The unlisted German Army Bitters – Ironton, Ohio

GermanArmyBitters3_IrontonThe unlisted German Army Bitters

Ironton, Ohio

Ferdinand Meyer V & Gary Beatty

29 August 2013 (R•040919)

Apple-Touch-IconAIt is not often nowadays to come across an unlisted bitters. It does happen and it is somewhat akin, I suppose, to finding a new species in the deep Amazon jungle or an unknown blind fish in the Mariana Trench. Well, you can imagine my surprise when I got an email from Gary Beatty about his new find, that being a German Army Bitters from Ironton, Ohio. While researching this brand I also came across another unlisted Dr. Nauman’s Celebrated German Army Bitters (read: G. A. B. – Dr. Nauman’s German Army Bitters, San Francisco) from San Francisco, California. Huh. Does lightning strike twice in the same place? First, Gary’s email:


I may have discovered an unlisted Bitters? It is not in Ham’s Bitters book or Supplement. It came out of the Ohio River Bank at Ironton, Ohio About 20 years ago. I am excited. Here is some info. It is small, 6 1/8 in. high, amber square, medicine flang top. Embossed in 3 lines on the front. Sloping shoulders, chamfered corners. GERMAN ARMY BITTERS DAVIES & CO IRONTON OHIO. When I clean it I will send you pictures. What you think? Have you heard of it? I never have in 40 years collecting. Also the flange top makes it almost certain it is late 1800s because after 1st World War the Germans were unpopular.

Best Regards, Gary (Beatty)


1922 Ironton Tanks – From History of Lawrence County, Volume 1 (Davies is pictured)

Ferd, here is all I can find out about Davies. There were two brothers in the 1880s. One was into Pharmaceuticals the other a teacher. There was also a C. T. Davies that owned a big Dry Goods Store.

There was a T. C. Davies called Shorty who was the son of one of these guys. (Most likely the teacher) who was an Ironton football star.

Now listen to this. There was a T. C. Davies called Shorty who was the son of one of these guys. (Most likely the teacher) who was an Ironton football star. Became Ironton’s head football coach and then finally Ironton High School principal in 1929. He defiantly was related to the Davies on the bottle. It gets better. He played for the Ironton Tanks semi pros. They dissolved and most of the players went over to play for the Portsmouth Ohio Spartans who became the Detroit Lions.

Boy if only these bottles could talk. Shorty elected to stay in education instead of pursuing a football career. The Davies were well respected in Ironton.

The local museum has never heard of this bottle and unless Ted Christ has one it is probably unique. As Gomer Pyle would say “Shazam it measures 6 1/8 in. high. It is mint except for a couple of minor scratches. It was dug by a bottle collector 20 years ago out of the Ohio River Bank at Ironton. He died and I purchased it from his daughter.

Best Regards, Gary

Bottle pictures by Gary Beatty


An advertisement from 1872 in San Francisco for Dr. Nauman’s German Celebrated Army Bitters. I will pursue this brand later.


Advertisement for Dr. Nauman’s German Army Bitters and B 148.1 Boonekamp Bitters, Herman Wolfgang, Manufacturer, West Cost Agent, San Francisco – Daily Alta, California, Volume 24, Number 8196, 4 September 1872


Ironton, from the Kentucky shore. – Lawrence Barrette, Photo, Ironton, 1887. J. N. Bradford, del., Ohio State University.

Next I wanted to find out about Ironton, Ohio and Davies and Co. Just the name Ironton tells me much and where it is probably located in the state of Ohio. Davies, not Davis, is a little but unusual so that will help.

An old fellow who dwells near Ironton, Ohio has a portable whiskey-shop. It consists of a jackass and two jugs. The jugs are swung across the animal, and thus the proprietor transports them where there is a chance of meeting a demand.

Brooklyn Eagle Newspaper 26 Jan 1870 page one

Ironton, Ohio

[from The City of Ironton, Ohio web site]

The city of Ironton was founded in 1849 and was built in the heart of Hanging Rock Region, once the largest center of pig iron in the world. As a terminal on the Iron Railroad and as a shipping port on the Ohio River, Ironton grew rapidly, becoming the county seat of Lawrence County, Ohio, in 1851.


Etna Furnace. Largest in the world until 1900. – Ironton, Ohio

The Iron Railway was incorporated in 1849 to haul mineral products from the fields of Lawrence County (Ohio) to the Ohio River city of Ironton.

The Detroit, Toledo & Ironton Railroad could trace its history back to the southern point of the railroad at Ironton. The Iron Railway was incorporated in 1849 to haul mineral products from the fields of Lawrence County (Ohio) to the Ohio River city of Ironton. The line opened in late 1851 and is one of the earliest rail lines to operate in the state. It made a northern rail contact later with a predecessor of the Toledo, Cincinnati & St. Louis, a “super system” consisting of many smaller lines. Barge service to the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway yard across the river in Russell, Kentucky provided another outlet of interchange for the Iron Railway, as did its connection with the Norfolk & Western at Ironton.


Mule hauling iron on a tramway in Ironton, Ohio

The Detroit Southern Railway acquired the Iron Railway in 1902. The great success of the iron industry and its allied manufacturing created men of great wealth. The affluence of those early days is reflected in many of Ironton’s homes and churches, attractive reminders of a gracious Victorian life-style.


Workers posing at the Iron Cigar Box Factory

The city is famous for having the longest running (continuous) Memorial Day Parade in the country.

The city is famous for having the longest running (continuous) Memorial Day Parade in the country. 138 years in a row!

