Long Line of Ownership

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)

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)

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