John Gadsby, the English-born proprietor of the Indian Queen Tavern, had arrived in Baltimore from Alexandria, Virginia in 1808. On September 29, 1809, traveler Samuel Breck stopped in Baltimore and stayed at the Indian Queen, observing:
“We alighted at the Indian Queen in Market street, kept by John Gadsby in a style exceeding anything that I recollect to have seen in Europe or America. This inn is so capacious that it accommodates two hundred lodgers, and has two splendid billiard-rooms, large stables and many other appendages. The numerous bed-chambers have all bells, and the servants are more attentive than in any public or private house I ever knew.”
In 1813, John Gadsby held thirty-six enslaved people at the Indian Queen to support the “attentive” service of his establishment. According to the 1813 Baltimore tax records, the value of the enslaved people held by just twelve tavern or innkeepers exceeded the total value of their real estate.
Sources: Breck, Samuel, and Horace Scudder. 2007. Recollections of Samuel Breck. Applewood Books. p. 266; Rockman, Seth. 2010. Scraping By: Wage Labor, Slavery, and Survival in Early Baltimore. JHU Press. p. 112.
10 Clear’d up. Wind NW but mild – Went to Town din’d at Gadsbys – Snow was about nine inches deep this morning but has diminish’d very much today, being very mild and no Sleighing.
From the journal of Captain Henry Thompson, January 10, 1814. Courtesy the Friends of Clifton.