John Moffat Phoenix Bitters | Support
16 December 2012 (R•031614) (R•103118) (R•040219 – Hagenbuch Example)
This post developed to show support information and imagery for John Moffat Phoenix Bitters.
John Moffat, born 3 August, 1788; died New York City, 3 November, 1863; married in Troy, New York, 10 September 1816 to Rachel Marie Brinckerhoff, (daughter of Isaac Brickerhoff and Sophie Quackenbos).
John Moffat invented and first started selling Moffat’s Phoenix Bitters in New York City around 1834 or 1835 (according to almanacs and advertisements). His remedies were among the many bitters brands flooding the 19th-century market, claiming a host of medicinal virtues for the thousands of customers seeking relief. No doubt their high alcohol content made these products especially appealing to the public.
Moffat advertised extensively (see examples below) and Phoenix Bitters soon became a success. Touted the “Universal Cure,” when taken at night Moffat’s formula was said to “promote insensitive respiration and relieve the system of febrile action and feculent obstructions as to produce delightful convalescence in the morning.”
His son William B. Moffat assumed the business in 1838, and had the product patented in 1862.
John Moffat brought suit against his son William for a dissolution of the copartnership (see newspaper transcript below from the New York Times)
WILLIAM B. MOFFAT
William Brinckerhoff Moffat, born New York City, 17 March, 1818; died New York City, 11 April, 1862; married New York City 1 July, 1854 to Julia Augusta Mitchell, (daughter of Robert Mitchell) born 1831; died New York City, 3 September, 1866.
William B. Moffat assumed the business in 1838, and had the product patented in 1862. However, John Moffat’s name continued to be embossed on the bottles. By 1845, the company had introduced at least one other remedy, Moffats’s Vegetable Life Pills, along with Moffat’s Almanac, a popular advertising medium to promote patent medicines, including bitters. Moffat’s Agricultural Almanac for 1845 featured “certificates of remarkable cures performed by Moffat’s remedies.”
As noted in a newspaper advertisements of the era, “no traveler by land or sea” should be without John Moffat’s & Cos medicines, “essential to the system undergoing changes from a variation of climate” and “also in allying sea-sickness.”
Moffat was listed as Physician and sole proprietor of Moffat’s Life Pills and Phoenix Bitters, Room P in the Moffat’s Building, 333 Broadway (see New York building picture below), residence, 125 Fifth Avenue.
There are a number of examples of Moffat Genealogies: Descent from REV. John Moffat of Ulster County, New York available for purchase. The Moffat name is well researched and documented.
333 BROADWAY MOFFAT BUILDING
JOHN MOFFAT PHOENIX BITTERS
FATHER vs. SON
The Proprietorship of Moffat’s Pills The Case Decided.; SUPERIOR COURT GENERAL TERM.
Before Justices Robertson and Monell.
Published: April 24, 1863 (New York Times)
John Moffat vs. Julia A. Moffat, widow of the late William B. Moffat, et al. — This action was commenced in 1854 by John Moffat, claiming an interest as partner in the business owned by his son, of manufacturing and selling “Moffat’s Life Pills and Phoenix Bitters,” and was tried before Justice Bosworth, at a Special Term of the Court, in 1857, then occupying the attention of the Court for over two weeks. On the trial the parties to the action were examined as witnesses in their own behalf, and the trial resulted in a judgment in favor of the defendants.
An appeal was taken by the plaintiff from that judgment to this branch of the Court, and, pending the appeal, the then defendant, William B. Moffat, died. The action was then revived by his executor, in order that the appeal should dispose of the case.
The appeal was argued at the last General Term, when decision was reserved.
The Court now rendered decision, affirming the judgment of Justice Bosworth in the Court below.
P.G. Clarke and Chas. O’Conor, for plaintiff; G. Tillotson and Jas. T. Brady, for defendants.
PHOENIX BITTERS ADVERTISING
1788: John Moffat, born 3 August, 1788.
1816: John Moffat married in Troy, New York, 10 September 1816 to Rachel Marie Brinckerhoff (daughter of Isaac Brickerhoff and Sophie Quackenboss).
1831: Newspaper notice (below): To Let: The new there stay back House and Store, John Moffat, 259 Broadway – The Evening Post, Tuesday, April 5, 1831