark’s Wharf, to go with Captain Bass, or to the Vernon’s Head, Richard Smith’s, in King Street, to go in the Ranger.” “Gentlemen sailors” is a novel sea-term that must have tickled an old salt’s fancy amazingly.

The following notice, given at the same date in the most public manner, is now curious reading. “To be sold, a likely negro or mulatto boy, about eleven years of age.” This was in Boston.

The Revolution wrought swift and significant change in many of the old, favorite signboards. Though the idea remained the same, their symbolism was now put to a different use. Down came the king’s and up went the people’s arms. The crowns and sceptres, the lions and unicorns, furnished fuel for patriotic bonfires or were painted out forever. With them disappeared the last tokens of the monarchy. The crown was knocked into a cocked-hat, the sceptre fell at the unsheathing of the sword. The heads of Washington and Hancock, Putnam and Lee, Jones and Hopkins, now fired the martial heart instead of Vernon, Hawk, or Wolfe. Allegiance to old and cherished traditions was swept away as ruthlessly as if it were in truth but the[Pg 56] reflection of that loyalty which the colonists had now thrown off forever. They had accepted the maxim, that, when a subject draws his sword against his king, he should throw away the scabbard.

Such acts are not to be referred to the fickleness of popular favor which Horace Walpole has moralized upon, or which the poet satirizes in the lines,—

“Vernon, the Butcher Cumberland, Wolfe, Hawke,
Prince Ferdinand, Granby, Burgoyne, Keppell, Howe,
Evil and good have had their tithe of talk,
And filled their sign-post then like Wellesly now.”

Rather should we credit it to that genuine and impassioned outburst of patriotic feeling which, having turned royalty out of doors, indignantly tossed its worthless trappings into the street after it.

Not a single specimen of the old-time hostelries now remains in Boston. All is changed. The demon demolition is everywhere. Does not this very want of permanence suggest, with much force, the need of perpetuating a noted house or site by some appropriate memorial? It is true that a beginning has been made in this direction, but much more remains to be done. In this way, a great deal of curious and valuable information may be picked up in the streets, as all who run may read. It has been noticed that very few pass by such memorials without stopping to read the inscriptions. Certainly, no more popular method of teaching history could well be devised. This being done, on a liberal scale, the[Pg 57] city would still hold its antique flavor through the records everywhere displayed on the walls of its buildings, and we should have a home application of the couplet:

“Oh, but a wit can study in the streets,
And raise his mind above the mob he meets.”


[Pg 58]



[Pg 59]




[Pg 60]



[Pg 61]




The Anchor, or Blue Anchor. Robert Turner, vintner, came into possession of the estate (Richard Fairbanks’s) in 1652, died in 1664, and was succeeded in the business by his son John, who continued it till his own death in 1681; Turner’s widow married George Monck, or Monk, who kept the Anchor until his decease in 1698; his widow carried on the business till 1703, when the estate probably ceased to be a tavern. The house was destroyed in the great fire of 1711. The old and new Globe buildings stand on the site. [See communication of William R. Bagnall in Boston Daily Globe of April 2, 1885.] Committees of the General Court used to meet here. (Hutchinson Coll., 345, 347.)

Admiral Vernon, or Vernon’s Head, corner of State Street and Merchants’ Row. In 1743, Peter Faneuil’s warehouse was opposite. Richard Smith kept it in 1745, Mary Bean in 1775; its sign was a portrait of the admiral.

American Coffee-House. See British Coffee-House.

Black Horse, in Prince Street, formerly Black Horse Lane, so named from the tavern as early as 1698.

Brazen-Head. In Old Cornhill. Though not a tavern, memorable as the place where the Great Fire of 1760 originated.

Bull, lower end of Summer Street, north side; demolished 1833 to make room “for the new street from Sea to[Pg 62] Broad,” formerly Flounder Lane, now Atlantic Avenue. It was then a very old building. Bull’s Wharf and Lane named for it.

British Coffee-House, mentioned in 1762. John Ballard kept it. Cord Cordis, in 1771.

Bunch of Grapes. Kept by Francis Holmes, 1712; William Coffin, 1731-33; Edward Lutwych, 1733; Joshua Barker, 1749; William Wetherhead, 1750; Rebecca Coffin, 1760; Joseph Ingersoll, 1764-72. [In 1768 Ingersoll also had a wine-cellar next door.] Captain John Marston was landlord 1775-78; William Foster, 1782; Colonel Dudley Colman, 1783; James Vila, 1789, in which year he removed to Concert Hall; Thomas Lobdell, 1789. Trinity Church was organized in this house. It was often described as being at the head of Long Wharf.

Castle Tavern, afterward the George Tavern. Northeast by Wing’s Lane (Elm Street), front or southeast by Dock Square. For an account of Hudson’s marital troubles, see Winthrop’s New England, II. 249. Another house of the same name is mentioned in 1675 and 1693. A still earlier name was the “Blew Bell,” 1673. It was in Mackerel Lane (Kilby Street), corner of Liberty Square.

Cole’s Inn. See the referred-to deed in Proc. Am. Ant. Soc., VII. p. 51. For the episode of Lord Leigh consult Old Landmarks of Boston, p. 109.

Cromwell’s Head, by Anthony Brackett, 1760; by his widow, 1764-68; later by Joshua Brackett. A two-story wooden house advertised to be sold, 1802.

Crown Coffee-House. First house on Long Wharf. Thomas Selby kept it 1718-24; Widow Anna Swords, 1749; then the property of Governor Belcher; Belcher sold to Richard Smith, innholder, who in 1751 sold to Robert Sherlock.

Crown Tavern. Widow Day’s, head of Clark’s Wharf; rendezvous for privateersmen in 1745.


THE CROWN COFFEE HOUSE (Site of Fidelity Trust Building)


[Pg 63]Cross Tavern, corner of Cross and Ann Streets, 1732; Samuel Mattocks advertises, 1729, two young bears “very tame” for sale at the Sign of the Cross. Cross Street takes its name from the tavern. Perhaps the same as the Red Cross, in Ann Street, mentioned in 1746, and then kept by John Osborn. Men who had enlisted for the Canada expedition were ordered to report there.

Dog and Pot, at the head of Bartlett’s Wharf in Ann (North) Street, or, as then described, Fish Street. Bartlett’s Wharf was in 1722 next northeast of Lee’s shipyard.

Concert Hall was not at first a public house, but was built for, and mostly used as, a place for giving musical entertainments, balls, parties, etc., though refreshments were probably served in it by the lessee. A “concert of musick” was advertised to be given there as early as 1755. (See Landmarks of Boston.) Thomas Turner had a dancing and fencing academy there in 1776. As has been mentioned, James Vila took charge of Concert Hall in 1789. The old hall, which formed the second story, was high enough to be divided into two stories when the building was altered by later owners. It was of brick, and had two ornamental scrolls on the front, which were removed when the alterations were made.

Great Britain Coffee-House, Ann Street, 1715. The house of Mr. Daniel Stevens, Ann Street, near the drawbridge. There was another house of the same name in Queen (Court) Street, near the Exchange, in 1713, where “superfine bohea, and green tea, chocolate, coffee-powder, etc.,” were advertised.

George, or St. George, Tavern, on the Neck, near Roxbury line. (See Landmarks of Boston.) Noted as early as 1721. Simon Rogers kept it 1730-34. In 1769 Edward Bardin took it and changed the name to the King’s Arms. Thomas Brackett was landlord in 1770.[Pg 64] Samuel Mears, later. During the siege of 1775 the tavern was burnt by the British, as it covered our advanced line. It was known at that time by its old name of the George.

Golden Ball. Loring’s Tavern, Merchants’ Row, corner of Corn Court, 1777. Kept by Mrs. Loring in 1789.

General Wolfe, Town Dock, north side of Faneuil Hall, 1768. Elizabeth Coleman offers for sale utensils of Brew-House, etc., 1773.

Green Dragon, also Freemason’s Arms. By Richard Pullin, 1712; by Mr. Pattoun, 1715; Joseph Kilder, 1734, who came from the Three Cranes, Charlestown. John Cary was licensed to keep it in 1769; Benjamin Burdick, 1771, when it became the place of meeting of the Revolutionary Club. St. Andrews Lodge of Freemasons bought the building before the Revolution, and continued to own it for more than a century. See p. 46.

Hancock House, Corn Court; sign has Governor Hancock’s portrait,—a wretched daub; said to have been the house in which Louis Philippe lodged during his short stay in Boston.

Hat and Helmet, by Daniel Jones; less than a quarter of a mile south of the Town-House.

Indian Queen, Blue Bell, and —— stood on the site of the Parker Block, Washington Street, formerly Marlborough Street. Nathaniel Bishop kept it in 1673. After stages begun running into the country, this house, then kept by Zadock Pomeroy, was a regular starting-place for the Concord, Groton, and Leominster stages. It was succeeded by the Washington Coffee-House. The Indian Queen, in Bromfield Street, was another noted stage-house, though not of so early date. Isaac Trask, Nabby, his widow, Simeon Boyden, and Preston Shepard kept it. The Bromfield House succeeded it, on the Methodist Book Concern site.



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Julien’s Restorator, corner of Congress and Milk streets. One of the most ancient buildings in Boston, when taken down in 1824, it having escaped the great fire of 1759. It stood in a grass-plot, fenced in from the street. It was a private dwelling until 1794. Then Jean Baptiste Julien opened in it the first public eating-house to be established in Boston, with the distinctive title of “Restorator,”—a crude attempt to turn the French word restaurant into English. Before this time such places had always been called cook-shops. Julien was a Frenchman, who, like many of his countrymen, took refuge in America during the Reign of Terror. His soups soon became famous among the gourmands of the town, while the novelty of his cuisine attracted custom. He was familiarly nicknamed the “Prince of Soups.” At Julien’s[Pg 66] death, in 1805, his widow succeeded him in the business, she carrying it on successfully for ten years. The following lines were addressed to her successor, Frederick Rouillard:

I knew by the glow that so rosily shone
Upon Frederick’s cheeks, that he lived on good cheer;
And I said, “If there’s steaks to be had in the town,
The man who loves venison should look for them here.”

’Twas two; and the dinners were smoking around,
The cits hastened home at the savory smell,
And so still was the street that I heard not a sound
But the barkeeper ringing the Coffee-House bell.

“And here in the cosy Old Club,”[4] I exclaimed,
“With a steak that was tender, and Frederick’s best wine,
While under my platter a spirit-blaze flamed,
How long could I sit, and how well could I dine!

“By the side of my venison a tumbler of beer
Or a bottle of sherry how pleasant to see,
And to know that I dined on the best of the deer,
That never was dearer to any than me!”

King’s Head, by Scarlet’s Wharf (northwest corner Fleet and North streets); burnt 1691, and rebuilt. Fleet Street was formerly Scarlet’s Wharf Lane. Kept by James Davenport, 1755, and probably, also, by his widow. “A maiden dwarf, fifty-two years old,” and only twenty-two inches high, was “to be seen at Widow Bignall’s,” next door to the King’s Head, in August, 1771. The old King’s Head, in Chancery Lane, London, was the[Pg 67] rendezvous of Titus Oates’ party. Cowley the poet was born in it.

Lamb. The sign is mentioned as early as 1746. Colonel Doty kept it in 1760. The first stage-coach to Providence put up at this house. The Adams House is on the same site, named for Laban Adams, who had kept the Lamb.

Lion, formerly Grand Turk. In Newbury, now Washington, Street. (See Landmarks of Boston.) Kept by Israel Hatch in 1789.

Light-House and Anchor, at the North End, in 1763. Robert Whatley then kept it. A Light-house tavern is noted in King Street, opposite the Town-House, 1718.

Orange Tree, head of Hanover Street, 1708. Jonathan Wardwell kept it in 1712; Mrs. Wardwell in 1724; still a tavern in 1785. Wardwell set up here the first hackney-coach stand in Boston.

