(Continued From Yesterday)
This was in the old Workman homestead, still standing on the north side
of East Maiden street; but during the pike era it was outside of Washington.
Searight says that George Ringland kept a wagon stand here as early as 1824,
but I have found no other record of him at this location. According to other
information this house was erected in 1824, by Hugh Workman, owner of several
hundred acres of land, for his daughter, Elizabeth, who had married John
Sample. For many years the Samples conducted a wagon stand, one of the attractions
being a large wagon yard. Its days as a tavern ceased about 1844 or shortly
afterwards. Until recent years the old signboard reading “Samples
Hotel” was stored in the cellar. Perhaps it is still there. At the time of his
daughter’s marriage Hugh Workman lived in a large frame dwelling. In South
Mail street that later became the first passenger station of the Baltimore and Ohio
Railroad. John and Elizabeth Sample were the grandparents of the late David Sample,
remembered as the founder of Sample’s Taxi.
Hugh Wilson, son of James Wilson, first tavern keeper, was licensed in
September 1789. This was probably at the southwest corner of South Main and
West Cherry avenue, on the site of the Washington County Fire Insurance building.
Hugh Wilson owned this lot and erected a brick house on the corner, where he
probably kept his tavern. About 1857it was purchased by Michael Waldron, who
conducted a hotel there for several years. Henry Brown, who died in 1927 at the age
of nearly 100 years, once told me that he well remembered when Michael Waldron
purchased 100 barrels of whisky in Cincinnati for 12 ½ cents a gallon. The liquor
was shipped up the Ohio River to Wheeling and then hauled over the pike to
Washington. Waldron had no place in which to store it at the time, and he piled
the barrels in Cherry alley at the side of his tavern where they remained for several
weeks without a guard and not a drop was touched. He sold the whisky over his bar
at three cents a drink. It was cheaper to buy the liquor than to steal it.
SIGN OF THE GREEN TREE
This tavern was kept before 1808 by Thomas Officer. On November 14, 1808,
John McCluney took charge, and changed the name to “The Sign of the Indian Queen.”
In 1815 McCluney moved to the old house that stood on the side of the D.M. Donehoo
building., now owned by J.C. Bryant, McCluney took the name with him, and “The Sign
of the Indian Queen” became the headquarters of the Jackson Democrats.
The successor of McCluney when he left the old stand in 1815, is not known,
but he was probably John Chambers. At any rate the new proprietor changed
the name back to “The Sign of the Green Tree.” Chambers was the proprietor in 1821,
as shown by an advertisement in The Reporter of March 19.
Joseph T. Noble came from Brownsville and advertised that on April 1,
1821, he would open a house of entertainment at “The Sign of the Green Tree on the
1st of April next, at the present stand occupied by Mr. John Chambers at the
North-west (should be northeast) corner of Main and Beau streets, near
the Court House-Movers can be accommodated with private rooms.” How long Noble
remained is not known.
This location is still known as the Green Tree corner, named for a large
tree that stood on the corner in early days. In 1821 a new brick tavern was erected.
This stood until 1937 when the present modern structure was built by William
McKennan Smith and his brother, U Grant-Smith. At that time the old tavern well
was found beneath the sidewalk at the corner.
SIGN OF THE INDIAN QUEEN
John Johnson, who succeeded McCluney at this stand and conducted the
business for a long period, was known as “Landjobber” Johnson because he had
purchased a large tract of land on Miller’s run that was a part of the grant owned
by George Washington.
When the old building was torn down by D.W. Donehoo in 1889, an old
resident said that he came from Miller’s Run to play the fife in the parade from
the County Jail to Hallows Hill when William Crawford was hanged on February 21, 1823,
for the murder of his son, Henry. Crawford had been a British soldier in the War
of 1812, and when the son persisted against his father’s wishes n whistling “The
Blackbird,” the old man shot him. This was a patriotic song of American soldiers
during the war.
