Tag Archives: colonial tavern

Wayside Inn Corn Meal Muffins

Wayside Inn Old Mill

The Wayside Inn Miller, Richard Gnatowski, assembles the grinding mechanism in the Old Mill.

The Miller hauls the large drums and the pieces that feed grain onto granite grinding wheels that come from France. He turns cranks, pulls levers, and slowly the gigantic wheel picks up water from the stream  outside and picks up speed, turning the gears on the inside of the mill. The Miller starts the grain flowing down a chute, a cloud of dust rises, and ground grain falls into a container ready to be bagged. The process has not changed since the Puritans moved here from England 400 years ago.

One of the highlights of visiting the Wayside Inn was a presentation from Richard, the Miller. He had shown us around the Inn itself and told us numerous stories before taking us to the old mill.

Old Mill, Wayside Inn

Wayside Inn Old Mill sign, Sudbury Massachusetts

Although David Howe had built and run a mill on the property, it was gone by the 20th century. So when Henry Ford took over the property and planned to build an entire Puritan Village, he had a mill constructed just yards from where the original had stood. The picturesque old mill is now one of the most photographed buildings on the whole property. And it works.

Wayside Inn Old Mill

Wayside Inn Old Mill

For years, the Pepperidge Farm company ground grain there. But now a small amount of wheat flour and corn meal is turned out and used at the Inn or sold in the gift shop.

The food served in today’s Wayside Inn in Sudbury Massachusetts does not mimic Colonial cooking in most cases, but as you know, corn meal was an essential ingredient for early settlers.

The corn meal muffins are served in every bread basket and the packages of corn meal include the recipe. I share it here and promise to add photos from the mill when I get back home. (The Innkeeper has also promised to send me their Indian Pudding recipe, which I will share later.)

Wayside Inn Corn Meal Muffins 

1 1/3 cup white sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 -1/3 cup corn meal

7 tsp. Baking powder

3 cups bread flour

1 1/2 cups cold milk

4 eggs

1/2 cup salad oil

Mix all ingredients except salad oil for three minutes. Slowly add oil, as you stir. Mix for another 3 minutes.

Fill muffin tins 3/4 full. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.

 

52 Ancestors: The Wheeler-Dealer, #37 Samuel Howe

Samuel How(e) 1642-1713

Samuel How(e) lived lives enough for several people in his seventy years. He was a carpenter, a soldier, a politician, father of thirteen children, a tavern keeper, and above all a wheeler-dealer. Not that it would have mattered a bit to Samuel, but he was also my 7 x Great Grandfather.

It is hard to rein in Samuel’s stories and concentrate on one aspect of his life. I find it pretty impressive that he was the second new world tavern keeper in the How family when you consider that he was born just twenty-two years after the Mayflower landing and only four or five years after his own father arrived on the continent.

When I wrote about his son, David How, I said that Samuel How was the Donald Trump of Colonial Sudbury. I did not mean by that he was a millionaire–or even the Massachusetts frontier equivalent of a millionaire–however he was a man who played all the angles, made friends in all the right places, and constantly finagled himself a good deal. [UPDATE: When I wrote this, the world did not know Donald Trump in the same way they do since his run for the Republican nomination for President.  I regret comparing Samuel to Donald. While Samuel had activities–development, building, money-making, political–in common, he certainly did not share a similar value system.]

His acquisition of land started early.  Although he had been born in Sudbury, his father John How had moved the family to the new community of Marlborough in 1656, when Samuel Howe was a young teen.

At the age of 21, Samuel Howe married Martha Bent. Martha’s father was one of the early settlers in Sudbury– a fellow founder and good friend  with Samuel’s father, John How.  Mr. Bent gave Martha and Samuel 44 acres  of his land in Sudbury, incentive for the young couple to settle there.

The property, where Samuel built their home, now lies on the edge of the present town of Wayland, about six miles southeast of the Wayside Inn property developed by Samuel’s son David.

In their early married life, they had six children (between 1664 and 1674) and Samuel supported his family by working as a carpenter.  From the very beginning, he seems to have been adept at getting “government contracts.”

He lived near the Sudbury River that split the community and speculated that a cart bridge would be well used and appreciated, so he built the bridge.  The community, while welcoming the bridge, could not pay him for his work, however, they permitted him to collect a toll.  Before long, he was not only collecting toll for using the bridge but also charging the community for using the meadow that was accessed by the bridge.

