Born in Annapolis, Maryland on February 11, 1727, John Beale Bordley became a successful lawyer and Baltimore Judge. However, he is most well known for his research and publications on American farming practices. Convinced that American farming could be significantly improved, Bordley studied the works of leading British experts and experimented with different agricultural methods. Most notably, Bordley encouraged local farmers to frequently rotate their crops and to employ the use of manure as a valuable soil fertilizer.
In 1791, Judge Bordley and his wife, Sarah, moved to Pennsylvania, where they kept a house in Philadelphia and a large farm in Chester County. It is on this farm where Bordley conducted many of his agricultural experiments and published his written works. In the Bordley family memoirs one historian quotes, “When this independent farmer’s foreign beers, wines, porters and ales began to diminish in his cellars, he started a brewery of his own, and planted a vineyard. When his beer was fermented, he put it away in casks made by his own carpenters, from timber cut down out of his own woods, and he even manufactured his own salt from the Chesapeake Bay, rather than being dependent upon Britain for anything.”
Today, we at the Bordley House Grille are inspired by John Bordley’s dedication to artisan food, craft beers, and local agriculture. Much like crops, we believe that menus should be rotated with the seasons to ensure the freshest quality. And while we haven’t yet begun to make our own salt, our kitchen strives to uphold the do-it-yourself spirit embodied by John Bordley and Historic Chester County.