The Gabreil Daveis Tavern in the Glendora section of Gloucester Township, New Jersey dates back to 1756, and this weekend (April 15 and 16) they are hosting their Spring Open House and Revolutionary Weekend.
This is a rain or shine event which features Tavern tours, re-enactors, and a full colonial reenactment including… Artillery demos, primitive archery, campfire cooking and other exciting demonstrations! Free admission.
The Tavern building, property and trails are an awesome way to reconnect with the history of our area, but then to add in the Spring Open House colonial events… it’s truly an awesome weekend event for you and the family!
As we drive around our community we’re all so focused on the newest construction project, latest potholed road or just “all this damn traffic!”, that it’s awesome to realize that there are amazing properties like this to reconnect us back to our history.
And at almost 275 years old the Tavern is a perfect example of South Jersey history, with many interesting stories in and around the building.
Centuries ago it’s location in Glendora was chosen because of its proximity to a then very well traveled Big Timber Creek, where boaters would be temporarily stranded as the tides would shift, lowering the water level.
The Tavern builders looked at the property as an opportunity to provide accommodations to those travelers!
I find it almost as amazing to understand that these small waterways which traverse throughout Camden and Gloucester County (which we don’t even really notice in our daily lives anymore), were once key transportation routes for goods moving throughout our communities and on to Philadelphia.
And if you follow the trails from the Tavern down the hills to visit this section of the creek, you’ll find the spot where almost 300 years ago boaters would stop and exit their boats, and head to the tavern.
Consider that the Glendora area was a very rural location in the 18th century with only a couple of homes, so to understand that someone saw value in developing a Tavern at the location really gives a clue to how well traveled the Big Timber Creek must have been at the time!
Last weekend volunteers of the Gloucester Township Historic and Scenic Preservation Committee were on site to prepare the property and building for this weekend’s Spring Open House.
The committee director Sharon Mickle invited me over to tour the property and get an overview of the its amazing history.
Finding The Gabriel Davies Tavern
For most of my life I knew the Tavern had existed but I honestly had never visited previously! Can you believe that!? I pride myself on knowing every little nuance of cool and interesting things in the 42Freeway area!
What really brought this to the front of my mind this year was my recent post on the Somerdale Road Bridge rebuild. When I put my drone up to get aerial imges of the bridge I noticed up the hill and through the trees… The Tavern was sitting there waiting for me to finally visit!
I drove over to the Black Horse Pike and made a turn down 4th street to visit the Tavern. At the time back in February it was off season and the Tavern was not open. I soon made plans with Sharon to return in early April to visit.
I mention all of this simply because it’s one of those places that unless you knew it was there, you could live your entire life in the area and never have visited!
I feel very fortunate and appreciative that volunteers Sharon and Dotty were able to give me a focused tour of the Tavern and share some of its history.
My goal here is not to recreate everything that they shared with me but to give you some of the interesting aspects of the property and building, so that you and your family will feel inspired to visit yourself.
Gabrei Daveis Tavern – History
The tavern’s first section was constructed in 1756, with the goal of accommodating travelers on the Irishe Road and boaters moving products along the Big Timber Creek.
The right side of the building was developed first, and has the 1756 date built into the outside brickwork at the peak. At a later date the left side of the building was added on.
What you see inside today is very true to the look and experience of the Tavern from the 18th century.
Over the centuries the building has had several changes, including the main entrance door was relocated, as well as the stairs up to the second floor. Things you would never notice if the story were not shared… But all of these were changes made centuries ago and the building is very authentic.
Oh and keep in mind that when you visit the Tavern, what you see from the road and in most photos is actually the rear of the building. Considering it was developed to accommodate travelers on the Creek and roadway below, the front door is actually facing the woods and hill!
Inside, the building is fully furnished with furniture and items of the time including many other historical artifacts from the area.
Sharon and Dotty even pointed out to me a large anchor sitting in one of the rooms which was said to have been found by a fisherman in that same portion of the Big Timber Creek at the bottom of the hill… Likely dating back to when the waterway was a main source of transportation!
The building functioned as a Tavern and community meeting place for only 12 years. Not too long after the Tavern opened, Gabriel passed away. His widow Sarah took over the operation of the Tavern for several years but then chose not to renew the license in 1768.
Considering the era, she was likely one of the first women business owners in Camden County and even more likely the first bar owner!
Despite its age, the building is still revealing its many historical secrets.
The back left corner room of the building is where the Tavern bar originally existed. That room has a large fireplace and Sharon tells me that just within the last year they noticed an inscription on the back of the fireplace “old farm studio”. At the Library of Congress website is a scanned document from the 1930s which references that old farm studio name!
For about 100 years the Warwick-Jaggard family owned the home (yes, that same Warwick family of Warwick road) and in 1933 the property changed private hands for the last time.
In 1933 the property was purchased by Mr. Wiliam Shuck who was a young artist at the time. Despite the building being in need of significant repair, he fell in love with the architecture and history of the building.
He acquired the home from Joseph Jaggard, who was the last of the Warwick-Jaggard family.
As mentioned, the property at the time was poorly kept and in need of significant repair. The grounds of the property were left to overgrow and trees were taking over the building’s exterior.
Part of the reason the property was not as well kept as it should be, was that Mr Jaggard was an older man.
But he also had experienced an injury in the early 1900s, which cost him his leg.
The story is he was out hunting one day and rested on a tree. A bee startled him which caused him to knock his shotgun over, and he shot himself in the leg.
His leg was removed and a wooden prosthetic leg was carved from a tree on the property. That wooden leg is still on display today inside the Tavern!
So despite being older, disabled and really unable to keep up with the property, Jaggard was not willing to leave his home.
The young artist Mr. Schuck was so determined to take ownership of the building and restore it back to its original glory that he made an agreement to buy the building and property… while allowing Mr. Jagger to continue living there. Jaggard and Mr Schuck shared the home for many years.
William Schuck owned the home until 1976, and is buried on the property.
He left the Tavern and all of the furnishings still remaining in the building to Gloucester Township for $1. The agreement included that the town a Historical Society and open the home for public tours.
This weekend you can visit the Tavern and property, learn about colonial life in South Jersey, and speak to on-hand volunteers who will share many stories of the buildings exciting past.
Links and Locations
Gabreil Daveis Tavern – Spring Open House 2023
500 3rd Ave
Spring Open House – Colonial Re-Enactment
Gabreil Daveis Tavern
April 15 & 16, 2023
Saturday: 9am – 5pm
Sunday: 9am – 3pm