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Warren County Local History by Dallas Bogan

Settlers Couldn't Have "Settled In" Without Local Inns

Dallas Bogan on 23 July 2004
Dallas Bogan, Warren County, Ohio and Beyond (Bowie Maryland:Heritage Press, 1979) page 70
Return to Index to see a list of other articles by Dallas Bogan

The early inns, or taverns, were the first big businesses in Warren County. Without these occasional stops for rest and relaxation, not only for the passengers, and for the horses, the early stagecoaches could not have survived.
Bartering was a way of life for the early settlers. The inn was frequently a bartering center. The first migrants in the new territory used beads, tobacco, codfish, ginseng, bone, blankets, peltry, and numerous other articles, including knives and gunpowder, for trading purposes. The early inns knew the statesman, scholars, doctors and lawyers, outlaws, evangelists, circuit riders, priests, salesmen, tourists and the curious travelers.
The requirements for obtaining a tavern license in Ohio were, "the applicant must be of good moral character; the tavern must be necessary at the place designated; the applicant must furnish suitable accommodations; and the applicant must be a suitable person to keep tavern."
The cost of a tavern license for one year ranged from three dollars to ten dollars depending upon the situation, size and local conditions. A worthy woman could, in Ohio, obtain a license to run an inn, but in New England the law required that should an innkeeper die, his widow must provide a fit man that is Godly to manage the business. The early inns provided temporary housing, which included a bed, a meal and provisions for his horse.
In 1798, before the actual clearing had been made for the roads, the tavern-keeper paid $1.00 per bushel for corn; $1.50 per bushel for wheat; $4.00 per 100 pounds of flour; 65 cents per bushel for potatoes; and 75 cents per bushel for oats. From 1800 to 1810, unrefined sugar cost 35 cents per pound; chocolate, 3 shillings 6 pence per pound; tobacco 4 cents per yard.
In 1801, board in a backwoods tavern was $1.00 per week, and a fraction of a week at the rate of $1.50.
Indian corn, turnips, pumpkins, cranberries, wild game, domestic fowl, and copper distilled whiskey cost next to nothing. Apples cost $3.00 per bushel - but the keeper got along without them. Two quarters of venison sold for 25 cents, butter 10 cents or less per pound. Fish was found in abundance in the streams, but the Indians were the only ones to feast on this delicacy. Few pioneers enjoyed this luxury of the water.
Advertising signs of the early inns were identified with pictures since many early settlers could not read. Some of the inns were also the first post offices in the County.

Franklin's Charles Lang kept a tavern on the corner of Center (Main) and Fifth Streets. Nathaniel Coleman kept the Mansion House in 1837. Washington Coleman opened a hotel in his three-story residence on Center Street between Fourth and Fifth Street.
Aaron Reeder opened the first hostelry in Franklin prior to 1814.
Joseph Hurst, operated the Bull's Head Tavern in Franklin later, after his death, managed by his wife.
Mrs. Hurst, William Harrison, and Samuel Ross later operated a hotel on the corner of Fifth and Front Streets.
Francis McGalliard founded the Exchange Hotel in 1836 on the corner of Sixth and Canal Streets. He was also the owner of a hotel on the corner of Sixth and Center Streets.

In Springboro, Jeremiah Stansel operated a hostelry under the name of Washington Hall. The building built prior to 1837 was located at 40 South Main Street. It was renamed the Morton House in 1852 after it was purchased by Joseph and Rhoda Morton. Featured in the hotel was a second story ball- room, which was used for social events. In later years it was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Masters and became known as the Masters Hotel. Another location in Springboro was on the corner of Franklin and Main Street. This large brick residence was used as a stagecoach stop.

The Mason Hotel was the main stop at Mason. An advertisement in The Western Star, dated Feb. 4, 1842, states:
"The undersigned offers for sale, for cash or in exchange for land, or property in Lebanon, the tavern stand in Mason known as the 'Mason Hotel.' It is a spacious building conveniently situated and well calculated for a public house. The stables and out-houses are convenient and substantial. Attached to the premises is a lot on one acre of ground. The payments will be made easy."
Peter W. Wikoff operated a hotel in Mason. Some believe that he operated his hotel in his home. This residence was located at 318 Reading Road. It has been told that it was used as an exchange for horsemen. After changing horses at this location, the farmers would proceed on to Cincinnati. This was also a stop for the mail riders and stagecoaches. The hotel had an attic room, which housed the Negro workers.

Morrow's old Charles Hotel (built prior to 1859) was located directly across the street from the Pennsylvania Railroad station (formerly Little Miami Railroad) on Main Street. This was a main passenger stop for the railroad. The building at 130 Main Street was once the Sawyer House. The 20-room hotel is now an apartment house. It was the former residence of John Scheurer, a German shoemaker. Scheurer operated a shoe shop at the residence; the shoes were made in the upstairs area.
The Morrow House had the distinction of being the second house built in Morrow, it being constructed in 1844.
The Miami House was erected one-half block east of the railroad depot; the Imperial House was located on the present site of the Morrow Lumber Company.

