History of the General Greene Inn

 

The following history covers the period up to 1918.  It was scanned into the computer using optical character recognition and then carefully proof read.  It was then converted into HTML format so it could be posted on the web.  The paging and line lengths conform to the original while the space between lines is greater. 

Information about the Inn since 1918 will be posted on this site in the future.

 

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HISTORY

 

OF

The Gen'l Greene Inn

 

BUCKINGHAM, PA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the Old York Road, the Ancient Highway from

Philadelphia to New York — An Inn for Over

150 Years—Conducted by Harvey K. Crout-

hamel — From a Paper by Warren S.

Ely, Read before the Bucks County

Historical Society

 

 

 

 

 

 

1918

The Ivy Press

Ivyland, Pa.

 

 

 

 

 

BUCKINGHAM TOWNSHIP was without a tavern

within its borders for a longer period after its settle-

ment than any other township in the county. The

first petition for license within the township of which we

have a record was in 1748, when Benjamin Kinsey sought

to obtain a "recommendation to his Excellency the Governor"

to keep a house of entertainment at the present village of

Holicong, "where one part of Durham Road crosses York

Road, that leads from Canby's Ferry to Philadelphia, and

neare the road that leads from said York Road to Butler's .

Mill and North Wales." This petition, though numerously

signed by his brethren and Quaker neighbors, the Byes,

Pearsons, Scarbroughs, Shaws, Browns and others, was

turned down, as were a number of other applications for

several years following.

At the sessions of Court held June 11th, 1752, George

Hughes, of Buckingham, presented his petition for recom-

mendation for license to keep a house of entertainment where

he lived, at the junction of the York and Durham Roads,

and his petition was "Allowed." This was the first tavern

in Buckingham, and stood where the farmhouse on the

Hughesian farm now stands. At this time the nearest tav-

erns were Canby's, at the Ferry, now New Hope, on the

east; Joseph Smith's, at Wrightstown, on the southeast;

Neshaminy bridge, on the south; Doyle's, on the north-

west, and Patrick Poe's "Sign of the Plough," on the

north. Hughes does not seem to have been pleased with

the venture, as he did not renew his application until eleven

years later. At the June sessions, 1763, he again petitions

for a license. This later petition is supplemented by a

numerously signed recommendation of his neighbors and

others, setting forth that "Where George Hughes is living

is a suitable and convenient place for a publick House of

Entertainment, and where one is very much wanted, and

he having put himself to a considerable expence in buildings

and prepareing of other necessaries to enable him to under-

take the business, they make bold to pray the Court would

be pleased to grant such recommendation, &c." To this

paper appear the names of sixty-seven persons, comprising

most of the adjacent landowners and a few from Wrights-

town, Warwick and Solebury. Among them were the

names Fell, Gillingham, Parry, Brown, Church, Fenton,

Chapman, Watson, Bye, Blaker, Ely, and many other

names still familiar in the neighborhood.

At the same sessions of Court the petition of Henry

Jamison was presented, setting forth that the petitioner

"hath lately purchased the House and Plantation of Samuel

Blaker, adjoining the roads that lead from Philadelphia to

New York and from Newtown to Durham," and asks that

                                          -1-

 

 

he be recommended to the Governor to obtain a license, &c.

Like the petition of Hughes,. this one has appended to it the

following supplement: "The undersigned are acquainted

with Henry Jamison and believe him to be a proper person

to keep a House of Entertainment * * * that there is

no tavern within foure miles, &c." This recommendation

is signed by John Gregg, then Sheriff of the County;

John Ellicott, who became Sheriff four years later; Samuel

Harrold, William Corbet, Euclides Scarbrough, Mathew

McMinn, Thomas, Samuel and Benjamin Kinsey, nine in

all, and all with the exception of the Kinseys and Ellicott,

like the petitioner, of Scotch-Irish origin. This petition was

"allowed " and Hughes' is marked "rejected."

          Henry Jamison was born in the neighboring township of

Warwick in the year 1729, only a few years after the arrival

of his father, grandfather and uncles from County Tyrone,

Ireland.

