Friday, July 13, 2012

1789 Tavern License

An original manuscript from Springfield's early history recently came to our attention here at the SAHS. It was sold on Ebay back in May. Sadly we were unable to purchase the document due to a lack of funds. However, we were able to obtain some excellent color copies which have been added to the our collections.

The document, dated Springfield [Vermont] March 29, 1789, nominates Captain Abner Bisbee and Captain James Martin as suitable "persons to keep Houses of Publick Entertainment in the said town ... ". "Houses of Publick Entertainment" or public houses, were terms used to refer to taverns or inns in the 18th and early 19th centuries providing food and drink to travelers. Individuals were required to have a license from local officials in order to operate such establishment legally. The document below was signed by town officials in approval of Bisbee and Martin's tavern.

Captain Abner Bisbee (1734-1805), as some may know, was an important leader in the early history of the town of Springfield. He was one of the first settlers, and served as an officer in the French and Indian War and the American Revolution.

This document is roughly 6" x 8 1/2" and made of laid paper.

"Springfield March 29th, 1789

We the Subscribers Being the Magistrates Selectmen Constables and Grand Jurors of the town of Springfield Doth hereby Nominate Capt. Abner Bisbee and Capt. James Martin Suitable persons to keep houses of publick Entertainment in the Said town for the Insuing year.

Simon Stevens
Sam'l Cobb - Magistrates

Abner Bisbee
James Martin
Jothan White - Selectmen

Roger Bates - Constable

_amness Whitney - Grand Juror"

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