Rising Star Lodge, A.F. & A.M. - Cobb's Tavern

Cobb's Tavern

Cobb's Tavern

Jonathon Cobb's son Warren inherited the property in 1867 after his father's death, but his role as tavern-keeper fell short of his father’s in terms of years. He died 26 years later, 1n 1893, and his wife Laura Ann Cobb became the owner. At her death in 1903, her two daughters, Gertrude Cobb and Florence Cobb Murdock inherited the Tavern. Gertrude outlived her sister, and at her own death in 1935 was the sole member of the family residing in the house. The taproom had long since been closed, and the structure that once housed more than a hundred noisy circus performers had become a quiet residence for one elderly maiden lady.

At Gertrude Cobb's death the Tavern and Its land left the Cobb family for the flrst time ln 144 years. Its owners since have been, ln turn, Silas Cox, Clifford D. Best and the present owners, Mr. and Mrs. Frederic S. Tobey.

Some sixty years have passed, it would appear, since Cobb's Tavern was last open to the public as an eating and drinking place. The death of Warren Cobb ln 1895 signalled the end of the tavern era. The Boston Globe, in a feature article Aug. 6, 1905, noted its passing and published a picture of the building, looking much as it does today.

The Globe's story concluded by saying that since the death of Warren Cobb ln 1895, the Post Office at East Sharon had been abolished and the tavern closed to the public.

Although a tavern appears to have been operated at the site prior to the acquisition of the property by the Cobb family, it undoubtedly was Jonathon Cobb who started the building program which in the course of time converted the once small structure into one of the roomiest inns of Massachusetts. The original kitchen, a small room panelled entirely in feather-edged soft pine, and equipped with a fireplace and Dutch oven, proved inadequate and a much larger kitchen was added, with a bigger fireplace, a very large Dutch oven and a place for smoking meats and heating water.

At some point during his ownership of the tavern, Jonathon Cobb erected a "swing sign" rather elaborately painted with a design that included a coach-and-four. After a time the sign was repainted with a new design, but since the wood had been protected from wind and rain where the paint was thickest, it had weathered into a sort of bas-relief, and therefore both the old and the new designs are distinguishable in the sign today It is preserved in the rooms of the Dedham Historical Society in Dedham, Massachusetts, to whom it was given by William R. Mann of Stoughton. Shortly before the death of Gertrude Cobb (last of the Cobb family to live at the former tavern) she and a sister endeavored to have the sign returned, as they wished to restore the old taproom, for reasons of sentiment. The curators of the Dedham Historical Society held a meeting on the matter and decided that the sign must be retained by the Society. It hangs on a wall in the basement of the Society's building ln Dedham square, and on it is a card with the following inscription:

Old Swing Sign
formerly hung in front of
The Cobb Tavern
Cobb’s Corner
Sharon, Mass.
given by William R. Mann

On the sign, which is quite faded, is painted a horse, and under the horse the words, "J. Cobb." The older design, still visible underneath, lncluding a coach-and-four, and beneath it the words, "Jonathan Cobbs", the first name being abbreviated thus:


At the time that Jonathan Cobb took over and enlarged the tavern, the Revolutionary War, though it had been won on the field of battle, was still being fought verbally wherever men of strong mind (and sometimes stronger breath) gathered to discuss the affairs of the time. Report has it that Jonathan ruled his taproom with an iron hand, as he probably had to do if a respectable house was to be maintained.

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Captain Anthony Palermo Jr.

In Memoriam

A Tribute to Rising Star Lodges' Fallen Brother, U.S. Army Captain Anthony Palermo, Jr.