Part of the American History and Genealogy Project

Inn and Tavern Licenses, Gloucester County, New Jersey

By Frank H. Stewart

In the ancient records of Gloucester County frequent mention is made of road-side taverns. The license applications showing the signatures of hundreds of the best known men of their times were examined, and I copied the application of the Queen of all, Ann Risley, whose tavern was known far and wide for its generous and gracious hospitality. The fish, clams, oysters and crabs of Little Egg Harbor Bay and its tributaries, not to say anything of the sugar, molasses and rum from the West Indies made the tavern of Ann Risley known all over the province. Ann was just as famous in 1770 as the multi-millionaire hotel owners of Atlantic City are today, and it would be a safe bet to make that her meals were just as good. Someone should erect a monument on the site of Ann Riley's tavern. Year after year her license was renewed. On April 10, 1770, Edward Bowen and David Scull were her bondsmen for twenty pounds each, and her application for this year is copied in full.

To the Honorable Bench of the Justices Assembled at Gloucester.

Most Honorable Bench

The humble petition of Ann Risley, Widow of Great Egg Harbour Township, Gloucester County in the Province of West New Jersey Humbly showeth that your petitioner having kept tavern near Abesekom Bridge in the said township for several years past hath thought proper to acquaint your honors that she hath built her an house with stabling and other conveniences for the entertainment of travelers thereby doth humbly entreat your Honors to grant her a license to continue the same, it being a suitable stage, there being no other within ten miles and in vindication of the truth of this likewise of her character several of the principal inhabitants of said province have thought proper to set their hands hereunto. Your Honors taking the same into consideration will oblige your petitioner to ever pray.

Ann Risley

Signed by:

Robert Morss
Obadiah Reid
John Somers
Frederick Steelman
John Kaid or Reid?
George Payne
Joseph Covenover
Benjamin Brush
Burnet Richards
Richard Westcot
Abner Doughty
Levi Gensly?
Thomas Chamberlain
John Ingersol
John Leeds
Felix Leeds
Henry Smith
Daniel Leeds
Nehemiah Leeds
Richard Collins
John Somers
John Covenover, Jun'r
Richard Somers
Micajah Smith
Daniel Smith
Hugh McCollom

James Steelman also kept a place of entertainment in his house in the lower end of Gloucester Co. (now Atlantic) for several years. His application for a license for the year 1770 was signed by:

Recompense Scull
Frederick Steelman
Joseph Ingersol
Richard Somers
Elisha Smith
Nehemiah Leeds
Christopher Lucas
Daniel Lake

Archibald Moffett, later a Captain of Militia during the Revolution, and the owner of a fleet of boats carrying merchandise from Carpenter's Landing to Philadelphia, via Mantua Creek, and at his death the most extensive land owner in Gloucester County and the ancestor of over five hundred living descendants, including a couple of our own members, kept a licensed tavern at his house in Greenwich Township. His 1770 license application is signed by:

Samuel Shivers
Michaell Fisher, Jun'r
John Barnes
Restore Estlack
John West?
Jo Hugo
William Tomlin
S. Blackwood

During the War of 1812, when 82 years old, his house was used as a recruiting station by the U. S.

His bond dated June 19, 1770, is signed by Daniel Cozens and Jo Hugg.

Mary Hutchinson was also granted a license to keep a tavern at the house where she lived in Woolwich Township. Her application was signed by:

John Mayhew
William Morgan
Stanford Mayhew
Jacob Elwell
David DuBois
Michael Richman
Abraham Nelson
Bodo Otto
Matthew Niewkirk
Isaac Flanningham
Isaac Albertson
S. Blackwood

Her bondsmen were James Budd and Thomas West.

Joseph Tatem was also an Inn keeper, and he was granted a license for his house in Deptford Township in 1767. Those who signed his application were:

James Ward
John Sparks*
Isaac Ballenger
William Harrison
Caleb Beekham
Samuel Perce
James Brown
William Flanningham
Samuel Flanningham
Joseph Ward
Benjaman Rambo
Luke Gibson
Abraham Chattin?
Simon Sparks
John Duell
Jonathon Morgan**


* Ancestor of Chairman of our Membership Committee.
** Ancestor of our Historian.

New Jersey AHGP

Source: Inns and Tavern Licenses, New Jersey Society of Pennsylvania, Volume 1, Compiled by Frank H. Stewart, 1917


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