ESTABLISHED IN 1747
The original structure at the center of the house dates to 1747 and was built with materials from the land. Anthony Dobbin purchased the property in 1791 and raised sheep there. He seems to have been an astute businessman: he observed that coaches were cutting through his property on the way to the Albany Post Road and soon opened an inn that became a popular stopping place. Governor George Clinton, when he reviewed the militia, stopped there. Justices from the local early stone courthouse took dinner breaks there, still wearing their judicial robes, some say. By 1801, Dobbin was the host of a thriving business.
Later that year, the inn advertised the stud services of the famous English thoroughbred, Imported Messenger, for a season in the stables in the back of the property. It was here that Imported Messenger's son Abdallah was sired. Abdallah became the sire of the famous Rysdyk’s Hambletonian, who in turn is sire of all Standardbreds. Hambletonian was born in Sugar Loaf, bought by William Rysdyk and eventually stabled at Chester, where he made his owner wealthy from stud fees.
Hambletonian and his offspring helped establish Goshen as a "trotting horse Mecca,” according to the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. These horses attracted international recognition. In 1838, the Goshen Historic Track, still in operation today, was established just down the street from the Dobbin's Inn. At one time the acreage of the inn and farm extended right up to the Historic Track. As time went on, Dobbin sold some of his land to pay taxes, according to some sources.
Historian Mildred Parker Seese said Anthony Dobbin also “associated in the purchase of a plot for a cemetery from the Jacksons, his first wife’s people.” That plot later became Slate Hill Cemetery. Many of those resting in early graves, in land that later became the site of the Presbyterian Church, were re-interred at Slate Hill.
Dobbin had no descendants. In 1857, Dobbin’s second wife and widow, Nancy, bequeathed the property to her nephew, John J. Heard, who had also lived there with his widowed mother, Nancy’s sister, since 1812. Heard is reputed to have combined the original brick inn with a wooden addition when he enlarged it.
After Heard, the property was bought by Nicholas Franchot as an investment. He would later sell the home to his daughter Janet and her first husband, William Hickok IV — a descendant of the same family line as James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok. They owned the house as a private residence and enlarged and restored it.
Janet divorced Hickok and later married Don Wilder, a hunting and sports enthusiast. She lived in the house until her death in 1965. She was a great philanthropist and gave generously to many causes, including the Cerebral Palsy Center, now known as Inspire. After her death, William Hickok V, Janet’s son by her first marriage, and his wife, Marjorie (“Margo”) Miller George Hickok, took up residence there.
Margo was a New York City model and modeling agency owner who had once appeared on the Johnny Carson show offering fitness tips. She first came to Goshen to attend a party at the old Westinghouse Estate, then owned by the Gabor sisters, who opened a spa there. She met her future husband, William, at that party. Later she briefly worked for the Gabors, publicizing the spa.
In 1985, Margo and William decided to open part of the house again as a bed and breakfast inn. After her husband’s death in 1987, Margo became the sole host of the inn, and was only too glad to share the history of her home and its many antiques. In 2011, Marjorie “Margo” George Hickok passed away, after a long battle with cancer. The ownership was passed on to her children. Margo George’s children put the Inn up for sale in 2014 and auctioned off most of the furniture after.
The Inn was purchased by Faith Ferguson and Ron Boire in 2014. Faith and Ron live in Warwick, where Faith owns and runs her own event planning business- Faith Ferguson Productions. The Stagecoach Inn has been given a new life under its current owners who spent over a year renovating the entire house. The Inn has been fully restored to its former glory by Faith, with nearly every part of the building and its three plus acres of grounds being enhanced in a major revitalization project. Guests will enjoy the ambiance of its historic architecture combined with luxurious refined hospitality. The Inn opened on Labor Day of 2016, and the restaurant opened in March of 2017.
With five well-appointed guest rooms that afford modern comforts, two dining rooms, a living room, a bar, an outdoor porch and a tented event space. The Inn is a place of tranquility that harkens back to a bygone era where you may cast aside the stresses of everyday life. Grab a book and relax in a comfortable nook with a cup of tea. Stroll the property, which includes three beautiful acres that are a perfect backdrop for outdoor events. Venture into the town to peruse shops or the Harness Racing Museum. Or use the Inn as home base from which you may enjoy all that the Hudson Valley has to offer.