In 1800 John Love was granted a court license to operate a tavern in Burlington, or Wilmington as it was then known. He was the only tavern keeper to renew his license the following year, possibly due to the increase in business when his tavern was voted as the temporary home of the County Court. The court held it's first meeting there on 21 July 1800.
In October 1800, Love was named as one of the first trustees for Burlington. He received an appointment from the County Court to clear out the “publick square” to the best advantage, and to report back1). In February of the following year (1801) he was appointed Jailer of the County, and he renewed his tavern license in July2). By this time he was also finished clearing the public square, and the Court ordered that he be paid $18.40 for his labour, provided the Sheriff had the funds to do so out of the current tax levy. During this period he was also appointed surveyor on a number of county roads.
John Love's work as Jailer was a good fit with his tavern; he was well equipped to supply food for both prisoners and guards. He was appointed Jailer again in November 18043). The salary was $10.00 a year. If he had prisoners who required an extraordinary amount of time he received some additional compensation. In December of 1805 he had custody of Ralph and Ned, two slaves who were accused of murdering James, another black. The trial took place on the last day of December. For keeping them he was paid a total of $25.00, more than twice his salary for a year. He boarded them for 32 days, for which he was allowed 38 shillings. A very long list of people who helped him guard them were paid at 75¢ per day. Again in October 1807 he received additional compensation for boarding the guards of the accused John Shoad, that is $8.004).
A tavern was not a full time occupation at that time. The tavern keeper had to diversify. In November 1803 John Love was paid $2.00 by the Court for taking care of the Stray Pen for a year. The County Clerk kept a record of stray animals, sometimes called the Estray Book. When strays were found and recorded they were confined until their owners came for them. This was taken care of by John Love, who was prepared already to feed the horses of travelers. We find records that in the years following he did many other things in addition to his duties as tavern keeper and jailer. In 1808 he received the sum of $10.00 for taking care of repairs to the Courthouse and Jail. In December of that year he was allowed an additional $1.50 for his part in the hog rustling case5).