Last week, five (5) broken examples of a previously unknown Bitters were unearthed by three well known east coast diggers. This is extremely exciting when this happens because it allows us to study the new bottle with the hopes of determining what the bottle looked like, who made it and was there any advertising that might further shed light on the bottle. In this case the bottle found was an open pontil, aqua, rectangle embossed:
CANNON’S / DYSPEPTIC BITTERS // W. MORROW // WASHINGTON, D.C.
This immediately rang a bell with me because I have an example of another extremely rare CANNON’S DYSPEPTIC BITTERS (C 33) that is completely different looking. Carlyn Ring & W.C. Ham in the Bitters Bottle Supplement picture a bottle wrap noting the bottle is from Washington D.C. (see below). The graphics read as follows:
Cannon’s Non-Alcoholic Bitters, The Great Dyspepsia Remedy, W. M. Cannon & Co., 925 LA. Ave. N.W. Washington D.C. Prepared only by the W. M. Cannon Proprietary Medicine Company, No. 925 Louisiana Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. associated with above.
[Addendum 1 17 April 2012] Added two advertisements submitted by Chris Rowell
I asked Tom Leveille from Newport News, Virginia, who was on the dig, for a little more information on the pictures of the bottle and Tom reports:
[from Tom Leveille] I dug it in a pit in northern Virginia, behind an 1840 house owned by a clammer who was shot by his wife when caught with a mistress, and is buried in the yard in an unknown place. 6 ft across by 22 ft deep circular brick liner. It was found among 1840′s trash and there were pieces to other examples of the same bottle. It should have an applied flared lip.
[from Chris Rowell] Ferd, That bitters Tom posted is embossed Cannons / Dyspeptic Bitters – W. Morrow – Washington DC. We dug five of them all broken from the same pit last week. One of the guys we dig with is an advanced collector of Washington DC bottles and he had never seen it before.
[PRG] Both communications refer to the same pit and bottle dug by Phil Edmunds, Tom Leveille and Chris Rowell.
[PRG from Early Realty Values - Reminiscences of Washington Ante-Bellum Days - Some Notable Landmarks - Boarding House Life Back in the Forties - Traders and Their Wares - Old Places Along Pennsylvania Avenue Recalled - Remarkable Changes in Localities - By James Croggon, The Evening Star, January 27, 1907 [pt. 1, p. 12]
Missouri Avenue Property Before the year 1840 some of the Missouri avenue lots had passed to R.G. Briscoe, P.W. Browning, B.F. Middleton, J.B. Yates, Charles Stott, William Bird, W.T. Duvall, A. Shepherd and Dr. MacWilliams, with others, and on the 3d street front David A. Hall invested. The majority of the property was improved.
In the forties on the avenue and 4-1/2 street were Peetsch’s tavern, Mrs. Holdsworth’s, F. Cudlip’s, Mrs. Reiley’s, Mrs. Potter’s, Mrs. Polkinhorn’s and Mrs. Scott’s boarding houses; F.S. Naylor, tin and sheet iron worker; William Cannon, painter; C. Dunlap and A. Causland, barbers; Lee & Espey, cabinetmakers and undertakers; William H. Faulkner, shirt-maker; J.W. Smith, tailor; M. McDermott, coach-maker; Semmes & Son, grocers; Richard Thompson; N. Adams, second-hand clothing. On 3d street was R. Patterson, blacksmith. On Missouri avenue were Mrs. Lunts’ boarding house at 3d street; R.G. Briscoe, P.W. Browning, H.S. Clarke, W.G. Snithen, W.T. Duvall, Mrs. Jeffers and Mrs. M.E. Morgan’s boarding house. In the fifties B. Shadd located on 3d street and opened a tavern at the corner of the avenue. Mr. Faulkner is remembered for having been the pioneer shirt manufacturer in these parts, having many employes and was among the first to demonstrate the labor-saving advantages of the sewing machine, which was at this period just coming into use. “Thompson Life Preserver,” a patent medicine, made by Mr. Richard Thompson, was the wonderful “cure-all” of the Washington people of that day, and the proprietor was quite successful with it, as the medicine was credited by some with benefit to many complaints. From William Cannon, a neighboring painter, came “Cannon’s Bitters,” which for years was the favorite tonic for many families.
Now I can not, at this moment, say the bottles are related other than by name. Many questions are still unanswered. Who is W. Morrow? Which bottle came first? Probably the pontiled example. If it was the same brand, how do you go from an aqua rectangle and than get to an amber square filed with cannons, swords, cannon balls and other Civil War motifs. I love these mysteries. Great find guys. You are diggers and important parts in putting our history back together.
The latest thinking may be William Morrow Cannon (added 17 April 2012)