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Old Tavern Licenses Jefferson County, MS


Statutes of the Mississippi Territory establish criteria for tavern owners and operators in 1807. Six reputable free-holders of the county must recommend the applicant. A three hundred dollar bond is required. The posting of rates or fees, and other regulations on which the bond is conditioned are:

constantly keeping and providing his said tavern with good,

clean, and wholesome diet, and lodging for travelers, and

stabling, provender, or pasturage for horses: . . . and for

the due observance of all laws and ordinances, which are

or may be in force in this territory, in relation to tavern-keepers.. 1

Rates are fixed by the justices of the county courts. All gambling such as cock-fighting, cards, dice, and gaming tables is prohibited in the inn, tavern, out-buildings, tenements, yard or garden of the tavern.


Rum, brandy, whiskey, taffia, or other spirituous liquors may be sold only by the gallon. Strong beer, porter, cider or wine are not sold in amounts less than four gallons. Watered spirits result in a fine, and a conviction of drunkenness render the tavern keeper's license void.


Sale of alcohol is forbidden to certain classes of people. Apprentices, servants and slaves comprise one category. Soldiers serving in the Territory are another class. They must receive permission from their commanding officer to purchase .spirits. Sale of liquor to Indians is expressly forbidden. An informer of such sale would receive half of the assessed fine.2


These laws, with minor variances such as bond in the amount of five hundred dollars, remain the same through 1848.3


1 Statutes of the Mississippi Territory, Chap.VIII, Sec. I (1807)


2 Statutes of the Mississippi Territory, Taverns, Sec I (1816) 

3 Statutes of Mississippi,1798 - 1848, Ch.XI, Art 2 - 5 (1848)



6 Feb. 1811        Recommended:. . . on the main road North of Greenville six miles from said town/Henry Green, John Doherty, Asa Search[?]. Francis Johnson, C.B. Howell, Jas. K. Green, Rush Nutt.



26 Mar. 1811      Jefferson co.. MS Territory/Bond: Thomas

Harding and John A. Davidson/bound to David Holmes, Gov. of MS. Territory/$300/ to keep house of public entertainment/ on the main road.

s/s Thos. Harding/John A. Davidson.



20 June 1811      Appli. for Lic./MS. Territory, David Holmes. Gov. James Steward, Henry Green. and James Stew­ard/for $300/ James Steward /publick (sic) house/ town of Greenville

s/s/ James Stuart/James Stuart.



20 June 1811      Receipt: from William E, Parker to James Steward/”. . . and in the 35 1/2 year of American Independence."


21 June 1811      Recommendation: James Stewart/a proper

and fitting person to run a tavern inGreenville.

/s/s/ Joseph D. Lewis/John Holland/

John Brooks/*Daniel Hamigill [?]/John Gaskin

/ Peter Ott/ John D. Wilds/ James Smith/

Wm. Calhoond(sic), J.J. Scott/Jas.

Ferguson, *Nat. Cward[?]. Hiram Baldwin.

John Berry, Thos. Harvey.


15 Dec. 1811      Appli. for Lic./James Whitehead and Thomas Hinds/ tavern in the town of Greenville/ $300/s/s/by both.






23 March 1812    Appli. for Lic./Jane Green, John A. Davidson,

Charles B./Howell $300/". . . her to keep a

house of publick entertainment in the town

of Greenville. . ./s/s by 3 named above.

[Separate paper enclosed] Recpt. for Amt.

of Tax on tavern license/S March 1812/signed

Wm. E. Parker, Clk.



23 March 18        Asa Searcy made application to keep a Tavern

in the Town of Greenville/ s/s Asa Searcy

Daniel Beasley, Wm. E. Parker.



20 July 1812       Thomas Black and Abner Pipes/Bond of $300 to

"keep a publick house in the town of Green­ville. . .”

/s/s and ack. in presence of Wm. E. Parker, Clk.



20 July 1812       C .F. Stiles, Ira Bradford, Michal Turnan and

A. Bradford/$300/C.F.Stiles/Tavern Green­ville

/signed by four above.



8 Dec. 1812        Tavern keepers Bond/Solomon Whitley, et all

Solomon Whitley, Benjamin Harrigale and James

Whitehead bound unto David Holmes, Gov

of MS. Territory/$300/Solomon Whitley. . .

keep a tavern in Greenville. . ./s/s Solomon Whitley, Benjamin Harrigill, Whitehead/

Teste: Wm. E. Parker, Clk.



8 Dec. 1812        Recommend./Solomon Whitley /s/

                            J .Whitehead/Jas. K. Green/ E. Penneyton/

                            T. B. Womack /Wm. Roach/ Geo.

A. Done /M.M .Whitley /C. Dugan.






15 March 1813    $300/William Clower, James Watson, John Folkes

/s/s by all 3/Exec by Wm. E. Parker, Clk.


30 July 1813       MS. Territory/Jefferson co/Applic. to David 

Holmes, Gov. /We, ---Thompson and James Whitehead/$300/0rphan's court's authority

to keep a tavern in the town of Greenville

/s/s/ William Thompson/ J.W. Whitehead/

ex. in presence of Wm. E. Parker, Clk.



29 Aug. 1813      Robert Greenwell/James Whitehead/$300/

Robert Greenwell application to keep a tavern in

town of Greenville / Teste: Wm. E. Parker, Clk


Submitted by Al Whitehead, Henderson, TX

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