About Fox Tavern
The history of Fox Tavern dates back to 1755, when William Fox secured a license to operate a tavern in his home, although the present dwelling dates from a little later in 1759. Fox’s expense ledger tells us that George Washington stayed here on three occasions. Lot 26 has taken a number of different names over the years, sometimes being called Powers’ House and at other times, Fox Tavern. When Captain Fox was away at sea as a master of sailing vessels, his wife Ann (Roy) Fox managed their tavern.
On January 14, 1760 George Washington, Colonel Burwell Bassett of Eltham, New Kent County; and Mrs. Bassett (sister of Martha Washington) lodged overnight in the Fox Tavern. Washington paid a bill of five shillings (about $1.20). In 1773 Washington had breakfast at Fox Tavern, and then managed by William Buckner. At yet another time, Washington lodged overnight in the Fox Tavern. He had supper, breakfast, and secured stableage and feed for his horse, for a bill of 13 shillings 4 1/2 pence (about $3.20). And still another time in Port Royal, Washington paid ferriage fees over the river of two shillings (about $.60) and tipped the same amount.
Capt. William Fox, for whom this tavern is named, died in 1772. The tavern continued to operate under the management of his widow, Ann (Roy) Fox. In 1779, she offered to rent her “much frequented public house at Port Royal”. When Ann (Roy) Fox died in 1782, her daughter took ownership of Fox Tavern, and by 1795 put it up for sale. She advertised it as being a “new building with an elegant billiard table”. The property has changed many other times since then.
–About and History Courtesy of “Hidden Village: Port Royal, Virginia 1744 – 1981” by Ralph Emmett Fall