This was in the 1670’s and the Indian wars were raging.  In April, 1676 the disastrous Sudbury fight, part of King Philip’s War (led by a dissident Indian known as King Philip) challenged Samuel’s spirit.  His brother John, Jr. was killed in the battle, and Samuel’s own house and barn were burnt to the ground.

Samuel Howe not only immediately rebuilt, but he took advantage of the situation to make one of his real estate deals.  Soldiers who had fought in the Indian wars were rewarded with grants of land in western Sudbury. When one of those soldiers died, Samuel arranged to buy Lot #50 from the family.

Only four years after the Sudbury fight, which changed his life significantly, he had to face the death of his wife Martha. The same year, 1680, his father died and left him another 25 acres of land.  Samuel never seemed slowed down by bad luck. The town gave him a contract to build stocks in front of the Meeting House, and the next year assigned him to be a “tithingman”, assessing others for real estate taxes. But it was the land deal he made with the local Indians in 1682 that made me begin to think of him as a Wheeler-Dealer.

Samuel How and his friend Samuel Gookin, negotiated a deal with the Natick Indians (a tribe of Alqonquin-speaking Christianized Indians who did not join “King Philip”). The  history of these ‘praying Indians’ is unique and fascinating.

Natick Indians

“John Eliot Speaks to the Natick Indians” by Hollis Holbrook
Natick, Massachusetts Post Office
Image by Thomas Portue.

Although Samuel’s father, John How had a reputation for treating Indians compassionately and being loved by them for his fairness, Samuel apparently saw them as another target for his enrichment.

The contract with the Indians specified the purchase of “200 acres more or less” and carefully defined the northern, southern and eastern boundaries of the land.  You will notice that there was no definition of the western boundary–which left How and Gookin with a grand opening to make a killing selling land to settlers flocking west to Sudbury.

Busily taking on more contracts to build things for the community, and no doubt building houses and glazing windows (another of his skills), Samuel found a new bride.  In 1685 he married widow Sarah Leavitt who was seventeen years younger than Samuel. From the late 1980s through the nineties, Sarah and Samuel had seven more children–the last born when Samuel was fifty-eight.

Obviously not a man to slow down, the year after he married Sarah, he tried to win a bid to build a new meeting house for the town. He failed to get the bid, but the selectmen later chose him to inspect the work.  Perhaps as a consolation prize, he was elected as one of seven selectmen in 1691, and served three more terms after the first one. The year after he became a selectment, his fellow town leaders showed their faith in him by recommending that he start a public house, so he followed in his father’s footsteps and sold drinks from his home.

Meanwhile, the Natick Indians realized that the deal they had made with How and Gookin was worse than one-sided.  In 1695 they hired a lawyer and took the two men to court, charging them with making a fraudulent deal and “encroaching” on Natick land they had no rights to.

The two men tried to defend themselves by explaining how much money they had laid out, in addition to taking on the care of some “squaws”. The judge agreed that they had encroached on land that belonged to the Indians, and returned 1000 acres to the Natick. That sounds like a good deal, until you read that left How and Gookin with 1700 acres–not a bad return on an investment in “200 acres more or less.”

It would not have been easy to sell land at the moment anyway, since Indian attacks continued to increase, and Samuel was listed between 1695 and 1697 as a Lieutenant in the Sudbury Militia. Ultimately, he was wounded in battle. (His brother Joseph served in the Marlborough Militia around the same time, and his brother Thomas rose to the office of Colonel.  Thomas was also later to keep a public house.)

In 1702/03, as we have seen, Samuel gave his son, David, land and helped him build a house for his new bride.  Samuel continued to renew his license to sell spirits each year until 1712.  He died in 1713, perhaps suddenly, because he left no will.  Or perhaps, with his record, he did not quite trust the contracts written by lawyers.

 

Samuel How's Gravestone.

Samuel How’s Gravestone. Picture taken by Charles Waid

How I am Related

  • My maternal grandmother, Vera Stout (Anderson), was the daughter of
  • Hattie Morgan (Stout), the daughter of
  • Mary Bassett (Morgan),the daughter of
  • Elizabeth Stone (Bassett) the daughter of
  • Elizabeth Howe (Stone), the daughter of
  • Israel Howe, the son of
  • David How, the son of Samuel How.

