Today I took a friend with whom I was a volunteer for a few years at the Gloucester County Historical Society Library in Woodbury, to a 90th Birthday brunch at the Telford Inn in Mantua.
The history of the Telford Inn is as follows: (adapted from a sheet available from the hostess) In 1812, the Tonkin Brothers owned a large frame farm house that later became the Telford Inn. It stood in the forks of the highways, Mullica Road and Glassboro/Mantua Road, as it does today. Names of residents of Mantua which at the time was home to 16 families are familiar to anyone from these parts, Heritage (of the dairy farms), Collins (ancestors to my William C. Garwood), Ashcroft (of the cemetery in what is now Glendora, where some 60 Hessian soldiers were buried after the Revolutionary battle at the Whitall family farm at what is now Red Bank Battlefield , National Park, Eastlack, and of course, Tonkin.
It was kept as a tavern by a widow named Mrs. Taylor in whose name the property remained. One of the Tonkin brothers married her daughter. The tavern was also the postoffice, which I gather was a common practice in the time.
The Tonkin brothers also ran a store in the same location in the fork of the road. That fork in the road had also been home to a blacksmith, Samuel Archer, and another store, owned by Richard Clark. The blacksmith business later was run by Curry and Pancoast and a wheelright shop there was run by Denn and Wallace.
At some point, a planing mill owned by Samuel Sooy (a name familiar in the Pine Barrens) stood near the forks on Mantua Creek which later became a lumber company and even later, a canning factory for fruit. In 1881, Henry Leppee ran a steam grist mill there.
Needless to say, whenever I have a chance to enjoy a meal in a historic tavern, I am happy, and the Telford Inn had no disappointments. The food was plentiful and delicious in their buffet which is open from 9:30 to 1:p.m., reservations requested but not required. We made reservations. I didn't want any hitches in a 90th Birthday event. The Inn is located at 145 Bridgeton Pike and it is open 7 days a week for lunch, dinner and late night fare.
Take-out is also available and you can order a specialty cake with 24 hour notice. Call 856-468-0535.
Personally, I can't wait for a return visit!
Happy Trails, Happy Meals, Jo Ann