Brief History of The Joseph L. Davis American Legion Post 47

The American Legion Charter was approved 9 September 1919

 The American Legion Post 47 purchased the building in 1947

Only 4 buildings in Havre de Grace have Flemish bond brickwork.  The mass of the building is similar to the Wollon Doublehouse (HA-835), a smaller dwelling built in an Overhang Georgian style with large double interior end chimneys.  The size of the original house (approximately 40’ by 30’) makes it unusual as does the presence of a large cooking fireplace in the basement.


1798 Tax Assessment – Harford County

1814 Tax Assessment – Harford County

Kidwiler, Elias W. – History of Havre de Grace “The Town We Live In”

Shriver, J. Alexis, Talk given at the Unveiling of the Historical Marker at Rodgers Tavern, Perryville, Oct. 15, 1932

Williams, Stevenson Archer, “Recollections of Boyhood at Medical Hall, etc..” 1923 (copy at Susquehanna Museum of Havre de Grace)
Prepared by:

Marion Morton – Historic Sites Surveyor, April 18, 1977
Maryland Historical Trust
21 State Circle
Annapolis, Maryland

The Maryland Historic Sites Inventory was officially created by an Act of the Maryland Legislature, to be found in the Annotated Code of Maryland, Article 41, Section 181 KA, 1974 Supplement.

The Survey and Inventory are being prepared for information and record purposes only and do not constitute any infringement of individual property rights.

Land Records HA-790

1834:  The Abraham Jarrett Thomas House is a two a half story, five bay brick dwelling with a Flemish bond façade (now covered with stucco).  The building and the river front lot on which it is located figure prominently in the Town’s history.  The early growth of the settlement known as Harmerstown, Stocketts town, Susquehanna Lower Ferry and finally Havre de Grace was determined by its location on the Susquehanna River and the upper Chesapeake Bay.  Here, travelers following the Old Post Road – the major Colonial route between the south and Philadelphia crossed the Susquehanna River by ferry.  Among the early ferry operators was John Rodgers, who secured a license in 1776 to operate an “ordinary” at Havre de Grace.  Rodgers who bought a lot on S. Washington Street (HA-798) in 1778 on which a dwelling – believed to have been built before 1800 stands today, is better known as the (c.1780’s) proprietor of Rodger’s Tavern across the river where George Washington was a frequent visitor – and as the father of Commodore John Rodgers.  Commodore Rodgers was the founder of the American Navy.  Although the exact location of the tavern run by John Rodgers in Havre de Grace is not known, it is logical to assume that it may have stood on this site, particularly since we know from land records that this land was deeded to the Havre de Grace Ferry Company in 1818 by William B. Stokes.  In 1834, the land, comprising of 11 lots, was sold to Abraham Jarrett Thomas, for whom the present structure was probably erected --- although the basement was probably erected later.  AJ Thomas was a banker and an early member of the Saint John’s Church (HA-544). 

Stevenson Archer Williams, in his “Recollections of Boyhood at Medical Hall, etc.”, mentions that the Lafayette Hotel was the Abraham Jarrett house when he was a boy.

The Philadelphia-Wilmington-Baltimore Railway, later known as the Baltimore and Washington Railway, purchased the property in 1856 and the building was run as the Lafayette Hotel.


311 58 (December 1, 1947)

Grantor:  Havre de Grace Print and Publishing Co, Inc
Grantee:  Joseph L. Davis American Legion Post 47

(the names on this are Charles C. Boyd, Lois L. Boyd, Otto R. Freed, and Ida B. Freed – all of Cecil County)

(President of the HdG Print & Publishing Co – Stanley M. Barrett)

(1st Mortgage of $15K to First National Bank of Havre de Grace)

(Commander of American Legion was William V. Martin)

(Adjutant of American Legion was John D. Reynolds)

(First National Bank President:  G. Bartol Silver)

(2d Mortgage of $11K to G. Arnold Pfaffenbach)


GCB300 149 (September 20, 1946)

Grantor:  Michael Fahey and Margaret, his wife
Grantee:  Susquehanna Trading Company

(also a note that the Susquehanna Trading Company sold to Charles C. Boyd, et al)

DWG178 59 (April 12, 1922)

Grantor:  Baltimore and Washington Railroad
Grantee:  James Robinson


ALG 8 214 (October 7, 1856)

Grantor:  Joseph Coudon, executor for Abraham Jarrett Thomas
Grantee:  Philadelphia-Wilmington-& Baltimore Railroad

Being designated on the old plat of said town as square no. 245, and comprising 4, 8, 13, 18, 23, and 28.


HD 18 10 (December 5, 1834)

Grantor:  Albert Constable, trustee
Grantee:  Abraham Jarrett Thomas

Equity case:  Dec. 1833 William Williams – complainant; Havre de Grace Ferry Company, defendant

With all and singular the buildings, improvements, advantages, privileges, rightsways, waters, and appurtenances.


HD 1 478 (September 25, 1818)

Grantor:  William B. Stokes
Grantee:  Havre de Grace Ferry Company

$10,000    lots 4, 8, 13, 18, 23, 28, 33, 38, 44, 50, 56

Entry from papers belonging to the Harford County Historical Society filed under HdG miscellaneous:


March 17, 1817:   Pringle, Sappington, R.Y. Stokes, et al – purchased from William B. Stokes, Esquire, 10 water lots of which stood the brick tavern latterly burnt down with the stables now remain – thereon and the walls and materials together with the wharf and all the said William B. Stokes right of ferriage across the river Susquehanna.

Application for Supplemental Charter dated July 11, 1969 – For Use of Incorporated American Legion Posts.  Signed by Frank Poughkeepsie, Post 47 Adjutant, and Charles A Kennedy, Post 47 Commander.

Our building was the Lafayette Hotel and Restaurant (picture of the hotel is displayed in our library).  It was the Ferry boarding house, the Greyhound Bus Station, The Record Print & Publishing company – just to name a few.

Our building is known to house a few ghosts that occasionally make themselves known.  :)

Our garage housed the first Ambulance Corps and “might” once again be housing an ambulance or two in the near future.

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THE A M E R I C A N     L E G I O N

Havre de Grace, MD  21078

Building and Namesake

Proudly Serving
Havre de Grace, MD

Each Legion, when Chartered, selects a meaningful name.  We’re named after

Joseph L. Davis who was the first casualty from Havre de Grace during WWI.  He died

100 years ago this August.  The city will be having a memorial for him this August.