Isham’s Stomach Bitters – Chicago

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Isham’s Stomach Bitters – Chicago

10 November 2014 (R•111114)

IshamsTypography

Apple-Touch-IconAThe Isham’s Stomach Bitters is an extremely rare bitters that some say may be a western bitters. Even in Ring & Ham is says, “Thought by some to be from San Diego, California. No proof.” I have found some information that puts this brand in Chicago with P. Ray Isham. My example is pictured in this post. It came from American Bottle Auctions, Auction 38, Lot #64 (part-3). Even the auction listing said, “Purportedly a Western bitters”. The bottle is related to Young American Stomach Bitters from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

IshamFlagRider

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

I 35  ISHAM’S STOMACH BITTERS
ISHAM’S // STOMACH // BITTERS // f //
9 3/8 x 2 3/45 (7 1/4) 3/8
Square, Amber, LTC, Applied Mouth, Extremely rare
Thought by some to be from San Diego, California No proof. Needs to be revised to Chicago (see below)

The new listing by Bill Ham for the forthcoming Bitters Bottles Supplement 2:

I 35  ISHAM’S STOMACH BITTERS
ISHAM’S // STOMACH // BITTERS // f //
9 3/8 x 2 3/45 (7 1/4) 3/8
Square, Amber, LTC, Applied Mouth, Extremely rare
Entered by Act of Congress in 1864. Manufactured by P. Ray Isham, Chicago, Illinois
The Wisconsin Lumberman, Wednesday, August 3, 1864.  Isham’s Celebrated Stomach Bitters. P. Ray Isham, Agent and Prop. 167 South Water Street, Chicago, Illinois
Isham’s Stomach Bitters, P. Ray Isham, proprietor, 167 S. Water, Chicago – Chicago, Illinois City Directory 1865
Ishams_Meyer

Isham’s Stomach Bitters – Meyer Collection

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Isham’s Stomach Bitters – Meyer Collection

IshamsTD

Isham’s Stomach Bitters – Meyer Collection

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Isham’s Stomach Bitters – Meyer Collection

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Isham’s Celebrated Stomach Bitters label. Entered by Act of Congress in 1864. Manufactured by P.Ray Isham, Chicago, Illinois – Library of Congress

Percy Ray Isham

P. Ray Isham (probably didn’t like Percy) was born in Williston, Vermont and next shows up in Buffalo, New York where he moves to Milwaukee in late 1844 or early 1845. Many settlers came in the late 1830s and early 1840s from the eastern states. Known as “Yankees”, they were attracted by the government’s sale of land at $1.25 per acre.

The first time we see P. Ray in business is with Edwin D. Baker when they call their firm Baker, Isham & Company. They were addressed at 79 East Water Street and imported and sold wines, liquors and cigars. Next it was Isham, Patton and Black. By 1860, Isham is out on his own with Isham & Company. He is promoting and selling Young America Stomach Bitters which was a real surprise to me.

We do see draft records in 1863 for P. Ray Isham but he resurfaces in Chicago in 1864 where he commissions the wonderful art within this post of the flag rider and brand mark for Isham’s Celebrated Stomach Bitters. It seems to be a direct knock-off of the Young America Stomach Bitters which was made by Phillip Rindskoph and Son in Milwaukee. The bottles are almost identical. We see advertisements through 1865 but they stop quickly thereafter. Typical for most extremely rare bitters. Short shelf life.

Young America

Young America Stomach Bitters on left. Isham’s Stomach Bitters on right…..Almost identical forms – Meyer Collection

Select Listings:

1824: Percy Ray Isham born on 22 January 1824 in Williston, Vermont.

1844-1845: Percy Ray Isham moves from Buffalo, New York to Milwaukee, Wisconsn.

185o: P. Ray Isham, age 26, living Milwaukee, Ward 3 – 1850 United States Federal Census

1856-1858: Baker & Isham, wines and liquors, 79 East Water Street (see advertisement below) – Milwaukee County Directory Businesses (advertisement Milwaukee City Directory, and Business Advertiser)

Milwaukee City Directory, and Business Advertiser ...

Baker & Isham, Wines, Liquors and Cigars, 79 East Water Street – Milwaukee City Directory, and Business Advertiser

1860: P. Ray Isham, liquor dealer, Milwaukee, Wisconsin – 1860 United States Federal Census

1861: Isham & Co., sole Agents Milwaukeeselling the Celebrated Young America Stomach Bitters (see below) – The Daily Milwaukee News, Saturday, September 21, 1861

IshamAd2The_Daily_Milwaukee_News_Sat__Sep_21__1861_ copy

Isham & Co. selling the Celebrated Young America Stomach Bitters – The Daily Milwaukee News, Saturday, September 21, 1861

1862-1878: P. Rindskoph & Brother, Wines and liquors (Phillip and Louis Rindskoph) appeared in Milwaukee, Wisconsin city directories from 1862-1878 at 277 E. Water. There was also a L. Rindskoph & Son, wholesale wines and liquors (Leopold and Samuel Rindskoph) at 266 E. Water during the same years. “P. Rindskoph & Bro.” is also embossed on the Young America Stomach Bitters *Phillip (Phillip RINDSKOPF Born: Mar 16, 1836 in Bohemia Died: Feb 22, 1867 in Milwaukee ward 15, Milwaukee, Wisconsin age 31) *1850 and 1855 to Milwaukee. Family owned brewery, bottling factory. Brothers: Samuel, Elias, Jacob, Max, Siegfried and Philip. Sisters: Caroline, Fanny, Theresa. Loeb Rindskopf (father) was one of the Jewish pioneers in Milwaukee.

1863: P. Ray Isham, Commercial Merchant, born Vermont – U.S., Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865

1863: P. R. Isham (Isham & Patten) Commission Merchant, 6 Rees Block – Annual Report of the Trade and Commerce of Milwaukee

1864: Isham’s Celebrated Stomach Bitters label. Entered by Act of Congress in 1864 (see label above). Manufactured by P. Ray Isham, Chicago, Illinois – Library of Congress

1864: P. Ray Isham, agent dealer in wines, liquors, etc., 164 S. Water, Chicago – Chicago, Illinois City Directory

1864: Isham’s Celebrated Stomach Bitters advertisement (see below) – The Wisconsin Lumberman, Wednesday, August 3, 1864

Ishams_The_Wisconsin_Lumberman_Wed__Aug_3__1864_

Isham’s Celebrated Stomach Bitters advertisement- The Wisconsin Lumberman, Wednesday, August 3, 1864

1865: Isham’s Stomach Bitters, P. Ray Isham, proprietor, 167 S. Water, Chicago – Chicago, Illinois City Directory

IshamListing1865

1870: P. Ray Isham, retired merchant, Chicago, Illinois (now says birth home was New York) – 1870 United States Federal Census

1888: Death P. Ray Isham on 29 October 1888 in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois.

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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