Asa Barns' Tavern Welcomes America's Friends
Asa Barns was a Connecticut Tavern Keeper during the American Revolution.
Barns’ participation in the Founding surrounds his hosting a very special guest.
Sometimes, while researching information on obscure Founders, I spend hours of my time and come away with very little to show for it.
This leaves me in quite a predicament. Do I give up on the Founder as there is no story there, or do I write a short article which packs in what little information I find?
Since point of this site is to pay homage to those Forgotten Founders, giving up on some of them because their tales are ‘too short’ would be doing a disservice.
That being said, today’s Founder, Asa Barns, has a very interesting place in Revolutionary War history.
A Note on the Many Asa Barns
This story is about Asa Barns, a tavern owner in central Connecticut.
I wanted to make this clear for the beginning as I ran into SEVERAL Asa Barns during my research. Most of these other men were from Massachusetts and participated in the Revolutionary War.
Asa Barns’ Tavern
Asa Barns of Connecticut must have been a young man when he decided to open up his house to travelers, turning it into a tavern. I have deduced his approximate age based on the fact that he would pass the property on to his son fifty-four years later.
This means if he opened the tavern at 20, he would have retired at 74.
Taverns, at the time, were more than just locations for guzzling beer. They usually had rooms available for people on a journey. Barn’s Tavern assisted those on their way into and out of New Haven.
During the Summer of 1781, Barns had a very special visitor…the French Army!
The French had been in Rhode Island for quite some time. They had landed there after crossing the Atlantic.
The French were on their way south to meet up with General Washington’s Continental Army. All they wanted to do was defeat the Redcoats and win the Revolutionary War at Yorktown…no big deal.
En route, the French commander, General Rochambeau, stopped his army at the Asa Barns Tavern. Rochambeau used the Tavern as his headquarters for four nights while his soldiers slept across the street.
Rochambeau bit his adieu, traveled south, and accomplished his mission.
After winning the war, the French Army returned north to head back home. On the way the stopped at the Asa Barns Tavern one more time (they must have really enjoyed the service).
Barns continued to run his little motel for another three decades before passing it to his son and retiring.
If you would like to learn about another Revolutionary Tavern keeper, check out my article on Austin Roe. Roe was a member of the Culper Spy Ring and holds a special place in my heart as he is the only Founder buried in the town I grew up in.
If you would like a nice coffee table book, pick up a copy of ‘Taverns of the American Revolution’ from the affiliate link below. While it is not the usual type of text I recommend, it is a lot of fun to have around the house for other American Revolution nerds who come through.
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