circa 1754 on Olde King's Highway, the Crocker Tavern served
as a stage coach stop, an inn, and important meeting place
for some of our nation's earliest patriots. Cornelius Crocker,
one of the wealthiest men on the Cape, was the first keeper
of the Tavern.
According to signed documents from the Barnstable Historical
Commission, the activities that took place at the Crocker
Tavern were "... instrumental in changing the boundaries
of America, taking Canada from the French, and then helping
to remove this country from England's dominance. Here is
an actual structure which was once filled with our Colonial
ancestors - lawyers, judges, farmers, merchants, mariners,
Indians, slaves, men of honor and wealth and those of lesser
means - all contributing to our heritage."
of James Otis
"The First American Patriot"
stewardship of Cornelius Crocker, the inn became the central
meeting place for the Whigs (the Patriots) prior to, and
during, the Revolutionary War. At the same time the Tories
(the Loyalists) gathered less than 100 yards to the west
on Olde Kings Highway at the Loring Tavern. The Whigs
were led by James Otis, Jr., and 22 others including the
Crockers, the Lothrops, and John Davis. The Whigs who
met at Crocker Tavern waged a courageous and uphill struggle
because the moderate factions of Cape Cod sympathized
and sided with the Tories. In order to align the Cape
and it's villages in support of the patriotic cause, James
Otis, Jr., the Crockers, and the other Whig leaders created
a County Committee with regional representation. The purpose
of the County Committee, which met regularly at the Crocker
Tavern, was in Otis' own words "to meet and consult
about what is most proper to be done in this day of difficulty."
As a result,
Barnstable and the other towns of the Cape eventually
joined the ranks of the rebels. Thus, the patriotic campaign
spearheaded at the Crocker Tavern did succeed, and it
was a momentous occasion when the Cape militia gathered
in front of the Crocker Tavern before marching to Lexington
and Concord to fight for American independence.
Crocker Tavern is both a local, and a national historic
landmark particularly because of the role fulfilled by
James Otis, Jr. prior to, and during, the American Revolution.
Otis was the first American patriot for Barnstable, for
the Cape, for the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and for all
thirteen colonies. Samuel Adams portrayed Otis as more
important and essential to the patriotic cause than Patrick
Henry, and President John Adams said that "American
independence was then and there born as a result of Otis'
Writs of Assistance Speech in February, 1761."
restoration and careful preservation of the Tavern stirs
the imagination of what actually transpired at this site
throughout the revolutionary period. Those who visit and
stay at the Tavern have a unique opportunity to indulge
their curiosity and appreciation for our national heritage
and for the birth of American liberty. The Crocker Tavern
is Cape Cod's "Cradle of American Liberty."