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William Pitt Tavern in Portsmouth, NH

Early Drawing
Originally the Earl of Halifax on Pitt Street in Portsmouth, NH, the tavern was a Loyalist haven. The name change to Pitt Tavern during the Revolution reflected a safer alignment with William Pitt, a colonial ally, than with Halifax who represented royal world trading interests. (1890s Atlantic Monthly engraving)

William Pitt Tavern
Built by John Stavers about 1767, the tavern's third floor was rented to the local Masons of St. John's Lodge (first in NH) before the Revolution. Stavers was forced to temporarily flee town when his slave James struck a citizen in the head with an axe when a "mob" of patriots tried to remove the tavern's sign. Stavers not only owned slaves, but sold and displayed them in the tavern. For a time, the tavern (seen here around 1895) was used as a residence. (Whalley Museum Library, St. John's Lodge)

William Pitt Tavern
Today the William Pitt Tavern survives at its original location on Court Street and, painstakingly restored, is part of the tour at the Strawbery Banke Museum. After Stavers sided with the Patriots, the tavern hosted signers of the Declaration and Constitution, John Paul Jones, Lafayette, John Sullivan, possibly even visited by George Washington. (UNH Photographic Services)

Click back for "Slavery at the Pitt Tavern"

See painting of tavern by Sarah Foster

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