William Hudson, one of the earliest inhabitants of Boston lived at the site where the Bunches of Grapes would build. The first recorded owner of this tavern, that is located at the corner of King Street and Mackrell Lane, was William Davis, who then sold it to William Ingram in 1658. William then sold it to John Holbrook in 1680.
Not familiar with the corner of King and Mackrell? It is now the corner of State and Kilby.
As all taverns and inns of the time used painted signs to announce their establishments, this tavern hung gilded grapes over the doorway.
Francis Holmes owned it for about 2 years when it burned down in 1711 during the great Boston fire. The following year, it was replaced as a brick structure, mush as the same as the other wooden properties that were destroyed during the fire.
Called by the patrons at the time as "The best punch house in Boston", it was also renowned for its great food, such as veal, beef, mutton, hams and puddings of all kinds. All these food preceded by a pint of Madeira. It is thought that table carving was first used here in New England, which was the norm in Old English taverns.
For 5s, each overnight guest was offered great fare and Madeira to whatever amount they desired.
The succession of owners were:
William Coffin, 1731
Edward Lutwych, 1733
Joshua Barker, 1749
William Weatherhead, 1750
Rebecca Coffin, 1760
Joseph Ingersoll, 1764
Captain John Marston, 1775
William Foster, 1782
Col. Dudley Coleman, 1783
James Bila and Thomas Lobdel, 1789
James Bowdoin, in 1790.
Upon the latters death, it was bequeathed to his wife as the "...house caled The Bunch of Grapes."
In 1733, it served as the first Provincial Grand Lodge of Masons, known as Saint John's Grand Lodge by a Boston tailor named Henry Price.
During the American Revolution, most taverns served as gathering points for the fledgling 'continental army', and The Bunch of Grapes was no different. Even the Whigs made it their political headquarters at this time, as well as the 'home' of Captain John Marston's military band of patriots between 1775-1778.
|Captain John Marston|
During the famous episode known as the 'evacuation of Boston',
It was in front of this tavern that all the Old English relics, pertaining to the mother country, were piled up and burned after the Declaration of Independence was read aloud just a few blocks away at the Town House on State Street.
On his return to New England from France in 1780, Lafayette was received at the Bunch of Grapes as he pronounced that France was joining the War.
The Ohio Company, a group of veteran officers, was rounded up by Dr. Manasseh Cutler and General Rufus Putnam in order to mete out the million and a half acres of land along the banks of the Ohio River to those who wanted to purchase lots for 67 cents an acre.
Although the building was demolished in 1798, on the 150th birthday of this tavern, the original bunches of gilded grapes, which hung over the door of this Boston landmark, was presented to the St. John's Lodge, A.F. & A.M. by Enoch Paige on Oct. 1, 1883.