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Collection White Horse Tavern
Object Name Report
Title White Horse Tavern chain of title
Description Photocopies of five pages of handwritten notes taken by Theresa Beard, and a digital copy of a detail of 1779 map showing the "White Horse" location at the junction of the "Oaley road" and the "Main Road to Philadelphia", both as designated on a 1719 road survey drawing published in archive record MVFN1. Original notes refer to information researched by Mrs. Beard on the chain of title for the White Horse Tavern.

The designation "White Horse" appears as number 17 on the 1778 report of fords across the Schuylkill River with the description "White Horse Ford, Gerlin's [sic, Kerlin's "(John, Sr.)"] reciting a depth of "12 in." (near-drought level in 21st century conditions) (Montgomery, Morton, History of Berks County in Pennsylvania, (1886), p. 427.

In his journal of 1743, the surveyor Lewis Evans reports crossing the Schuylkill westward about four miles above Monotawny [sic] Creek…[by] the "waggon[sic]-ford"{n}. Traveling with Evans by horseback was Conrad Weiser and the botanist John Bartram, who noted in his journal on “Observations Made…In his Journey from Pensilvania [sic] to Onondago, &c., that:
“The 3d of July, I set out from my house [note: formerly the site of Mouns Jones 17th century Kingsessing house and farm] on Skuylkil River,…and travelled beyond Perkiomy [sic] Creek the first day, and …[on]The 4th stopp'd at Marcus Hulin's [sic] by Manatony [sic]."
The “Waggon-ford” mentioned by Evans in 1743 appears on the Scull maps prior to the Revolution.

{n} The Mouns Jones House and the historic White Horse ford are located approximately four miles upstream from the confluence of the "Mannitawny" creek with the river. However, the "waggon-ford" description and four-mile distance from the creek might have just as convincingly designated the shallow crossing to Thomas Millard's mill on the opposite bank of the river and only about ¼ mile downstream from the White Horse ford. The relationship between Millard's Mill, Mouns Jones's House, and the road extension to the Millard ford are shown quite accurately on the surveyor's "Draught" reproduced in archive record MVFN1.

Iconic trade signs were often the most direct and recognizable means of locating the establishments they represented as well as local landmarks, public events such as Muster Days, polling places, and natural features such as crossroads or fordable river crossings. For example, a Reading newspaper notice in June, 1801 announced the laying of the cornerstone for the "new" St. Gabriel's Episcopal Church [now sometimes called the "chapel"] on June 6, 1801 "at Morlatton [the most common spelling in most St Gabriel's cited records] at the White Horse in Amity Township." This Notice was typical of newspaper and broadside ads of the period, which often directed prospective customers, voters, mustering soldiers, litigants and witnesses in court proceedings, and others to the "sign of the…. [White Horse, e.g.]," which would have been widely recognizable as both a trade sign and a place-name.

George Douglass was described as a "saddler" in the 1752 patent granting him title to Lot 92 in the newly-platted Town of Reading [Montgomery, op. cit., p. 653]. The documents conveying the White Horse Inn and nearby mansion tract from Samuel Cookson in 1762 describe Douglass as an "Innkeeper." Cookson has also been described as a "saddler and innholder" (Pendelton, Philip, draft of National register of Historic Places Registration Form (2008), Section 8, p.3). The "White Horse" was the principal trade sign of saddlers in early 18th century England, [Meadows, Cecil A., Trade Signs and Their Origin, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul (1957), p. 74]. The Scull map cited above shows a "White Horse" tavern [or "Publick House"] in southern Lancaster County on the road from Lancaster to Nottingham, Maryland, just north of "Drunmore". Another Revolution-period "White Horse" wayside landmark was located near Valley Forge. Although probably merely an ironic coincidence, it is interesting that the "White Horse" toponym for the Tavern and the nearby ford reflects the saddle-making vocations of two early owners of the Inn. However, the name "White Horse" trade-name was established prior to its ownership by either Douglass or Cookson.

No longer in Huling's house near the River by the time of the American Revolution, the wayside inn at the bend in the "Main Road to Philadelphia" [according to the 1719 "Draught"] at Molatton [also "Morlatton"] was designated "the White Horse" on the 1770 map of the region by Scull and the 1779 French printing of it [Image # 6 (detail)]. All of these post-1762 references to the White Horse Tavern [or "Inn"] clearly refer to the extant stone Tavern on the "Main Road" after its removal from Huling's "Publick" house in his residence closer to the river bank.

These notes also contain some brief information on land parcels located in Reading and owned by George Douglass, Sr.

Please note that a sixth and seventh (and final) page was omitted from this record. Those photocopied pages already appear in this archive as records WHTTX2--1007.01.029 (page six) and WHTTX3--1007.01.030 (page 7).

See additional images for full text.
Laurence Ward, June 2016
Date Unknown
People Douglass, George
Huling, Marcus
Creesman, Balzar
Cookson, Samuel
Schurr, Earl
Schurr, Roy H.
Douglass, Amelia
Douglass, Elizabeth
Yustasson, Yusta
Conrad Weiser
John Bartram
Lewis Evans
Catalog Number 1007.01.032
Archive Number WHTTX4
Creator Beard, Theresa
Search Terms WHTTX
White Horse Tavern
White Horse Tavern Text
Theresa Beard Notes
White Horse Ford
White Horse
Scull Map
Trade Sign
Saddle Maker
Publick House
Draught, 1719
Survey Draught