History of the National Hotel, Oswego, Illinois

Historic Hotels / Friday, February 7th, 2020

In 1842, brothers Samuel and Thomas Tompkins 1Possibly Hopkins. built the National Hotel on Main Street in the center of the Oswego business district. The National was the first hotel in Oswego although smaller taverns had been built earlier.

In August 1843 Wright Murphy leased the National Hotel from George T. Hopkins.

William Briggs succeeded Wright Murphy as manager of the National Hotel. In 1853, Briggs completely remodeled the hotel adding several guestrooms to the older part of the hotel and a new 30 by 40-foot two-story addition. There was also a stable in conjunction with the hotel where traveler’s horses could be fed and cared for.

In January 1856, Mathias Beaupre who had managed the Kendall House, succeeded William Briggs as manager of the National Hotel. Beaupre remained the landlord until June 1, 1862 when Moses J. Richards became the proprietor. Moses owned and managed the National Hotel until it was destroyed by fire February 9, 1867. The same fire consumed a significant portion of the Oswego business district. By great effort, most of the hotel furniture and the barns belonging to the hotel were saved. The fire undoubtedly was a severe financial blow to Moses as he declared bankruptcy in April 1869.

One of the National Hotel’s claims to fame was, when Oswego became the county seat, Judge Caton held the first court in Oswego in the hotel.

At the time of the 1850 census the following members of the Briggs family, their staff and guests were living at the National Hotel.

1850 census of Oswego Township, pages 237 A & B, enumeration date October 1, family # 83.

 Briggs, William       39 M VT Innkeeper
 Briggs, Cecelia       32 F NY
 Danforth, William Jr. 11 M NY
 Danforth, Martha       6 F NY
 Towle, Martha         64 F NY
 Burkhart, Frederick   18 M Germany Hostler
 Barber, Sheldon       26 M NY Bookkeeper
 Herrick, Harriet      40 F NY
 Stockton, Mary        32 F NY
 Hemm, Barbara         25 F Germany
 Herrick, Jane          4 F IL
 Herrick, Oscar         2 M IL
 Bradley, Erasmus D.   30 M NY Constable
 Miller, Richard D.    25 M NY Merchant
 Fenton, Marcus A.     39 M NY Postmaster
 Denton, John M.       36 M Canada Carpenter
 Burdick, Hiram        26 M NY Carpenter
 Sanders, Samuel       38 M NY Grocer
 Rank, Lorenzo         23 M Germany Tailor
 Turner, John          42 M NY Wheelwright
 Massey, Robert        28 M NY Painter
 Murphy, Alexander     26 M NY Painter
 Johnson, Patrick      44 M Ireland Mason
 Perry, William        24 M NY Carpenter 

In 1860, Mathias Beaupre was the proprietor of the National Hotel.

1860 census of Oswego, page 279, enumeration date August 22, family # 1884.

 Beaupre, Mathias     46 M Canada Hotel keeper
 Beaupre, Sarah       39 F Canada
 Beaupre, Charles E.  20 M IL
 Beaupre, William     16 M IL
 Beaupre, Sarah       14 F IL
 Beaupre, Arthur       7 M IL
 Beaupre, Eben         2 M IL
 Schiller, Margaret   17 F Baden Domestic
 Weber, Mary          15 F Baden Domestic
 Parke, A. C.         67 M NY Barkeeper
 Hall, Asher B.       26 M NJ
 Kennedy, Joseph D.   32 M MA
 Danforth, William T. 20 M NY Cooper
 Wicks, James         24 M Ireland Cooper
 Stafford, Henry      20 M VT Painter
 Rank, Lorenzo        25 M Bavaria Clerk
 Barney, James        21 M Canada Laborer
 VanDorston, John P.  22 M NJ Lawyer
 Danforth, Charles    42 M VT Cooper
 Jackson, William     25 M NY Agent
 Long, R.             21 M IL Carpenter 


1Possibly Hopkins.

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