History of Bristol House (a. k. a. Short Tavern)


Historic Hotels / Thursday, May 2nd, 2019

The Bristol House was located on lots 1 and 2, block 2, Original Town of Bristol.

June 6, 1843, John Short, Sr. purchased lots one and two, block two, original Village of Bristol, from James McClellan. The lots are located on the southwest corner of Somonauk and Center Streets. John constructed his family’s home there but later was induced to convert their home into the first tavern in Bristol, which he and his wife, Mary E. (Surre) Short, operated. The tavern was the stagecoach stop and provided a place for teamsters and others to stay. The horses that pulled the stagecoaches were exchanged at Bristol. A horse barn and pasture were located directly across the street from the hotel to accommodate the stage line, its passengers and hotel guest’s needs. The Short’s daughter, Susan (Short) May, wrote an interesting account of daily life around the tavern. 1“Susan Short May: The story of her ancestry and of her early life in Illinois;” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Springfield; Vol. 6, No. 1. pp. 119-128, April 1913. The tavern eventually became known as Bristol House.

Between July 17, 1849 and May 22, 1852; and March 15, 1854 and May 13, 1854; John Short was the Bristol postmaster and the post office was located in the tavern.

The original tavern building was dismantled before June 1864 and replaced by a new hotel building. The material from the dismantled building was used to construct four or five different dwellings in Bristol. 2Kendall County Record, June 16, 1864.

Leonard Thorp and his wife, Eliza Thorp succeeded the Shorts in the management of the Bristol House.

1850 census of Bristol Township, page 273A, enumeration date September 8, family # 17.

Thorp, Leonard    49 M NY Innkeeper
Thorp, Eliza      47 F NY
Thorp, Orson L.   22 M NY Carpenter
Thorp, George W.  19 M NY Mason
Thorp, William M. 17 M NY Laborer
Thorp, Henry      14 M NY
Thorp, John       11 M NY
Thorp, Mary        8 F IL
Thorp, Martha      3 F IL
Lawrence, Martin  37 M NY Stage driver

The Thorps sold out to Raphael and Harvey Beecher. Harvey and his wife operated the hotel until they sold the property to Bradford H. and Harriet P. (Atwood) Johnson in June 1857.

In September 1859, Bradford advertised the renovation of his hotel. “Bristol House, Bristol, Illinois. The subscriber would respectively inform the inhabitants of Kendall County, and the traveling public, that the above well known hotel, has been newly renovated and put in first rate order and is now open for guests, to whom he flatters himself, that by long experience, and personal attention to their wants, he can offer the comforts of a home. His stables and yards are commodious, and under the charge of experienced assistants. A comfortable Hack runs from this House to the depot (at Bristol Station) twice daily, connecting with the trains going east and west. He also keeps a team for the accommodation of persons wishing to be conveyed to any part of the county. He cordially invites all to give him a call. B. H. Johnson, September 1859.” 3Kendall Clarion, May 12, 1860.

1860 census of Bristol Township, page 126, enumeration date July 28, family # 867.

Johnson, B. H.               50 M MA Hotel keeper
Johnson, Harriet P. (Atwood) 39 F PA
Johnson, Margaret A.         18 F IL
Johnson, Mary Ann            16 F IL
Johnson, Milford             22 M NY
Felch, J. H.                 28 M VT Lawyer
Camp, Samuel C.              30 M NY Lawyer
Camp, Mary                   27 F NY n. g
Kimball, W.                  28 M NY Artist
Kimball, Angeline            23 F NY
Willett, Fred                28 M EN Hack Driver
Maleny, M.                   18 M IL Laborer
Owen, W. S.                  50 M IR Laborer
Johnson, Amelia              18 F NO Domestic

1870 census of Bristol Township, page 47 & 337A, enumeration date June 10, family # 23.

Johnson, Bradford H.                        60 M MA Hotel keeper
Johnson, Harriet P. (Atwood)                47 F PA Keeping house
Johnson, Mary Ann                           23 F IL
Johnson, George B.                           7 M IL
Hollenback, David S. (Johnson's son-in-law) 46 M OH Farmer
Hollenback, Margaret A. (Johnson)           28 F IL

Bradford continued to operate the business until the Bristol House closed in September 1870.

In 1915, what was known as the Thurber estate was sold to Frank and Nelson Quinsey. The property consisted of lots one, two, seven and eight of block two of Bristol. It was the east half of block two, bound by Spring, Colton and Somonauk Streets. A note in the Record stated that the old hotel would be town down and replaced with three bungalows. 4Kendall County Record, August 11, 1915.