          The "Plantation" referred to in the petition comprised

166 acres, embracing the present farm of Joseph Anderson

and all the land lying between it and the York Road. It

was a part of the 1000 acres "back in the woods" which

Richard Lundy received in exchange for 200 acres on the

Delaware, in the year 1688. The 1000 acres, of which the

166 acres were a part, were conveyed by Lundy to Francis

Rossel, in 1692, who devised it to the sons of his friend

Samuel Burgess. John Burgess conveyed it to Leonard

Pearson in 1702, who, in the following year, conveyed a

one-half interest therein to his brother, Enoch Pearson, re-

serving to the heirs of the said Lawrence Pearson "the

right to get limestone for their own use, with free ingress

and egress to fetch the same." The Pearsons conveyed to

Robert Saunders, he to Benjamin Hopper. Hopper to James

Lennox in 1724, Lennox to Thomas Canby in 1729, and

Canbv to Samuel Blaker in 1747. As the home of Thomas

Canbv, a prominent Friend, a Justice of the Peace and

member of Colonial Assembly, it became a place of noted

hospitality and local prominence.

          Under the administration of Mine Host Jamison and his

enterprising wife Marv, supposed to have been the sister of

Sheriff Gregg, the Buckingham Inn became profitable.

No complaint came from his Quaker neighbors, and we

find it soon became a popular stopping and meeting place

for local, county and State officials, it being a sort of "Half-

way House" between the county seat and the upper parts

of the county. Henry Jamison died on June 20th, 1766,

and the license was transferred to his widow, Mary Jami-

son, on September 15th, 1767, and she continued as the

popular hostess until ten years later.

          In the Fall of 1767 Mrs. Jamison petitioned the Court for

                                            -2-

 

 

 

 

the sale of her husband‘s real estate, and herself became

the purchaser, through the medium of John Gregg, then a

resident of New Jersey, who officiated as the "straw man,"

taking the title from the widow as administratrix and trans-

ferring it back to her as femme sole.

In the winter of 1772 the jolly landlady took unto herself

a new mate in the person of one John Bogart, presumably

a son or grandson of Guysbert Bogart, Sr., of Solebury

township, a "Knickerbocker" who had migrated from the

Dutch settlement upon the Raritan to Solebury about 1740,

and in 1742 purchased of the Canbys a large tract of land

just across the Buckingham line, at Lahaska. Jacob

Bogart. Esq., was one of the Justices who recommended

the granting of the license to Jamison in 1763, and Guys-

bert Bogart was an innkeeper at "fforks of Delawar"

(Easton) in 1750. , . ,

It was as "Bogart’s Tavern" that the inn was known

during the early part of the Revolution, the license having

been issued in his name in 1773, and successively until 1777.

Under date of August 15, 1773, a distinguished traveler

enters in his diary: "House at Jamison's neat and clean,

dinner indifferent, claret very bad."

The first meeting of the Bucks County Committee of

Safety, after its full organization by representatives from

each township, was held at Bogart's Tavern on July 21st,

1775, at which the field officers of the Associated Companies

of the county were selected. This was one of the most im-

portant meetings ever held in the county, as it was the first

organized movement toward arming for the conflict with

the mother country. Then it was that the leaders realized

that pacific protests were unavailable. It represented the

parting of the ways between the non-combatants and those

who had determined to enforce their rights by force of arms

if necessary. Therefore, a number of persons who had

been selected to represent their townships in the Committee,

"being of the people called Quakers and others, alleging

scruples of conscience relative to the business necessarily

transacted by the Committee, desired to be released from

further attendance." Among those who retired at this

meeting were Jacob Strawn, of Haycock; John Wilkinson,

of Wrightstown; Thomas Foulke, of Richland; Jonathan

lngham, of Solebury; John Chapman, of Upper Makefield;

Joseph Watson, of Buckingham, and Thomas Jenks, of

Middletown, Quakers, and Abraham Stout, of Rockhill, a

Mennonite. Their places were directed to be filled by elec-

tion prior to the next meeting of the Committee, on August

21st. At the following meeting John Lacey, later the dis-

tinguished General, was returned in place of Wilkinson;

John Coryell, of Solebury, in place of Ingham, and William

                                       -3-

 

 

 

 

Carver, of Buckingham, in place of Joseph Watson. The

Treasurer reported having received donations for the people

of Boston amounting to 75 pounds, 4 shillings, 4 pence, and

had forwarded the same, producing the receipt of John

Adams, one of the Committee of the Town of Boston, for

that amount.

