William Trent Visits the White Horse

William Trent wrote a letter to Richard Peters about marriage, business, and Indians. He stayed at the White Horse Inn on the night of July 21st, 1750, possibly along with John Potts. Trent, who also served with George Washington in the French and Indian War, was a fur trader and merchant based in colonial Pennsylvania. Trent’s father was the founder of Trenton, NJ.

The topics in the letter are mesmerizing, giving you a flavor of the conversations that must have taken place in the Tavern.

First, on a personal note, he blames his Mother for forgetting to give him Marriage and Traders’ licenses from Richard Peters. Imagine Trent’s frustration after traveling all the way from Philadelphia to the White Horse Inn only to realize his mother did not property pack his bag.

He then moves on to issues of colonial security, detailing a conversation about an Indian attack that John Potts recounted to him. From the conversation, Trent deduces that the Indians are at war with each other, and that 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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