The following transactions were found pertaining to lots 1 and 2, block 2, Original Town of Bristol.

  • Lot 1: James McClellan to John Short, lot 1, block 2, June 6, Original Town of Bristol, 1843.
  • Lot 1: Title chain broken.
  • Lot 1: Harvey Beecher & wife to Bradford H. Johnson, lot 8, block 1, lots 1 and 2, block 2, Original Town of Bristol; and fraction of northeast quarter, section 31, June 13, 1857, $750.
  • Lot 1: Title chain broken.
  • Lot 1: Rufus Hopkins & wife to Robert Hopkins lots 1 and 2, block 2, and lot 8, block 1, Original Town of Bristol; plus part of the east half of the southwest quarter of section 12, Kendall Township, August 13, 1858, $800.
  • Lot 1: Robert Hopkins to Bradford H. Johnson, undivided half lots 1 and 2, block 2, and lot 8, block 1, Original Town of Bristol, August 25, 1858, $665.
  • Lot 1: Bradford H. Johnson to David S. Hollenback, lot 8, block 1, lots 1 and 2 block 2, Original Town of Bristol, July 6, 1870, $4,000.
  • Lot 1: Bradford H. Johnson to Abraham Thomas lots 1 and 2, part of lot 8, block 2, Original Town of Bristol, December 21, 1874, $800.
  • Lot 1: Abraham Thomas to Nathaniel Y. Austin, lots 1, 2, and 43 feet off north end lot 8, block 2, Original Town of Bristol, February 16, 1876, $1,000.
  • Lot 1: Nathaniel Y. Austin to Eleazer H. Austin, lots 1, 2, and 43 feet off north end lot 8, block 2, Original Town of Bristol, March 12, 1877, $1,000.
  • Lot 1: Eleazer H. Austin to Sarah Jane Austin, lots 1, 2, and 43 feet off north end lot 8, block 2, Original Town of Bristol, March 12, 1877, $1,000.
  • Lot 1: Sarah Jane (Austin) Wolcott to Harvey M. Rawson, lots 1 and 2, and part of lot 8, block 2, Original Town of Bristol, July 1892, $800. Sarah Jane was Sarah Jane (Austin) (Roberts) 2nd Mrs. John C. Wolcott.

In October 1905, George Nichols, Newark house mover, moved the barn associated with the hotel to one side of the lot.

The Bradford Johnson house in Bristol has been sold to Mr. Abraham Thomas, George Ernst’s brother-in-law for $800. The property consisted of a large house with two and a half lots. 5Kendall County Record, October 15, 1874. 6Kendall County Record, January 7, 1875.

  • Lot 1: F. E. Rawson, et al, to Harry R. Thurber, Louise Thurber, and Jennie Kauper, lots 1, 2, 7 and 8, block 2, Original Town of Bristol,, $1. 7Kendall County Record, September 22, 1915.
  • Lot 1: Harry R. Thurber, et al, to Frank Quinsey and Nelson J. Quinsey, lots 1 and 2 and north 37 ½ feet off of north ends of lots 7 and 8, block 2, Original Town of Bristol,, $650. 8Kendall County Record, September 22, 1915.
  • Lot 1: Nelson J. Quinsey to Frank Quinsey, undivided half interest in north 37 ½ feet lots 7 and 8 and south 36 ½ feet lots 1and 3, block 2, Original Town of Bristol,, $1. 9Kendall County Record, November, 15, 1915.
  • Lot 1: Frank Quinsey to Nelson J. Quinsey, half interest in part of lots 1 and 2, block 2, Original Town of Bristol, December 1915.
  • Lot 1: Nelson J. Quinsey & wife to William H. Jeter, part of lot 1, block 2, Original Town of Bristol, August 1919, $4,800.
  • Lot 1: Eliza Z. Jeter to Finley T. and Blanche R. Fitch, part of lot 1, block 2, Original Town of Bristol, October 1928.

Mr. and Mrs. William H. Jeter are now located in their Bristol home where Mr. Jeter can be found by those who need an auctioneer to cry their sales.

The old Thurber Estate on the north side has been sold to Frank Quinsey. The old hotel part will be torn down and the building replaced by two cottages. 10Kendall County Record, August 11, 1915.