Philadelphia, or North End Coffee-House, opposite the head of Hancock’s Wharf. Kept by David Porter, father of the old Commodore and grandfather of the present Admiral. “Lodges, clubs, societies, etc., may be provided with dinners and suppers,—small and retired rooms for small company,—oyster suppers in the nicest manner.” Formerly kept by Bennet. Occupied, 1789, by Robert Wyre, distiller.

Punch Bowl, Dock Square, kept by Mrs. Baker, 1789.

Queen’s Head. In 1732 Joshua Pierce, innholder, is allowed to remove his license from the sign of the Logwood Tree, in Lynn Street, to the Queen’s Head, near Scarlet’s Wharf, where Anthony Young last dwelt.

Roebuck, north side of Town Dock (North Market Street). A house of bad repute, in which Henry Phillips killed Gaspard Dennegri, and was hanged for it in 1817. Roebuck passage, the alley-way through to Ann Street,[Pg 68] took its name from the tavern. It is now included in the extension northward of Merchants’ Row.

Rose and Crown, near the fortification at Boston Neck. To be let January 25, 1728: “enquire of Gillam Phillips.” This may be the house represented on Bonner’s map of 1722.

Red Lion, North Street, corner of Richmond. Noticed as early as 1654 and as late as 1766. John Buchanan, baker, kept near it in 1712.

Royal Exchange, State Street, corner Exchange. An antique two-story brick building. Noticed under this name, 1711, then kept by Benjamin Johns; in 1727, and also, in 1747, by Luke Vardy. Stone kept it in 1768. Mrs. Mary Clapham boarded many British officers, and had several pretty daughters, one of whom eloped with an officer. The site of the Boston Massacre has been marked by a bronze tablet placed on the wall of the Merchants’ Bank, opposite a wheel-line arrangement of the paving, denoting where the first blood of the Revolution was shed. It was the custom to exhibit transparencies on every anniversary of the Massacre from the front of this house. The first stage-coach ever run on the road from Boston to New York was started September 7, 1772, by Nicholas Brown, from this house, “to go once in every fourteen days.” Israel Hatch kept it in 1800, as a regular stopping-place for the Providence stages, of which he was proprietor; but upon the completion of the turnpike he removed to Attleborough.

Salutation, North Street, corner Salutation. See p. 45. Noticed in 1708; Samuel Green kept it in 1731; William Campbell, who died suddenly in a fit, January 18, 1773.

Seven Stars, in Summer Street, gave the name of Seven Star Lane to that street. Said to have stood on part of the old Trinity Church lot. “Near the Haymarket” 1771, then kept by Jonathan Patten.


THE SUN TAVERN (Dock Square)


[Pg 69]Shakespeare, Water Street, second house below Devonshire; kept by Mrs. Baker.

Ship, corner Clark and North streets; kept by John Vyall, 1666-67; frequently called Noah’s Ark.

Ship in Distress, vicinity of North Square.

Star, in Hanover Street, corner Link Alley, 1704. Link Alley was the name given to that part of Union Street west of Hanover. Stephen North kept it in 1712-14. It belonged to Lieutenant-Governor Stoughton.

State’s Arms, also King’s Arms. Colonel Henry Shrimpton bequeathed it to his daughter Sarah, 1666. Hugh Gunnison sold it to Shrimpton in 1651, the tavern being then the King’s Arms.

Sun. This seems to have been a favorite emblem, as there were several houses of the name. The Sun in Batterymarch Street was the residence of Benjamin Hallowell, a loyalist, before it became a tavern. The estate was confiscated. General Henry Dearborn occupied it at one time. The sign bore a gilded sun, with rays, with this inscription:

“The best Ale and Porter
Under the Sun.”

Upon the conversion of the inn into a store the sign of the sun was transferred to a house in Moon Street. The Sun in Dock Square, corner of Corn Court, was earlier, going back to 1724, kept by Samuel Mears, who was “lately deceased” in 1727. It was finally turned into a grocery store, kept first by George Murdock, and then by his successor, Wellington. A third house of this name was in Cornhill (Washington Street), in 1755. Captain James Day kept it. There was still another Sun, near Boston Stone, kept by Joseph Jackson in 1785.

[Pg 70]Swan, in Fish, now North Street, “by Scarlett’s Wharf,” 1708. There was another at the South End, “nearly opposite Arnold Welles’,” in 1784.

Three Horse-Shoes, “in the street leading up to the Common,” probably Tremont Street. Kept by Mrs. Glover, who died about 1744. William Clears kept it in 1775.

White Horse, a few rods south of the Lamb. It had a white horse painted on the signboard. Kept by Joseph Morton, 1760, who was still landlord in 1772. Israel Hatch, the ubiquitous, took it in 1787, on his arrival from Attleborough. His announcement is unique. (See Landmarks of Boston, pp. 392, 393.)




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Samuel Cole came to Boston in the fleet with Governor Winthrop, and he with his wife Ann were the fortieth and forty-first on the list of original members of the First Church. He requested to become a freeman October 19, 1630, and was sworn May 18, 1631. He was the ninth to sign the roll of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company in 1637 and in the same year was disarmed for his religious views. In 1636 he contributed to the maintenance of a free school and in 1656 to the building of the town house. In 1652 he was one of those chosen to receive monies for Harvard College. In 1634 he opened the first ordinary, or inn. It was situated on Washington Street, nearly opposite the head of Water Street. Here, in 1636, Sir Henry Vane, the governor, entertained Miantonomo and two of Canonicus’s sons, with other chiefs. While the four sachems dined at the Governor’s house, which stood near the entrance to Pemberton Square, the chiefs, some twenty in all, dined at Cole’s Inn. At this time a treaty of peace was concluded here between the English and the Narragansetts.

[Pg 74]In 1637, in the month of June, there sailed into Boston Harbor the ship Hector, from London, with the Rev. John Davenport and two London merchants, Theophilus Eaton and Edward Hopkins, his son-in-law, two future governors of Connecticut. On the same vessel was a young man, a ward of King Charles I., James, Lord Ley, a son of the Earl of Marlborough (who had just died). He was also to hold high positions in the future and attain fame as a mathematician and navigator.

The Earl of Marlborough, while in Boston, was at Cole’s Inn, and while he was here was of sober carriage and observant of the country which he came to view. He consorted frequently with Sir Henry Vane, visiting with him Maverick, at Noddle’s Island, and returning to England with Vane in August, 1637.

His estate in England was a small one in Teffont Evias, or Ewyas, Wilts, near Hinton Station, and in the church there may still be seen the tombs of the Leys. He also had a reversion to lands in Heywood, Wilts.

In 1649 he compounded with Parliament for his lands and giving bond was allowed to depart from England to the plantations in America.

On the restoration of Charles II. in 1661, the Earl returned to England and in the next year was assisted by the King to fit out an expedition to the West Indies. In 1665 he commanded “that huge ship,” the Old James, and in the great victorious sea fight of June 3 with the Dutch was slain, with Rear Admiral Sansum, Lords Portland, Muskerry, and others.

[Pg 75]He died without issue and the title went to his uncle, in whom the title became extinct, to be revived later in the more celebrated Duke, of the Churchill family.

It was shortly after the Earl’s departure that Cole was disarmed for his sympathy for his neighbor on the south, Mrs. Ann Hutchinson, and he was also fined at the same time for disorders at his house. In the following spring he was given permission to sell his house, to which he had just built an addition, and he disposed of it to Capt. Robert Sedgwick in February, 1638.

Cole then removed to a house erroneously noted by some as the first inn, situated next his son-in-law, Edmund Grosse, near the shore on North Street. This he sold in 1645 to George Halsall and bought other land of Valentine Hill.





[Pg 76]



Predecessor of the Green Dragon.

Thomas Hawkins, biscuit baker, and a brother of James Hawkins, bricklayer, was born in England in 1608. He was a proprietor in Boston in 1636; his wife Hannah was admitted to the church there in 1641, and that year his son Abraham, born in 1637, was baptized. His home lot was on the west side of Washington Street, the second north of Court Street. He also had one quarter of an acre near the Mill Cove, and a house bought in 1645 from John Trotman.

In 1662 James Johnson, glover, sold three quarters of an acre of marsh and upland, bounded on the north and east by the Mill Cove, to Hawkins. The latter was living by the Mill Cove by this time in a house built in 1649, and beside keeping his bake house he kept a cook shop, and also entertained with refreshments his customers by serving beer. A mortgage of the property, in 1663, to Simon Lynde discloses, besides the dwelling and bake house, a stable, brew house, outhouses, and three garden plots on the upland. In 1667 Hawkins was furnished £200 by the Rev. Thomas Thacher to cancel this mortgage. The property extended from the Mill Pond to Hanover Street, and was[Pg 77] bounded north by Union Street, and was 280 feet by 104 feet—about two thirds of an acre in area.

Thacher had married Margaret, widow of Jacob Sheafe and daughter of Henry Webb, a wealthy merchant. Mrs. Sheafe had a daughter, Mehitabel, who married her cousin, Sampson Sheafe. Mr. Thacher assigned the mortgage to Sampson Sheafe, and on 31 October, 1670, the time of payment having expired, Sheafe obtained judgment for possession of the property, which had become known as the “Bakers’ Arms,” which Hawkins had kept since 1665 as a house of entertainment.

Hawkins had married a second wife, and in January, 1671, Rebecca Hawkins deeded her rights in the property to Sheafe. 15 May, 1672, Hawkins petitioned the General Court, and complained that he had been turned out of doors and his household property seized by Sheafe; that his houses and land were worth £800, and that Sheafe had only advanced £175. He asked for an appraisement, and the prayer of the petitioner was allowed.

In 1673 Hawkins sued Sheafe in the County Court for selling some brewing utensils, a pump, sign, ladder, cooler and mash fat (wooden vessel containing eight bushels) taken from the brew house. He also objected to items in Sheafe’s account against him, such as “Goodman Drury’s shingling the house and Goodman Cooper whitening it.” At this time we find two dwelling houses on the lot. The easterly house Sheafe sold in May, 1673, to John Howlet, and this became known as the Star Tavern.

[Pg 78]On 10 April, 1673, Sampson Sheafe sold to William Stoughton the west portion of the Hawkins property.

In 1678 Mrs. Hawkins petitioned the General Court in the matter, and also the town to sell wine and strong water, on account of the weak condition of her husband and his necessity. 11 June, 1680, the General Court allowed her eleven pounds in clear of all claims and incumbrances. Hawkins having died, she had married, 4 June, 1680, John Stebbins, a baker. Stebbins died 4 December, 1681, aged 70, and the widow Rebecca Stebbins was licensed as an innkeeper in 1690.

In 1699 the widow Stebbins, then 77 years old, testified as to her husband Thomas Hawkins having the south-east corner or sea end of half a warehouse at the Draw Bridge foot, which he purchased from Joshua Scotto and which Hawkins sold in 1657 to Edward Tyng. That Hawkins had used it for the landing and housing of corn for his trade as a baker. That he had bought the sea end for the convenience of vessels to land. It is probable the portion sold to Stoughton had but a frontage of two hundred and four feet on Union Street. Sheafe had torn down part of the building and made repairs, and had as tenant of the “Bakers’ Arms” Nicholas Wilmot. Wilmot came to Boston about 1650. In 1674 he was allowed by the town to sell beer and give entertainment, and in 1682 he was licensed as an innholder.

By his wife Mary he had Elizabeth, who married (1) Caleb Rawlins, an innkeeper, who died in 1693, and (2) Richard Newland; Abigail, who married Abraham Adams, an innkeeper; Hannah, who married[Pg 79] Nathaniel Adams of Charlestown, blockmaker; Mary, who married John Alger; and Ann, the youngest, who married Joseph Allen. There were also two sons, Samuel and John Wilmot. Nicholas Wilmot died in 1684, and his widow in a very short time married Abraham Smith, to assist in carrying on the tavern.

