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Tour of Fraunces Tavern Museum

July 10, 2022 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Fraunces Tavern Museum’s mission is to preserve and interpret the history of the American Revolutionary era through public education. This mission is fulfilled through the interpretation and preservation of the Museum’s collections, landmarked buildings, and varied public programs that serve the community.

Join AHA Society members into exploring the wonderful rooms of the Fraunces Tavern Museum.

From the FTM website:

Little is known about the famed tavern owner, Samuel Fraunces before the year 1755. It is estimated that he was born around 1722. He is first documented in New York City in 1755 when he registered with the City as a “freeman” and “innholder.” This admission was required by law of all merchants, shopkeepers, and tradespeople who had not been born in the City or served a regular seven-year apprenticeship to a trade.

In 1762, Fraunces opened the Sign of Queen Charlotte (Queen’s Head Tavern), named for England’s Queen Charlotte, at 54 Pearl Street. In 1765, Fraunces leased management of the Tavern. He resumed proprietorship of the Tavern in 1770.

Taverns were centers of community in the 18th century. Fraunces Tavern was a place where travelers and locals would exchange the latest news and ideas. Entertainment, such as musicians, could be found at the Tavern. The New York Chamber of Commerce was founded at the Tavern in 1768. Many New York clubs and organizations held meetings at the Tavern such as the New York City Sons of Liberty, New York Society Library, the Social Club, the Friendly Brothers of St. Patrick, the Knights of the Order of Corsica, and the Saint Andrew’s Society.

In May 1775, Fraunces opened his doors to the New York Provincial Congress, which was founded in the Long Room. The Provincial Congress acted as a temporary government for the colony throughout the Revolution. They were initially formed as a convention to choose delegates to participate in the Second Continental Congress…

…On August 23, 1775, John Lamb and his artillery company attempted to steal a dozen cannons from the Battery and exchanged fire with the HMS Asia. The battleship bombarded the city from midnight until 3 o’clock in the morning. One of the 18-pound cannon balls from the HMS Asia crashed through the roof of Fraunces Tavern.

The Provincial Congress hosted a banquet in the Long Room on June 18, 1776, for General Washington, his staff, and officers to express their gratitude for the defense of the colony…The final bill presented by Samuel Fraunces, totaling £91, included 78 bottles of Madeira, 30 bottles of port, and sixteen shillings for “wine glasses broken.”


As the rebellion against England started to heat up, Samuel Fraunces left New York for Elizabeth, New Jersey (1775). He left the operation of the Tavern to his Loyalist son-in-law, Charles Campbell, during the British occupation of New York. The Tavern irregularly provided food, drink, and community throughout the war. In 1780, Governor Tyron hosted a dinner for seventy guests at the Tavern, which was attended by the Council and some British generals.

The surrender of the British at Yorktown in October of 1781 did not end the Tavern’s role in the Revolution. Thousands of Loyalist refugees flooded New York City searching for a way to start a new life elsewhere in the British Empire. This included thousands of enslaved peoples, many of whom left Patriot slaveholders and joined the British Army in return for their freedom. American slave owners and catchers wandered the city streets looking for the Black Loyalists. In order to uphold Britain’s promises, General Birch oversaw trials held weekly at the Tavern. Here the Loyalists proved their service to the crown and received certificates ensuring their freedom and safe passage out of New York City.

By 1783, Fraunces Tavern resumed normal operations and it was reported that “Continental Gentlemen” once again assembled there. The American Commissioners made the house their headquarters while negotiations with the British concerning their evacuation from the City were underway. After several individuals were apprehended with counterfeit money, a trial was held between July and August of 1783 at the Tavern, conducted by the commissioners. The Americans gave a dinner for their British counterparts at the Tavern.

On November 25, 1783, British troops left New York City – the last American city to be occupied. This day would later be referred to as Evacuation Day. George Washington led his Continental Army in a parade from Bull’s Head Tavern in the Bowery to Cape’s Tavern on Broadway and Wall Street. New York Governor George Clinton’s Evacuation Day celebration was held at Fraunces Tavern. During the week of Evacuation Day, George Washington was in the City, and he made use of the Tavern by dining in and ordering take-out.

On December 4, 1783, nine days after the last British soldiers left American soil, George Washington invited the officers of the Continental Army to join him in the Long Room of Fraunces Tavern to bid them farewell. The best known account of this emotional parting comes from the Memoirs of Colonel Benjamin Tallmadge, written in 1830 and now in the collection of Fraunces Tavern Museum. As Tallmadge recalled,

“The time now drew near when General Washington intended to leave this part of the country for his beloved retreat at Mt. Vernon. On Tuesday the 4th of December it was made known to the officers then in New York that General Washington intended to commence his journey on that day.

At 12 o’clock the officers repaired to Fraunces Tavern in Pearl Street where General Washington had appointed to meet them and to take his final leave of them. We had been assembled but a few moments when his excellency entered the room. His emotions were too strong to be concealed which seemed to be reciprocated by every officer present. After partaking of a slight refreshment in almost breathless silence the General filled his glass with wine and turning to the officers said, ‘With a heart full of love and gratitude I now take leave of you. I most devoutly wish that your latter days may be as prosperous and happy as your former ones have been glorious and honorable.’

After the officers had taken a glass of wine General Washington said ‘I cannot come to each of you but shall feel obliged if each of you will come and take me by the hand.’ General Knox being nearest to him turned to the Commander-in-chief who, suffused in tears, was incapable of utterance but grasped his hand when they embraced each other in silence. In the same affectionate manner every officer in the room marched up and parted with his general in chief. Such a scene of sorrow and weeping I had never before witnessed and fondly hope I may never be called to witness again.”

The officers escorted Washington from the Tavern to the Whitehall wharf, where he boarded a barge that took him to Paulus Hook, (now Jersey City) New Jersey. Washington continued to Annapolis, where the Continental Congress was meeting, and resigned his commission.

To learn more about the history of the Fraunces Tavern Museum, please visit frauncestavernmuseum.org


July 10, 2022
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm


Fraunces Tavern Museum
The AHA Society


Fraunces Tavern Museum
54 Pearl Street, Lower Manhattan
New York, NY United States
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