Major George McCormick was licensed in 1788. If one is to judge from an
entry in the journal of a Colonel John May this must have been a popular tavern,
for May says: “Thursday, August 7, 1788, set out from the hotel at 4 o’clock, and
at half-past 8 arrived at Maj. George McCormick’s in Washington, where we breakfasted.
This is an excellent house, where New England men put up.” It is a loss to history
that the colonel did not mention the inn where he spent the night. Nothing more
is known of the McCormick Tavern.
About 1800 John Kirk opened a tavern in Belle street, now Wheeling street.
In the early days the emigrant road to the west followed Belle street to Baltimore
avenue, and came out at West Chestnut street near the top of the hill. The pike was
built along Main street, but for several years the stage drivers followed Belle
street to avoid the Chestnut street hill. As the Wheeling stages went out and came
in over this route the name gradually became Wheeling street. Kirk’s Tavern,
the location of which is not know, is described as painted red and penciled in
imitation of brick.
SIGN OF THE RISING SUN
Located at the northeast corner of Main and Chestnut streets, where the
Basle Theater now stands, this was a leading hotel in its day. According to Searight,
the first proprietor was James Garrett, but the date he took charge is not known.
James Briceland succeeded him in 1822, but the next year he turned it back to
Garrett. John N. Dagg, the next proprietor, kept it until he purchased the Mansion
House in 1827.
SIGN OF THE GENERAL BROWN
The first proprietor of whom I have found a record was Enoch Miller, who
advertised in The Examiner of April 9, 1821, “that he has opened a house of entertainment,
in the West end of the Borough of Washington, in a large brick house nearly
opposite the Methodist meeting-house, on the National Turnpike.” The Methodist
meeting house stood at the southeast corner of West Chestnut and North Franklin
streets. From the description the General Brown was either on the opposite corner
or where the Devore Funeral Home is now located.
Miller’s advertisement states further” “Wagoners are informed that the
subscriber has opened a large Wagon Yard, with a well of water in the yard with.
The subscriber also informs them that they can be accommodated at the following
rates, viz: Oats at 18 ¾ cts. Per bushel, Hay at 12 ½ do. Per quarter, Victuals
and Drinks in proportion. Oats will be sold at 6 ¼ cents to horsemen, horst
to hay and oats 28 cents per night.”
Searight says that Miller was succeeded by Richard Donaldson.
SIGN OF THE FOUNTAIN INN
According to Searight, when Miller left the General Brown he immediately
opened the Fountain Inn in a brick building on Chestnut street, nearly opposite and
a few doors east of the General Brown. He remained two years or probably less, for
an advertisement in The Reporter of March 17, 1823, states that George Ringland
was the proprietor. Evidently this stand was not a success, for in The Reporter of
December 22, 1823, Alexander Reed advertised that this tavern stand was for rent.
All trace of it ceases with that advertisement.
This was a wagon stand with a large wagon yard at the side and rear, on
the site of the present Elks’ Lodge, opposite the seminary in East Maiden street.
The house was of brick, built at a very early date by Silas Pruden, who had a
brickyard where the seminary later stood. As near as can be learned James Workman
opened this tavern in 1797, and operated it until 1813. Richard Donaldson took charge
and conducted the business from 1815 until about 1823 when Workman returned,
to be succeeded about 1830 by Samuel Surratt. The next proprietor was Major
William Paull; but in 1836, its tavern days came to an end when the Washington
Seminary was started in this building.
SIGN OF THE FARMER’S INN, later THE BLACK BEAR
In September 1832, William J. Brown opened a tavern on the site of the
Observer Publishing Company building, probably in the old brick house that was
razed when The Reporter and The Observer plant was erected in 1922. Brown,
known as “Old Billy,” is described as a quaint character, and his tavern was
a favorite loading place.
