So “Who is W.L. Richardson”?
22 March 2013 (R•013115)
This bottle has an abundance of information. The R 58 – W.L. Richardson’s Bitters is an enigma. My question is,”who is W.L. Richardson?” The bottle was produced a little later then the S.O. Richardson bottle. Was W.L a brother of Solon Osmond or a relative? Was his name Warren, William or Winslow?
Both bottles are embossed South Reading, Mass. and look almost identical.
I do see a few clues in my online research below. You can watch my progress. You think that I might have better things to do this Friday evening. Not really. Right where I want to be. The Carlyn Ring and W.C. Ham listing in Bitters Bottles is as follows:
R 58 W. L. RICHARDSON’S BITTERS, Circa 1855 – 1865
W. L. / RICHARDSON’S // BITTERS // SOUTH / READING // MASS. //
L…Richardson’s Sherry Wine Bitters
7 x 3 1/2 x 2 1/4 (5 3/8) 7/8
Rectangular, Aqua, NSC, Applied mouth and Tooled flared lip, With and
without Rough pontil mark. Rare
R 56 RICHARDSON’S DRY BITTERS
Drug Catalogs: 1876-7 Goodwin, 1833 M&R, 1885 Goodwin, 1891 Schieffelin, 1894 M&R
Dry refers to powdered form. Much more unusual than liquid.
Clue #1 – William? or Warren?
Clue #1 – RootsWeb – 2007
Both Solon Osmond and William L. Richardson bottled and sold Sherry-wine bitters, perhaps in partnership. There are collectible bottles with both WL and SO Richardson names in collector’s guides for sale. The bitters were reportedly 47.5% alcohol! Not bad, considering they were also sold during prohibition. Good for what ails you…
There’s an old camp song about Lydia Pinkham, “Let’s drink a drink a drink to Lydia Pink-a-pink-a-pink, the savior of… the human race. She invented medicinal compound, most efficacious, in every case”. (More of the same). Lydia Pinkham’s Vegetable compound was likewise high in alcohol content.
There were at least 3 Solon Osmond Richardsons in the line, the most recent living in Toledo, Ohio. The bitters bottles could be worth a bit, if you find one in good shape. By the way, Warren Richardson, the son of Nathan and Betsey Alden, was the brother of Solon Osmond Richardson, whose mother was Asenath Rice, as mentioned.
Both are 3rd cousins of mine, descended from John Richardson and Esther Breckk.
Gary Allen Richardson
Clue #2 – Winslow?
Clue #2 – Ancestry.com – Gary Frederick Richardson Branch from Tree
Clue #3 – Passport
Clue #3 – William L. Richardson witness for Warren Richardson.
Clue #4 – William brother of Nathan Richardson
Clue #4 – Ancestry.com – Gary Frederick Richardson Branch from Tree
Conclusion – “Who is W.L. Richardson”
OK, here it how it is shaping out. The “King of Bitters” in the Richardson tree is Dr. Nathan Richardson (1780 – 1837). He was putting out “Richardson’s Sherry Wine Bitters” in a powdered form around the turn of the century. There are probably different shaped bottles out there with some crude labels of this product.
Nathan was first married to Asenath Rice (1784 – 1820). She died at 36 years old. Nathan Richardson remarried to Betsy Alden (1797 – 1832). She also died young.
Dr. Solon Osmond Richardson (1809 – 1873) was the son of Nathan and Asenath. He is the namesake on the R 57 – S.O. Richardson’s Jaundice Bitters.
Winslow V. Richardson is the brother of Solon Osmond Richardson. He is a red herring and not the “W.L” on the R 58 – “W.L Richardson’s Sherry Wine Bitters”.
Warren Richardson’s (1823 – ) name is on the passport shown further above that is witnessed by “William L. Richardson”. Warren is listed as a merchant on some census forms. On others a painter. I can not conform his middle initial. Probability 30%.
William L. Richardson (1793 -) is a mystery. He is the brother of Nathan Richardson. I see no wife. This could be his name on the bottle. Probability 70%.