About Henry Wetherburn
Little is known of Henry Wetherburn's background. He makes his first appearance in the local records in 1731. In the spring of that year he applied for a license to marry Mary Bowcock, widow of the keeper of the Raleigh Tavern. When Henry married Mary, they served as executors of the Bowcock estate. In August 1731, Henry applied for a license to operate a tavern, in this case the Raleigh Tavern. He began to develop his reputation for keeping a good tavern. His reputation was such that by 1736, William Randolph and Peter Jefferson (father of Thomas Jefferson) sealed a land deal with Wetherburn's "biggest bowl of arrack punch." In 1738, Wetherbum purchased two lots across the street from the Raleigh Tavern. He began to build a house on the lots, a typical center-passage house with two rooms on either side. In 1742, a group of men purchased the Raleigh Tavern, where Wetherburn had been working as the tavern keeper. Wetherburn decided to move across the street and open his own tavern in his house. In 1751, Mary Bowcock Wetherburn died. Shortly after her death, Henry married Anne Marot Ingles Shields, widow of tavern keeper James Shields and daughter of tavern keeper John Marot. With his marriage to Anne, Henry became the executor of the Shields estate.
With the marriage, Anne and several of her children, daughters Anne and Christiana and son James Shields (who would inherit the Shields property) moved in with Henry at his tavern. Within a couple of years of the marriage, Anne's oldest daughter (who was not living at the tavern) had a son she named Henry (nicknamed "Harry"). For reasons unknown, Harry came to live with the Wetherburns.
The Wetherburn family shows several aspects of 18th century family life. It was common to see men and women have several husbands or wives in their lifetime. The wife would take herself and her children to live with her new husband thus creating a "blended" family. Husbands were responsible for managing the family's financial matters. When a woman married or remarried all she had inherited usually became the property of her husband. So Henry managing the Shields estate for his new wife until the son came of age was a common type of arrangement. Wetherburn's will shows that he had developed an affection for his step-grandson Harry. In his will, Henry left Harry a silver watch, a slave named Dick, and £100 for his education.