The tavern, even at this time, was of some size, and additions had perhaps been built by Stoughton. The rooms were designated by names, as in the taverns of Old England. In the chamber called the “Cross Keys” met the Scots Charitable Society, a benefit society for the residents of Scottish birth and sojourners from Scotland, two of the officers keeping each a key of the money box. The most noted of the chambers was that of the “Green Dragon,” which at about this time gave the name of “Green Dragon” to the tavern. There were also the “Anchor,” the “Castle,” the “Sun,” and the “Rose” chambers, which were also the names of other taverns in the town at that period. One cold December night in 1690, just after midnight, a fire occurred in the “Green Dragon,” and it was burnt to the ground and very little of its contents saved. Snow on the houses in the vicinity was the means of preventing the spread of the flames, with the fact that there was no wind at the time. Within a year or two the tavern was rebuilt by Stoughton and again occupied by Abraham Smith, who died in 1696, leaving an estate of £273: 19: 5. His widow, Mary Smith, died shortly after her husband. In her will she freed her negro women Sue and Maria, and the deeds of manumission are recorded in the Suffolk Deeds.



[Pg 80]



In the manuscript collections of the Bostonian Society is a plan showing the earliest owners of the land bordering on the Corn Market. On the site now the south corner of Faneuil Hall Square and Merchants’ Row is noted the possession of Edward Tyng. Another manuscript of the Society, equally unique, is an apprentice indenture of Robert Orchard in 1662. In the account of Orchard, printed in the Publications of the Society, Vol. IV, is given the continued history of Tyng’s land after it came into the possession of Theodore Atkinson. In the history of the sign of the Golden Ball Tavern we continue the story of the same plot of land.

Originally owned by Edward Tyng, and later by Theodore Atkinson, and then by the purchase of the property by Henry Deering, who married the widow of Atkinson’s son Theodore. All this was told in the Orchard article.

It was about 1700 that Henry Deering erected on his land on the north side of a passage leading from Merchants’ Row, on its west side, a building which was soon occupied as a tavern. Samuel Tyley, who had kept the Star in 1699, the Green Dragon in 1701, and [Pg 81]later the Salutation at the North End, left this last tavern in 1711 to take Mr. Deering’s house in Merchants’ Row, the Golden Ball.


Now in the Masonic Temple


Now in the possession of the Bostonian Society


Henry Deering died in 1717, and was buried with his wife on the same day. He had been a man greatly interested in public affairs. In 1707 he had proposed the erection of a building for the custody of the town’s records; at the same time he proposed a wharf at the foot of the street, now State Street, then extending only as far as Merchants’ Row. This was soon built as “Boston Pier” or “Long Wharf.” He also presented a memorial for the “Preventing Disolation by Fire” in the town.

In the division of Deering’s estate in 1720 the dwelling house in the occupation of Samuel Tyley, known by the name of the Golden Ball, with privilege in the passage on the south and in the well, was given his daughter Mary, the wife of William Wilson. Mrs. Wilson, in her will drawn up in 1729, then a widow, devised the house to her namesake and niece, Mary, daughter of her brother, Capt. Henry Deering. At the time of Mrs. Wilson’s death in 1753 her niece was the wife of John Gooch, whom she married in 1736. Samuel Tyley died in 1722, while still the landlord of the Golden Ball.

The next landlord of whom we have knowledge was William Patten, who had taken the Green Dragon in 1714. In 1733 he was host at the Golden Ball, where he stayed till 1736, when he took the inn on West Street, opposite the schoolhouse, and next to the estate later known as the Washington Gardens.

[Pg 82]He was succeeded by Humphrey Scarlett, who died January 4, 1739-40, aged forty-six, and is buried on Copp’s Hill with his first wife Mehitable (Pierce) Scarlett. He married as a second wife Mary Wentworth. By the first wife he had a daughter Mary (b. 1719), who married Jedediah Lincoln, Jr., and by the second wife a son named Humphrey. When the son was a year old, in 1735, two negro servants of Scarlett, by name Yaw and Caesar, were indicted for attempting to poison the family one morning at breakfast, by putting ratsbane or arsenic in the chocolate. Four months after Scarlett’s death his widow married William Ireland.

Richard Gridley, born in Boston in 1710, was apprenticed to Theodore Atkinson, merchant, and later became a gauger. In 1735 he kept a tavern on Common Street, now Tremont Street. Here by order of the General Court he entertained four Indians, chiefs of the Pigwacket tribe, at an expense of £40 “for drinks, tobacco, victuals, and dressing.” Five pounds of this was for extra trouble. The Committee thought the charges extravagant and cut him down to £33 for their entertainment from June 28 to July 9. In 1738 he took the Golden Ball. His fame in later years, at Louisburg and elsewhere, as an engineer and artillery officer is well known.

Gridley was followed as landlord in 1740 by Increase Blake. He was born in Dorchester in 1699 and married Anne, daughter of Edward and Susanna (Harrison) Gray. Her parents are noted in Boston history for their ownership of the rope-walks at Fort Hill. Blake, a tinplate worker, held the office of sealer of[Pg 83] weights and measures, and in 1737 leased a shop of the town at the head of the Town Dock. He later lived near Battery March, and was burned out in the fire of 1760.

In 1715 there was born in Salem John Marston. He married in 1740 Hannah Welland, and by her had three daughters. In 1745, at the first siege of Louisburg, he was a first lieutenant in the fifth company, commanded by Capt. Charles King, in Colonel Jeremiah Moulton’s regiment. His wife having died, he married her sister, Mrs. Elizabeth (Welland) Blake. His second wife died, and he married in 1755 Elizabeth Greenwood. He was landlord at the Golden Ball as early as 1757. In 1760 he purchased a house on the southwest corner of Hanover and Cross streets, and later other property on Copp’s Hill. He is said to have been a member of the “Boston Tea Party.” During the Revolution he was known as “Captain” Marston, and attended to military matters in Boston, supplying muskets to the townspeople as a committeeman of the town. He continued to keep a house of entertainment and went to the Bunch of Grapes in 1775. There he was cautioned in 1778 for allowing gaming in his house, such as playing backgammon. He died in August, 1786, while keeping the Bunch of Grapes on King, now State Street, and there he was succeeded by his widow in retailing liquors. He left an estate valued at £2000.

Benjamin Loring, born in Hingham in 1736, married Sarah Smith in Boston in 1771. During the Revolution he kept the Golden Ball. He died in the spring of[Pg 84] 1782, and his widow succeeded him and kept the tavern till her death in 1790.

From the inventory of her estate it appears that the house consisted, on the ground floor, of a large front room and small front room, the bar and kitchen, and closets in the entry. A front and a back chamber, front upper chamber, and another upper chamber and garret completed the list of rooms. On the shelves of the bar rested large and small china bowls for punch, decanters for wine, tumblers, wine glasses, and case bottles. There also was found a small sieve and lemon squeezer, with a Bible, Psalm, and Prayer Books. On the wall of the front chamber hung an old Highland sword.

The cash on hand at the widow’s death consisted of 4 English shillings, 20 New England shillings, 10 English sixpences, a French crown, a piece of Spanish money, half a guinea, and bank notes to the value of £4: 10. In one of the chambers was 8483 Continental paper money, of no appraised value.

Benjamin Loring, at his death, left his share of one half a house in Hingham to be improved for his wife during her life, then to his sisters, Abigail and Elizabeth, and ultimately to go to Benjamin, the son of his brother Joseph Loring of Hingham. The younger Benjamin became a citizen of Boston, a captain of the “Ancients,” and a colonel in the militia. He started in business as a bookbinder and later was a stationer and a manufacturer of blank books, leaving quite a fortune at his death in 1859. His portrait is displayed in the Armory of the Artillery Company. A portrait[Pg 85] of the elder Loring (the landlord of the Golden Ball) shows him with a comely face and wearing a tie-wig.

The Columbian Centinel of December 3, 1794, had the following advertisement:

For sale, if applied for immediately, The Noted Tavern in the Street leading from the Market to State street known by the name of the Golden Ball. It has been improved as a tavern for a number of years, and is an excellent stand for a store. Inquire of Ebenezer Storer, in Sudbury Street.

Mr. Storer acted as the agent of Mary, wife of the Rev. Benjamin Gerrish Gray, of Windsor, N. S., who was the heiress of Mary Gooch, who resided at Marshfield, Mass., at the time of her death. Mr. Gray was a son of Joseph Gray of Boston and Halifax, N. S., a loyalist. Mary, the heiress, was a daughter of Nathaniel Ray Thomas, a loyalist of Marshfield, who had married Sally Deering, a sister of Mary Gooch of Marshfield.

The property was sold by Mrs. Gray, June 9, 1795, to James Tisdale, a merchant, who bought also adjoining lots. It was at this time that the Golden Ball disappeared from Merchants’ Row, where it had hung as a landmark for about a century. Tisdale soon sold his lots to Joseph Blake, a merchant, who erected warehouses on the site.

There was still an attraction in the Golden Ball, however, and in 1799 we find it swinging in Wing’s Lane, now Elm Street, for Nathan Winship. He was the son of Jonathan, and born in Cambridge. In 1790 he was living in Roxbury. He died in 1818, leaving a daughter Lucy. He had parted with the Golden Ball long before his death.

[Pg 86]In 1805 there was erected in South Boston a building by one Garrett Murphy. It stood on Fourth Street, between Dorchester Avenue and A Street, and here he displayed the Golden Ball for five years, as his hotel sign. Just a century ago, in 1810, for want of patronage, it became a private residence. About 1840 the hotel was reopened as the South Boston Hotel.

From South Boston the Golden Ball rolled back to Elm Street, and in 1811 hung at the entrance of Joseph Bradley’s Tavern. From this Golden Ball started the stages for Quebec on Mondays at four in the morning. They arrived at Concord, N. H., at seven in the evening. Leaving there at four Tuesday morning, they reached Hanover, N. H., at two in the afternoon, and continuing on arrived at Haverhill, N. H., near Woodsville, at nine Wednesday evening.

The next appearance of the Golden Ball was on Congress Street, where at No. 13 was the new tavern of Thomas Murphy in 1816.

Henry Cabot, born 1812, was a painter, and first began business at 2 Scollay’s Building in 1833. He removed to Blackstone Street in 1835, where he was located at various numbers till 1858, when he went to North Street. He resided in Chelsea from 1846 till his death in 1875. The occupation of this owner of the Golden Ball was that of an ornamental sign and standard painter. His choice of a sign was not according to the traditions of his trade, and did not conform with the painters’ arms of the London Guild Company, which were placed on the building in Hanover Street by an earlier member of that craft. It was no worse[Pg 87] choice, however, than a sign which some of us may recall as swinging on Washington Street, near Dock Square, fifty years ago, “The Sign of the Dying Warrior, N. M. Phillips, Sign Painter.”

The Golden Ball was the sign anciently hung out in London by the silk mercers, and was used by them to the end of the eighteenth century. Mr. Cabot’s choice of a location to start his business life was more appropriate than his sign, as in the block of shops, owned by the town, connecting on the west side of the Scollay’s Building, had been the paint shop of Samuel, brother of Christopher Gore.



[Pg 88]


This interesting relic was given to the Bostonian Society during 1915. It is a coffee urn of Sheffield ware, formerly in the Green Dragon Tavern, which stood on Union Street from 1697 to 1832, and was a famous meeting place of the Patriots of the Revolution. It is globular in form and rests on a base, and inside is still to be seen the cylindrical piece of iron which, when heated, kept the delectable liquid contents of the urn hot until imbibed by the frequenters of the tavern. The Green Dragon Tavern site, now occupied by a business structure, is owned by the St. Andrew’s Lodge of Free Masons of Boston, and at a recent gathering of the Lodge on St. Andrew’s Day the urn was exhibited to the assembled brethren.

When the contents of the tavern were sold, the urn was bought by Mrs. Elizabeth Harrington, who then kept a famous boarding house on Pearl Street, in a building owned by the Quincy family. In 1847 the house was razed and replaced by the Quincy Block, and Mrs. Harrington removed to High Street and from there to Chauncey Place. Some of the prominent men of Boston boarded with her for many years. At her death the urn was given to her daughter, Mrs. John R. Bradford, and it has now been presented to the Society by Miss Phebe C. Bradford of Boston, granddaughter of Mrs. Elizabeth Harrington.


