On 24 September 1704, the Plymouth Colony Court of General Sessions granted liquor licenses to several colonists. Each deposited a bond (“surtie”) with the court to ensure orderly behavior of their patrons, except, for some reason, the last man listed. That would be my seventh great-grandfather Eleazer Dunham (1659-1719). He’s listed as an “inholder,” that is, an innkeeper rather than a retailer. So he was in hospitality, not distribution.

Liquor license of Eleazer Dunham, Plymouth Colony, 1704

Liquor license of Eleazer Dunham, Plymouth Colony, 1704

This was the Eleazer Dunham who was the son of Joseph and Mercy (Morton) Dunham of Plymouth, the husband of Bathsheba Whiston. I am descended from his son Israel (1689-1726).

I like to tinker with vintage cocktails, so I have a well-stocked bar. I encourage guests to ask for whatever they like, and usually I can prepare their favorite drink for them. Above the bar is the framed liquor license of my ancestor Eleazer. It was only valid for a year, so it expired 311 years ago. I hope nobody notices that.

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