King George the Second Hotel
George the Second Hotel. [Still operating in 2009 as King George II Inn.] In 1765, Charles Bessonett built the George the Second Hotel, now the Delaware House [in 1911], on the site of the Ferry House, and was kept by him for many years. After his death his son John succeeded him, of whom it is said he was never known to drink a glass of liquor. This was a famous house in its early days. It had the reputation of being one of the best hotels between Philadelphia and New York. In the summer season it would be taxed to its utmost capacity to accommodate the people who came to Bristol from all parts of the country for the benefit of the Bath spring waters.
During the Revolutionary War, a company of Yankee troops arrived in Bristol and encamped in the wood on the farm owned by James Rogers. It was afterwards called the Yankee woods. The next day they marched into town; when they came to the King of Prussia at the corner of Mill and Pond streets, they gave three cheers. The landlord called them in and treated, being pleased with the compliment. They marched down the street to Bessonett's Hotel, and seeing the sign of King George the Second, they commenced to fire at it, and did not stop until it fell out of its frame. After the war Mr. Bessonett erected a new sign representing a fountain. It was much admired in its day. This is the oldest public house in Bristol.
Charles Bessonett. — Mr. Bessonett came from France and settled in Bristol as early as 1730. He was a bricklayer by trade and built many houses in Bristol, making his bricks on the lot now occupied by the Leedom mills. He built the George the Second Hotel, now the Delaware House, in 1765, and in 1773 started a stage coach line between Philadelphia and New York. In his advertisement to the public he says: "Unparalleled speed. From Philadelphia to New York in two days, fare $4.00. Comfort and safety assured." The return of the assessors for the year 1785, show that he was assessed for one building, sixteen horses, two cattle, one bound servant, three Negro slaves, two stage wagons, one ferry and his occupation, upon which he paid a tax of £3 1 shilling, being the largest taxpayer in the borough. His three slaves were valued at £100. At the time of his death he left five children, John, James, Charles, Daniel and Mary, with a large and valuable real estate, not a foot of which is now in possession of any of his descendants.