An unlisted Russell’s Alterative and Tonic Bitters
18 April 2014 (R•041914) (R•040819)
You may have remembered the 1836 Russell’s Stomach Bitters post from Vermont the other day. Bitters trade card authority Joe Gourd, saw the post and went looking in his collection. He found an unlisted ‘Russell’s Alternative and Tonic Bitters’ advertising trade card series, made and sold by E. S. Russell, in Nashua, New Hampshire. He asks, “Could this be a ‘shirt-tail’ relative of the Vermont Russell?”
Elias Smith Russell was born on 21 November 1819 (conflicting birth date: History of Amherst and Town Records: 21 November, Gravestone: 27 November) in Middleton, Strafford County, New Hampshire (some records oddly say Massachusetts). His father was David Russell and his mother was Lydia Jeffreys McIntire. Elias was first married to Caroline Southach Goss who died in 1845. He then married Sara R. Whittemore on 19 May 1846. John J. Whittemore would later become is partner. In 1870 and 1880, Federal Census records show that he was married to Helen M. Russell.
Elias S. Russell was typically listed as an Apothecary and Druggist at various address locations in Nashua, New Hampshire from around 1845 until after the turn of the century. The first advertisement I could find said he had a ‘Family Medicine Store’ and advertised the ‘Sign of the Good Samaritan’. He was a dealer in drugs, medicines, chemicals, European Leeches, Surgeons’ Instruments, Perfumery, Brushes, Trusses, Shakers, Herbs etc. Later advertisements say he was actually established in 1840.
Some of the brands and bottles you might find by Russell include Russell’s Castanaine for the Hair and Skin, Russell’s Unrivaled Tooth Powder, Russell’s Worm Elixir and of course, Russell’s Alterative and Tonic Bitters which will need a catalog listing in Bitters Bottles Supplement 2.
R 127.9 RUSSELL’S ALTERNATIVE AND TONIC BITTERS, Made and Sold by E. S. Russell, Nashua, N. H.
Elias Smith Russell was a Druggist and Apothecary
Russell’s business partner from 1868 until 1881 was John J. Whittemore who must have been his wife’s brother or father. In 1885, Bradford Allen became the proprietor of the noted drug store that was established by Elias S. Russell. Russell died on August 17, 1904 in Nashua.
I could not find any connection with Elias S. Russell to the Vermont Russell. Who knows? The day is only half over.