William Trent Visits the White Horse

William Trent, a fur trader and merchant based in colonial Pennsylvania, wrote a captivating letter to Richard Peters in July 1750. In the letter, he discussed topics like marriage, business, and Indian affairs. He stayed at the White Horse Inn on the night of July 21st, possibly along with John Potts. Trent, who also served with George Washington during the French and Indian War, was the son of the founder of Trenton, New Jersey.

The letter offers a fascinating glimpse into the conversations that likely took place at the Tavern.

On a personal note, Trent blames his mother for forgetting to give him marriage and trader’s licenses from Richard Peters. You can imagine his frustration after traveling all the way from Philadelphia to the White Horse Inn, only to realize his mother hadn’t properly packed his bag.

Next, he moves on to issues of colonial security, recounting a conversation with John Potts about an Indian attack. From their discussion, Trent deduces that the Indians are at war with each other, which presents a “good opportunity” to divide and conquer by making selective peace with some tribes and setting them against the “French Indians.”

Letter was written July 22, 1750, and reproduced in Pennsylvania Archives edited by Samuel Hazard is Volume 2 page 50

The reference image of Trent’s stay at the White Horse was provided to me via email by Jason Cherry (https://www.jasonacherry.com/). He is the co-author of “Pittsburgh’s Lost Outpost: Captain Trent’s Fort”

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