Complaint was made against several persons for remarks

derogatory of the Continental Congress and the Commit-

tee and the offenders were examined by special committees,

and the following is a sample of the refutation they signed,

which is entered in full on the minutes of the Committee:

Whereas, 1 have spoken injuriously of the distressed People of the

Town of Boston and disrespectfully of the measures prosecuting for the

redress of American grievances. I do hereby declare that 1 am heartily

sorry for what I have done, voluntarily renouncing: my former principles,

and promise for the future to render my conduct inexceptable to my

Countrymen by strictly adhering to the measures of Congress.

[Signed] THOMAS MEREDITH.

Thomas Smith, of Upper Makefield, was alleged to have

said that "measures of Congress had already enslaved

America and done more damage than all the Acts of Par-

liament were intended to lay upon us, and the whole revolt

was nothing but a scheme of hot-headed Prasbyterians

* * * that the devil was at the bottom of the whole

of it * * * that taking up arms was the most scan-

dalous thing a man could be guilty of, and more heinous

than a hundred of the grossest offences against the law."

A resolution was adopted denouncing him and declaring

that "he be considered as an enemy of the rights of British

America and that all persons break off every kind of deal-

ing with him until he shall make proper satisfaction to the

Committee for his conduct."

Smith appeared at the next meeting, September 11, 1775,

and expressed his sorrow for imprudent expressions and

promised such support as was consistent with the principles

of Friends.

The meetings of the Committee were held at Bogart's

each month almost continuously during the years 1775-6,

and the minutes of their proceedings give abundant proof

of the zeal and patriotism of the members.

Bogart’s Tavern was not only the headquarters of the

Committee of Safety, but of many of the Associated Com-

panies of this section of the county, and the old roadside

inn. has no doubt witnessed the evolutions of many an

awkward squad of raw recruits training for service in the

defence of their country. A tragic incident that occurred

at one of these trainings is related by one of our local his-

torians. A training was in progress at the public house of

John Bogart on August 14, 1775,when Robert Poque (Polk)

and John Shannon, two embryo patriots from the neighbor-

                                                     -4-

 

 

ing township of Warwick, repaired to the house of William

Ely,. now the home of Albert S. Paxson,. to borrow a gun

to use in the muster then going on, and having, obtained

the. Gun, Shannon, in giving an exhibition of. the exercise

of training, accidentally discharged the firearm, the contents

striking Polk in the throat, killing him instantly. The-

Polks (the name then variously spelled "Poque," "Poak,"

"Poke") were at that date large land owners near Hartsville,

and had emigrated from Carrickfergus, Ireland, in 1725,

and were without doubt of the same lineage as President

James K. Polk, one of the brothers having the same given

name as the ancestor of the President, having removed from

Bucks County to the South about 1740.

The inn has not been without frequent glimpses of the main

branch of the Continental Army under the "great Com-

mander-in-chief himself. The movements of Washington

and his army up and down the York Road to and from the

Delaware are too much a matter of history to need treat-

ment here.

General Greene, when charged by Washington with the

care and safety of the boats on the river in December, 1776,

when our country was threatened with an invasion by the

British troops from New Jersey, evidently had his head-

quarters for a time at Bogart’s, as he writes from there un-

der date of December 10, 1776, to General Ewing to send

sixteen Durham boats and four flats down to McKonkey‘s

ferry.

The Bogarts seem to have been very zealous in the cause

of independence, perhaps a little overzealous in reporting to

the Committee irrelevant and irresponsive remarks make

over a convivial cup at the bar, as in at least one case re-

ported by Mrs. Bogart the Committee decided that the

"matter spoken and the speaker were both too insignificant

for the notice of this Committee."

There is little doubt that certain members of the Society

of Friends, the dominant class in this community, who

only sought to avoid taking up arms for reasons of religious

conviction, suffered considerable injustice at the hands of a

class of men suddenly elevated to authority and actuated

as much by a spirit of jealousy as of patriotism.

