Wright Tavern Concord Massachusetts

Wright Tavern Origins
“Near the Common or Public Square, and bearing a sign designating its historic importance is the “Wright Tavern” where it is asserted some of the English officers made their headquarters during their few hours sojourn in the town on April 19. Here, tradition says, Maj. John Pitcairn who commanded the British marines stirred his sugar and brandy saying as he did so, “In this way we will stir the blood of Yankees before night.” This place was also the headquarters, or place of rendezvous, of the Concord Minute Men while awaiting on the morning of April 19, tidings of the advance of the English, and to this tavern Captain Smith and his company from Lincoln repaired and reported so that it was within the course of a few hours the head centre of two hostile forces who were to clash in battle on that fateful day. This tavern is very old. It was opened about 1747, by a militia captain named Ephraim Jones. In 1751, Jones sold the premises to Thomas Munroe formerly of Lexington, who continued the tavern business, and made the place, as Jones had done before him, a resort for the town officials on their days of public business, furnishing them with such refreshments as were demanded by the times and the special occasions. About 1760, it came into the possession of Deacon Thomas Barrett, by a mortgage and was sold by him to Daniel Taylor. In 1775, Amos Wright became its proprietor, and although he kept an Inn there but a short period, it was long enough to give it a lasting name, for it has been known as the Wright Tavern ever since, notwithstanding it was sold in 1793, to Capt. Reuben Brown formerly of Sudbury.”

Wright Tavern Built Around 1747
“The Wright Tavern – The Wright Tavern which apart from its age is among the historic objects in Concord was built about 1747. It stands near the spot where there was an earth pit from which the owners of the Bulkeley Grist Mill obtained material with which to repair the mill-dam, a right which was stipulated for when the mill privilege was granted. The plot of ground which was a part of the small portion at the central village owned by the town was sold by a committee appointed for the purpose at a town meeting in May 1744, to Ephraim Jones in consideration of his paying the sum of thirty pounds and also an agreement that the “broken ground” in said town between the training field and the meeting house “be improved in such way and manner as to prevent the Training field from wasting away the town’s land.” The record of a conveyance of this property was dated June 22, 1785, and describes a small piece of land with bounds “Beginning at a stake at the Northeasterly corner and leaving the highway full fore rods wide.” Not long after the purchase of the aforesaid property Mr. Jones began to build, and a tavern was established there as early at least as the middle of the i8th century. Nov. 25, 1 75 1, Landlord Jones sold the premises to Thomas Munroe who came to Concord from Lexington. Munroe kept the place open to the public as an Inn until he died in 1766. After his death the place was sold at a mortgagee’s sale to Daniel Taylor, the deed passing from Deacon Thomas Barrett who held the mortgage. In 1775 Amos Wright was carrying on the business of inn keeper at this house, either as agent or proprietor. While thus engaged the Concord Fight occurred, and from that time forth the old tavern stand has been associated with his name. In the colonial period when this old hostelry was open to the public it was prominently identified with town business. Its first proprietor Jones having been a leading town officer as well as militia captain, more or less of the officials met there for the transaction of town business. Sometime during the year 1775, the property passed into the hands of Samuel Swan of Charlestown, who kept tavern there till 1785. From that time till a comparatively recent date the house ceased to be used as a place of public entertainment. The next owner was Reuben Brown a saddler who once lived in the Antiquarian House. Since the house was closed as a tavern a variety of callings have been represented there, among which is that of the livery man, the baker, the book binder, the store keeper, the tinsmith, and the shoe dealer. At present the property belongs to the “First Parish Society,” it having been donated to it by the late Reuben Rice and Judge E. Rockwell Hoar who were joint owners. The house some years since again became an Inn, and at present is kept by Mr. John J. Busch. As it stands on the corner of Main and Lexington streets, west of the Burying ground hill and just northerly of the First Parish Meeting house, it is one of the conspicuous objects near the Public Square. The historic features of this old hostelry are such as to render it much sought for by sightseers ; and it is said that as many as fifteen thousand guests registered there the last year. For a long time the old fireplaces, of which there is one in nearly every room, were closed up, but of late they have been re-opened, and the present proprietor has attempted to give the old house somewhat of its former antique appearance. Visitors are welcomed for an inspection of the premises, and whatever of cheer modern appliances can afford may be expected. As reference has been made in another part of this volume to the relation of the Wright Tavern to the Concord Fight, it is unnecessary to repeat it here. The old picture by Doolittle and Earle, painted in 1775 represents the British soldiers as halting before the door while their commander, Lieutenant-colonel Smith and his Major, Pitcairn, are in the burying ground on the hill, looking over the village where the soldiers are in search of military stores. Before the Wright Tavern and along the way toward the public Square, the Royal troops are drawn up with martial precision, in close ranks, apparently awaiting the return of their officers for orders. Of all the works of man set forth in this picture, which though crude in perspective, may nevertheless be comparatively accurate in detail, there is probably not one that has undergone less of change than the Wright Tavern. It stood there then as now it stands, defiant of storms and untouched by the embellishment of modern art, while its main companions of that old and memorable day are the moss-stained tomb stones nearly opposite, the ancient roadway, the meadows and the brook.”

Source: Library of Congress – Hudson, A. S. (1904) The history of Concord, Massachusetts. Concord, Mass., The Erudite press. [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/05027143/

Wright Tavern Concord Massachusetts

Image Courtesy of The Library of Congress – Citation: Historic American Buildings Survey, C. (1933) Wright Tavern, 2 Lexington Road, Concord, Middlesex County, MA. Massachusetts Middlesex County Concord, 1933. Documentation Compiled After. [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/ma0276/

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