Notes on Research

  • In Public Houses: Drink and the Revolution of Authority in Colonial Massachusetts by David W. Conroy, (1995)
  • As Ancient Is This Hostelry: The Story of the Wayside Inn, by Curtis F. Garfield and Alison R. Ridley(1988)
  • A History of Longfellow’s Wayside Inn by Brian E. Plumb (2011)
  • Howe Genealogies by Daniel Wait Howe (1929), Massachusetts Historical and Genealogical Society. This is said to be the best of the several genealogies of the family. Although I do not have a copy of the entire book, portions of it are available on the Internet.
  • Middlesex County records found on Ancestry.com. Birth, death and marriage.
  • Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of Worcester County Massachusetts Vol. 1, ed by Ellery Bicknell Crane (1907) Available as a Google Books e-book.
  • FindaGrave.com The tombstone picture came from Find a Grave, because although I visited the Sudbury Old North Cemetery, (located in Wayland MA) where Samuel is buried, I was unable to spot his grave.
  • I also have had assistance from the archivist and a historian at Longfellow’s Wayside Inn and the historian with the Sudbury Historical Society.

 

52 Ancestors: #36 The Quiet, Concientious David Howe

David Howe (1674-1759)

Red Horse Inn

Proprietors of the How family tavern–How’s Tavern/ Red Horse Inn/Wayside Inn. Photo shared on Ancestry.com

As I amass data and legends and documents about these Howes, I start to think of them as having specific personalities, even though there is no direct historic information.

For instance, although his son Ezekiel was a born politician–outgoing and energetic, and his father Samuel a wheeler-dealer (the Donald Trump of colonial Sudbury),  I picture David as a serious, religious man who prefers to have an orderly life. [UPDATE: When I wrote this, the world did not know Donald Trump in the same way they do since his run for the Republican nomination for President.  I regret comparing Samuel to Donald. While Samuel had activities–development, building, money-making, political–in common, he certainly did not share a similar value system.] He would probably have been strict with his children and conducted his life with one eye on the afterlife, being industrious, charitable and faithful.

Though I am perfectly aware that it is unscientific, and against the principles of any serious historian, I just can’t help guessing.

In talking about David, I am continuing my journey back through history. Once I get to David’s grandfather John Howe, we will have all of the Howe family from the first to arrive in America to my 5 x great-grand uncle Ezekiel and his brother my 5 x great- grandfather Israel. And they will be in order, so you can see the development of the tavern-keeping Howe family for 200 years from the very early 17th century until nearly the end of the 18th century.

David was the sixth child of Samuel and Martha (Bent) How. He had one younger sister and gained six half-siblings when Samuel married his second wife, Sarah Clapp. For David, a large family seemed the norm.

When he married Hepzibah Death in December 1700, he took his vows seriously and planned to have a large family.  His father deeded 130 acres on the west side of Sudbury over to David–a handsome piece with plenty of room for a house, fields, and a mill.

With the help of his father, David built the house that became a tavern and today stands as part of Longfellow’s Wayside Inn.  Although there was a strong family tradition of tavern keeping, he did not rush into the tavern business. His father, Samuel, was a tavern keeper, the older Howe tavern was a few miles east of the land David was given. And David’s grandfather, John had kept a tavern in Marlborough as had a couple of other relatives.

Old Red Horse Tavern

Old etching of Red Horse Tavern/ Wayside Inn, used with permission of Longfellow’s Wayside Inn archives. It is speculated that the original house occupied the area that is the front door and the two windows to the right in this picture, and in the present inn.

When he first got the land, David had his hands full clearing land for his new house, and then for fields and pasture.  He also needed to think about the use of the fast-running creek that ran through his property.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts was being plagued by battles of the French and Indian War, which dragged on from 1689 to 1763. Their was a brief peace in 1713, and perhaps that encouraged David to think about what peace would mean regarding traffic along the Boston Post Road, and how convenient a location his land would be for a tavern.

Since 1707, citizens in this western part of Sudbury had been interested in establishing a new meeting house that would be more convenient to them than the present one on the east side of Sudbury across the Sudbury River. This was important because the people were required by law to attend religious services on Sunday and listen to a sermon by a minister paid by the town.

Not only that, but generally a tavern was located near the meeting house. Worshipers needed a place to relax, get something to eat and drink after their travel from home and, in the winter, warm up from the usually unheated meeting houses. So if the permission was given for a new meeting house, a tavern would be a necessity. David’s signature joined others on the petitions. However the west side meeting house was not authorized until 1722.

