The Delaware Indians settled a village along the Tuscarawas River at what is today Newcomerstown. In 1776, over 700 Delaware Indians lived there with a few English colonists. The Indians called their village Gekelemukpechunk, but the settlers called it Newcomerstown after the Delaware Chief Newcomer of the Turtle Tribe.
During the time of the Ohio & Erie Canal, the tavern and inn in Newcomerstown, Ohio was a popular stop for canal boats. One of the oldest homes in town, built in 1841 by Andrew Creter, Temperance Tavern was made of black walnut and still contains many of the original features.
The home and tavern was conveniently built between the canal and the stagecoach trail. One home on Canal Street still has the original canal ditch in their front yard. The ditch was never filled in.
The Creter family lived on the first floor, while rooms on the second floor housed only women. Single men were literally locked in the attic to keep any embarrassing moments from happening with the lady guests. The basement contained Temperance Tavern. While the names don’t seem to fit together perfectly, no alcohol was served in this tavern.
Miss Elizabeth, wife of Andrew Creter, still visits the house in spirit. While her form is seldom seen, frequently doors move and cabinets open. She keeps watch over her house.
The kitchen has a large fireplace where all the tavern meals were cooked. The cast iron utensils hung over the fireplace for easy access in meal preparation. Meals were cooked and served here for people from the canal and stage, but it was also a local gathering place. The table served not only as a place for meals, but operations took place there as well.
This was also a stop for the Underground Railroad. Slaves were hidden in the cellar of this house. You can still see a cabinet that concealed where slaves hid on their Underground Railroad route.
The dining room table displayed a beautiful Moss Rose Tea Set, which was brought to Newcomerstown from Virginia in 1820 by Mrs. John Snyder. The living room features military artifacts as well as a collection of dresses from the 1800-1900 time frame.
A wedding dress from 1894 belonging to Maude Scott shows the style of the time. It also gives history of one of those early prominent women in the Tuscarawas County area. Maude Scott was the first woman in the county to be elected to public office and formed the first Republican Women’s Club there, a couple examples of her forward thinking.
Here also, you will find memorabilia honoring two of Newcomerstown’s favorite sons, Cy Young, the most winning pitcher in baseball, and Woody Hayes, Ohio State’s well-known and adored coach.
Woody’s dad was superintendent of schools in Newcomerstown. After graduation from Newcomerstown High School, Woody coached football at Mingo Junction and New Philadelphia before moving on to Ohio State.
One special item in the museum is Cy Young’s complete 1908 Boston Red Sox uniform. The memorabilia span his life from baseball player to retiree, who enjoyed sitting on his front porch in a rocking chair, which is also in the museum today. From 1890-1911, Young won 511 games with an ERA if 2.63. No wonder he is a local hero.
Outside the Temperance Tavern Museum is a monument honoring Freeman Davis, a local man who earned the Congressional Medal of Honor during the Civil War. Davis served as a sergeant with Company B, 80th Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the war and his commendation came due to his bravery in the Battle of Missionary Ridge in Tennessee.
Located at 221 Canal Street in Newcomerstown, the Temperance Tavern Museum opens its doors each Memorial Day weekend through the end of October on Tuesday – Sunday. Every small town has interesting history to share. Stop by and explore Temperance Tavern Museum this summer!
The museum is located at 221 West Canal Street in Newcomerstown, Ohio. Off I-77, take Exit 65 for US 36, Turn left on US 36 and then take the second exit, Ohio 258, to Newcomerstown to the left onto Pilling Street. After a short distance, turn right onto East Canal Street and about a mile down the street you’ll find the museum on the left.