Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Quirky ancestor stories: Big John

He arrived in New York City about 1750 from England, married, started a family [seven children] and operated a tavern at the corner of Wall and Nassau Streets. The tavern achieved as much notoriety as the man, John Simmons.

Simmons Tavern was a meeting place for committees in the years leading up to the Revolutionary War. It was across the street from City Hall [later Federal Hall when NYC became the nation's capital] where George Washington was sworn in as the first President. City leaders met at the tavern in 1783 to plan for the return of Gov. Clinton and Washington's Continental troops. The tavern was the site of the swearing in of Mayor James Duane in 1784.

What makes the story of the tavern and John Simmons unusual has been related in earlier posts. John topped the scales at over 400 pounds. Part of the tavern had to be dismantled to allow for the removal of John's body after his death. That doesn't happen every day!

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