Prindle’s Texas Tonic Bitters – Constantly on Draught at The Gem Saloon

Prindles Texas Tonic Bitters - The Daily Mercury Houston Tex - Feb 24 1874

Prindle’s Texas Tonic Bitters advertisementThe Daily Mercury Houston, Texas – February 24, 1874

Prindle’s Texas Tonic Bitters

Constantly on Draught at The Gem Saloon

I want to be a Texan,
And with the Texans stand,
A spur upon our boot heel –
Prindle’s Bitters in our hand!

Ferdinand Meyer V & Jame Viguerie

30 August 2013

Apple-Touch-IconAThe Prindle’s is the second Texas Tonic Bitters that James Viguerie has uncovered recently while looking for information on Price’s Patent Texas Tonic. The first was the Texas Tonic Bitters, prepared by Dr. G. A. Foote. It looks like T. J. Prindle brought some experience with him from Kentucky and had saloons in Houston and Fort Worth. He had a partner named Oscar F. Holmes. Here is James incoming e-mail:


Here is information about another Texas Tonic I came across. This one was called Prindle’s Texas Tonic Bitters. I have no idea if it was related to the earlier Texas Tonic. Hopefully they had this one bottled. It does say for sale wholesale and retail as well as being constantly on draught at the Gem Saloon. It looks like T. J. Prindle was in business with Oscar F. Holmes in Houston.

Some interesting background on Holmes and Prindle.

Aunt Mollie (your grandmother) when asked what her husband did for a living would smile and say he was a ‘speculator’. He was all of that because he and Tom Prindle speculated her father Hiram right out of a good deal of money to put in saloons and gambling houses here in Houston, Someone recently told me the story of Aunt Mollie sending one of her visitng nieces down to the saloon each day at noon to get a pitcher of beer for the noonday meal. She must have been quite a character”

One of the Holmes children was name “Oscar Prindle HOLMES”

Find a Grave: T. J. Prindle

Find a Grave: Oscar F. Holmes

It looks like there is more online about both Holmes and Prindle.


Bill Ham, author of Bitters Bottles with Carlyn Ring, has assigned the following number:



The Gem Saloon, Congress Street, near the post office, Houston, Texas. Also had Saloon in Fort Worth, Texas.

The Daily Mercury, Houston Texas, November 30, 1873 and February 24, 1874 

Prindles texas Tonic Bitters - Houston Daily Mercury - Houston Tex - Nov 30 1873

Prindle’s Texas Tonic Bitters advertisementHouston Daily Mercury – Houston, Texas – November 30, 1873

T J Prindle Restaurant - Tri-Weekly Telegraph - Houston Tex - Feb 28 1866

T. J. Prindle Exchange Restaurant advertisementTri-Weekly Telegraph – Houston, Texas – February 28, 1866

T J Prindle Westlake and co Restaurant - Tri-Weekly Telegraph - Houston Tex - Dec 13 1865

T. J. Prindle, Westlake & Co., Exchange Restaurant advertisementTri-Weekly Telegraph – Houston, Texas – December 13, 1865


Reference to Holmes & PrindleHouston Daily Mercury – Houston, Texas – November 30, 1873

Thomas J. Prindle

Born: March, 1849, Kentucky

Died: March 8, 1914, Texas (Hollywood Cemetery, 3506 N. Main), There is no marker for T. J. Prindle.

Confederate Service: Prindle, Thomas J., Jr. 2nd lieutenant, Madison’s Cavalry (Third Regiment, Arizona Brigade; Phillips’ Regiment)


Thomas J. Prindle – Madison’s Cavalry (Third Regiment, Arizona Brigade; Phillips’ Regiment)


Madison’s Cavalry (Third Regiment, Arizona Brigade; Phillips’ Regiment) Thomas J. Prindle Disharge Paper due to illness – 1863

Oscar F. Holmes

Born: August 24, 1832 (1831 see below), Herkimer County, New York

Died: October 4, 1881, Willis, Montgomery County, Texas

Note: A Family Bible lists Oscar’s year of birth as 1831. Also in a handmade book of the Homes Family, and believed to be the writing of Sarah Holmes Butler, Oscar’s birth date is listed as August 27, 1831. His tombstone lists 1832. Death: 4 October 1881 in Willis, Montgomery County, Texas. Burial: Willis Cemetery, Willis, Montgomery County, Texas. Marker: “Oscar F. Holmes, August 24, 1832 – October 4, 1881.”