At any rate, he applied for and received a license to “keep a hous of entertainment.” He set to work, probably with his father Samuel’s help (Samuel was a carpenter) and built an extension on his home. [UPDATE: Due to the comment of an astute reader –below– I need to correct this assertion that Samuel might have helped.  The license was granted in 1614 and Samuel died in 1613, so he could not have helped with remodeling in 1614. Although there are some tales that David’s house served as a resting place for travelers before it received a license, that tale has been discounted by historians.] The family would live in this new section, while travelers would eat and drink on the main floor–what is now the front Parlor–and sleep on the floor above, that is still a bedroom in Longfellow’s Wayside Inn.

Sudbury Massachusetts

Longfellow’s Wayside Inn Bar in Sudbury MA. The beam across the ceiling may be original from David and Hepzibah’s orginal home, circa 1702. Photo in public domain from Wikimedia.

By 1720, Hepzibah had presented her husband with four sons and three daughters, including my 5x great grandfather Israel and the youngest  Ezekiel (1720). [For more on the children, you can read my article on Hepzibah, David’s wife.]

The brief peace between the English and the French did not last, and in 1724 there was an Indian raid on a farm near Sudbury and Rutland.  The following year, 1725, David’s brother Daniel, a member of the militia, marched off to fight, but was sent home because he was lame.

Around 1727, David, now both a farmer and a tavern keeper, added one more title–miller.  He built a mill on the stream that ran through his property.  The picturesque mill that shows up in illustrations of the present inn was imported by the Ford Foundation. It is not the original David How mill.

[insert map]

As if fighting the Indians did not keep them busy enough, townspeople were battling each other as well.  All the small towns of Massachusetts seem to be in constant turmoil during the 17th and early 18th centuries about town boundaries–spawning the familiar New England clusters–TownName Central, North TownName, South TownName, East TownName, etc.

According to A History of Longfellow’s Wayside Inn,

By 1740,  David had led another petition to the court for a new town to be carved out in the How Tavern area. This was never approved.

Perhaps as a consolation prize, in 1741 David How was elected as a Selectman of Sudbury.  This was a period when selectmen were charged with regulating taverns and more and more tavern keepers were seeking election so that they could keep the regulations from becoming onerous. However, since David was 67 years old, I cannot believe that he was lusting after political power.  I believe the election was more of a show of respect for an honored elder of the community.

Two years later–1743–David’s youngest son, Ezekiel married Bathsheba Stone and they moved in to How’s Tavern.  This triggered another enlargement of the building.  But in 1744, David decided to formally turn over the building, land and business to Ezekiel, although David’s name is on the license through 1747. David How Jr. took over operation of the mill.

David lived a long life, dying at the age of 85 (1759) and no doubt continued to advise Ezekiel, and perhaps step in when his son was off on military duty.  As I mentioned in the article on Hepzibah, she continued to live with her son and daughter in law until her death ten years after David.

David’s life record reflects a concentration on the fundamentals. He was not a man to be distracted by military service or tempted to move to a new community.  He lived in Sudbury all his life and working at plain non-showy work–whether that meant clearing land, farming, milling or running a tavern.

I believe the Biblical names of his children reflect his deep religiosity.  For example, instead of naming his first born son after himself, he named him for a son of the Biblical King David–Eliphalet.  That and his lack of leadership roles in the community lead me to believe that David was modest and humble. Altogether, a fine Puritan son.

HOW I AM RELATED

  • My maternal grandmother, Vera Stout (Anderson), was the daughter of
  • Hattie Morgan (Stout), the daughter of
  • Mary Bassett (Morgan),the daughter of
  • Elizabeth Stone (Bassett) the daughter of
  • Elizabeth How (Stone), the daughter of
  • Israel How,the son of
  • David How.

Research notes

  • In Public Houses: Drink and the Revolution of Authority in Colonial Massachusetts by David W. Conroy, (1995)
  • As Ancient Is This Hostelry: The Story of the Wayside Inn, by Curtis F. Garfield and Alison R. Ridley(1988)
  • A History of Longfellow’s Wayside Inn by Brian E. Plumb (2011)
  • Howe Genealogies by Daniel Wait Howe (1929), Massachusetts Historical and Genealogical Society. This is said to be the best of the several genealogies of the family. Although I do not have a copy of the entire book, portions of it are available on the Internet.
  • Middlesex County records found on Ancestry.com. Birth, death and marriage.
  • Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of Worcester County Massachusetts Vol. 1, ed by Ellery Bicknell Crane (1907) Available as a Google Books e-book.
  • FindaGrave.com
  • I also have had assistance from the archivist and a historian at Longfellow’s Wayside Inn