View Full Version : My Ancestor Sold Booze to the Indians

06-10-2003, 10:41
I don't have any ancestors who were distillers, to the best of my knowledge, but here is an interesting tidbit about my ancestor, William Cowdery, who was one of the founders of what is now Wakefield, Massachusetts. William served as Town Clerk there for several decades. In 1654, the following order was issued by the General Court.

William Cowdery is empowered and ordered by the Court to sell wine of any sort, and strong liquors, to the Indians, as to his judgment shall seem most meet and necessary for their relief in just and urgent occasions, and not otherwise provided he shall not sell or deliver more than one pint to any one Indian at any one time upon any pretence whatever.

For better or worse -- mostly worse -- my ancestor apparently was one of the first European settlers to provide liquor to the native inhabitants, an enterprise that produced some pretty sad results, all things considered.

But there it is. Confession is good for the soul.

06-10-2003, 17:07
No problem. You are making up for it with your vast knowledge you provide us here on SB.com! We all appreciate your insight and your ability to have a calm, thoughtful response to any and all topics.

06-18-2003, 10:37
But there it is. Confession is good for the soul.

It's ok Chuck, if it hadn't been William, it would have been someone else. My guess is, my ancestors loved your ancestor... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif
Kinda makes us related 'in spirit'... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/drink.gif

06-19-2003, 14:51
Native Americans, like Asians, are less able to tolerate alcohol than Europeans, though it's not true of all individuals and probably some of my ancestor's customers got on just fine. Thanks. I feel better.