Everyone knows about Flint’s first settler, Jacob Smith, and his trading post but the establishment built along the river by Flint’s first family gained more notoriety during the time. Todd’s Tavern was a hotel and eatery set up by John and Polly Todd in 1830.
The Todd family moved to Flint after visiting Smith’s trading post years before. Originally from Pontiac, John Todd fell in love with the area and purchased land from Francois Edward Campau (a friend of Smith’s) for $800, where he established a small farm. There he built Todd’s Tavern and the reputation of the place grew far and wide. Due to the abundance of game in the area, the tavern was able to provide an abundance of delicious dishes to weary travelers. Vegetables were easily found and venison, fish, turkey and more was presented on a daily basis. Todd traded with local native Americans for maple sugar and other treats in exchange for whiskey.
The tavern became so popular that it quickly found itself over-capacity on most nights. Crowds of travelers would often wait for hours for their chance to sit at the table and those that wished to stay over-night were forced to sleep side-by-side on the floor in a jumble of their own belongings.
When needed John Todd would ferry travelers across the Flint river for a small fee in an old native American canoe.
As the year’s progressed, John and Polly Todd grew tired of being constant hosts and sold the tavern to Mr. Wait Beach from New York. The couple then moved to a small house on Saginaw St. and then to a farm on Flushing Rd. Later the family would move to Owosso, where they lived until death.
Todd’s Tavern was one of the first attractions Flint had to offer and pulled in visitors from miles around, many of which fell in love with the land and stayed. Smith’s Trading Post and Todd’s Tavern both were the beginning of a growing city.