The Township Of Tinicum.
Licensed Houses. - In Tinicum, although it is the oldest settlement in our county, and probably in the State, license to keep a house of public entertainment does not appear until after the yellow fever epidemic of 1798, when the authorities of Philadelphia had determined to locate the Lazaretto, or quarantine, thereon.
On July 27, 1799, Thomas Smith filed his petition, setting forth "that a Public Lazaretto is about to be established upon the Island of Tinicum, that will cause considerable intercourse between the city of Philadelphia, and the said Lazaretto, that a house of entertainment will be necessary at or near the same. That your petitioner is about to erect suitable buildings to accommodate the public on the road near to said Lazaretto, which he will have ready on or before the 1st day of October next," and requested license for the same. The signers of his petition certify that they are well acquainted with the situation, as also with Charles Lloyd, the person to occupy the house, and recommend him as a person suitable "to run a hotel."
Shortly afterwards the health authorities took action in Smith's behalf, as will be seen by the following communication sent to the court and filed with the petition:
The court granted license to Charles Lloyd for the year 1800.
At the same time that Thomas Smith's petition was prsented, Benjamin Rue desired to be permitted to keep a public-house in the dwelling he then occupied. He sets forth that "as the Board of Health of the City of Philadelphia are about to erect buildings there for the reception of imported goods, to prevent, if possible, a return of the dreadful calamity which has so frequently desolated Philadelphia, the concourse of people necessarily attending on a business of such importance, your petitioner conceives will make an Inn indispensably necessary."
The court seemed to think very much in the same way, for instead of one inn they permitted two to be established, and Rue's application was favorably considered for the year 1800. His expectation of "the concourse of people" who would visit Tinicum seems not to have been realized, for after license was awarded him, in 1802, his name disappears from the records, so far as licenses in this neighborhood are concerned.
Charles Lloyd seems to have moved to Benjamin Rue's house, where he had licenses until 1807, when Elizabeth Harrison was granted license for the house formerly kept by Lloyd, and continued there until 1811, when Esther Taylor became the landlady for that year. Who kept it during 1812 can only be gathered from the petition of John Hart, in 1813, in which he desires license for the house " lately Mary Taylor's." This John Hart was the great-grandson of Edward Hart, who (with Tobias Preak, both being officers in the town of Flushing, on Long Island) for refusal to carry out Governor Stuyvesant's cruel orders against Quakers, was thrown into prison. John Hart, like Rue, it seems, was disappointed in the amount of business for a public-house at Tinicum, for the next year he made no application for license, and in John Ward's petition, in 1815, he alludes to the place as "house lately occupied by John Shreen," who owned the property. In 1817, however, he appears once more as "Mine Host" of the Tinicum Tavern, and continued thereat until 1829, when his widow, Mary Hart, followed him, the hotel having been left by John Shreen to his daughter, Mary Hart, until 1834, at which time the license was granted to John L. Fryberg.
In 1838, George Bastian, Jr., was the proprietor, to be followed the next year by William Nugent. Samuel L. Ferman succeeded Nugent in 1843, to give place, in 1844, to R. M. Rutter, and he in turn, in 1845, to John Hall. In 1848, John Goff procured the license, and remained there until 1850, when, having rented the Steamboat Hotel, in Chester (which he purchased the following year), the Lazaretto Hotel was again kept by R. M. Rutter, who, in 1853, was succeeded by Henry Pepper. John Hart, the younger, in 1855 followed Pepper, and continued to receive the court's approval until 1863, when his petition was rejected because it was filed too late. However, he was on time the following year, as well as in 1855, after which Amos Johnson, Jr., had license granted him, which the same year he transferred to Henry Goff, who remained there until 1869, when Jacob Pepper made application for hotel license, which was denied him, but he was authorized to keep an eating-house. In 1870, Pepper again made application, his petition being warmly indorsed by John Hickman and Sketchley Morton in personal letters to the judges. Judge Morton in his letter states that in consequence of the old hotel (Rue's building) being abandoned as a public-house for two years, Tinicum was without a tavern, and it was necessary to have a public-house there. He recommended Pepper warmly, and stated that he (Pepper) "had just erected a large house containing twenty-two apartments, sixteen of which were sleeping-rooms." Pepper at last succeeded in procuring a restaurant license, but in the fall of that year the yellow fever as an epidemic prevailed at the Lazaretto, he was stricken with the disease and died. His widow, Annie E. Pepper, kept the house the fol-