1921: Anthony Zesut Arrested For Selling Liquor

On November 10, 1921 my Great Grandfather Anthony Zesut, eldest son of Kasper and Anna, was arrested for selling alcohol which was illegal in the United States from 1920-1933.

Following is an article that appeared in the November 21, 1921 edition of The Hartford Courant. Anthony’s last name is misspelled Zesuit throughout.

Constable Eugene W. House arrested Anthony Zesuit on Saturday evening for selling liquor to Martin Millick. For the past three or four months, the Polish people have been purchasing liquor in the section around Grove street, and the officers have been trying to get proof of sales. Mrs. Millick complained to the Grand Juror that her husband purchased at two different times and paid him for it in her presence. Zesuit was charged with a reputation and also a sale. He was found guilty on each count, and was fined $50 on each count and also had to pay the costs of the court. James B. Henry was attorney for Zesuit. He appealed from the judgment and secured a bond of $200 for his appearance at the next term of the superior court.

Peter Spark was arraigned before Justice W.E. Gates Saturday evening on a charge of distilling liquor. Mr. Spark is stepfather of Anthony Zesuit who was found guilty of selling liquor. A search warrant was given to Constable House to search Spark’s premises from information given by a neighbor that liquor was being distilled in his house. The officers found about one quart of liquor. They found a coil of pipe such as is used in a still. The evidence was not sufficient to convict and the case was nulled.

Peter Spark, Anthony’s step-father is also implicated but was not found guilty in the manufacture of the alcohol. An interesting spin on this is the story I heard from Frank Zesut’s (Anthony’s younger brother) daughter Irene. Irene said that after Kasper died Anna made booze in her bathtub and sold it to the locals. The constable turned a blind eye to these activities as he felt sorry for her for being widowed with so many kids. This article paints a different picture as it pins the selling on Anthony and the distilling on Peter. Irene also said that the Mr. & Mrs. Millick ended up becoming friends with her parents several years later!

My Aunt Toni told me that my grandmother Wanda used to say her father Anthony was a “rascal”. Sure sounds like it!

I’m trying to find out if the Hartford Superior Court has a record of this case as it could contain an interview with Anthony which would be a fantastic find.

Here’s a scan of the actual article from The Courant.

Anthony Zesut Arrested
Source: Special to The Courant (1921, November 21). MRS. M. W. HODGE OF GLASTONBURY DIES :Zesuit Fined on Two Counts For Liquor Violation Appeals. The Hartford Courant (1887-1922),p. 16. Retrieved January 5, 2008, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers Hartford Courant (1764 – 1922) database. (Document ID: 751850792).

For information regarding the Prohibition of Liquor in the United States you can read the Wikipedia article on it here.


4 Responses to “1921: Anthony Zesut Arrested For Selling Liquor”

  1. Carol Thibeault Says:

    Sounds to me like Anthony took the rap for his mother. What a nice boy. : ) Elliot – do you know what ‘charged with a reputation’ means?

  2. William(Bill)Gerich Says:

    Good morning Elliot,

    I’m still chuckling over today’s “bootlegger revelation”. I also like my Aunt Wanda’s term “rascal” to describe my grandfather. In Spanish (we lived in PR for a dozen years) the term “Malito” would be used in the same way. I’ve always prided myself on being a bit of a “rascal”……hereditary I guess.

    An interesting sidebar to the bootlegging story is that my Grandfather William Gerich (my other namesake) was also a bootlegger. In the eulogy I did for my uncle George (of introducing and standing up for Wanda and Leonard fame) I recounted a story that Uncle George told of being a young boy of 5 or so whose job was to stir the vat of fermenting brew that my Grandfather Gerich had “aging” in the basement (making him, perhaps the youngest bootlegger in the family). My Grandmother Gerich made the tea that was then added to the hooch to give it the color of liquor (and stretch it a bit, I’m sure). It was then sold out the back door of my grandfather’s neighborhood grocery/meat market. They never got caught to my knowledge.

    So it seems that bootlegging ran on both sides of my family……as an incurable romanticist, I am tickled pink!!!!!!

    This is just terrific….keep it up.



  3. wrannej Says:

    I’m not sure what “Charged With A Reputation” means. I googled it and the only hit I got on it was this blog – ha! I wonder if it’s a typo in the article. I THINK that’s what it says in the article – it’s a pretty ratty newspaper scan. I found out the CT State Library has the Superior Court archives for that period so I’ll be heading there soon to see what I can find.

  4. Carol Thibeault Says:

    Well, I did a little research on prohibition law, and although I can’t say that I understand all the legalize – appartently you could be ‘charged with a reputation’ if it was commonly held by the community that you made, sold, served etc. alcohol. So, it is exactly as it sounds — my Grandfather had a reputation for selling alcohol during Prohibition! You’d think that after his father died from pneumonia and alcohol poisoning they might have had second thoughts about doing this. But, what the heck…

    Funny thing – Elliot was named after Elliot Ness. When I was pregnant with him all I watched were episodes of The Untouchables.

    Can’t wait for the next installment!

    Thanks, Elliot

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