The ownership dates back to the early 18th century:
James Thomas (<1711 – 1722)
- A Welshman, Thomas, built a log cabin on this location before 1711, and according to tradition, kept an inn at this location while he was constable
- He located his cabin in “unbroken wilderness..on the very outskirts of civilization.”
- According to tax records of 1715, his assessment was double the amount of any other property owner.
- The first official record still in existence for the house is the application in 1721 of James Thomas for a license “to keep a house of entertainment, for selling wine, brandy, rum, and other strong liquors.”
- Thomas was constable for the township in 1711
- Thomas built the stone tavern to the east of the log cabin during his ownership; the log cabin location is now where an extension built before 1790 currently stands.
- James offered the tavern and stone barn for sale in October of 1721.
- James had difficulty with public drunkeness and avoiding Quaker meetings around this time–notes from meetings show the issue dragged on through much of 1722.
Edward and Mary Kinnison [Kennison] (1722 – 1736)
- Edward Kinnison also became the constable in 1712 of the township, succeeding Thomas.
- There is a reference that Kinnison applied for a tavern license in 1717 but was denied, and he arranged a deal with Thomas to apply in 1721. NEED SOURCE
- The business flourished and became a local landmark during his ownership.
- Mary listed on tavern petition 1731. Nee Greenaway.
Edward Jr. Kinnison [Kennison] (1737…)
- Son of Mary and Edward, listed on tavern petition
James Trego (…1739 – 1746)
- In 1746, the Pennsylvania Gazette listed the James Trego estate for Sale. This notice carried the description ‘White Horse has been a tavern and a good business for 30 years past.’ If taken literally, this dates the origin of the Tavern to around 1715.
- He submitted tavern petitions as early as 1723, and one in 1734 called “Three Bottles.” The petitions he did make never mention White Horse.
John Hambright [Hambryht] (1746-11/8/1753)
- Submitted tavern petitions from 1746-1755.
- He lost a horse in the middle of June 1748 and offered a reward of 20 shillings. He directed the mare be brought to Mr. John Eiddle at the Sign of the White Horse on Market Street in Philly.
- Source: Penn Gazette 15 August 1748, Thu • Page 4
- His interest was sold at auction on Nov 8, 1753.
- Source: Penn Gazette 25 Oct 1753, Thu • Page 2
John Neely (1752-1759)
- Submitted tavern petitions
- Referenced in Roger Hunt’s account-book are “Incident Charges extraordinary,” some of them being as follows: To John Nealy’s, at the [Upper] White Horse 8 1/2 mile 12 perches
Vaughan Jonathan (1756)
- Submitted tavern petition in 1756 for White Horse which the county denied. He later submitted petitions for Red Lyon from 1758 to 1760. This looks more like a mistake, or possibly a favor.
Thomas [Jr.] Hubbert (1756 – 4/21/1764)
- Tavern petitions
- Thomas Hubbert owned the Tavern until seized by Sheriff John Fairland before April 21, 1764, and sold it at a public auction on May 12th, 1764. source: Penn Gazette May 3, 1764 notice of sale.
Thomas Lemon [Leman] [Lemmons] (1761 – 1762)
- Tavern petitions
- Unsure what Thomas Lemon’s role was, but he probably was not an owner, but perhaps the tavern operator during this time for the estate of Thomas Hubbert.
Owen Ashton (5/12/1964 – 7/29/1765)
- Estate was seized on July 29, 1765, and sold at auction on August 17th.
- Source: Penn Gazette, August 1, 1765, page 3.
- He placed an ad in the Penn Gazette on 4 Oct 1764 to sell the property.
- He was married to Rachel Phipps sometime between 1760 and 1765.
- Captain in Capt. Jas. Young’s Company of Cumberland County Militia in 1780.
- From the “Pennsylvania Centre Democrat” newspaper: James Aston’s grandfather and great-grandfather came from England in 1755.
- Source: Owen’s will filed in Chester. [NEED TO VERIFY]
John Kerlin (1767? – 4/6/1789)
- In 1762 John was living at something called “Sign of the Waggon” on Lancaster Road.
- Source: Penn Gazette 10 June 1762 • Page 3
- He filed for reparations from the British for debt incurred during the war.
- The tavern was “to be Let” after John’s death in 1787.
- Source: Penn Gazette 11 July 1787 • Page 1
- His son, William, sold the property after John’s death. The advertisement for sale mentions Arthur Rice as keeping the inn.
- Source: Penn Gazette 16 March 1789 • Page 1
Arthur Rice (1789 – 1796)
- Rice operated the tavern for the estate of John Kerlin from 1787.
- Rice was a trusted scout of George Washington during the encampment at Valley Forge.
- Possibly built the eastern two-story stone addition to the tavern before 1790.
- Masonic Lodge #50 was chartered on December 6th, 1790, and met in the eastern stone section of the house on the second floor until 1806.
