Gabreil Daveis Tavern was built to accommodate travelers headed east and west over the Irish road and watermen moving lumber and other products by way of the Timber Creek. The building ceased being a tavern in 1768 when Sarah Daveis, the widow of Gabreil, declined to renew the license. From this point forward the building became home to some of the Township’s most important Revolutionary War figures. George Washington designated it a hospital known as Hillman Hospital House.
Today’s visitors to the building can be certain about its date of construction because it was recorded by the bricklayer builder in the building’s western gable. Dating buildings was a common practice among the English forefathers of the West New Jersey’s earliest settlers.
“Gable end” houses range in style from the simple addition of the date to the gable end brickwork, to dates and initials of the original owners, to patterned brickwork beneath the dates and initials. Patterns include diamonds, chevrons and zigzags. In some instances, there are intricate flower and coronet patterns in the brickwork. The patterns are created by the use of vitrified headers, or bricks whose ends are burnt to a dark blue-black in the kiln.
There are about 175 such buildings in the United States and over 100 found in the historic colony of West New Jersey. There are none in what was East New Jersey and only five in Pennsylvania. Gabreil Daveis Tavern is the only gable end house in Gloucester Township.