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Buell Tavern

(Later Known as Truly Tavern)

From the WPA Files located in the MS Department of Archives

Old Homes – Jefferson County by Helen C. Harper

 

 

Buell Tavern (Later known as Truly Tavern)

 

A modern apartment house remodeled from the Old Buell Tavern, but over the same foundation and with two rooms upstairs as originally built is located on Highway 61 (Main Street) in the Town of Fayette, Jefferson County.  The large lower rooms of the old tavern have been partitioned off into smaller rooms making two apartments. In Township 9 Range 1 East this house is located.  The Township line divides the town.

 

          In 1825 land was bought from Henry Platner by Jefferson County in Township 9, Range 1 East and Township 9, Range 2 East upon which to erect public buildings and establish a county seat.  The old County Seat at Greenville was not satisfactory because it was not centrally located and to travel to the County Seat in those days, from remote parts of the county, was a good day’s journey.  Hence, the present site was decided upon.  Thirty-eight acres were purchased for the sum of Five Hundred Forty  dollars ($540.00).

 

          When the Commissioners purchased thirty-eight acres of land from Henry Platner to build a Court House and other public buildings, the Town of Fayette came into existence in 1825.

 

          Lots were sold at auction and John Buell bought lot no.1 in square no. 4, upon which to erect a tavern.  Later the entire square was purchased by Buell. 

 

          As were the usual taverns, this one consisted of a parlor and small back room on one side and a long dining room running the length of the other two, on the other side.  Back of this room was a cistern from which cool, refreshing water was served to the guests.  The kitchen, store room, etc., were located back of the main building, not a part of it but connected by a shed.  The large dining room served as a banquet hall and dance hall.  Cottages, four in number, with four rooms each were built on the square and assigned to the guests.   The two rooms upstairs were presumably used by the family.  A large stable was back of the tavern and a lot in which the teams were kept.  The teams were fed and watered by the tavern keeper.

 

          In 1837, Peter Rucker acting as Trustee for Mrs. Martha Truly, (for women at this time were not permitted to own land) bought the tavern from Richard Harrison.  Since then, the place has been referred to as the Truly Tavern.  This is the oldest residence in Fayette.

 

          Some tragic, as well as humorous, things happened in and near the old Tavern. 

 

Directly across the street was the first brick store, on its porch a duel was fought, one participant using a dirk and the other a sword cane.

 

          James B. Truly, a dandified fellow, who had a way with the women was exhibiting his skill at doing a jig before an admiring crowd.  Rather picturesque, no doubt, in his knee breeches, swallow-tail coat, colonial buckles, etc., he was cutting the pigeon wing when a nephew was suddenly inspired to play a prank upon his dandified uncle.  He ran up to him and whispered “Uncle, your trousers are split and are falling off!”, whereupon the gallant James grasped the trousers and rushed off up the stairs to find that it was all a joke.  He quickly caught up his old trusty rifle, used in the Battle of New Orleans and chased the luckless nephew for some time!

 

          Tavern rates were regulated by the County Court at and before the time John Buell opened the Tavern in Fayette.  From the County Court minutes for 1820 we read:

 

          “Ordered that the following Tavern rates be established in and for the County of Jefferson to wit –

 

Champagne        wine           per    bottle or quart  $2.50

Madeira               “                 “        “        “        “       $2.00

Port                     “                 “        “        “        “        $1.50

Claret                  “                 “        “        “        “        $1.00

Sherry Teneriff Malaga, etc         “        “        “        $1.00

Rum per quart                                                             $  .75

Cognac Brandy per quart                                           $1.50

Peach        “        “        “                                               $  .50

Whiskey               “        “                                              $  .50

Apple Brandy     “        “                                               $  .50

 

Breakfast                                                                     $  .37 ½

Dinner                                                                           $  .50

Supper                                                                          $  .37 ½

Lodging per night                                                        $  .12 ½

Horse per day 24 hours                                             $  .75

    “       “   night only                                                    $  .50

    “     feed                                                                    $  .25

Toddy per qt. cognac brandy                                    $  .50

     “       “    “    rum                                                      $  .37 ½

      “       “  “   whiskey                                                 $  .25

 

And in same proportions for smaller quantities

 

“Ordered that a Tavern License issue to John Buell agreeably to his permit and Bond.”

 

“Ordered that John Buell be recommended as a suitable person for a Justice of the Peace for the Town of Fayette.

 

 

          An old, dirty, blotted and torn Tavern book kept by a Mrs. Cable at Greenville, once County Seat of Jefferson County, is interesting reading for in it we find names of people long linked with the County.  The prices we note conform to those established by the County Court in 1820.  Such names and entries as these appear:

Phillip Harrison to dinner                                            $  .50

D. Fletcher to dinner, horse feed                             $1.00

Edmond Duggan to dinner                                         $  .75

Gen. Hinds to dinner                                                   $  .50

Filmer W. Green to dinner for self & McCaleb         $  .50

G. Gupton to supper, lodging & horse                      $1.25

James Wood to dinner                                               $  .50

John Dunca hauling one bbl. Potatoes                     $  .30

James Truly, hauling bbl. flour from Natchez         $1.00

Henry Platner 3 horse feeds and 3 suppers           $2.25

 

Contributed by: Charles Dawkins

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