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Step back in time....

Details in the history of  "The Ordinary" at New Kent


  • 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, Champagne and Brandy, were served.   

  • 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.    

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