The Bogarts disposed of the "Tavern and Plantation" to

William Bennett, of Wrightstown, in April,1777, and the

license was issued to him in that year, and continuously:

until 1794, when he rented the tavern property to Robert

Meldrum, who continued as landlord until 1797.

On April 1, 1797, Bennett conveyed the tavern and fifteen

acres, comprising the present lot on the south side of the

York Road, to Josiah Addis. The York Road at that date

swerved to the right in front of the hotel, leaving "Lundy’s

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line," and wound in a long loop round the Pond, striking

its present route again near its intersection with Broadhurst’s

lane. Bennett conveyed that part of the tract lying across

the York Road, now occupied by Frank Day's hall, shops,

&c. to Jonathan Large, and when the turnpike was laid

out, practically on Lundy's line, the line of the land re-

mained unchanged.

The title and license of the tavern changed again in the

Spring of 1805, when Josiah Addis conveyed it to Cor-

nelius Van Horn and John Marple. The license was issued

to Van Horn, and he purchased Marple's interest in the

real estate in 1809, and continued as proprietor until his

death, in February, 1814. His executors conveyed the

property, on April 1, 1814, to ex-Sheriff Elisha Wilkinson,

who remained the owner at his death in February, 1846.

Colonel Wilkinson, as he was familiarly known, was a

son of John Wilkinson, before referred to, and had already

had several years' experience as an innkeeper. He came

to Buckingham from Newtown in 1805, having purchased

the tavern property now known as "The Bush," which he

kept until after his election in 1809. He sold it in 1811.

He removed to the Centreville tavern in the Spring of 1814,

and remained there for a period of 22 years. In the Spring

of 1836 he rented the tavern to Samuel B. Willett, who

kept it for the next two years, and was succeeded by Isaac

McCarty, in 1838; he by Samuel Thatcher, who was the

tenant at the date of Colonel Wilkinson's death in 1846.

The tavern was sold by the administrator of Wilkinson in

1846 to James Vansant, who probably never occupied it,

and dying about 1848, devised it to Edward Vansant, who

held the license until 1852, when he sold the property to

Casper Yeager, of Philadelphia. The latter kept the hotel

until July, 1856, when he conveyed it to Francis B. Davis,

who sold it the following year to William Corson, who,

after six years' occupancy, conveyed it to Peter L. Righter,

on March 31, 1863.

The property remained in the possession of the Righter

family for a period of 46 years. On the death of Peter L.

Righter, in October, 1891, the license was transferred to his

son, John R. Righter, who conducted the place until April

3, 1907,. when the license was taken out by John R. Ely, a

grandson of the elder Righter. On April 5, 1909, the prop-

erty came- into the possession of Harvey K. Crouthamel,

who now holds the title and is "Mine Host" of "The

Gen‘l Greene Inn," as the house is known at the present

Time.

          While under the administration of Samuel B. Willett,

Edward Hicks was employed to paint an elaborate sign

representing Penn treating with the Indians, which was

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erected upon a pole in front of the tavern, where it remained

for many years, and during which period the inn was called

"The Sign of Penn‘s Treaty." Later it was known as

"The Sign of Gen. Washington."

This in brief is the official history of the ancient hos-

telry, now over 150 years old. Its appearance to-day is

greatly changed from that of 100 years ago, it having been

entirely remodeled in 1870. Though the original walls re-

main, the long sloping roof was replaced by a mansard

roof. "The old grill room has been restored by the present

owner as it was originally, containing the open fireplace and

old bake oven, with tiled floor. This was the room occu-

pied by General Greene as his headquarters, and is called

"The General Greene Room."

                                     

 

 

 

                  

 

 

 

 

                            Xerox made January 2, 1990

                           A. L. Davison Jr.

                           Stockton, New Jersey

 

 

                                                    -7-

There is mention of the General Greene Inn on the Buckingham Township, Pennsylvania Website.  Click this link to go to the Buckingham Township Website.

Edna's Antique Shop                                                                

4705 York Road

P. O. Box 4218

Buckingham, PA 18912-4218

mail@ednasantiqueshop.com 

215-794-7261                                         

 

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