Barzillai W. Bennett, seated 4th from right.
Warren Stafford in the museum.
Backstory and Context
The Wright-Bodine Tavern was Colonial tavern built in the late 1790’s. It’s unknown by whom. It was one of the earliest taverns in Long-A-Coming (Berlin) and one of the oldest remaining structures.
It served as rest stop for stage line until between 1830 and 1850. Mail would be dropped off here and each owner would serve as postmaster.
Joel Bodine (1742-1818) held a license to operate the tavern in 1799 through 1805. He was succeeded by his son-in-law, William Coffin (1775-1844) who held the license from 1806-1807. The tavern was called Long-A-Coming Tavern when Joel acquired it. It was then called Bodine’s Tavern. Elections for Council and Assembly were held here from 1800 to 1807.
The property had been bought by Johns Inskeep, Sr. of Evesham at a sheriff’s sale sometime between 1805 and 1807. In 1807, he sold the property for $100 to his daughter, Rebecca and her husband, Thomas Wright (1770-1939) The name was changed to Wright’s Tavern. Thomas Wright did not have an operating license until 1812. He had been operating a tavern on Jackson Road until 1811. In 1812, he was appointed postmaster and opened the office in the tavern.
The property changed hands many times between 1817 and 1850. Owners were Samuel Haines and David Vandeveer, James Bodine (Joel’s nephew), Nicholas Sooy, and John Doughty.
Barzillai W. Bennett (1823-1903) bought the property in 1850. He was Justice of the Peace and harness maker. He lived in the house for 50 years. This is when it stopped being an inn and became a residential property. His son lived in the house until his death and it was sold to Elmer Stafford in 1903.
Elmer Stafford (1861-1957) lived in the house for 54 years. Elmer’s son, Warren turned the house into a museum in 1959. The house became known as the Stafford House.
The Camden County Cultural and Heritage Commission designated the house an historical site in 1976.
Today it serves as a private residence.
Wright, Charles W.. The History of Berlin, New Jersey (Long-A-Coming). Privately Published, 1979.
Long-A-Coming Historical Society, Fiftieth Anniversary, 1927-1977, a History of Berlin. Privately Published, 1977.