Indian Vegetable and Sarsaparilla Bitters by George C. Goodwin


Indian Vegetable and Sarsaparilla Bitters by George C. Goodwin

16 May 2014

Apple-Touch-IconAHmmmm. Where have we heard the name George Clinton Goodwin before? Could it be the same fellow related to the immensely popular Old Sachems Bitters and Wigwam Tonic figural barrel from Beantown? Or was it related to the Dr. Langley’s Root & Herb Bitters from Boston? Yes of course, it is both, as the Indian Vegetable and Sarsaparilla Bitters is a Goodwin product from Boston too. Here is another great bottle similar to the west coast, Hierapicra Bitters which is in the same current Heckler auction.


Indian Vegetable and Sarsaparilla Bitters – The bottle at the top of this post is also from Ed and Cathy Gray’s, Great Antique Bottles web site.

What got me thinking about this bottle today was the inclusion of a fine example in the Heckler Auction 110 that is online now. Their listing and pictures are below:

Lot: 4 “Indian Vegetable / And / Sarsaparilla / Bitters / Geo. C. Goodwin / Boston” Bitters Bottle, America, 1840-1860. Rectangular with beveled corners, aquamarine, applied sloping collared mouth with ring – pontil scar, ht. 8 1/4 inches; (shallow bubble near pontil scar has disturbance of cover glass). R/H #I-25 Beautiful whittled glass. Fine condition.


Indian Vegetable and Sarsaparilla Bitters – Heckler Auction 110


Indian Vegetable and Sarsaparilla Bitters – Heckler Auction 110


Indian Vegetable and Sarsaparilla Bitters pontil – Heckler Auction 110

The Carlyn Ring and W.C. Ham listing in Bitters Bottles is as follows:


8 3/8 x 3 x 2 (6 3/8) 3/8
Rectangular, Aqua, LTC, Applied mouth, Rough pontil mark, Scarce
New York (newspaper) 1849

Drug Catalogs: 1896-7 and 1901-2 JP&K Co.

Boston Directory: George C. Goodwin, who became one of the most important wholesale druggists, began in 1840 as a grocer. In 1860 he is listed as a dealer in medicines and fancy goods. He began Geo. C. Goodwin & Co. in 1860 with Wm. E. Hibbard. By 1870-1890 his partners were Charles C. Good and F. B. Webster.


Indian Vegetable and Sarsaparilla Bitters – Meyer Collection

George Clinton Goodwin

George Clinton Goodwin, son of Anson Goodwin, was born in Ashfield, October 3, 1807, and died at Charlestown, Massachusetts, May 12, 1869. He was educated in public schools of his native town, and became associated with his father in the manufacture of extracts and compounds. The business, begun on the homestead, grew eventually into the large wholesale drug business of Mr. Goodwin. He removed first to Lowelll, Massachusetts, where he continued his business his father established. About 1839 he started the business on Union street, Boston, under the name George C. Goodwin & Company, manufacturing drugs of various kinds. Later he moved to larger quarters on Marshall a street and thence to Hanover street, where it was located until it was incorporated as the Eastern Drug Company in 1900. The business grew to large proportions and the house of George C. Goodwin & Company was well and favorably known in every prt of New England and to trade throughout the country. It was one of the largest concerns in this line of business in United States.

After leaving his home in Lowell, Mr. Goodwin resided for a time on Union street, then Washington, in Charlestown. About 1848 he moved to Lexington, but in 1855 returned to Charlestown, living at Monument Square in that city the remainder of his life. In politics he was a Whig until that part disbanded, afterwards a Republican. He was a prominent member and generous supporter of the old First Baptist Church of Charlestown and was superintendent of the Sunday school of that church twenty-three years and also for a time of the Baptist Church of Lexington. His good judgement, great ability and business sagacity were often demonstrated. His associates in business often mentioned his good penmanship, as well as his gift of expression. Much reading and deep thinking made him a man of unusual intellectual attainments, though he was modest and disliked publicity of every form.

He married April 2, 1833, Jane Pearson, of Haverhill, Masachusetts, born December 10, 1811, died October 13, 1855, at Lexington. He married second, July 16, 1857, Hannah Elizabeth Bradbury, born in Chesterville, Maine, daughter of Benjamin B. and Elizabeth (Lowell) Bradbury. His widow died June 1, 1893. Children of first wife: 1. George Clinton, Jr. 2. Charles Jackson. 3. Arthur Franklin. 4. Charles Clinton, born February 1, 1839. 5. Clara Elizabeth, born 1841, died October 1859. 6. Georgiana Jane, born 1843, married, June 7, 1879, Oscar B. Mowry, of Boston. 7. Caroline L., born 1845, died at Woonsocker, Rhode Island, 1906.

Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts, Volume 3 – William Richard Cutter, 1908

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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