Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society
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Source: 1942 Volume 5 Number 2, Page 37

The Sorrel Horse Toast

Franklin L. Burns

Page 37

When the Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike became an accomplished fact, fortunate indeed were the owners of the taverns situated conveniently close to the right of way of the stone-paved thoroughfare where it passed directly over the bed of the Old Lancaster or Conestoga Road. Thus was the position near the close of the eighteenth century of the Buck, Unicorn, Spread Eagle, Black Bear, and Warren Taverns. Some of the early taverns unfortunately left stranded on the back road had to go out of business; a few rebuilt on the pike, and new ones appeared.

The Sorrel Horse, a long way from the improved highway, alone of the neighboring stranded inns, seems to have held its own. Local patronage, or perhaps that considerable stretch of road free of tollgates, may have had something to do with its continued prosperity. The drinking of strong liquor "In the good old time when pigs were swine and turkeys chewed tobacco" was well nigh universal, and, like that notorious Scotchman, the tipplers had seventeen or more reasons for their indulgence.

The popular drinking toast of the times is said to have originated with old Joe Pike, a loyal toper (sic) over the bar at the Sorrel Horse. In it he envisioned that animal on a glorious cantico in which it overcame all rivals in its path, and mentions in rhyme and rotation, eleven local taverns. In reference to the version quoted by Dr. Julius F. Sachse in his "Wayside Inns", Squire Elijah H. Wilds informed me that Sachse's informant erred in the last line, which gave the toast a very lame ending, viz: "And chased General Jackson all the way to Paoli." Wilds was the Justice of Pease (sic) in Easttown, President of the Board of Trustees appointed by the Court in 1895 for the Old Eagle School, and a local historian of reliability. He died in 1900. His version of the toast is as follows:

"Here's to the Sorrel Horse who kicked the Unicorn and made the Eagle fly;
Who frightened the Lamb, upset the Stage, and drank the Springhouse dry;
Who Drove the Blue Ball into the Black Bear,
And raced General Jackson to Paoli on a dare."

General Jackson racing Sorrel Horse to Paoli Inn


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