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Newtown in Bucks County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Bird in Hand

Newtown Heritage Walk No. 34

 
 
Bird in Hand Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., October 15, 2009
1. Bird in Hand Marker
Inscription.
The Bird in Hand (formerly the "Red Lion Inn" and "Old Frame House") has played a rich and diverse role in the history of Newtown. There is record of a tavern on this site dating back to 1686, and it is considered the oldest frame structure still standing in Pennsylvania. The Inn was the site of the only Revolutionary War action to take place in Newtown. Following the Battle of Trenton in December 1776, George Washington's Continental soldiers used The Bird in Hand as an overflow jail to hold Hessian officers before marching them to Philadelphia. This site was also the location of the Loyalist Raid of 1778. This structure remained a tavern until 1858, but the name was changed in 1817 after Edward Hicks painted a sign representing Benjamin Franklin's adage, "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." Over the years, it housed Newtown's first post office and the Library Company.

In 1819, The Newtown Reliance Company for the Detection and Apprehension of Horse Thieves and Other Villians was founded here. The Newtown Reliance Company is the third oldest "Horse Company" in Bucks County and one of Newtown's oldest organizations. It was established to offer its members mutual protection and insurance. A hand bill was given to members to fasten to the inside of their stable doors as a warning that the owner, with the support of
Bird in Hand Photo on Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., October 15, 2009
2. Bird in Hand Photo on Marker
[Caption reads] View of the Bird in Hand, circa 1900. The building at right was a barbershop and has since been razed.
the other residents in the vicinity, would tolerate no horse thieves or other villians on the premises. The Newtown Reliance Company continues today, despite the fact that horses have long since been replaced by automobiles as the common mode of transportation.

This historic house rendered its last public service during World War II, when it was the headquarters for the Local Selective Service Board, Ration Board, and various other civilian defense agencies. It is now a private residence.
 
Erected 2007 by Newtown Reliance Company, Jonathan & Elizabeth Hunt, and the Newtown Historical Association.
 
Location. 40° 13.641′ N, 74° 56.212′ W. Marker is in Newtown, Pennsylvania, in Bucks County. Marker is at the intersection of State Street and Mercer Street, on the left when traveling south on State Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 111 S. State Street, Newtown PA 18940, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. February 9, 1778 (here, next to this marker); Loyalist Raid of 1778 (a few steps from this marker); Justices House (within shouting distance of this marker); Whitehall (within shouting distance
Newtown Reliance Co. Image on Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., October 15, 2009
3. Newtown Reliance Co. Image on Marker
[Caption reads] Etching of the Newtown Reliance Company.
of this marker); White Hall (within shouting distance of this marker); The First National Bank (within shouting distance of this marker); Half-Moon Inn (within shouting distance of this marker); Newtown - County Seat (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Newtown.
 
Also see . . .
1. Newtown Heritage Association. (Submitted on June 25, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Newtown Borough. (Submitted on June 25, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
 
Categories. AnimalsColonial EraEntertainmentIndustry & CommerceNotable BuildingsPatriots & PatriotismSettlements & SettlersWar, US RevolutionaryWar, World II
 
Bird in Hand Inn and Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., October 15, 2009
4. Bird in Hand Inn and Marker
Newtown Reliance Company Logo image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., October 15, 2009
5. Newtown Reliance Company Logo
Bird in Hand Sign image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., October 15, 2009
6. Bird in Hand Sign
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 25, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 2,184 times since then and 67 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on June 25, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
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