Mead’s Tavern

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Mead’s Tavern

1751 – William Mead purchased land in Bedford County.

1761 – William Mead moved to New London (from Pennsylvania), buys lots 5, 6, & 8.

1763 – William Mead built Mead’s Tavern; functioned as a tavern until late 1780’s.

1769 – William Mead’s wife, Ann died in childbirth. William subsequently married widow Martha Cowles Stith, daughter of a wealthy planter. He owned more than 40,000 acres of land by 1769.

1771 – William Mead purchased many things at Hook’s store, including some fine goods and large quantities of some goods, but did not pay anything on his bill that autumn. He tended to purchase when he was in town during Court session.

1772 – William Mead first ordered special items from John Hook, including his famous Scottish clock.

1772 – Credit crisis and financial panic throughout Atlantic hit Virginia hard. A credit bubble burst, a Scottish bank failed, English and Scottish banks were unstable and stopped honoring bills of credit. This in addition to locally inflated tobacco prices from a bidding war. Tobacco was the foundation of money and trade in colonial Virginia. It was the item shipped to England and Scotland after merchants in Virginia received their goods for their mercantile businesses.

1772, October – The four Bedford merchants, John Hook, Robert Cowan, James Callaway, and Robert Donald, met to agree to control the prices of their goods (in similar manner to their merchant peers back East).

1773 – The Bedford planters met to agree to control the sale price of their tobacco and banded together for consignment of it through Richard Stith, bypassing the Scottish merchants. After this, Hook and his fellow merchants had a falling out, Hook standing accused of violating the terms of their agreement. (Would the “Bedford planters” have included William Mead?)

1774, January 24 – William Mead took oath of affidavit from Justice John Talbot (Bedford) that he had never been repaid 3 pounds 6 shillings by Captain John Winn for three cattle taken during the French and Indian War for the Amelia County Militia in 1758. (Thompson, p. 29, cited 10 Va. Magazine of History 14.) (New London Court House?)

1777, April 18 – Presbyterian Reverend Professor John Springer from Hampden-Sydney stopped at a tavern in New London, got drunk and participated in “unlawful gaming”; got fired from Hampden-Sydney.

1777, June – Hook was accused of Toryism and treason by a mob led by Col. William Mead, a wealthy, local magistrate. Most of the men in the group were Hook’s customers and owed him money. Mead wanted Hook “not to carry on any kind of Trade in this County till after Court.”

1781, February 14 – Date of letter from New London from Edmund Hyrne, to Governor Thomas Jefferson. Hyrne had been marching prisoners of war to Staunton when some of them escaped and were hiding in the area. He requested that the Governor relieve him of his prisoners. Oral history from a Mead descendant has prisoners of war temporarily being housed at Mead’s Tavern at one point.

1784/1785 – Mead sells tavern property to William Harris, relocates to Augusta, Georgia.

1793 – Letter from William Mead’s son, Methodist evangelist Stith Mead, to father, against his father’s fiddling, dancing, dancing schools, balls.

1795 – Girls boarding school taught by Mrs. Ward in the “corner lot across from the Court House” (Read, p. 31). (Mead’s Tavern?)

1800-ish – Earlier fireplace in Mead’s Tavern front hall demolished, moved to current location.

1805 – John Thompson took out Mutual Assurance Policies on Mead’s Tavern property.

Early 1810’s-mid 1820’s – Roland Academy girl’s school at Mead’s Tavern, headmaster Samuel T. Miller (possibly established 1810 or 1811).

1812 – Roland Academy closed briefly as Samuel Miller fought in the War of 1812; later reopened for 9-10 years (until 1822?), before relocating to Lynchburg.

1813 – Roland Academy possibly reopened.

1814 – Roland Academy advertisement.

1817 – Samuel T. Miller married former student, Frances Elizabeth Fitzpatrick.

1890’s – Mead’s Tavern property served as a Manse (parsonage).

Early 20th Century – Mead’s Tavern property served as Dr. Kabler’s home and office (before he moved across the road).

1941 – Picture of Mead’s Tavern from a UVA thesis on New London; shows 2-story porch.

2012 – Mead’s Tavern purchased by the Friends of New London.

2015 – Liberty University acquired Mead’s Tavern.