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Dotted lines indicate the present Williams Court (Pie Alley)



[Pg 89]



“As an old landmark the Hancock Tavern is a failure. There was not an old window in the house; the nails were Bridgewater nails, the timbers were mill-sawed, and the front of it was of face brick, which were not made even in 1800. At the time of the Revolution it was merely a four-room dwelling house of twelve windows, and the first license ever given to it as an inn was in 1790. The building recently demolished was erected during the years 1807 to 1812.”

With the above words, Edward W. McGlenen, city registrar, effectually settled the question June 3, 1903, at a meeting of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, as to the widely credited report that it was in the Hancock Tavern, which for many years stood on Corn Court, the members of the Boston Tea Party met, disguised themselves as Indians, and from there journeyed to Griffin’s Wharf, where they threw overboard the obnoxious tea.

It was a special meeting of the society called to hear the report of a special committee appointed “to consider the question of the circumstances attending the formation and execution of the plans for what is known as the Boston Tea Party.” This committee was made[Pg 90] up of men who for years had been students of that very subject, and the result of their researches is interesting and conclusive. William C. Bates was chairman, and his associates were Edward W. McGlenen, the Rev. Anson Titus, William T. Eustis, and Herbert G. Briggs. The members of the society were present in large numbers, and Marshall P. Wilder Hall was well filled.

William C. Bates, as chairman of the special committee, spoke of the endeavors of himself and colleagues to avoid ground covered by historians. He said that places of rendezvous for the “Mohawks” are to some extent known, for over half a dozen of the members have left to their descendants the story of where they met and costumed themselves. The four Bradlees met at their sister’s house, corner of Hollis and Tremont streets; Joseph Brewer and others at the foot of Summer Street; John Crane in a carpenter shop on Tremont Street opposite Hollis; Joseph Shedd and a small party in his house on Milk Street, where the Equitable Building now stands; and James Swan in his boarding house on Hanover Street. In the testimony of the descendants, down to 1850 at least, there was no mention of the Hancock Tavern. The place of origin of the Tea Party and who first proposed it are matters of considerable discussion. Many of the party were members of St. Andrew’s Lodge of Masons, which owned the Green Dragon Inn, and the lodge records state that the meeting held on the night of the Tea Party had to be adjourned for lack of attendance, “public matters being of greater importance.”


Used in the Green Dragon Tavern, now in possession of the Bostonian Society


[Pg 91]It is not surprising that so much secrecy has been maintained, because of the danger of lawsuits by the East Indian Company and others. The members of the St. Andrew’s Lodge were all young, many under twenty, the majority under thirty.

Mr. McGlenen’s report as to his investigations was especially interesting, settling, as it did, three distinct questions which had been undecided for many years—the location of the inn of Samuel Cole, the location of his residence, and the much mooted point as to whether the “Mohawks” met at the Hancock Tavern for the preparatory steps toward the Boston Tea Party.

All three questions were based on a statement printed in the souvenir of the Hancock Tavern, reading as follows:

On the south side of Faneuil Hall is a passageway through which one may pass into Merchants’ row. It is Corn court, a name known to few of the present day, but in the days gone by as familiar as the Corn market, with which it was connected. In the center of this court stands the oldest tavern in New England. It was opened March 4, 1634, by Samuel Cole. It was surrounded by spacious grounds, which commanded a view of the harbor and its shipping, for at that time the tide covered the spot where Faneuil Hall now stands. It was a popular resort from the beginning, and was frequented by many foreigners of note.

The seeming authority for these statements and others, connecting it with pre-revolutionary events, said Mr. McGlenen, appears in Rambles in Old Boston by the Rev. E. G. Porter, pages 67 and 68, evidently based on a newspaper article written by William Brazier Duggan, M.D., in the Quincy Patriot for August[Pg 92] 28, 1852, and to a novel entitled The Brigantine by one Ingraham, referring to legendary lore. None of these statements can be confirmed. The confusion has been caused by the statement made many years ago and reprinted as a note in the Book of Possessions, Vol. II, Boston Town Records, that somewhere near the water front Samuel Cole kept an inn; but Letchford’s Note Book, the Town Records, and the Suffolk Deeds prove to the contrary.

Samuel Cole’s Inn was kept by him from 1634 to 1638, when he sold out by order of the Colony Court. He purchased a residence near the town dock seven years later. It adjoined the Hancock Tavern lot, and was bounded on the west by the lot originally in the ownership of Isaac Gross, whose son Clement kept the Three Mariners, an ale house which stood west of Pierse’s Alley (Change Avenue) and east of the Sun Tavern.

It is impossible to connect the Hancock Tavern with any pre-Revolutionary event. It was a small house, as described in the Direct Tax of 1798, of two stories, of two rooms each, built of wood, with twelve windows, value $1200. It was first licensed in 1790, and the earliest reference found in print is in the advertisement for the sale of lemons by John Duggan, in the Columbian Centinel in 1794.

As to Cole’s Inn, from the records of the Massachusetts Bay Colony Court, it appears that Samuel Cole kept the first inn or ordinary within the town of Boston. In 1638 the court gave him liberty to sell his house for an inn. This he did, disposing of it to[Pg 93] Robert Sedgwick of Charlestown, as shown in Letchford’s Note Book. The town records show that in 1638 Edward Hutchinson, Samuel Cole, Robert Turner, Richard Hutchinson, William Parker, and Richard Brackett were ordered to make a cartway near Mr. Hutchinson’s house, which definitely locates Samuel Cole on the old highway leading to Roxbury, i.e. Washington Street (Town Records, Vol. II, Rec. Com. Report, p. 38).

The Book of Possessions shows in the same report that Valentine Hill had one house and garden bounded with the street on the east, meeting house and Richard Truesdale on the north, Capt. Robert Sedgwick on the south, and the prison yard west.

Major Robert Sedgwick’s house and garden bounded with Thomas Clarke, Robert Turner and the street on the east, Mr. Hutchinson on the south, Valentine Hill on the north, and Henry Messinger west.

Valentine Hill granted, March 20, 1645, to William Davies, his house and garden bounded on the south with the ordinary now in the possession of James Pen (Suffolk Deeds, Vol. I, p. 60). This presumably is Cole’s Inn, then in the possession of Robert Sedgwick, and occupied by James Pen.

The question of Cole’s residence was easily settled by Mr. McGlenen, when he read from deeds showing that in 1645 Valentine Hill sold to Samuel Cole a lot of land near the town dock. Samuel Cole died in 1666, and in his will left his house and lot to his daughter Elizabeth and son John. This property is on the corner of Change Avenue and Faneuil Hall Square,[Pg 94] and is now occupied by W. W. Rawson as a seed store.

The Hancock Tavern is a distinct piece of property. Mr. McGlenen read from deeds which proved that the land was first owned by John Kenerick of Boston, yeoman, and was first sold to Robert Brecke of Dorchester, merchant, on January 8, 1652. It was again sold to Thomas Watkins of Boston, tobacco maker, in 1653; by him in 1679 to James Green of Boston, cooper; by him to Samuel Green of Boston, cooper, in 1712; and by him willed to his sons and daughter in 1750.

The eastern portion of the original lot (that situated east of the one on which the Hancock Tavern, just demolished, was located) was sold by Samuel Green’s heirs to Thomas Handasyd Peck in 1759. The Hancock Tavern lot itself was then sold to Thomas Bromfield, merchant, in February, 1760. The deed says: “A certain dwelling house, with the land whereon the same doth stand.” Bromfield in 1763 sold it to Joseph Jackson of Boston, who owned it at the time of the Revolution, and disposed of it on August 19, 1779, to Morris Keith, a Boston trader. Morris Keith, or Keefe, died in April, 1783, aged 62, leaving a widow and two children, Thomas and Mary. The son died in 1784, the widow in 1785, leaving the daughter Mary to inherit the property. The inventory describes Morris Keefe as a lemon dealer, and the house and land in Corn Court as worth £260.

Mary Keefe married John Duggan, May 24, 1789, and in 1790 John Duggan was granted a license to retail liquor at his house in Corn Court. This is the[Pg 95] earliest record of a license being granted to the Hancock Tavern, so called. Mary Duggan deeded the property to her husband in January, 1795, a few weeks before her death. In 1796 John Duggan married Mary Hopkins. He died April 21, 1802, leaving three children—Michael, born 1797; William, born 1799, and John Adams, born 1802. Mary (Hopkins) Duggan then married William Brazier in 1803. He died ten years later.

The record commissioners’ reports, No. 22, page 290, show the following inventory for 1798:

John Duggan, owner and occupier; wooden dwelling; west
on Corn Court; south on Moses Gill; north on James
Tisdale. Land 1024 square feet; house 448 square feet;
2 stories, 12 windows; value

Duggan’s advertisement in the Columbian Centinel of October 11, 1794, reads:

Latest imported lemons—In excellent order, for sale, by John Duggan, at his house, at the sign of Gov. Hancock outside the market.

His address in the Boston Directory for 1796 is: “John Duggan, lemon dealer, Corn court, S. side market.”

In 1795, Duggan, who is described as an innholder, and his wife deeded this property to Daniel English, who, on the same day, deeded it back to John, in order that he might have a clear title.

“From these investigations,” said Mr. McGlenen, “I think it is clear that as an old landmark the Hancock Tavern is a failure.”

[Pg 96]The Rev. Anson Titus then made his report of personal investigations relating to the Tea Party itself. He said that the only sure thing is this—that something happened in Boston on the evening of December 16, 1773. Beyond this to make statements is dangerous. Details of the affair were not subject of public conversation, because of the danger of prosecution and legal action. It was at the very edge of treason to the King. It is certain that there were a great crowd of visitors in Boston that night from the country towns who had been informed of what to expect and had come for a purpose. Secrecy was the word and obedience was the command.

Mr. Titus quoted from the Boston papers of that time and from Gov. Hutchinson’s letters, but declared that it was impossible to learn of the names of the actual members of the party. He said that the “Mohawks were men familiar with the vessels and the wharves. It is generally recognized that they were Masons.”

“In conclusion, as we began,” he said, “in 1908, as in 1822, very little is known concerning the real participants of the Boston Tea Party. The lifelong silence on the part of those knowing most of the party is most commendable and patriotic. It was a hazardous undertaking, even treason, and long after American independence was gained, if proof which would have had the least weight in court had been found, there would have been claims for damages by the East India Company or the Crown against our young republic, which would have been obliged to meet them. The affair was[Pg 97] a turning point in the history of American liberty, and glad ought we all to be that there is no evidence existing connecting scarcely an individual, the town of Boston, or the province with the Boston Tea Party.

 [Pg 98]

The Town of Boston before 1645 Showing the Streets Mentioned in the Book of Possessions Outline traced from Bonner’s Map 1722 Details token from the records Annie Haven Thwing © 1914
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[Pg 99]


This list is taken from Miss Thwing’s work on the Inhabitants and Estates of the Town of Boston, 1630-1800, in possession of the Massachusetts Historical Society. There also may be found the authority for each statement and further details. It does not include many inns mentioned in advertisements in the papers of the eighteenth century, nor the names of many licensed innkeepers whose hostelry had no sign.

The Colony records state that in 1682 persons annually licensed in Boston to keep taverns and sell beer shall not exceed six wine taverns, ten innholders, and eight retailers for wine and strong liquors out of doors. In 1684, as this was not enough for the accommodation of the inhabitants, the county court licensed five or six more public houses. In 1687 all licenses for public houses to be granted only to those persons of good repute, and have convenient houses and at least two beds to entertain strangers and travellers. In Boston the approbation of the Treasurer must be secured. The regulations of inns are given in detail in the records.

[Pg 100]Admiral Vernon, see Vernon’s Head.

American Coffee-House, see British Coffee-House.

Anchor, also called Blue Anchor, east side of Washington Street, between State and Water streets (site of the Globe Building). In the Book of Possessions Richard Fairbanks (innkeeper) had house and garden here. In 1646 he was licensed to keep a house of entertainment, and in 1652 sold his estate to Robert Turner, who was licensed in 1659, and his widow Penelope in 1666. His son John Turner inherited, and was licensed in 1667. In 1680 George Monk on his marriage with Lucy, widow of Turner, succeeded. Monk married a second wife, Elizabeth Woodmancy, who succeeded him in 1691, and kept the inn until 1703, when she sold the estate to James Pitts. In 1708 a neighboring estate bounded on the house “formerly the Anchor Tavern.” From James Pitts the owners were Benjamin Bagnal, in 1724-25; William Speakman, 1745; 1746 Alice Quick, who bequeathed to her nephew Thomas Knight in 1761; and Mary Knight was the owner in 1798.

