Blue Ball Inn

BLue Ball Inn

Of all the old inns in Chester County, the former Blue Ball Inn probably has the most macabre history.

In 1714 a tract of 2121 acres was deeded to Owen Roberts by William Penn, the original inn being built just south of the railroad on the Old Lancaster Road. The first tavern on the property was known as the “Halfway House”. In 1735, Robert Richardson took over and it was called the Blue Ball. At some point, Conrad Young bought the property, and for a while, it was known as the “King of Prussia”, but the locals apparently didn’t like the change and still referred to it as the Blue Ball. In 1759, Dr. Bernhard Van Leer became the owner, though he often had others running it. Van Leer died in 1786 and the property went to his daughter Mary and her husband, Moses Moore. When the turnpike was created in 1794, traffic at the old inn slowed down and around that time, a new inn was built at its current location to be more accessible to the turnpike.

In the early 1800’s, likely in the first decade, Prissy, Mary’s Moore’s daughter took over the Inn, and things began to get a bit strange. Peddlers, carrying large sums of money, were prone to disappearing after stopping at the inn, and the stories were told that Prissy liberally supplied them with whiskey and then did away with them while they slept, pocketing their money for herself. Another tale mentions a woman guest who made the mistake of displaying her wealth at supper time. She was found hanging from the wall of the enclosed stairway, supposedly a suicide. Not too many bought that notion, though, and the Inn’s reputation worsened. Prissy Robinson died in 1860 at 100 years old, having outlived all three of her husbands, John Fisher, John Cahill and Edward Robinson, and was buried in the churchyard at Great Valley Presbyterian.

For awhile, tales of the Inn subsided quite a bit, now that the property was no longer owned by Prissy. By the latter part of the century, with the Inn owned by Richard Graham and his wife, most folks probably figured that Prissy was certainly a mean-spirited thing but she had probably been mostly harmless. But then, in 1894, when that Grahams sold the property to the Croasdales, a startling discovery was made in the course of some renovation work. Under the cellar floor were found six skeletons, all complete, though a few showed broken bones or cleft skulls. Were three of them Prissy’s husbands? Tales abound of strange noises in the inn and drawers that seem to open and close on their own, supposedly as a ghostly Prissy Robinson looks for clean clothes to replace her blood-splattered ones.

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