James Bone (1791 – 1793)
- Bone was the brother-in-law of Arthur Rice
- He filed a tavern petition from 1791-1793 for the White Horse. Then Sign Of Gen.Washington from 1794-1800, then Yellow Springs from 1805-1823, then General Washington Inn from 1824-1825.
- Mentioned as White Horse “Innkeeper” in 1791 article.
- Source: Penn Gazette 27 April 1791 • Page 4
Jean [Jane] Rice (1797)
- Jane was the wife of Arthur and took ownership upon his death
- “Jean” is listed in country records for tavern petition in 1797
Stephen Bowen (1797 – 1807)
- Bowen married Jane Rice in 1797
James Rice (1808 – 1812)
- Possibly son of Arthur and Jane.
- Listed on tavern petition
- Stone barn addition contains a date of 1811, which would indicate James extended the small stone barn.
William Frederick (1813 – 1815)
- Refers to the tavern as “Old White Horse Tavern” in the 1815 tavern petition
- He moved on to Steamboat from 1816-1817, and then General Wayne from 1818-1832.
Joseph [John] Pearce (1816 – 1824)
- Joseph [John] was the brother of Col. Cromwell Pearce
- Bought from Bowen’s estate? Need reference since others file tavern petitions post-Bowen’s ownership.
- In 1829 refers to the tavern as “White Horse Inn.”
- Member of Lodge 50 in 1805.
Elijah Davis (1825)
- References in tavern petition
John Worrale [possibly Worrall] (1826)
- References in tavern petition
Joseph [John] Pearce (1827)
- Unsure how ownership may have changed with Elijah or John above.
Jane Pearce (1828-31)
- Possibly Joseph’s wife. Listed in tavern petition.
Samuel [Peter] Reitenbaugh and his son Adam Reitenbaugh (1832 – 1866)
- Adam rebuilt a log barn into a stone barn on his property in 1839. This barn is at the corner of Plainbrook and Swedesford, not the smaller stone barn on the current property.
- Adam also recruited a volunteer company in the 1840s. Members of the 4th Regiment, formerly the 143rd, gather for drill and inspections on orders from Colonel Samuel Burnett. Source: 9/30/1845, American Republican, and to meet at Adam Reitenbaugh’s. [NEED SOURCE]
- He refused in 1856 to renew the tavern’s license, and the property became a working farm.
- He named his son George Washington Reitenbaugh. A visitor told me that one can find GW’s initials in the house somewhere, but I haven’t seen it yet.
- He sold the property for $31,000 in 1866. [NEED TO VERIFY]
- Adam Passed away on 29 Mar 1867– https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/22832130/adam-reitenbaugh
- There is a grave for Samuel https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/147108274/samuel-reitenbaugh
Edward Rhine (1866 – 1868)
- Applied for tavern petition “White Horse” in Chester County Records 1866-1868. Last recorded tavern petition.
- Rhine passed away in 1869. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/29383151/edward-rhine
William Weightman (…1873 – 1911)
- “Philadelphia’s well-known capitalist” was worth over 50M, the wealthiest person in the Philadelphia area.
- He repaired and remodeled the home as noted in Wayside Inns on the Lancaster Roadside.
- Maps from 1873 and 1883 show Weightman owning the tavern property with a house and two barns marked. He also owned signficant amount of land nearby.
- Anna Walker (daughter) inherited all William’s properties on his death in 1904.
John Swanenburg & Children (1911 – 6/25/1954)
- Worked the property as a farm until 1954 and used the tavern as his residence
- He subdivided the farm in 1954 and auctioned off the pieces
- Source: “Swananbers Home” in Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society History Quarterly, October 1970 Volume 15 Number 4, Page 77.
Alfred and Ruth Adrien (6/25/1954 – 6/23/1955)
- Source: Chester County Deed 5150933. Grantors list: Anna Mae, Marcus, Sarah E., and Watson Swanenburg
William D. and Beadie R. (Hazel P.) Morehead (6/23/1955 -10/21/1970)
- Source: Chester County Deed 5161578 — Lists Hazel P. in Grantee, but when sold to Rambo, lists Beadie R. as Grantor
Davis E. A. and Mary J. Rambo (10/21/1970 – 4/9/1976)
- Source: Chester County Deed – 5355877
- Source: Chester County Mortgage – 5355858, William Morehead held the mortgage for the Rambos.
John Danner (4/9/1976 – 8/24/1976)
- Bought at a foreclosure auction by the 2nd and 3rd mortgage holder on the property to protect their investment
- Source: Chester County Sheriff’s Deed – 5460794
Rutherford & Patti Miller (8/24/1976 – 12/10/2017)
- Bought foreclosed property and restored property while raising their family on the property
- Registered the property as a National, State, and County historic landmark
- Address change from 480 Swedesford Rd., Malvern, Pennsylvania, to current 606 Swedesford Rd, Malvern, Pennsylvania
Gestalt Holdings, LP (12/10/17 – Present)