A story has come down through the years that “Old Billy’ decided to change
the name to “The Sign of the Black Bear” and hired an artist to paint a new sign
with a picture of a large black bruin upon it. “Old Billy” beat the painter down
considerably in the price, which was probably low enough in the beginning; but
the artist got even, for the first rain washed the bear away. Brown angrily sent
for the artist, and after a heated argument the latter agreed to paint a bear that
would stay and in addition he would chain bruin to a post to make doubly sure.
“Old Billy” finally agreed to pat the artist’s price, and for many years this
black bear chained to a post was a familiar sign on South Main street.
SIGN OF THE COMMODORE O.H. PERRY
Little is know of this tavern, but it is more than probable that it
was the same as Workman’s, previously described. This opinion is based on the fact
that in April 1823. James Workman was the proprietor, for in that year he
succeeded Donaldson at the old Workman stand. Commodore Perry, the hero of the
naval battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812, was very popular in those days.
SIGN OF THE MERMAID
This tavern, kept by Jacob Molar, stood on the south side of West Wheeling
street, on the lot owned in later years by Charles Driehorst. It was headquarters
for Hibernians, and enjoyed a good patronage. Its career as a tavern ceased with
the passing of Moler.
The only information on this stand is found in an advertisement in
The Reporter of February 2, 1824, in which James M. Beath “will sell or
rent his tavern stand at the head of Main street, where the great road to
Burgettstown and the Pittsburgh turnpike leaves the street.” The house was brick
with a good kitchen, cellar and large stable. It is very probable that this
was the present building standing at the southeast corner of North Main and East
SIGN OF THE SPREAD EAGLE
On the site of the old Vowell Drug Store, which was razed when the George
Washington Hotel was built, Michael Kuntz opened a tavern in 1791. John Fisher
succeeded him in October, 1797, and later John Scott took charge. Nothing
more is known of its history.
MINIKEN, later, HARTMAN TAVERN
All that is known of this is found in an advertisement in The Reporter of
March 29, 1813, in which Libs Hartman announced that on March 31, “we will move
to the house now occupied by William Miniken, where he will supply boarding at
reduced rates. Hartman was located on part of the lot now occupied by the
Observer Publishing Company, for in a deed dated September 23, 1814, William
Sherrard owned the property where Libs Hartman was located, and the description
places it on that location.
JOHN DODD’S TAVERN
This was first opened in 1782 by John Dodd in a log house, located by
some authorities on the site of the A.B. Caldwell building, opposite the Courthouse.
After Dodd’s death in 1795, it was continued as a hotel, but the names of the
proprietors are not known until September 1, 1806, when John Wilson took charge.
He remained until 1812, but his successor is not known. On May 7, 1831, John Wilson
became the proprietor and remained for many years. He was evidently not the
John Wilson who had operated it from 1896 to 1812. When the new building of the
Citizens National Bank (now the Mellon Bank) was erected in 1910, it was stated
that the old brick building where Hastings’ Hardware store was located, had been
the Dodd and Wilson Tavern. That building was old enough.
CHARLES DODD’S TAVERN
In 1782 Charles Dodd, a brother of John, opened a tavern in a log building
on the site of the Strean building at the northwest corner of South Main street
and West Strawberry avenue. This was evidently standing in 1781, for part of
the second floor was leased to the County for court. The first County Jail
was a log building on the rear. Dodd continued in business until August 13,
1792, when he sold to Daniel Kehr; but after an unprofitable year of two he
returned to his trade as a shoemaker, an important business in those days.
All we know of this tavern is contained in an old advertisement, in
The Examiner of April 17, 1820, in which Henry Koch states that he,
“has removed to the house, at the corner of Main and Maiden streets, lately
occupied by Mr. John Fleming, where his Bakery and Porter House will be attended
to in such a way as to merit a continuance of public patronage.” It is a little
difficult to say from this meager information if this was actually a tavern.
John Fleming’s connection with this location leads to the belief that it was a house
of public entertainment, and he evidently went from there to the Philadelphia &
(To Be Continued)
For part 19 of The National Pike Story For part 21 of The National Pike Story