J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

Follow by Email


Friday, January 08, 2016

Open House at the Golden Ball Tavern, 10 Jan.

On Sunday, 10 January, the Golden Ball Tavern in Weston will hold the first in a series of “Second Sunday” Open Houses running each month through June.

From 1:00 to 3:00 P.M. this Sunday, guides will lead tours of the site and answer questions about the museum. The event is “free, open to the public, and family-friendly!”

Capt. William Brown and Ens. Henry DeBerniere certainly found it friendly while they were scouting the countryside dressed as civilian surveyors for Gen. Thomas Gage in February 1774. Here’s part of their report:
we stopped at a tavern at the sign of the golden ball, with an intention to get a drink and so proceed; but upon our going in the landlord pleased us so much, as he was not inquisitive, that we resolved to lye there that night; so we ordered some fire to be made in the room we were in, and a little after to get us some coffee; he told us we might have what we pleased, either tea or coffee.

We immediately found out with whom we were, and were not a little pleased to find, on some conversation, that he was a friend to government; he told us that he had been very ill-used by them some time before; but that since he had shewed them that he was not to be bullied, they had left him pretty quiet.
The Golden Ball’s landlord at the time, Isaac Jones, had attracted the wrath of his neighbors by selling tea. And he was still doing it! His offer of tea or coffee alerted the British officers that he would be friendly to them. Of course, by partaking of his hospitality they marked themselves as suspicious outsiders.


John L. Smith said...

Wondering if you know, John - is the Golden Ball Tavern still THE same tavern? Hasn't been picked up and moved; is a different building called the Golden Ball Tavern, etc. I know that story of Brown and DeBerniere, so it'd be neat to go to the same place - essentially unchanged.

J. L. Bell said...

This is the same building in the same spot. There may have been some expansion since 1775, but there are parts of the building Brown and DeBerniere visited. Call before visiting since the hours are limited.

Unknown said...

We are having 'Second Sunday' open houses from now through June of this year. Come along on Feb. 14th and have a tour!

Unknown said...

Mike Potaski said...
The Worcester County Convention of Committees of Correspondence noted on 27 January 1775 that "whereas Isaac Jones of Weston, innholder and trader, has by his conduct of late years, in various instances, manifested a disposition inimical to the rights and privileges of his countrymen: therefore, Resolved that it be earnestly recommended to all the inhabitants of this County, not to have any commercial connections with said Isaac Jones, but to shun his house and person, and treat him with that contempt he deserves"

J. L. Bell said...

And yet Isaac Jones remained at his tavern through the war, and was even fulfilling contracts for the Continental Army in the middle of the war. Though undoubtedly a Loyalist in 1774 and 1775, he never left Massachusetts to return to the British Empire.