Historical Marker Text
Nearby stood Penny’s (Penney’s) Tavern, named for Lincefield Penney who purchased the site in 1811. The tavern catered to travelers making their way to old Spotsylvania Courthouse site (1781-1837), located approximately one mile north of the tavern site across the Po River. After the Court House burned in 1837 and was moved to its present location, business greatly declined. By 1840 the property was sold to Mansfield Wigglesworth who operated a tavern there called Wigglesworth Tavern. The tavern was closed by the outbreak of the Civil War. The intersection where the tavern once stood was known as Penny’s Crossroads into the twentieth century.
Very little has been written on Penny’s Tavern that is readily available to the public. This is a new marker that has not been erected yet. The Department of Historic Resources bibliography for this marker includes two unpublished documents written for the Virginia Department of Transportation.
The tavern once stood at the intersection of Routes 208 and 648, about one mile north of where the old Spotsylvania Courthouse was located from 1781 to 1837. After a fire, the courthouse was moved to its present location in 1837, negatively impacting the tavern’s business. The tavern was originally owned and managed by Lincefield Penny, who bought the property in 1811. He sold the tavern to Mansfield Wigglesworth around 1840, who operated it under the name Wigglesworth Tavern up until the outbreak of the Civil War. The tavern no longer stands. On the property is an old burying ground without headstones. It is rumored that Penny and his wife and daughter are buried there (Barnum 374).
For Further Reference
Barile, Kerri S. “History of Penney’s Crossroads/Tavern Site,” Virginia Department of Transportation, unpublished document. 1 February 2005.
Barnum, Mildred. “Penny’s Tavern.” Works Progress of Virginia. Historical Inventory: Spotsylvania County. vol. 2, 374-375. Virginiana Room, Central Rappahannock Regional Library, Fredericksburg, VA.
Mansfield, James. A History of Early Spotsylvania. Berryville, VA.: Virginia Book Co., 1977.
McDonald, Bradley and Jerrell Blake Jr., Archaeological Evaluations of Sites 44SP272 and 44SP273, Within the Route 208 Bypass Project, Spotsylvania County, Virginia. Report Prepared for the Virginia Department of Transportation by Gray and Pape, Inc., Richmond, 2001.
Department of Historic Resources map and directions unavailable