Watch: Ironton, The Boom Town of Ohio

Read: Former Ironton Newspaper Man Writes Of Good Old Days During His Time as Chronicler Of Local Events

The Davies name in Ironton, Ohio

I found two likely hits in period directories. Possibly brothers? Also an advertisement.

Drugs – C. B. Egerton, D. C. Peters, T. B. Ball, J. E. Warfield, Dr. Morris (Railroad St.), J. L. Barbour, Thos. C. Davies, D. Linn Goosh, Emil Arnold, J. W. Slater, A. Robinson, A. Winters, Samuel Sample, H. E. Norton, John H. Lucas, Ernest Merrill.

Dry Goods – D. W. Richards, C. Alderman, S. Ward, W. L. Bickmore, Jos. Ward, James Small, J. A. Raine, John Sanford, J. T. Davis, D. C. Davies, Chas. Carpenter, Thos. Kelly, C. H. Harmison, James Grooms.


T. C. Davies Manufacturing Druggist, 87 Second Street, Ironton and Thos. C. Davies, Druggist and Manufacturer of Patent Medicines, (looks to be the same address but listed differently) – Ironton, Ohio Business Directory, 1882-83

And manufacturers of Davies’ Celebrated Diarrhea Cordial & Worm Candy

Bill Ham has just issued the following number for the upcoming Bitters Bottles Supplement 2:

G 17.7  German Army Bitters
G 17.7  GERMAN ARMY BITTERS / DAVIES & CO / IRONTON, OHIO. // f // f // f //
6 1/8 x 2
Square, Amber, NSC, Tooled lip, Extremely rare
Ironton, Ohio Business Directory, 1882-83
Thomas C. Davies, Manufacturing Druggist; Dealer in Perfumery, Toilet and Fancy Articles, Fine Cigars, Paints, Oils and Window Glass and Manufacturer of Patent Medicines, 87 2d Street b Lawrence and Buckhorn, Ironton, Ohio

A German Drug Store reference:

The German Drug Store will pass from existence, and so ends the third drug store project in Ironton. – Ironton Register, March 16, 1871


D. C. Davies Store – The Lawrence Register

Thomas C. Davies

Thos. C. Davies, Druggist and Manufacturer of Patent Medicines, born 1861, died 1895

Thomas C. Davies (druggist), Ironton, O., son of Jas. J. Davies, has been appointed corresponding secretary for Lawrence County of the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy. – The Cambrian – 1882

D. C. Davies [father J. T. Davies]

D. C. Davies, Dry Goods and Millinery

The most prominent mercantile establishment in Ironton is the large and complete dry goods and millinery establishment owned by Mr. D. C. Davies. The business practically dates its inception from the establishment of J. T. Davies’ dry goods store in the early fifties. In 1885 Mr. D. C. Davies, who had for twelve years been an able clerk in the store, bought the stock and business. The location of the store was then in a part what was known as the City Hall Block, a handsome three-story building, 60 by 80 feet. Four years after Mr. Davies had bought the store his trade had grown to such proportions that he concluded to buy the whole block and convert the entire space into different departments, completing under one roof one of the best stores in Southern Ohio. Mr. Davies is a thorough man in the business, as his experience would indicate, and his patrons receive the benefit of a large assortment of goods in the different departments, which are bought and sold at the lowest prices consistent with quality.

Ironton Mar. 3, 1904 – Kemp Lands – Which Were Recently Purchased By The Ohio Real Estate Company Will Shortly Be Improved and Placed on the Market for Sale. – Ironton is shortly to witness important movements in the real estate line, to be inaugurated by the Ohio Real Estate Company, the corporation which some weeks ago purchased the well known Kemp property in the Fourth Ward. Several unsuccessful efforts have been made at various times to secure this property, which has long been in demand for residence purposes, and the new owners propose to put it into desirable shape and market the lots without delay. – The active purchasers connected with the deal are C. I. Lirkle, S. H. Bowman, and S. A. Moore, bankers from Philippi, W. Va., who are in the city today, completing arrangements for grading and making other improvements on the property which will be placed in the best of condition. For this purpose a large sum of money will be expended. A number of local gentlemen are associated with the company, among whom are A. H. Mittendorf, Captain J. F. Morgan, J. F. McConnell, F. L. McCauley, F. _. Martin, T. C. Edwards, Jas. I. Gorman, E. J. Merrill, F. C. Tomlinson, D. C. Davies and W. A. Murdock. The property, which is very favorably situated is one of the best in the city.

Samuel B. Davies [sons Benjamin and George B. Davies]

Samuel B. Davies, was said to have come to the United States with two sons, Benjamin and George B. Davies. Possibility that Samuel B. Davies immigrated from either Monmouth or Cardiff, Wales. Supposedly, he was run out of Wales because he wrote a series of pamphlets critical of wage practices.

Possibly, son Benjamin became a labor organizer and head of a union in Indiana. The other son, George B. Davies, apparently settled in Ironton, Ohio, after the Civil War, where he married Sarah Levering. They had 5 children: George, William, Lillian, Jennie, and Carrie. George (2) married Nina Mae Eakins and had 5 children also: Harold, George (3), Ralph (died at 6 mo.), Dorothy, and Nina.

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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1 Response to The unlisted German Army Bitters – Ironton, Ohio

  1. Bocabottle says:

    Ferd, in view of what you have researched, I believe the T. C. Davies football star, coach, High School Principal, was no doubt the son of T. C. Davies the druggist. The time span works. Also it was most probable the Druggist T. C. Davies that put out the Bitters. If only we had someone in Ironton to go to the library and read the 1880 ads. Ferd, thanks for the great job and layout. Best Regards, Gary Beatty

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