Military 25 October 1862 San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas. The records show that Oscar Holmes served as a private in Company E, (Captain Hall’s Company), Madison’s (also known as Phillips’) Regiment Texas Cavalry, Confederate States Army. He was enlisted October 25, 1862 at San Antonio, Texas and on the muster roll of the company dated December 31, 1862, the last roll on file. He was reported absent with leave from December 24, 1862. No later record of him has been found. His wife, Mary Emily Holmes, filed for a widow’s pension on November 18, 1914. Information from the Adjutant General’s Office of the War Department, May 28, 1914.

Census Residences: Hot Springs, Arkansas 1878. Shown as place of residence in his father’s will. 1880 Union, Garland County, Arkansas. District 72, Page 10. Surname is spelled “Holms” in this census. 1870 Schroeppel Township, Oswego County, New York. Shows to be living with his parents in this census, with occupation as
a cotton buyer. 1850 Danube, Herkimer County, New York

Father: Ezra HOLMES b: 30 July 1791 in Quaker Hill, Dutchess County, New York

Mother: Sally WILCOX b: 11 November 1792 in Westerly, Washington County, Rhode Island

Marriage: Mary Emily “Mollie” LITTLE, b: 22 December 1850 in Willis, Montgomery County, Texas. Married: 7 December 1871 in Houston, Harris County, Texas

Note: At the residence of  T. J. Prindle, Esq. by Rev. Mr. Zealy. (From the Herkimer Democrat; January 10, 1872, Danube, New York). O. F. Holmes – formerly of Danube (New York) this county & Miss Mary E. Little of Houston, Texas.

Children: Oscar Prindle HOLMES b: 3 February 1873 in Willis, Montgomery County, Texas, William Fritzallen HOLMES b: 16 November 1876 in Willis, Montgomery County, Texas, Lula HOLMES b: 26 May 1878


Fort Worth, Texas – During the 1860s Fort Worth suffered from the effects of the Civil War and Reconstruction. The population dropped as low as 175, and money, food, and supply shortages burdened the residents. Gradually, however, the town began to revive. By 1872 Jacob Samuels, William Jesse Boaz, and William Henry Davis had opened general stores. The next year Khleber M. Van Zandt established Tidball, Van Zandt, and Company, which became Fort Worth National Bank in 1884. Barrooms such as Tom Prindle’s Saloon and Steele’s Tavern welcomed many travelers. – Texas State Historical association.

NEARING MATURITY 1874-1890 89 – Houston gentlemen amused themselves that summer by playing billiards at the hall of Messrs. Prindle and Holmes, sculling on the bayou in the new paired-oar boat of the Andax Rowing Club, or drilling with the Light Guards. Women joined the Dramatic Club, read and discussed Mark Twain s new novel, The Gilded Age, and quoted couplets from the pen of Nettie Bowers Houston, Texas poet.

About Ferdinand Meyer V

Ferdinand Meyer V is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and has a BFA in Fine Art and Graphic Design from the Kansas City Art Institute and School of Design. Ferdinand is the founding Principal of FMG Design, a nationally recognized design consultation firm. Ferdinand is a passionate collector of American historical glass specializing in bitters bottles, color runs and related classic figural bottles. He is married to Elizabeth Jane Meyer and lives in Houston, Texas with their daughter and three wonderful grandchildren. The Meyers are also very involved in Quarter Horses, antiques and early United States postage stamps. Ferdinand is the past 6-year President of the Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors and is one of the founding members of the FOHBC Virtual Museum.
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