Milton History: Bell Tavern
It appears that a tavern operated on the north side of Broad/Main Street in Milton from the early days of that town, occupying what is known as Lot #18. On this lot today sits the Edmund Dixon Thomas store (built around 1850). However, no name was seen for the tavern until the following:
Caswell County, North Carolina
Deed Book V, Page 411-413
Charles Sims of Milton to Howell L. Ridley and William M. Sneed, securities of Granville County, and to John Smith of Milton, for $10 paid by Smith, lot #18 in Milton at the corner of Main and Liberty Streets known as Bell Tavern and now occupied by Thomas Mitchell; also lot conveyed Sims by Archibald Haralson and Johathan Haralson in 1818; also deed from Richard Ogilby 1817; all the interest he purchased of Warner Williams being one-third part; excepting title conveyed by Sims to Phil H. Inge trustee to benefit Henry M. Clay security. 26 March 1821. Witnesses: George M. Penn, George Farley.
While the foregoing, which appears to be a deed of trust, is complicated, it is posted here not for the details thereof but for the reference to the Bell Tavern, apparently operated by Thomas Mitchell.
Taverns, Inns, and Ordinaries
While there may be overlap among these establishments, during the colonial period the following definitions generally were used. And, presumably, these categories carried over, at least for a while, after independence:
Tavern = a place where you could buy an alcoholic beverage and consume it on the premises.
Inn = a commercial establishment providing, among other things, lodging and food for the public, particularly travelers.
Ordinary = an inn or tavern that served a complete meal at a fixed price.