Roachester had the "Sign of the Lion and Eagle" hotel. Elijah Thomas operated it in 1826.
Rossburg had a tavern and store about 1824 operated by Lewis Sever.
Ralph Markham purchased from William Crosson a lot in which Markham built a two-story brick hotel, which later became known as the Pleasant Plain Hotel. Pleasant Plain (formerly New Columbia) was on the Cincinnati and Marietta Railroad and was a station stop. There was reported to have been five taverns or inns in this village at one time.
Butlerville once had a tavern. The Butlerville Hotel is located on what was a busy stagecoach route. The building is still in existence, but is slowly giving away to time. Dennis Dalton says the bricks were fired at the community's old brickyard. He also says cattle drivers driving their large herds east along Sugar Run Creek were frequent guests at the old hostelry in addition to stagecoach travelers.

James Corey is possibly the first to build an inn in Wayne Township. This log tavern was built in Waynesville on Wabash Square in 1800. The Hammell House Stand was the name remembered by the many area travelers. James Jennings purchased the inn prior to 1806. He later built a frame building.
John Worrell acquired the tavern in 1817, which included several lots, for $600. Other known owners were; Samuel Beck, Robert Way, Richard Cunningham; Keene, Barnhart and Durand; N. McLean, Enoch Hammel, and W.O. Gustin. Gustin remodeled the inn in which he added electric along with hot and cold running water.
David Holloway on Third Street in Waynesville kept an inn in 1805.
Samuel Martin operated a large two-story tavern on the northern edge of Main Street in 1808.
John Satterthwaite built the Halfway House in 1812. It was the stage stop for the Opposition Stage Line. It is located on the corner of Third and Franklin Streets in Waynesville.
Joshua Ward built the Miami House in 1826. It was located on the northeast corner of Main and North Streets. Some of the proprietors were; Israel Woodruff, Joshua Ward, 1828; Brice Durran, 1830; and S.M. Linton.
The Panhandle Hotel at Corwin consisted of a saloon and a grocery store. The hotel later became the Arnold Hotel. This hotel was destroyed by fire after a chicken brooder attached to the back of the building caught fire.
Harveysburg's hotel was named the Central Hotel. The many businessmen and travelers of the time used it. Mr. and Mrs. Frank Wilson purchased it in 1894. Under their guidance it became one of the premier hotels in this part of the State.
The Black Horse Inn at Mount Holly was located near present U.S. 42 on Main Street. This small town was on the main stagecoach route between Cincinnati and places beyond. The inn was a four-room two-story brick structure. Another name for the inn was the Black Bear Inn. Another stagecoach stop in the Mount Holly area is the location of the Smith family home situated on the corner of Mount Holly Road and the Old Stage Road.

Ichabod Corwin established the first tavern in Lebanon. This business was built in 1796 on the east side of Broadway between Mulberry and Silver Street. Ephriam Hathaway purchased the house in 1800. It then became known as "The House of Ephriam Hathaway." It was named, in 1803, "The Tavern of the Black Horse." It served as the first courthouse in present Warren County.
Jonas Seaman applied for and received a license "to keep a house of Public Entertainment." This site was later to become the location of the Golden Lamb, Ohio's oldest hotel.
Ichabod Corwin also built a two-story brick inn known as The Green Tree, located on the corner of Rt. 741 and Greentree Road. John Baird operated this establishment in 1818.
William Ferguson established the Indian Chief Hotel in Lebanon in 1805. The inn was located near the present site of the Lebanon fire department.
The Indian Queen Hotel is located on U.S. 42 north of Lebanon.
The Henry Clay House was on the site of the present Public Library.
The Warren Hotel was located on the corner of Warren and High Streets. S. Calvin operated it.
The Mansion House was located on Main Street two doors east of the Indian Chief. John Worrell operated it in 1852.
David Egbert operated the Exchange Hotel in 1843. It was located on the corner of Mulberry and Mechanic.
The Bull's Head Inn was located on the northeast corner of Mulberry and Mechanic.

Benjamin Rue built the Crossed Keys Tavern, located in Washington Township, in 1802. It has the distinction of being the oldest rock structure in Warren County. Rue later became manager of the Golden Lamb.
The Fort Ancient Hotel was located at the railroad crossing at Ft. Ancient State Park. Its history is practically unknown.
Daniel Foster founded an inn at Foster's Crossing as early as 1809.
M. Obergefel operated the Liberty House at Foster's Crossing.
Ridgeville also had a tavern as early as 1825, which was operated by William Patton.
David Sutton operated a tavern in South Lebanon, which was the seat for local government.

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This page created 23 July 2004 and last updated 28 September, 2008
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