Joseph Dodson, Sr., built the smaller section of Carter's Tavern as his dwelling before 1773. His younger son, Joseph Dodson, Jr., operated it as an ordinary early in the 19th century here on River Road, then the principal highway between Halifax Court House and Danville and part of the main state road between New York and New Orleans. Samuel Carter bought the tavern in 1807, enlarged it with a two-story addition, and managed it until his death in 1836. His widow, Elizabeth Carter, operated it until she died in 1843; the tavern then closed. Restored in the 1970s, Carter's Tavern is a rare example of a once-common Virginia institution.