SMITH’S DRUID BITTERS
“on o/e all due up to this date except 1 barrel whisky”
The Smith’s Druid Bitters is a great Baltimore figural bitters barrel that I have written about before. Read: Awesome Smith’s Druid Bitters Moves from West Virginia to Houston to Oregon. These barrels are extremely tough to obtain and rarely make an appearance on the auction, eBay or bottle show circuit. Most are embedded in collections. You would think that they would all be amber in coloration but that is not the case. I have seen, and possessed one in amber and olive green and recently have seen two in yellow amber and one in puce.
Three of the Smith’s Druid Bitters that I have seen have shown up in the Shenandoah Valley (western Virginia and Eastern West Virginia) region leading some to speculate a local distributor for this extremely rare Baltimore bottle. A Puce example owned by a collector in West Virginia was found in Stephens City which is west of Winchester, Virginia.
Here is what I have on the brand including two documents in my collection. I would love to find a labeled example and some related advertising for John Smith. Box of candy for someone who can tell me what “B. T.” and “S. C.” stands for.
Box of candy for someone who can tell me what “B. T.” 1865 “S. C.” stands for.
I found 4 April 1866 advertisements in Petersburg, VA, newspapers, showing “B. M. Robertson & Co.” as the Virginia proprietor for Smith’s Baltimore bitters. Hope that helps! Furthermore, I’ve confirmed “B. M. Robertson” as a Petersburg, VA, druggist/grocer/merchant during the Civil War and that he sold supplies to the Confederacy, including medical, food, and chemical supplies. Enjoy! Jim (Schmidt)
The Indian War of 1864, by Eugene Ware
Plantation Bitters appeared in 1860, and every wall and fence and vacant place in the United States was placarded with the legend, “S. T. 1860 X.” For several months everybody was guessing what the sign meant. It was in the newspapers. It was distributed in handbills on the street. It was seen at every turn, “S. T. 1860 X.” After the world had long grown tired of guessing, there appeared the complete legend, “Plantation Bitters, S. T. 1860 X.” Plantation Bitters became the bottled liquor of the age. It was made out of alcohol, water and flavoring, and was really very attractive as to taste and results. The Hostetter and the Log Cabin followed closely behind in popularity. The Log Cabin got into sutler tents all over the district which the army occupied. Its principal advertisement was the strange glass bottle made in the shape of a log cabin. At about the time I speak of, all three of these liquors were on sale at Boyer’s. The legend of the Plantation Bitters was that it meant “Sure thing in ten years from 1860.” That is, when the inventor had made the decoction, and submitted it to a friend as an invention and marketable article, the friend, so the story goes, told him that it was a sure thing for a fortune in ten years. So, acting on this thought, he had billed the United States, “S. T. 1860 X.,” and spent half a million advertising “S. T. 1860 X.,” before anybody knew what it was all about.
No doubt the Druid’s anogram was the result of following the success of the Drake’s Plantation bitters Ad campaign. Best guess, Best Tonic 1865 Sure Cure – Steven James Anderson
“Best Tonic 1865 Sure Cure”
S 124 SMITH’S DRUID BITTERS, Circa 1869
B. T. 1865 S. C. ( au ) / SMITH’S / DRUID BITTERS ( ad ) // c //
9 1/2 x 2 1/2
Round barrel, 10-10, NSC, Applied mouth, Amber and Puce – Rare; Yellowish olive green and Olive yellow – Very Rare
No. 35 Cheapside
J. SMITH & Son, Wholesale Grocers and Liquor Merchants, No. 35 Cheapside, Baltimore. John SMITH, Joseph S. SMITH.
Label: Is a … tonic will cure dyspepsia, heartburn, indigestion, sick stomach, chills & fever & C & C. A pleasant and agreeable drink. The best appetizer in the world.