Frank and Nelson Quinsey are building three new homes. 11Kendall County Record, October 27, 1915. In 1936 these homes were occupied by Frank Quinsey, Finley T. Fitch and Dr. Elliott. Frank Quinsey’s home faced on Colton Street, it appears to be located on the north half of lot 8, block 2. The Finley T. Fitch family’s home was on the corner of Somonauk and Colton Streets, facing Somonauk, on lot 1, block 2. Dr. Elliott’s home faced on Somonauk Street and was the first house west of the Fitch home, lot 2, block 2.

  • Lot 2: James McClellan to John Short, lot 1, block 2, Original Town of Bristol, June 6, 1843.
  • Lot 2: Title chain broken.
  • Lot 2: Harvey Beecher & wife to Bradford H. Johnson, lot 8, block 1, lots 1 and 2, block 2 Original Town of Bristol; and fraction of northeast quarter, section 31, June 13, 1857, $750.
  • Lot 2: : Rufus Hopkins & wife to Robert Hopkins, lots 1 and 2, block 2, and lot 8, block 1, Original Town of Bristol; plus part of the east half of the southwest quarter of section 12, Kendall Township, August 13, 1858, $800.
  • Lot 2: Robert Hopkins to Bradford H. Johnson, undivided half lots 1 and 2, block 2, and lot 8, block 1, Original Town of Bristol, August 25, 1858, $665.
  • Lot 2: Bradford H. Johnson to David S. Hollenback, lot 8, block 1, lots 1 and 2 block 2, Original Town of Bristol, July 6, 1870, $4,000.
  • Lot 2: Abraham Thomas to Nathaniel Y. Austin, lots 1, 2, and 43 feet off north end lot 8, block 2, Original Town of Bristol, February 16, 1876, $1,000.
  • Lot 2: Nathaniel Y. Austin to Eleazer H. Austin, lots 1, 2, and 43 feet off north end lot 8, block 2, Original Town of Bristol, March 12, 1877, $1,000.
  • Lot 2: Eleazer H. Austin to Sarah Jane Austin, lots 1, 2, and 43 feet off north end lot 8, block 2, Original Town of Bristol, March 12, 1877, $1,000.
  • Lot 2: Sarah Jane (Austin) Wolcott to Harvey M. Rawson, lots 1 and 2, and part of lot 8, block 2, Original Town of Bristol, July 1892, $800. Sarah Jane was Sarah Jane (Austin) (Roberts) 2nd Mrs. John C. Wolcott.
  • Lot 2: F. E. Rawson, et al, to Harry R. Thurber, Louise Thurber, and Jennie Kauper, lots 1, 2, 7 and 8, block 2, Original Town of Bristol,, $1. 12Kendall County Record, September 22, 1915.
  • Lot 2: Harry R. Thurber, et al, to Frank Quinsey and Nelson J. Quinsey, lots 1 and 2 and north 37 ½ feet off of north ends of lots 7 and 8, block 2, Original Town of Bristol,, $650. 13Kendall County Record, September 22, 1915.
  • Lot 2: Nelson J. Quinsey to Frank Quinsey, undivided half interest in north 37 ½ feet lots 7 and 8 and south 36 ½ feet lots 1and 3, block 2, Original Town of Bristol,, $1. 14Kendall County Record, November, 15, 1915.
  • Lot 2: Frank Quinsey to Nelson J. Quinsey, half interest in part of lots 1 and 2, block 2, December 1915.
  • Lot 2: Nelson J. Quinsey to John L. Reddock, part lot 2, block 2, Original Town of Bristol, December 1915, $2,750.
  • Lot 2: John L. Reddock to Earl E. and Florence J. Byerrum, part of lot 2, block 2, Original Town of Bristol, November 1919.
  • Lot 2: Frank Quinsey to Charles H. Elliott, part of lot 2, block 2, Original Town of Bristol, April 1929.

 

References   [ + ]

1.“Susan Short May: The story of her ancestry and of her early life in Illinois;” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Springfield; Vol. 6, No. 1. pp. 119-128, April 1913.
2.Kendall County Record, June 16, 1864.
3.Kendall Clarion, May 12, 1860.
4.Kendall County Record, August 11, 1915.
5.Kendall County Record, October 15, 1874.
6.Kendall County Record, January 7, 1875.
7.Kendall County Record, September 22, 1915.
8.Kendall County Record, September 22, 1915.
9.Kendall County Record, November, 15, 1915.
10.Kendall County Record, August 11, 1915.
11.Kendall County Record, October 27, 1915.
12.Kendall County Record, September 22, 1915.
13.Kendall County Record, September 22, 1915.
14.Kendall County Record, November, 15, 1915.

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