Bair, Washington Street, between Dock Square and Milk Street. In 1722 Elizabeth Davis was licensed at the Bair in Cornhill. As she was the owner of the Bear at the Dock this may have been a mistake.

Bear, see Three Mariners.

Baker’s Arms, in 1673 the house of John Gill was on the southwest corner of Hanover and Union streets, “near the Baker’s Arms.” This was possibly then the name of the Star Tavern or the Green Dragon.

Baulston. William Baulston had a grant of land in 1636-37 on the west side of Washington Street, between Dock Square and Court Street. In June, 1637, he was licensed to keep a house of entertainment. In 1638 he sold to Thomas Cornewell, who was licensed to keep an inn in room of William Baulston. In 1639-40 the property was bought by Edward Tyng.

[Pg 101]Bite, see Three Mariners.

Black Horse, Prince Street. It is commonly asserted that the early name of Prince Street came from a tavern of that name, but thus far no such tavern has been found on the records. Black Horse Lane was first mentioned in 1684.

Black and White Horse, locality not stated. In 1767 Robert Sylvester was licensed.

Blue Anchor, Washington Street, see Anchor.

Blue Anchor, in 1760, “land where the Blue Anchor was before the fire near Oliver’s Dock.”

Blue Anchor, locality not stated. In 1767 a man lodged at the Blue Anchor.

Blue Bell, west side of Union Street, between Hanover and North streets. In 1663 John Button conveys to Edmund Jacklin his house, known as the Blue Bell.

Blue Bell, southwest corner of Battery March and Water streets. The land on which this tavern stood was originally a marsh which the town let to Capt. James Johnson in 1656, he to pay an annual amount to the school of Boston. Part of this land was conveyed by Johnson to Thomas Hull. This deed is not recorded, but in 1674 in the deed of Richard Woodde to John Dafforne the west bounds were in part on land now of Deacon Allen and Hugh Drury, formerly of Thomas Hull, the house called the Blew Bell. In 1673 the house was let to Nathaniel Bishop. In the inventory of the estate of Hugh Drury in 1689 his part is described as one half of that house Mr. Wheeler lives in and cooper’s shop. In the partition of his estate in 1692 there was set off to his grandson Thomas Drury one half of house and land commonly called the Castle Tavern, the said house and land being in partnership with Henry Allen. In the division of Allen’s estate in 1703, the house and land is set off to his widow Judith. In 1707 Judith Allen and[Pg 102] Thomas Drury make a division, the west half being assigned to Judith Allen and the east half to Drury. Judith Allen died in 1722, and in 1723 her son Henry conveyed to Robert Williams the westerly part of the estate, consisting of dwelling house, land, and cooper’s shop. Williams deeds to his son Robert Williams, and the estate was in the family many years.

Brazen Head, east side of Washington Street, between State and Water streets. Jan. 2, 1757, a soldier was taken with the smallpox at widow Jackson’s at the Brazen Head. March 20, 1760, the great fire broke out here. Mrs. Jackson was not a property owner, but leased the premises.

Brewers’ Arms, east side of Washington Street, between Bedford and Essex streets. In 1696 Sarah, widow of Samuel Walker, mortgages the house called the Brewers’ Arms in tenure of Daniel Elton (innholder).

British Coffee-House, north side of State Street, between Change Avenue and Merchants’ Row. In the Book of Possessions James Oliver was the owner of this estate. Elisha Cooke recovers judgment against Oliver, and sells to Nicholas Moorcock in 1699. Moorcock conveys to Charles Burnham in 1717, whose heirs convey to Jonathan Badger in 1773. Badger deeds to Hannah Cordis in 1775 “The British Coffee-House.” In 1780 the heirs of Badger confirm to Joseph Cordis “The American Coffee-House,” and Cordis sells to the Massachusetts Bank in 1792. Cord Cordis was the innkeeper in 1771 and John Bryant was licensed in 1790. In 1798 this was a brick building, three stories, twenty-six windows, value $12,000.

Bromfield House, Bromfield Street, see Indian Queen.


36-38 Bromfield Street


Bull, foot of Summer Street. In the Book of Possessions Nicholas Baxter had house and garden here. In 1668 he conveyed this to John Bull and wife Mary, the daughter of [Pg 103]his wife Margaret. Baxter died in 1692, and in his will recites this deed and divides his personal property between his daughter Mary, wife of John Swett, and John and Mary Bull. In 1694 and 1704 Mary Swett attempted to regain the estate, but Bull gained his case each time. John Bull died in 1723, and in 1724 his son Jonathan buys the shares of other heirs. Jonathan died while on a visit to England in 1727 or 1728, and his will, probated in 1728-29, gives one third of his estate to his wife, and two thirds to his children, Elizabeth, John, and Samuel. Both sons died before coming of age, and Elizabeth inherited their shares. She married Rev. Roger Price, and they went to England. She died in 1780, and in 1783 her eldest son and daughter returned to Boston to recover the property which Barret Dyer, who had married Elizabeth, widow of John Bull, had attempted to regain. John Bull was licensed as innkeeper from 1689 to 1713, when his widow Mary succeeded. In 1757 Mr. Bean was the landlord, and in 1766 the house was let to Benjamin Bigelow. In 1798 William Price was the owner and Bethia Page the occupier. A wooden house of two stories, thirty-one windows, value $2000. The site is now covered by the South Station.

Bunch of Grapes, southeast corner of State and Kilby streets. The early possession of William Davis, who sold to William Ingram in 1658. Ingram conveyed “The Bunch of Grapes” to John Holbrook in 1680; Adm. of Holbrook to Thomas Waite in 1731; Waite to Simon Eliot in 1760; Eliot to Leonard Jarvis in 1769; Jarvis to Joseph Rotch, Jr., in 1772; Francis Rotch to Elisha Doane, 1773; his heirs to Isaiah Doane, 1786. In 1798 it was a brick store. June 7, 1709, Francis Holmes was the keeper and was to billet five soldiers at his house of public entertainment. In 1750 kept by Weatherhead, being noted, said Goelet, as the best punch house in Boston. In 1757 one captain and one[Pg 104] private soldier to be billeted at Weatherhead’s. 1764 to 1772 Joseph Ingersol licensed. In 1790 Dudley Colman licensed. In 1790 James Bowdoin bequeathes house called “The Bunch of Grapes” to his wife. This was on the west corner of Kilby and State streets.

Castle, west corner of Dock Square and Elm Street. In the Book of Possessions William Hudson, Jr., had house and garden here. May 20, 1654, a street leading from the Castle Tavern is mentioned (Elm Street). Hudson sold off parts of his estate and in 1674 he conveyed to John Wing house, buildings, etc., commonly called Castle Tavern. In 1677 Wing mortgages to William Brown of Salem “all his new built dwelling house, being part of that building formerly known as the Castle Tavern.” The estate was forfeited, and in 1694 Brown conveys to Benjamin Pemberton mansion heretofore called the Castle Tavern, since the George Tavern, subject to Wing’s right of redemption. In his will of 1701-02 John Wing devises to his son John Wing the housing and land lying near the head of the town dock which he purchased of Capt. William Hudson, together with the brick messuage, formerly known by the name of the George Tavern, which has an encumbrance of 1000 pounds, due William Browne, now in possession of Benjamin Pemberton. In 1708 Wing releases the estate to Pemberton. In 1710 the heirs of Pemberton convey to Jonathan Waldo, and the succeeding owners were: Thomas Flucker, 1760; in the same year it passes to Isaac Winslow and Moses Gill; Gill to Caleb Loring, 1768; Nathaniel Frazier, 1771; David Sears, 1787; William Burgess, 1790; Nathaniel Frazier, 1792; John and Jonathan Amory, 1793. In 1798 Colonel Brewer was the occupier. A brick house, two stories, twelve windows, value $4000.

Castle, Battery March and Water streets, see Blue Bell.




Castle, northeast corner of North and Fleet streets. [Pg 105]The early possession of Thomas Savage, John Crabtree acquires, and in 1654 conveys to Bartholomew Barnard. Barnard sells to Edward Cock in 1672-73; Cock to Margaret Thatcher, who conveys to William Colman in 1679. Colman to William Everden in 1694-95, who mortgages to Francis Holmes. Holmes conveys to John Wentworth in 1708. In 1717 John Wentworth conveys to Thomas Lee house known as the “Castle Tavern, occupied by Sarah Hunt.” In 1768 Thomas Love and wife Deborah (Lee) deed to Andrew Newell, the “Castle Tavern,” and the same year Newell to Joseph Lee. In 1785 Joseph Lee conveys to Joseph Austin the “King’s Head Tavern.” In 1798 owned and occupied by Austin. House of three and two stories, twenty-five windows, value $3000.

Castle, locality not stated. In 1721 Adrian, widow of John Cunningham, was licensed at the Castle, and in 1722 Mary English.

Cole, Samuel Cole’s inn, west side of Washington Street, corner of Williams Court, site of Thompson’s Spa. In 1633-34 Samuel Cole set up the first house of common entertainment. In 1635 he was licensed to keep an ordinary, and in 1637-38 had leave to sell his house for an inn to Robert Sedgwick. In 1646 James Penn was licensed here. Lt. William Phillips acquired the property, and in 1656-57 mortgages “The Ship Tavern.” He conveys it to Capt. Thomas Savage in 1660. The later owners were Ephraim Savage, 1677-78; Zachariah Trescott, 1712; Nicholas Bouve, 1715; John Comrin, 1742; Jonathan Mason, 1742; James Lloyd, 1763, in whose family it remained many years.

Concert Hall, south corner of Hanover and Court streets. In the Book of Possessions Jeremiah Houchin had house and garden here. His widow sold to Thomas Snawsell in 1670, and Snawsell to John Russell in 1671;[Pg 106] Eleazar Russell to John Gardner and Priscilla Hunt in 1689-90; the heirs of Gardner to Gilbert and Lewis Deblois in 1749; Deblois to Stephen Deblois in 1754, and he to William Turner in 1769; Turner conveyed to John and Jonathan Amory in 1789. In 1798 John Amory was the owner and James Villa the occupier. A brick house, three stories, thirty windows, value $3000. Villa had been a tenant, and was licensed as an innkeeper for some years. Before it became a tavern the hall was used for various purposes—for meetings, musical concerts, and by the Grand Masons.

Cromwell’s Head or Sign of Oliver Cromwell, north side of School Street. In the Book of Possessions Richard Hutchinson was the owner of land here. Abraham Brown acquired before 1658; Sarah (Brown) Rogers inherits in 1689-90, and in 1692 Gamaliel Rogers conveyed to Duncan McFarland; Mary (McFarland) Perkins inherits, and John Perkins deeds to Joseph Maylem in 1714; John Maylem inherits in 1733, and the next owner is Elizabeth (Maylem) Bracket, wife of Anthony Bracket. In 1764 Elizabeth Bracket was licensed at her house in School Street, and Joshua Bracket was licensed in 1768. In 1796 Abigail Bracket conveyed to John Warren, who was the owner in 1798, and Henry Vose the occupier. A wooden house, three stories, thirty windows, value $6000.

Crown Coffee-House, north side of State Street, the first house on Long wharf (site of the Fidelity Trust Co. building). Jonathan Belcher was a proprietor of Long Wharf, which was extended from State Street in 1710. In 1749 his son Andrew Belcher conveyed to Richard Smith “The Crown Coffee-House,” Smith to Robert Shellcock in 1751, and the administrator of Shellcock to Benjamin Brown in 1788. In 1798 stores covered the site. In 1714 Thomas Selby was licensed as an innholder at the Crown [Pg 107]Coffee-House, and he died here in 1727. In 1729 William Burgess was licensed, and in 1730 and 1733 Edward Lutwych; 1762 Rebecca Coffin; 1766 Richard Bradford; and in 1772 Rebecca Coffin.



