State history project includes Mahone’s Tavern

Published 4:47 pm Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Mahone’s Tavern and Museum is well known not only in Western Tidewater, but also beyond. As proof of the latter, the American Evolution 2019 project picked the site to be a part of its commemoration of historical events and people in Virginia from 1619 to next year. Helping to make that tavern even more notable — and eye-catching — is the combined work of local businesses and a private donor.

The website for Mahone’s Tavern and Museum has been undergone a redesign through Insercorp. This is part of the marketing grant that enables the historic building to be featured in the American Evolution 2019 history project. — File Photo

Earl Blythe, a member of the museum board, said, “I went looking for them in a sense. The American Evolution commemoration originally approached us [the board.] They wanted to add Mahone’s because it’s a historical site, William Mahone in particular. They offered an opportunity to apply for a grant.”

Designing his grant for marketing and a website upgrade resulted in $4,000 being given by Virginia Tourism, which had to be matched. The tavern’s board, Franklin-Southampton Economic Development and an anonymous donor made that possible.

Insercorp, which is based in downtown Franklin, was again called on to participate. Tim Bradshaw, the company’s founder and CEO, said Insercorp had originally built the tavern website around 2014.

According to information provided by both the tavern and the company, “Insercorp recently launched the “Crossroads to History” campaign to promote Mahone’s Tavern and Museum and the many notable historical figures who spent time at the tavern. The multimedia project included a new website design, inclusion in an interactive Virginia History Trails app and themed print collateral including rack cards and brochures.”

Bradshaw told the paper on Monday, “We wanted to just refreshen it [the website] up and make it mobile-friendly of course. It was pretty easy since we did the initial site. We updated the design; it was not a particularly big project, but important nonetheless.”

Blythe said that people viewing the site on their laptops, tablets or smartphones not only see the photos and information, but they may also contribute to the tavern; a Donate button allows contributions to be made via Paypal.

He added that Mackans, also in downtown Franklin, printed the aforementioned rack cards and brochures that will be placed at visitors centers and the like.

Further, the tavern got a grant to produce more videos. One is supposed to be about George Henry Thomas, one about Sen. William Mahone and another about Southampton soldiers. Blythe is looking for a resource to produce these 3- to 4-minute videos this spring. Insercorp will also later upload them to the website.


Established in circa 1796 on Main Street in Jerusalem, Virginia (renamed ‘Courtland’ in 1888,) Mahone’s Tavern is one of the oldest houses in Southampton County. Also known as Kello’s Tavern and Howard’s Hotel at different points in time, the building has been used as a tavern or hotel throughout most of its history. It 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 Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places.

Since 2008 the building has been serving as a museum to educate the public about the Civil War’s impact on Southampton County, and to tell the story of the families who lived in the historic property for over 200 years.

The team responsible for preserving and sharing the history of the tavern now provide curious patrons with knowledge and other different functions to enlighten those who are interested in the back story of the famous foundation.


“Crossroads of History”

With the 2019 American Evolution Commemoration marking the 400th Anniversary of several important events that occurred in Virginia history in 1619 which strongly influenced the development of the Virginia colony and ultimately shaped the foundation of the United States, Mahone’s Tavern and Museum seized the opportunity to participate and showcase its importance and significance in both Virginia and United States History.

The 1619-2019 Commemoration offers the “Virginia History Trails” app through American Evolution. “Virginia History Trails” is an easy-to-use app that puts 400 years of Virginia and American history at your fingertips.

Using your phone’s GPS feature, Virginia History Trails turns your immediate surroundings into a live history lesson.

You can click anywhere on the map of Virginia under the “Near Me” category and instantly get an in-depth description of why dozens of sites in your vicinity are important to Virginia’s development. Mahone’s Tavern and Museum is one of 200 official named historic sites available in the app.