BLACK HORSE TAVERN
Johnstown, named for Sir William, was on the main line of travel, and had many taverns. The first was built before 1772, on the northeast corner of William and Clinton Streets, where a private residence now stands. This was Tice's, owned by the Tory Major, Gilbert Tice, associate of the Johnsons and Butlers, and who went with them to Canada. It was probably in this house that Governor and Lady Tryon stayed when they came to attend the dedication ceremonies of the new Tryon County Court House. Lafayette is also said to have stopped here in 1778, when he came for a friendly conference with representatives of the Six Nations. From Tice's the first shot west of the Hudson River in the Revolution was fired by the Tory sheriff of the county. The house was torn down early in the nineteenth century.
The Black Horse stands at the corner of Montgomery and William Streets, so it was most desirably located. Michael Rawlins, at that time proprietor of Tice's, bought the lot in 1778, and probably built and first conducted the tavern. In 1793, it was bought and became popular as "Jimmie Burk's Place," its house and barn often being filled to overflowing when court was in session, for it was on the main road from Montgomery (then Tryon) county to Johnstown. Probably Sir William Johnson often stopped here, and many a colonial ball was given within its walls. Then the Johnstown Daughters of the American Revolution purchased the old inn, and used it as a Chapter House.
Now it is currently owned and being restored by the Johnstown Historical Society.
A third tavern near the Court House was opened about 1812 by Jacob Yost, who was carried off into Canada by a band of Indians and Tories, during the Revolution. This house was later known as the Sir William Tavern. At that time there were thirteen taverns in Johnstown, all of them prosperous until the Erie Canal was opened.
Another inn on Montgomery Street was kept by Fon Claire, a former captain in Louis Philippe's Martinique regiment. Later he built his Union Hall, on East State Street, and ran this until 1811. His old house became the Potter, and continued under that name until it burned in 1867.
The Yellow Tavern was a famous one, with two ballrooms, but this was not opened until 1849, with an inaugural ball in honor of James Polk. A business block has now replaced it.
When Henry Yanney came with his uncle from New Jersey, he opened another Black Horse, in 1796, one mile south of Johnstown, one of largest, finest inns of this section.