Dolphin, east side of North Street, at the foot of Richmond Street. Nicholas Upshall was the owner of the land in 1644. He deeds to his son-in-law William Greenough in 1660. Henry Gibbs and wife Mercy (Greenough) inherit in 1694-95. In 1726-27 Henry Gibbs conveys to Noah Champney “The Dolphin Tavern.” John Lowell and wife Sarah (Champney) inherit, and deed to Neil McIntire in 1753, McIntire to Neil McIntire of Portsmouth in 1784, and he to William Welsh in 1785, Welsh to Prince Snow in 1798. In 1798 it was a wooden house of two stories and eleven windows, value $600. The Dolphin Tavern is mentioned by Sewall in 1718. In 1726-27 Mercy Gibbs was licensed; in 1736 Alice Norwood, and 1740 James Stevens.

Dove, Sign of the, northeast corner of Boylston and Tremont streets. In the Book of Possessions Thomas Snow was the owner, and in 1667 he mortgages his old house to which the Sign of the Dove is fastened. William Wright and wife Milcha (Snow) inherit and in 1683 convey to Samuel Shrimpton, the heirs of Shrimpton to Adam Colson in 1781, Colson to William Cunningham in 1787, Cunningham to Francis Amory in 1793, Amory to Joseph Head in 1795.

Drum, Sign of the, locality not stated. In 1761 and 1776 mentioned in the Town Records.

Exchange, northwest corner of State and Exchange streets. In 1646 Anthony Stoddard and John Leverett deed to Henry Shrimpton house and land. His son Samuel inherits in 1666, and in 1697-98 Samuel Shrimpton, Jr., inherits “the Exchange Tavern.” He mortgages to Nicholas Roberts in 1703, and the administrators of Roberts[Pg 108] convey to Robert Stone in 1754 “the Royal Exchange Tavern.” In 1784 Daniel Parker and wife Sally (Stone) convey to Benjamin Hitchbone. In 1798 Israel Hatch was the occupier. A brick house, four stories, thirty windows, value $12,000. In 1690-91 the Exchange Tavern is mentioned by Judge Sewall. In 1714 Rowland Dike petitioned for a license. In 1764 Seth Blodgett was licensed, 1770 Mr. Stone, 1772 Daniel Jones, 1776 Benjamin Loring, 1788 John Bowers, 1798 Israel Hatch.

Exchange Coffee-House, southeast corner of State and Devonshire streets. In the Book of Possessions the land was owned by Robert Scott. The house was built in 1804 and burnt in 1818; rebuilt in 1822 and closed as a tavern in 1854.

Flower de Luce, west side of North Street, between Union and Cross streets. In 1675 Elizabeth, widow of Edmund Jackson, mortgages her house, known by the name of Flower de Luce, in tenure of Christopher Crow.

George, west side of Washington Street, near the Roxbury line. The land was a grant of the town to James Penn in 1644. In 1652 he deeds, as a gift, five acres to Margery, widow of Jacob Eliot, for the use of her children. In 1701 Eliezer Holyoke and wife Mary (Eliot) convey to Stephen Minot. In 1701-02 Minot petitions for a license to keep an inn or tavern at his house, nigh Roxbury gate. This is disapproved. In 1707 the George Tavern is mentioned. In 1708-09 Samuel Meeres petitions to sell strong drink as an innholder at the house of Stephen Minot, in the room of John Gibbs, who is about to quit his license, and in 1722-23 he was still an innholder there. In 1726 Simon Rogers was licensed. In 1733 Stephen Minot, Jr., inherits the George Tavern, now in occupation of Simon Rogers. In 1734-35 occupied by Andrew Haliburton. In 1768 Gideon Gardner was licensed. Stephen Minot, Jr., conveys to [Pg 109]Samuel and William Brown in 1738; William Brown to Aaron Willard in 1792. In 1770 Thomas Bracket was approved as a taverner in the house on the Neck called the King’s Arms, formerly the George Tavern, lately kept by Mrs. Bowdine. Aug. 1, 1775, the George Tavern was burnt by the Regulars, writes Timothy Newell in his diary.


THE EXCHANGE COFFEE HOUSE, 1808-1818 (Congress Square)


George, corner Dock Square and Elm Street, see Castle.

Globe, northeast corner of Commercial and Hanover streets. In the Book of Possessions the estate of William Douglass. Eliphalet Hett and wife Ann (Douglass) inherit; Nathaniel Parkman and wife Hannah (Hett) inherit. In 1702 Hannah Parkman conveys to Edward Budd; Budd to James Barnard in 1708. Barnard to John Greenough in 1711. In the division of the Greenough estate this was set off to William and Newman Greenough. Greenough to Joseph Oliver in 1779. Oliver to Henry H. Williams in 1788. In 1741 and 1787 the Globe Tavern is mentioned in the Town Records.

Goat, locality not stated; in 1737 mentioned in the inventory of Elisha Cooke.

Golden Ball, northwest corner of Merchants’ Row and Corn Court. Edward Tyng was the first owner of the land, Theodore Atkinson acquired before 1662, and conveys to Henry Deering in 1690. In 1731 part of Deering’s estate was the house known as the “Golden Ball,” now occupied by Samuel Tyley. Mary (Deering) Wilson inherits and bequeathes to her niece Mary (Deering), wife of John Gooch. In 1795 Benjamin Gerrish Gray and wife Mary (Gooch) convey to James Tisdale house known by the name of the Golden Ball Tavern. In 1798 stores covered the site. In 1711 Samuel Tyley petitions for renewal of his license upon his removal from the Salutation to Mr. Deering’s house in Merchants’ Row. In 1757 it was kept by John Marston.

[Pg 110]Grand Turk, Sign of, Washington Street, between Winter and Boylston. In 1789 Israel Hatch (innholder).

Green Dragon, west side of Union Street, north of Hanover. In the Book of Possessions James Johnson owned three fourths of an acre on the mill pond. The next estate that separated him from Hanover Street was owned by John Davis. In 1646 Johnson deeds to Thomas Marshall, and Marshall to Thomas Hawkins. In 1645 John Davis deeds to John Trotman, whose wife Katherine on the same day conveys to Thomas Hawkins. In 1671 Hawkins mortgages to Samson Sheafe, and January, 1671-02, the property is delivered to Sheafe. In 1672-03 Sheafe deeds part to John Howlett (see Star Tavern), bounded northwest by William Stoughton. No deed is recorded to Stoughton. Stoughton died in 1701, and this estate fell to his granddaughter Mehitable, wife of Capt. Thomas Cooper. She later married Peter Sargent and Simeon Stoddard. In 1743 her son Rev. William Cooper conveys the brick dwelling called the Green Dragon Tavern to Dr. William Douglass. On the division of the estate of Douglass this fell to his sister Catherine Kerr, who in 1765 deeds to St. Andrews Lodge of Free Masons. In 1798 it is described as a brick dwelling, three stories, thirty-nine windows, with stable, value $3000. In 1714 William Patten, late of Charlestown, petitions to sell strong drink as an innholder at the Green Dragon in the room of Richard Pullen, who hath quitted his license there.

Gutteridge Coffee-House, north side of State Street, between Washington and Exchange streets. Robert Gutteridge was a tenant of Hezekiah Usher in 1688, and was licensed in 1691. In 1718 Mary Gutteridge petitions for the renewal of her late husband’s license to keep a public coffee-house.


From State Street, looking south down Congress Square


[Pg 111]Half Moon, southwest side of Portland Street. Henry Pease was the owner of the land in the Book of Possessions. He conveys to Thomas Matson in 1648, and Joshua Matson to Edward Cricke in 1685. In 1705 his widow Deborah Cricke conveys to Thomas Gwin house commonly called “The Half Moon.” In 1713 Gwin sells to William Clarke. The children of Sarah (Clarke) Kilby inherit and deed to John Bradford in 1760. His heirs were owners in 1798. A brick house, two stories, thirty-nine windows, value $4000.

Hancock, Corn Court. This property was acquired by John Kendric, who sells to Robert Breck in 1652-53. Later owners, Thomas Watkins 1653, James Green 1659, Samuel Green 1712, Thomas Bromfield 1760, Joseph Jackson 1763. Jackson deeds to Morris Keefe in 1779, whose daughter Mary, wife of John Duggan, inherits in 1795. In 1798 it was a wooden house, two stories, twelve windows, value $1200.

Hatch, east side Tremont Street, between West and Boylston streets. The land was a grant of the town to Richard Bellingham in 1665. Martin Sanders acquires and deeds to Æneas Salter, and Salter to Sampson Sheaf in 1677. Jacob Sheaf to Abiah Holbrook in 1753. Adm. of Rebecca Holbrook to Israel Hatch in 1794. 1796 Israel Hatch (innkeeper).

Hawk, Summer Street. In 1740 mentioned in the Town Records.

Horse Shoe, east side of Tremont Street, between School and Bromfield streets. In the Book of Possessions this was part of the land of Zaccheus Bosworth. His daughter Elizabeth and her husband John Morse convey to John Evered, alias Webb, in 1660; Webb to William Pollard in 1663. John Pollard deeds to Jonathan Pollard in 1722 the “Horse Shoe Tavern.” In 1782 the heirs of Pollard[Pg 112] convey to George Hamblin, who occupied it in 1798. A wooden house, two stories, eleven windows, value $1500. In 1738 Alex Cochran was licensed here.

Indian Queen, later Bromfield House, south side of Bromfield Street. The possession of William Aspinwall, who deeds the land to John Angier in 1652, and in the same year it passes to Sampson Shore and Theodore Atkinson; Atkinson to Edward Rawson in 1653-54; Rawson to Robert Noaxe, 1672; Noaxe to Joseph Whitney, 1675; Whitney to Edward Bromfield, 1684; Edward Bromfield, Jr., to Benjamin Kent, 1748; Ex. of Kent to Henry Newman, 1760; Newman to John Ballard, 1782. In 1798 it was occupied by Abel Wheelock, Trask, and Brown. A brick and wooden house, two stories, thirty-four windows, value $4500, with a stable.

Julien Restorator, northwest corner of Milk and Congress streets. In the Book of Possessions John Spoor had a house and one acre here, which he mortgaged to Nicholas Willis in 1648. In 1648-49 Henry Bridgham sold a house on Washington Street to John Spoore, so it may be possible that they exchanged lots. In 1655 Bridgham was the owner. He died in 1681, and his widow in 1672. In 1680 his estate was divided among his three sons. John, the eldest, settled in Ipswich, inherited the new house, and that included the west portion. In 1719 he deeds his share to his nephew Joseph Bridgham, who in 1734-35 conveys to Francis Borland, then measuring 106 ft. on Milk Street. Borland also bought a strip of James Dalton in 1763, which addition reached the whole length of the lot, which has been abridged by the laying out of Dalton’s Lane (Congress Street). Francis Borland died in 1763, and left the Milk Street estate to his son Francis Lindall Borland, who was absent and feared to be dead. Jane Borland married John Still Winthrop, and in 1765 the estate was divided among [Pg 113]the Winthrop children. These heirs conveyed the Congress Street corner to Thomas Clement in 1787, and in 1794 he sold it to Jean Baptiste Gilbert Payplat dis Julien (restorator). Julien died in 1806, and his heirs conveyed it in 1823 to the Commercial Co. The house was taken down in 1824. In 1798 it was a wooden dwelling, three stories, eighteen windows, value $6000.


