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Samuel " Black Sam" Fraunces
December 4, 1783
George Washington gives his farewell address to his troops at Fraunces Tavern in NYC owned by ,Samuel " Black Sam" Fraunces a wealthy West Indian of African and French descent who aided Revolutionary forces with food and money From what is known, Samuel Fraunces left the French West Indies to make his way in New York City in the 1750s. As the owner first of the Mason's Arms Tavern and later of the Queen's Head, he was truly an original. Nicknamed Black Sam, he was friendly and a connoisseur of good food and drink, and he eventually became one of the better hosts in the colonies. His tavern became hugely popular as a meeting place for revolutionaries -- at great risk to Fraunces. British troops kept him under house arrest during the war. Yet he kept his tavern open and found ways to aid American prisoners of war held by the British. At the end of the war, the Americans held a victory parade along lower Broadway (close to the tavern). Black Sam renamed his establishment Fraunces Tavern and organized the first public dinner for Gen. George Washington. Later, it was here that Washington said farewell to his troops and leading officers. When Washington was called back to serve as president, he appointed Samuel Fraunces his chief steward. He reclaimed his popular tavern after Washington left the presidency. Originally built in 1719, it was restored in 1904, and some of the original bricks are intact. This is a stunning Georgian building with a dark slate roof, a balustrade, dormers and chimneys. Dining is on the first floor, and the top floors offer several museum rooms with artifacts from the Revolutionary War and from Fraunces' personal items.
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