White Horse Tavern- Chester Pike
The Archer family owned all property east of Lincoln Avenue to Norwood. Originally they lived on Darby Creek near the Morton family, but in
the 1720's, John Archer moved to Chester Pike. On Chester Pike he built a two and one-half story brick building for his family and in 1729
he applied for a tavern license. John along with his son Adam opened the tavern in 1730 as the White Horse Tavern.John Archer left the
White Horse Tavern to his son Adam Archer in 1740. During the American Revolution John and Barbara Bryan operated the tavern.
During the American Revolution it was the scene of at least two skirmishes between British and American troops. Lt. John Clark,
an adjutant of General Nathaniel Greene, wrote to George Washington daily between October and December of 1777.
"Yesterday, December 23, thirteen of the enemy's light horse took one of Captain Lee's horsemen near the White Horse and Col. Dan
Morgan took eight of the horsemen prisoners as well as ten of their horses. The rest fled on seeing Col. Morgan and his party. Five of these
outran the pursuit."
(General James Potter to George Washington, December 24, 1777)
"This morning (December 25, 1777) a party of the enemy with five field pieces moved from Darby toward Chester. Near the White Horse
Tavern they fell in with a small party of our troops. The Americans were obliged to give way with losses of two killed and three wounded."
(Lt. John Clark to George Washington, December 25, 1777)
The White Horse Tavern has had a number of legends and ghosts associated with it. In the fall of 1756, being thrown from his horse in
front of the tavern on a stormy night killed Luke Nethermark. His ghost was said to have been seen often on a stormy night. In the fall of
1776, Capt. John Cullin was shot by one of his men who was angry at him for a minor reprimand. Capt. Culin was trying to organize a
company of militia at the time. It was rumored that his ghost appeared. George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette are said to have
slept at the White Horse Tavern.
Caesar Rodney is said to have stopped at the White Horse on his way to Philadelphia on July 3rd to change Delaware's vote for
independence on July 4, 1776.
The following story is supposed to be a true one. Sometime in November of 1777, when British Warships were stationed in the Delaware
River, a small part of British Royal Marines landed at Darby Creek to forage in the neighborhood. One marine was left to guard the boat.
Local farmers killed the marine and then fled as the others returned. The marine was said to pace his sentry post on the anniversary of his
The story of the British spy at the White Horse Tavern is probably the most interesting one. The story varies from person to person, and
this account is taken from the
Chester Time, July 1902 when it was first published.
About 1779, an Englishwoman and her daughter came to live at the Tavern. The mother died shortly after they arrived and the daughter,
Elizabeth, stayed on at the tavern and married a blacksmith of the area named Jacob Mayer. Records show that on July 13, 1779, a Jacob
Mayer married Elizabeth Walker at the German Reformed Church of Philadelphia. In the summer of 1780, Chester County Militia was
called up for active duty. (Delaware County was a part of Chester County until 1789). Jacob Mayer was one of those called up and his wife
Elizabeth continued to stay at the tavern while he was on duty. One day she was seen by a Negro, talking to a British soldier in back of the
tavern. Local militia came and the British soldier was killed. Elizabeth Mayer, on seeing the soldier dead, killed herself. Her husband,
Jacob, erected a small tombstone in her memory. It read:
"In memory of Elizabeth the wife of Jacob Mayer Who departed this life the 19th day of October 1780 in the 22 year of her life."
David McClure bought the tavern from Simes and remodeled the building in 1902. McClure also added a three-story addition on the East
Side of the original tavern.
Source: Some History of Prospect Park