From an original painting by Robertson, now in the Boston Public Library


King’s Arms, west side of Washington Street, between Brattle and Court streets. Nearly all of the original lot was taken for the extension of Washington Street, and the exact location obliterated. It was one of the estates at the head of the Dock. In the Book of Possessions, owned by Hugh Gunnison, who in 1646 was licensed to keep a house of entertainment. Oct. 28, 1650, he mortgages the estate called the King’s Arms, and in 1651 conveys it to John Samson, Henry Shrimpton, and William Brenton (see Suff. Deeds, Lib. 1, fol. 135, where there is an interesting and complete inventory). Henry Shrimpton gets possession of the whole, and in his will, 1666, bequeathes to his daughter Sarah Shrimpton “the house formerly called the States Arms.” In 1668-69 Eliakim Hutchinson, on his marriage with Sarah Shrimpton, puts the estate in trust for his wife, “heretofore called the King’s Arms.” He also enlarged the estate by buying adjoining land of the William Tyng and Thomas Brattle estates. By the will of Eliakim Hutchinson in 1718, and that of his wife in 1720, the whole estate went to their son William Hutchinson, who in 1721 devised to his son Eliakim Hutchinson. Eliakim still further enlarged the estate. He was a Loyalist, and his estate was confiscated. In 1782 the government conveyed part of it to Thomas Green and the remainder to John Lucas and Edward Tuckerman.

King’s Arms, west side of North Street, between Sun Court and Fleet Street. The lot of Thomas Clarke in the[Pg 114] Book of Possessions, which he sold to Launcelot Baker in 1648, and Baker to George Halsey in 1648, the trustees of Halsey to Evan Thomas in 1656, “The King’s Arms.” In 1680 his widow Alice Thomas mortgages the house formerly known as King’s Arms, and she sells it in 1698 to Joseph Bill.

King’s Arms, on the Neck, see George.

King’s Head, northeast corner of North and Fleet streets, see Castle.

Lamb and White Lamb, west side of Washington Street, between West and Boylston streets, on the site of the Adams House, the original lot of Richard Brocket, which he deeds to Jacob Leger in 1638; and Ann Leger, widow, to John Blake in 1664; Blake to Edward Durant in 1694; Durant to Jonathan Waldo the southern part in 1713-14; Jonathan Waldo, Jr., to Samuel Cookson in 1780; Cookson to Joel Crosby in 1795. In 1798 Joel Crosby was the owner and occupier of the Lamb Tavern. A wooden building of two stories, twenty-four windows, value $4200. In 1738 it was mentioned in the Town Records, and in 1782 Augustus Moor was licensed there.

Lighthouse, 1766, mentioned in the Town Records. It was not far from the Old North Meeting House.

Lion, Sign of, Washington Street, between Winter and Boylston streets. 1796 Henry Vose (innholder).

Logwood Tree, Sign of, south side of Commercial Street, between Hanover and North streets. The lot of John Seabury in the Book of Possessions, which he deeds to Alex Adams in 1645, Adams to Nathaniel Fryer in 1653-54, and Fryer to John Scarlet in 1671. Scarlet to Joseph Parminter in 1671-72. In 1734-35 Hannah Emmes, sister of Parminter, conveys to John Read the house known as the “Sign of the Logwood Tree”; Read to Thomas Bently in 1744, and Bently to Joshua Bently 1756. In 1798 it was [Pg 115]occupied by Captain Caswell. A wooden house, two stories, fourteen windows, value $1000. In 1732 mentioned in the Town Records. See also Queen’s Head.


THE LAMB TAVERN (The Adams House Site)


Marlborough Arms and Marlborough Head, south side of State Street, east of Kilby Street. In 1640 William Hudson was allowed to keep an ordinary. His son conveys this in 1648 to Francis Smith, and Smith to John Holland. Judith Holland conveys to Thomas Peck in 1656; Thomas Peck, Jr., to James Gibson, 1711. In 1722 Mary Gibson deeds to her children “house named Marlborough next the Grapes.” James Gibson to Roger Passmore, 1741; Passmore to Simon Eliot, 1759; Eliot to Leonard, 1760; Jarvis to Benjamin Parker, 1766; John Erving acquires and deeds to William Stackpole, 1784. In 1798 it had been converted into a brick store. Elisha Odling was licensed in 1720, Sarah Wormal in 1721, and Elizabeth Smith 1722.

Mitre, east side of North Street, at the head of Hancock Wharf (Lewis Wharf), between Sun Court and Fleet Street. The lot of Samuel Cole in the Book of Possessions, which he conveys to George Halsey in 1645; Halsey to Nathaniel Patten, 1654; Patten to Robert Cox, 1681; Cox to John Kind, 1683-84; Jane Kind to Thomas Clarke (pewterer), 1705-06; Clarke to John Jeffries, 1730. His nephew David Jeffries inherits in 1778, from whom it went to Joseph Eckley and wife Sarah (Jeffries). In 1782 heirs of John Jeffries owned house “formerly the Mitre Tavern.” In 1798 the house had been taken down.

Noah’s Ark, southwest corner North and Clarke streets. The early possession of Capt. Thomas Hawkins. He was lost at sea, and his widow married (2) John Fenn and (3) Henry Shrimpton. In 1657 William Phillips conveys to Mary Fenn the house called Noah’s Ark, the property of her first husband Thomas Hawkins, and which her son-in-law John Aylett had mortgaged to William Hudson, by[Pg 116] whom it was sold to William Phillips. In 1657 Mary Fenn conveys to George Mountjoy, and in 1663 Mountjoy to John Vial. In 1695 Vial deeds to Thomas Hutchinson. In 1713 the house was known as Ship Tavern, heretofore Noah’s Ark, in part above and in part below the street called Ship Street.

North Coffee-House, North Street. Dec. 12, 1702, Edward Morrell was licensed.

North End Coffee-House, northwest side of North Street, between Sun Court and Fleet Street. The land of Capt. Thomas Clarke in the Book of Possessions. Elisha Hutchinson and wife Elizabeth (Clarke) inherit. Edward Hutchinson conveys to Thomas Savage in 1758. John Savage inherits, and deeds to Joseph Tahon in 1781, Tahon to Robert Wier in 1786, Wier to John May in 1795 the “North End Coffee-House.” In 1782 Capt. David Porter was licensed to keep a tavern at the North End Coffee-House. In 1798 John May was owner and occupier. A brick house, three stories, forty-five windows, value $4500.

Orange Tree, northeast corner of Hanover and Court streets. Land first granted to Edmund Jackson, Thomas Leader acquires before 1651, and his heirs deed to Bozoon Allen in 1678. Allen conveys in 1700 to Francis Cook “the Orange Tree Inn.” Benjamin Morse and wife Frances (Cook) inherit. John Tyng and wife Mary (Morse), daughter of Benjamin, inherit. John Marshall and other heirs of Tyng owners in 1785 and 1798, when it was unoccupied. A wooden house, three stories, fifty-three windows, value $4000. In 1712 Jonathan Wardell, who had married Frances (Cook), widow of Benjamin Morse, was licensed, and from 1724 to 1746 Mrs. Wardell was licensed.

Peacock, west side of North Street, between Board Alley and Cross Street, on the original estate of Sampson Shore, who conveyed to Edwin Goodwin in 1648, and he to[Pg 117] Nathaniel Adams. In 1707-08 Joseph and other children of Nathaniel Adams deed to Thomas Harris house and land near the Turkey or Peacock. In 1705 Elihu Warden owns a shop over against the Peacock Tavern. Sept. 26, 1709, Thomas Lee petitions to keep a victualling house at a hired house which formerly was the Sign of the Turkie Cock.

Peggy Moore’s Boarding House, southwest corner of Washington and Boylston streets. On the original estate of Jacob Eliot. His daughter Hannah Frary inherits, Abigail (Frary) Arnold inherits, and then Hannah (Arnold), wife of Samuel Welles. In 1798 Samuel Welles owner, and he with Mrs. Brown and Peggy Moore occupiers. A wooden house, two stories, and seventy-one windows, value $10,000.

Pine Tree, Dock Square. In 1785 Capt. Benjamin Gorham was licensed on Dock Square, at the house known by the name of the Pine Tree Tavern. Gorham bought a house in 1782 of John Steel Tyler and wife Mary (Whitman), situated on northwest side of North Street, between Cross Street and Scott Alley, which he sold in 1786 to John Hinckley.

Punch Bowl, Sign of the, Dock Square. 1789 Mrs. Baker (innholder).

Queen’s Head, Fleet Street. April 19, 1728, Anthony Young petitions to remove his license from the Salutation in Ship Street to the Sign of the Swan in Fleet Street, and set up the Sign of the Queen’s Head there. Nov. 28, 1732, Joseph Pearse petitions to remove his license from the house where he lives, the Sign of the Logwood Tree in Lynn Street, to the house near Scarlett’s Wharf at the Sign of the Queen’s Head, where Anthony Young last dwelt.

Red Cross, southwest corner of North and Cross streets. In 1746 John Osborn (innholder) bought land of Tolman Farr, to whom it had descended from Barnabas Fawer, who[Pg 118] bought it of Valentine Hill in 1646. The children of Osborn sold it in 1756 to Ichabod Jones, whose son John Coffin Jones inherited.

Red Lyon, northeast corner of North and Richmond streets. Nicholas Upshall was the owner in 1644. Nov. 9, 1654, Francis Brown’s house was near the Red Lyon. Joseph Cock and wife Susannah (Upshall) inherit half in 1666, Edward Proctor and wife Elizabeth (Cock) inherit in 1693-94 half of the Red Lyon Inn, John Proctor deeds to Edward Proctor in 1770, Proctor to Charles Ryan in 1790, Ryan to Thomas Kast in 1791, Kast to Reuben Carver in 1794. In 1798 William T. Clapp was occupier. A brick and wooden dwelling, three and two stories, twenty-four windows, value $2500. In 1763 mentioned in the Town Records.

Red Lyon, Washington Street, see Lion. 1798 James Clark (innholder).

Rising Sun, Washington Street, between School and Winter streets. 1800 Luther Emes (innholder).

Roebuck, east side of Merchants’ Row (Swing Bridge Lane) a grant of land to Leonard Buttles in 1648-49. He sold to Richard Staines in 1655, whose widow Joyce Hall deeds to Thomas Winsor in 1691; Winsor mortgages to Giles Dyer in 1706, who deeds the same year to Thomas Loring; Loring to John Barber in 1712; Barber to John Pim in 1715. Samuel Wright and wife Mary (Pim) inherit. Jane Moncrief acquires, and conveys to William Welch in 1793, Welch to William Wittington in 1794. In 1798 William Wittington, Jr., was the occupier. House of brick and wood, three stories, nineteen windows, value $2500. In 1776 Elizabeth Wittington was licensed as an innholder at the Roebuck, Dock Square. In 1790 William Wittington at the Sign of the Roebuck was next to John Sheppard.

Roebuck, Battery March. July 29, 1702, house of[Pg 119] Widow Salter at the Sign of the Roebuck, nigh the South Battery.

Rose and Crown, southwest corner of State and Devonshire streets. Thomas Matson was an early owner of the land. He deeds to Henry Webb in 1638, Webb to Henry Phillips in 1656-57. His widow Mary deeds to her son Samuel “the Rose and Crown” in 1705-06, Gillum Phillips to Peter Faneuil in 1738, George Bethune and wife Mary (Faneuil) to Abiel Smith in 1787. In 1798 a brick house, three stories, forty-four windows, value $9000. Dec. 29, 1697, a lane leading from the Rose and Crown Tavern (Devonshire Street).

Royal Exchange, State Street, see Exchange.

Salutation, northeast corner of North and Salutation streets. James Smith acquired the land at an early date. He deeds to Christopher Lawson, and Lawson to William Winburne in 1664; Winburne to John Brookins in 1662 “the Salutation Inn.” Elizabeth, widow of Brookins, married (2) Edward Grove, who died in 1686, and (3) William Green. In 1692 William Green and wife Elizabeth convey to William Phipps house called the Salutation. Spencer Phipps inherits in 1695, Phipps to John Langdon in 1705, the heirs of Langdon to Thomas Bradford in 1766, Bradford to Jacob Rhodes in 1784, house formerly “the Two Palaverers.” In 1798 it was occupied by George Singleton and Charles Shelton. A wooden house, two stories, thirty-five windows, value $2500. In 1686 Edward Grove was licensed, Samuel Tyley in 1711, Elisha Odling 1712, John Langdon, Jr., 1714. In 1715 he lets to Elisha Odling, Arthur Young 1722, Samuel Green 1731, Edward Drinker 1736. In 1757 called Two Palaverers. William Campbell licensed 1764, Francis Wright 1767, Thomas Bradford 1782, Jacob Rhodes 1784.

