We would like to welcome you to Mahone’s Tavern, circa 1796, and thank you for visiting our website. Located on Main Street in Courtland, Virginia, it is one of the oldest houses in Southampton County. Throughout most of its history, the building has operated as a tavern or hotel. Known variously as Kello’s Tavern, Vaughan’s Tavern and Howard’s Hotel, the house is generally remembered today as the old Mahone’s Tavern, named after one of its earlier proprietors, Fielding J. Mahone. Mahone's Tavern is on both the Virginia and National Register of Historical Places.
Of particular note, this building was the boyhood home of two persons who achieved national prominence. General William Mahone, the son of Fielding Mahone, was a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute, a railroad magnate, an engineer, a General in the Army of Northern Virginia during the War Between the States and a United States Senator. The house was also owned by John J. Kindred, an attorney in Newsoms, The son of Mr. Kindred, Dr. John J. Kindred, a Democrat, was a five term member of the United States House of Representatives from New York, a prominent physician and a pioneer in health care for the mentally ill. Dr. Kindred helped draft the original Federal Narcotics Act.
In addition to its age and connection to nationally renowned figures, this building has played an active role in several of the most significant events in the history of Southampton County. The Tavern was among the first buildings constructed following the incorporation of the original town of Jerusalem and was the focal point of lively political and social discussions, especially when Court was in session. In 1831, the Tavern served as a refuge and gathering place for local citizens during the slave uprising led by Nat Turner, now known as the Southampton Insurrection. Many of the attendees at the trials of Nat Turner and his fellow Insurrectionists, held across the street at the old Southampton County Courthouse, took their meals and boarded at the Tavern.
Undoubtedly, many of the important decisions of early Southampton County were formulated and resolved in the public rooms of the old Mahone’s Tavern.
Please browse through our site! Visiting the About page will help you learn more about what we are and what we would like to do. To learn about the history of the Tavern, its construction, owners, and information on various owners, go to the History page. Detailed information on General William Mahone is included on the William Mahone page, and future plans for the Mahone’s Tavern and Museum on the Museum page.
If you are interested in helping with our work at the Tavern, visit the Get Involved page, and if you are a student, teacher, historian, or reenactor looking for additional information or program, visit the Resources page.