Excerpt from ‘Sketches’ by Sarah L. Jones

Sarah Lucia Jones description of New Hartford, written in 1883, paid particular attention to the North Village.  Here we find a description of the New Hartford Hotel, the landmark building that stands at the intersection of Route 44 and Church/Bridge/Center Streets.

“the most respectable citizens of the town were among Mr. Cowles’ (the hotel owner) customers for liquor, there being no drugstores in those days, when the decanters on the sideboards needed replenishing….Among the customers who drank at the bar we find occasional mention of Dr. Thomas Brinsmade, Phineas Merrill, Co. Israel Jones, and Peletiah (sic) Allyn, who, when chilled with a long ride, found cheer and comfort in such stomach warmers as a ‘mug of flip’, or a more moderate ‘nip’ of the same, a glass of sing, brandy, or punch, which Mr. Cowles seems to have understood the art of mixing to perfection. The charges for board and lodging seem to vary in accordance with the quality of the guest, and probably also the quality of refreshment. ‘Breakfast’ is charged in one instance as 1 s. 3 d., while another boarder gets ‘3 meals victuals’ for 1 s. 6 d.; ‘to supper, flip, and bate’, ‘to lodging and bitters’, to bate cattle and horses,’ ‘to trouble in weighing hogs’ are among the registered charges.”

What exactly ‘bate’ means is unclear; however, given its usual usage (‘to restrain’) and the second mention of it; my best guess is that it was a charge for stabling cattle or horses, probably overnight.  The hotel was on the main drove road, so cattle and hogs would have been passing by frequently.  Hotels (or taverns and inns) would have had stock yards as a matter of course, much as modern hotels have parking lots.  Presumably, the hotel had a decently large set of scales as well and, for a charge, these could be used for weighing hogs and probably other goods as well.

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