Schooner in Distress and Sign of the Schooner,[Pg 120] North Street, between Cross and Richmond streets. 1761 mentioned in the Town Records.

Seven Stars, northwest corner of Summer and Hawley streets. The possession of John Palmer. His widow Audrey deeds to Henry Rust in 1652; Rust to his son Nathaniel, 1684-85; Nathaniel to Robert Earle, 1685; Earle to Thomas Banister, 1698, house being known by the name of Seven Stars; Samuel Banister to Samuel Tilly, 1720; Tilly to William Speakman, 1727; Speakman to Leonard Vassal, 1728; Vassal to John Barnes and others for Trinity Church.

Ship, North Street, see Noah’s Ark.

Ship, Washington Street, see Cole’s Inn.

Ship, Sign of, west side of North Street, between Sun Court and Fleet Street. The original possession of Thomas Joy, who sold to Henry Fane, and Fane to Richard Way in 1659-60, Thomas Kellond 1777, Robert Bronsdon 1678-79, William Clarke 1707-08, Joseph Glidden 1728, and his heirs to John Ballard 1781. In 1789 John Ballard was innkeeper here. The Executor of Ballard conveys to John Page, and Page to George R. Cushing of Hingham in 1797. In 1798 it was a wooden building, three stories, twenty-nine windows, value $1850, and occupied by Ebenezer Knowlton, Ziba French, and John Daniels.

Shippen’s Crane, Dock Square. 1739 John Ballard licensed as retailer.

Star, northwest corner of Hanover and Union streets. The lot of John Davis in the Book of Possessions. He deeds to John Trotman in 1645, whose wife Katherine deeds on the same day to Thomas Hawkins. In 1671 Hawkins mortgages to Sampson Sheafe, and in 1671-72 the property is delivered to Sheafe. 1672-73 Sheafe conveys to John Howlet, and in 1676 Susannah, wife of Howlet, deeds to Andrew Neale. 1709-10 the heirs of[Pg 121] Neale deed to John Borland house by the name of “the Star,” now occupied by Stephen North and Charles Salter. John Borland inherits 1727. Jonathan Simpson and wife Jane (Borland) convey to William Frobisher in 1787. In 1798 it was a wooden house, two stories, twenty-eight windows, value $3000. Frobisher and Thomas Dillaway were the occupiers. 1699 the fore street leading to Star Inn mentioned. 1700 house near the Star Ale House. In 1722 John Thing was licensed. 1737 house formerly the Star Tavern in Union Street.

State’s Arms, Washington Street. See King’s Arms.

Sun, Faneuil Hall Square. In the Book of Possessions Edward Bendall had house and garden here. He mortgaged to Symon Lynde, who took possession in 1653. His son Samuel Lynde inherits in 1687, and his heirs make a division in 1736. Joseph Gooch and others convey to Joseph Jackson in 1769 the Sun Tavern. Jackson’s widow Mary inherits in 1796 and occupied the house with others in 1798, when it was a brick house, three stories, twenty-two windows, value $8000. 1694-95 street running to the dock by the Sun Tavern. 1699-1700 now occupied by James Meeres. 1709 owned by Samuel Lynde, now in possession of Thomas Phillips. 1757 Capt. James Day was licensed.

Sun, west side of Washington Street, between Brattle and Court streets. In 1782 Gillum Taylor deeds his estate to John Hinckley bounded south by the land in possession of Benjamin Edes, late the Sun Tavern.

Swan, west side of Commercial Street, near the Ferry. In 1651 Thomas Rucke mortgages his house called The Swan, which he bought of Christopher Lawson in 1648, and he of Thomas Buttolph, who was the original owner.

Swan, Sign of the, see Queen’s Head. In 1708 Fish Street (North Street) extends to the Sign of the Swan by Scarlett’s Wharf.

[Pg 122]Swann, locality not stated. 1777 mentioned in Town Records.

Three Crowns, North Street, between Cross and Richmond streets. 1718 Thomas Coppin licensed. 1735 mentioned in the Town Records.

Three Horse Shoes, west side of Washington Street, between School and Bromfield streets. The original possession of William Aspinwall, who deeds land to John Angier in 1652. The heirs of Edmund Rangier to William Turner in 1697. Turner to George Sirce in 1713. William Gatcomb and wife Mary (Sirce) inherit. In 1744 Philip Gatcomb mortgages house known by the Sign of the Three Horse Shoes; William Gatcomb to Gilbert Deblois, Jr., in 1784; Lewis Deblois to Christopher Gore, 1789; Gore to James Cutler and Jonathan Amory, 1793; Cutler to Jonathan Amory, Jr., 1797.

Three Mariners, south side of Faneuil Hall Square. The original possession of Isaac Grosse. Thomas Grosse conveys to Joseph Pemberton in 1679, and Joseph to Benjamin Pemberton in 1701-02 “the Three Mariners.” In 1701-02 occupied by Edward Bedford. In 1712 the executor of Benjamin Pemberton deeds to Benjamin Davis the house known by the name of the “Three Mariners.” In 1723 the house of Elizabeth, widow of Benjamin Davis, known as “Bear Tavern,” conveyed to Henry Whitten, Whitten to John Hammock in 1734-35, Ebenezer Miller and wife Elizabeth (Hammock) to William Boyce in 1772, Boyce to William Stackpole in 1795 the house known as the “Bear Tavern.” In 1798 it was a wooden house, three stories, fourteen windows, value $5000, and occupied by Peter Richardson. In the nineteenth century it was known as the “Bite.”

Three Mariners, at the lower end of State Street. 1719 Thomas Finch licensed.


THE SUN TAVERN (Dock Square) ABOUT 1900


[Pg 123]Turkie Cock, see Peacock.

Two Palaverers, see Salutation.

Union Flag, Battery March. 1731 William Hallowell’s house, known by the name of Union Flag. Possibly not a tavern.

Vernon’s Head and Admiral Vernon, northeast corner of State Street and Merchants’ Row. The early possession of Edward Tyng, who sold to James Everill 1651-52, and he to John Evered alias Webb in 1657. Webb conveyed to William Alford in 1664. Peter Butler and wife Mary (Alford) inherit, and deed to James Gooch in 1720. In 1760 John Gooch conveys to Tuthill Hubbard the “Vernon’s Head.” In 1798 it was a brick store. In 1745 Richard Smith was licensed, Thomas Hubbard 1764. In 1766 William Taunt, who has been at the Admiral Vernon several years, prays for a recommendation for keeping a tavern at the large house lately occupied by Potter and Gregory near by. Sarah Bean licensed 1774, Nicholas Lobdell 1776 and 1786, John Bryant 1790.

White Bear, Sign of, location not stated. 1757 mentioned in the Town Records.

White Horse, west side of Washington Street, between West and Boylston streets. Land owned by Elder William Colburne in the Book of Possessions. Moses Paine and wife Elizabeth (Colburne) inherit. Thomas Powell and wife Margaret (Paine) inherit. In 1700 Powell conveys to Thomas Brattle the inn known as the White Horse. William Brattle mortgages to John Marshall in 1732, and Marshall deeds to Jonathan Dwight in 1740. William Bowdoin recovers judgment from Dwight and conveys to Joseph Morton in 1765; Morton to Perez Morton, 1791. In 1798 it was occupied by Aaron Emmes. A wooden house, two stories, twenty-six windows, value $9000. In 1717 Thomas Chamberlain was licensed, William Cleeres in 1718,[Pg 124] Mrs. Moulton 1764, Israel Hatch 1787, Joseph Morton 1789, Aaron Emmes 1798.

White Horse, Sign of the, Cambridge Street, near Charles River Bridge. 1789 Moses Bradley (innkeeper).


The TOWN of BOSTON in New England by Capt John Bonner 1722
Larger Image




[1] Cordis’s bill for a dinner given by Governor Hancock to the Fusileers at this house in 1792 is a veritable curiosity in its way:—

    £   s.   p.
136 Bowls of Punch   15   6
80 Dinners   8
21 Bottles of Sherry   4   14   6
  Brandy       2   6

[2] A punch-bowl on which is engraved the names of seventeen members of the old Whig Club is, or was, in the possession of R. C. Mackay of Boston. Besides those already mentioned, Dr. Church, Dr. Young, Richard Derby of Salem, Benjamin Kent, Nathaniel Barber, William Mackay, and Colonel Timothy Bigelow of Worcester were also influential members. The Club corresponded with Wilkes, Saville, Barré, and Sawbridge,—all leading Whigs, and all opponents of the coercive measures directed against the Americans.

[3] Liberty Tree grew where Liberty Tree Block now stands, corner of Essex and Washington Streets.

[4] The name of a room at Julien’s.



Text of Illustrations:


Daniel Jones of Boston,
Hereby informs his Customers and others that he has
Opened a TAVERN in Newbury-Street,
at the Sign of the HAT and HELMET, which is less
than a Quarter of a Mile South of the Town-House:
Where Gentlemen Travellers and others will be kind-
ly entertained, and good Care taken of their Horses.

He hath Accommodation for private and Fire-
Clubs, and will engage to furnish with good Liquors
and Attendance: Coffee to be had when called for, &c.

The House to be supplied with the News-Papers for
the Amusement of his Customers.

N. B. Knapp’d and plain Bever and Beveret Hats,
in the newest Taste, made and sold by said JONES.


The public are informed, that the Of-
fice of the New-York Mail, and Old Line Stages, is re-
oved from State-street, to Najor King’s tavern near the
Market, which they will leave at 8 o’clock, A. M. every
day (Sundays excepted). Also, Albany Stage Office is kept
at the same place. The Stage will leave it every Monday
and Thursday at 8 o’clock, A M.

The apartment in State-Street, lately occupied for the
above purpose, is to be let. Apply to Major King.

December 11


New-York and Providence Mail STAGES,
Leave Major Hatches, Royal Ex-
change Coffee House, in State-Street, every morning
at 8 o’clock, arrive at Providence at 6 the same day; leave
Providence at 4 o’clock, for New-York, Tuesdays, Thurs-
days and Saturdays. Stage Book kept at the bar for the en-
trance of the names. Expresses forwarded to any part of the
continent at the shortest notice, on reasonable terms; horses
kept ready for that purpose only. All favors gratefully ac-
knowledged by the Public’s most humble servant.



Jolley Allen,
Advertises all his good old Friends,
Customers and others,
That he has again opened Shop, opposite to the
Three Doves in Marlborough-Street, Boston:
And has for Sale, at the lowest Prices, the fol-
lowing Articles;

Muscovado Sugars of various Sorts
and Prices, single, middle and double refined
English Loaf Sugars, lately imported, Pepper,
Bohea Tea, Coffee, Spices of all Sorts, Indigo,
Raisins, Currants, Starch, Ginger, Copperas,
Allum, Pipes of all Sorts, best Durham Flour
of Mustard, and most other Kinds of Groceries
too many to enumerate, which he will sell from
the largest to the smallest Quantities.—Likewise
a very large and compleat Assortment of Liver-
pool and Staffordshire Ware, which he will
engage to sell by the Crate, or single Piece, as
low as any Store in Town.—Playing Cards,
Wool Cards, Seive Bottoms, a few Pieces of
Oznabrigs and Ticklenburgs, No.4 and No.12.
Pins, a few Pieces of Sooses, Damasks, Sterrets,
Loretto’s, Burdetts, Brunswicks, Mozeens,
for Summer Waistcoats, &c. &c. &c.

Also, at said Allen’s may be had, genteel
Boarding and Lodging for six or eight Persons
if should be wanted, for a longer or shorter Season,
likewise good Stabling for ten Horses and Car-

N. B. If any Person inclines to hire the above
Stable, and Place for Carriages, they may have
a Lease of the same for 19 Years or less Time
from the said Allen, and if wanted, on the same
Premises can be spared, Room for forty or fifty
Horses and Carriages: It is as good a Place for
Horse and Chaise Letting as any in Boston.




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