Golden Ball Tavern
This historic Massachusetts tavern played a critical role in the start of the American Revolution.
Throughout Massachusetts and especially around Boston, there are no shortage of Revolutionary War sites. From the Freedom Trail in downtown Boston to the preserved battlefields at Lexington and Concord, it appears history from that time period is just as present today as it was over 200 years ago. However, many of these sites are focused and told through the American Patriot perspective and only a few describe the revolution as seen through British Tory and Loyalist eyes.
The Golden Ball Tavern looks like many historic homes throughout the state but has a very unique history. Built in 1768 by Captain Isaac Jones, a local shopkeeper, he was a staunch Loyalist in the early 1770s and one of the ways of showing support was continuing to serve British English tea despite how controversial the beverage had become. On March 28, 1774, around three months after the Boston Tea Party, a local Patriot mob burst into his home demanding his whereabouts. Jones was away at the time with only his wife and infant child at home so the crowd looted and ransacked the residence before leaving. An incident that has come to be known locally as the Weston Tea Party.
In the months directly preceding the outbreak of the war, Jones gave shelter and supplies to British spies operating throughout the area. In 1775, Jones informed the spies not to have British regular troops march through Weston due to the hostility of its residents and the danger it posed. The spies relayed the warning back to General Thomas Gage who on April 19, decided to march through Lexington and Concord instead, leading to the very first battle of the war.
But later in the war, Jones switched sides. By 1777, he was hauling supplies to the French in New York. The tavern became a private residence in 1793 and Isaac Jones himself passed away in 1813. The house would stay in the Jones family for four more generations until it became a museum in 1964.
The Golden Ball Tavern may not look extraordinary or hold as much prestige as other Revolutionary War-era sites but has a very rich history with direct connections to some of the most iconic and crucial events of the revolution. If you’re interested in seeing a fabulously preserved historic home and curious about the Tory and Loyalist perspectives regarding the American Revolution, the Golden Ball Tavern is absolutely worth the visit.
Know Before You Go
The museum is usually only open on the second Sunday of each month from 1-3 pm January through November. It also open on the first Sunday of December from 1-3 pm. They are also open via appointment.
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