The Ordinary & Co. 

History of The Ordinary 

 

  • Built by Col. William Bassett in the 1690s, he also built Bassett Hall in Williamsburg.

 

  • It was run by Robert Warren for the Bassett family in the 1700s, referred to as Warren’s Tavern.

 

  • The Ordinary has played a part in two wars.  During the winter of 1781-1782, the French established a chain of dispatch riders; there are copies of correspondence between the innkeeper James Warren and Louis Alexander Berthier, a French Officer relating to the boarding of two “hussars” or messengers and their horses at the tavern.

 

 

  • George Washington referred to and visited the ordinary a number of times during the Revolutionary War.

 

  • French Troops and General Chastellux also visited the Ordinary during the war.   Gen. Chastellux wrote of an early morning walk around the building and his fascination with the song of a mockingbird.  On April 8, 1782, General Chastellux wrote, “I lodged in a rather good inn where we were served an excellent supper composed chiefly of sturgeon and shad.” A button was found in the yard in the 1960s that belonged to Chastellux by the owners at that time, Pat and Hunter Martin.

 

  • In the years 1814 through 1839, the tavern journal shows the tavern was visited a number of times by John Tyler, the 10th President.  He held political dinners at the tavern; the favorite drinks of the day were served Champagne and Brandy.   

 

 

  • During the Civil War, General George B. McClellan used the building as a communications headquarters.  Both Confederate Soldiers and Union camped at the Ordinary; it was also used as a hospital.