SEWARD & BENTLEY | BUFFALO, NY
The Constitution Bitters from Buffalo, NY
Stephen B. Seward & Burr S. Bentley
14 May 2013 (R•031314) (R•051814) (R•053015) (R•030616) (R•051010-FBN) (R•052619-Letterhead)
For the sake of this Constitution Bitters, we are dealing with Stephen B. Seward and Burr S. Bentley of Seward & Bentley, Buffalo, New York. The company name changed many times as there are listings for Seward, Bentley & Cheney, Ward & Bentley, Daniel Seward & Co., Seward & Liebetrut and Edward Liebetrut This shows obvious changes in partnership and ownership later in the 1860s.
Stephen even got his start earlier than that as his name occurs as S. B. Seward in the late 1850s on bottles and advertising etc. When this bottle mold was produced, Cheney had not yet joined the firm. This bitters first appeared in 1864.
The Carlyn Ring and W.C. Ham listing in Bitters Bottles Supplement 2 is as follows:
C 223 A.M.S.2. ( au ) / 1864 // CONSTITUTION / BITTERS // A.M.S.2. ( au ) /
1864 // SEWARD & BENTLEY / BUFFALO, N.Y. //
9 1/4 x 2 7/8 x 2 1/4 (7 1/4) 1/4
Rectangular, Amber, LTC, Applied mouth, 4 sp, Rare
AMS2: All Must Surrender To Constitution Bitters
Label: A.M. 1864 S.2. Prepared from a formula of an eminent physician and used for many tears with wonderful success as a tonic, for strengthening of the system, giving tone to the stomach and creating a healthy appetite. It has no equal.
1864 & 1866 Thomas’ Buffalo Business Directory: Seward & Bentley Druggist, 189 Main, Stephen B. Seward and Burr S. Bentley
1868 City Directory for Buffalo: Seward, Bentley & Cheney Druggist, 241 Main
1877 Billhead: Edward J. Liebetrut, Druggist (formerly Seward & Liebetrut, formerly Seward & Co.)
Stephen B. Seward
Stephen B. Seward was born Franklinville, New York in 1831. In 1865 or so, he became senior member of Seward, Bentley & Cheney in Buffalo, New York. He moved in the late 1870s to Omaha and later to St. Louis (see obituary below). I think this might help explain why the Mexican Bitters bottle is so similar.
Burr S. Bentley
Burr S. Bentley was born about 1837 in Buffalo New York. He married Josephine Thwing on 23 May 1867. Burr was a jeweler and watchmaker with a shop at 243 Main Street. He was a partner in 1864 with Stephen B. Seward in Buffalo, New York as Seward & Bentley, later, Seward, Bentley & Cheney, druggists and fancy goods merchants with a shop at 189 Main Street.
What does “A.M.S.2. 1864” stand for? The similar Mexican Bitters is embossed “A.S.F.5. 1866”. This newspaper advertisement below confirms, “All Must Surrender to Constitution Bitters”.