Duxbury Rural and Historical Society
The Duxbury Rural and Historical Society seeks to foster a better understanding of the heritage and rural environment of Duxbury, Massachusetts.
The DRHS manages five historic properties, museum collections, and more than 150 acres of land held in conservation. The DRHS's headquarters are in the beautiful Nathaniel Winsor, Jr. House, built 1807 and perhaps the most architecturally significant building in Duxbury. Its three-story Federal construction was based on designs by Bulfinch and Asher Benjamin. Nathaniel Winsor, Jr., a carver of figureheads by trade, inherited a thriving mercantile enterprise from his father. The Winsor family built at least 40 sailing vessels in Duxbury including several large brigs which traded in ports around the world; later, the Winsors acquired steamships, and ran one of the first regular clipper ship lines from Boston to San Francisco.
The DRHS's Drew Archives and Research Library are housed in the beautiful 1909 Wright Building. A busy location for researchers, student interns, and visitors, our Archivist is happy to assist you. The Drew Archives and the Nathaniel Winsor Jr. House are open to the public year-round.
The King Caesar House is a Federal mansion built in 1809 for Ezra Weston II, known as “King Caesar” for his worldwide preeminence as a shipbuilder and merchant. Weston’s enterprise dominated Duxbury in the early 19th century with a large portion of the population employed in the Weston shipyards, farms, wharves, mill, ropewalk, or aboard Weston’s fishing schooners and merchant fleet. The house is noted for its rare French scenic wallpapers, portraits of sea captains, and 19th century furnishings. Two galleries feature rotating exhibits. Bumpus Park, located across the street, is the remnant of King Caesar’s original wharf; today it is a lovely spot for a stroll or a picnic.
The Bradford House's construction in 1807-1808 was first supervised by Sarah Hickling Bradford, while her husband, Capt. Gershom Bradford, was held captive by the French. This dramatic beginning was the start of a lively and full household in which the Bradfords raised their young children and maintained an extended family. Members of the family were active in social movements of the day, including anti-slavery and temperance. Indeed, all four Bradford daughters raised in the house were accomplished women. In addition to the original furnishings on display in the house, the Bradfords also preserved thousands of letters, log books, journals and other documents, making them one of the best documented families in Duxbury.