Ezra “King Caesar” Weston II (1772-1842) was one of Duxbury’s most prominent 19th century citizens. He ruled his vast ship building empire from his stately home on Powder Point. But even Ezra Weston was not above the law. In 1834 a warrant was issued for Mr. Weston’s arrest. It seems he was selling distilled liquor and allowing it to be consumed in his shop.
According to Massachusetts law at the time, “no person shall presume to be a retailer or seller of spirituous liquor in less quantity than 28 gallons, unless he is first licensed as a retailer of spirits…” (I assume the 28 gallon limit distinguished wholesalers/importers from retailers). You also needed a license if you were running an establishment that served alcohol. Three witnessed instances of a sale were considered sufficient to indict. In Weston’s case, Bradford Holmes, Robert Orr, Reuben Witherell and one other person were seen purchasing and drinking spirits on the premises.
On June 14, 1834 Deputy Sherrif Spencer Cushman “arrested” Weston and had him appear before one of the Justices of the Peace in Duxbury, Gershom Bradford Weston. It must have been a comical hearing as G. B. Weston was Ezra’s son. Ezra Weston paid a fee of $200 and promised to appear in court.
Whether or not King Caesar’s case ever went to trial, whether he was found guilty or made to pay a fine, I simply do not know. If you would like to visit the scene of the crime, however, the King Caesar House is open for tours in the summer.