search instagram arrow-down

THE DUNCULLEN SAGA

Follow me on Twitter

The Alliance of Independent Authors - Author Member
I'm an Ethical Author
Follow M.B. Gibson Books on WordPress.com

Recent Posts

Previous Posts

Topics

Aroon Barnwell SC book review Civil Rights Movement diaries genealogy indentured servants internet resources interviews Ireland Irish lore John B. Pryor John Tuohy Lincoln music newspapers Nicholas Sheehy Pat Conroy placage Pryor Knowledge Reading Challenge review South Carolina South Carolina lowcountry The Least of These travels Uncategorized Whiteboys William Johnson Word Histories Writing

Goodreads

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,184 other followers

The Tavern of John McHeath


The Stage Coach Inn was located about
twenty miles from McHeath’s Tavern.

Local history books provided the setting and conflict for my story, The Least of These.

The Revolutionary War was a brutal time in South Carolina when neighbors chose sides, resulting on a whopping one-third of the population as active Loyalists. This created a more true civil war than any in U.S. history. Neighbors destroyed each other’s homes, raped, scalped, and hacked each other to bits. Corpses were even dug up and abused.

A re-created tavern at the Living
History Park, North Augusta, S. C.

Real-life character Tarleton Brown and his young fictional savior, Mary Edith Dillon, sided with the Patriots. I needed a loyal subject of His Highness King George III to act as their foil.

From The Village of Barnwell by William Hansford Duncan, I learned the focal point of colonial life in my town was a tavern located on Red Hill, run by a man named John McHeath.

McHeath’s inn was famous for its whiskey. However, taverns were not only where folks went to throw back a few shots. They were often the only community buildings available. They could be used as courtrooms, schoolhouses, and even church services. To prevent drunkenness during these tamer activities, a set of wooden bars would be lowered to block access to alcohol. Even today, 

Note the bar that was lowered for
non-alcoholic activities.

we say, “The bar is closed.”

Taverns were prevalent along main thoroughfares and trading routes in the backwoods. McHeath’s Tavern served as an oasis on the Charles Town-Augusta stagecoach road where travelers stopped for food, drink, or a night’s rest, if needed. Locals showed up to hear gossip, make contacts, or enjoy a game of cards, or patrons might enjoy the occasional brawl or cockfight. I can imagine some gritty political discussions, too.

Inside the tavern at the Historic
Camden Revolutionary War Site
With that, the stage is set. Let the drama begin.

RESEARCH TIP: I learned much of this information from the tavern keeper at the “Living History Park” in North Augusta, South Carolina (http://www.colonialtimes.us/). Re-enactors are a great source of knowledge since they tend to be very passionate about their topic and strive for accuracy to the smallest detail. And like any enthusiast, they love to talk about their interest. 

Also helpful, I found a facsimile of a colonial tavern at the Historic Camden Revolutionary War Site of Camden, South Carolina. Since McHeath’s inn is long gone, it helps to have one I can enter, walk around, and get a feel for.

2 comments on “The Tavern of John McHeath

  1. Unknown says:

    Does anyone know where I can find book mentioned above “The Village of Barnwell by William Hansford Duncan?”

    Like

  2. Mary Beth says:

    You can likely get a copy at the Barnwell County Museum from the curator, Marie Peeples. Call 803-259-1916.

    Like

Leave a Reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: