The History of the Chadds Ford Inn 1703-1810
In 1703, an English Quaker from Wiltshire, Francis Chadsey, purchased 500 acres of choice land from William Penn’s Commissioner for land grants. These acres encompass most of present day Chadds Ford. Francis Chadsey’s house is now the Chadds Ford Inn.
Chadsey’s eldest son, John Chad, as he signed his name, came of age in 1717 and took over the responsibility of his father’s estate. The estate included the main house and the ferry that crossed the Brandywine Creek. In 1736 John Chad turned his father’s home into a tavern. He noted on the license the ferry service and a need for a “publick inn.” At that time the area was known as Birmingham, but those who told travelers where to stop and rest soon found themselves saying, “the tavern at Chad’s fording place.” The license was regularly renewed until 1742 when the petition was not allowed. John threatened to suspend ferry service and friends in neighboring communities petitioned in his support. Two and a half months later the tavern license was renewed. (Some things never change).
In 1746 John leased the tavern and the ferry to James House, his brother in law. The tavern license was renewed until the time of the revolution.
John Chad died in 1760 and left the tavern to his nephew, Joseph Davis. It was Davis who entertained the colonial officers in the days preceding the battle of September 11, 1777. When the colonial forces retreated up the valley to Chester the British forces swarmed into the village. Davis was so “plundered” that no tax was due and no tavern licensed was issued until 1810. In 1810 the long history of the Chadds Ford Inn came to life again.
New York Times Article - 36 Hours in the Brandywine Valley