Hathaway’s Celebrated Stomachic Bitters – Wilkes-Barre, PA


Hathaway’s Celebrated Stomachic Bitters – Wilkes-Barre, PA

19 December 2014

Apple-Touch-IconAAn unlisted Hathaway’s Celebrated Stomachic Bitters from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania sold on eBay yesterday. Coincidently, I was in Reading, Pennsylvania yesterday, home of the H.P. Herb Wild Cherry Bitters. Mark Warne reminded me of this. The extremely rare Bloch’s German Bitters also just sold on eBay. In Dallas now for business. Headed home to Houston midday. Lots of rain.

Bill Ham assigned the following number for the planned Bitters Bottles Supplement 2:

H 69.5  L . . . Hathaway’s Celebrated Stomachic Bitters
Square, Amber, LTC, Applied mouth


Levi Caleb Hathaway

Levi C. Hathaway was born in New South Berlin, New York on 20 June 1829 and was a prominent grocer and merchant in the Lackawanna and Wyoming Valley areas of Pennsylvania. These valleys stretched between Wilkes-Barre, Scranton and Carbondale in a southwest to northeast line. He was the son of Silas B. Hathaway, a well-known and liked man himself. When he was a boy, Levi came with his parents to Carbondale and he learned the wheel-wright trade. He then went to Williamsport and to several other towns in New York state assisting in the building of mills.


From New York, Hathaway went into the mercantile business in Shakopee, Minnesota and became prominent in Masonic circles. He then returned to Carbondale and married Louise Furnham on June 24, 1869. His first wife, Elizabeth Jackman, had died in 1867. M. D. Farnham, Louise’s father, was one of the prominent pioneers of Carbondale. Levi and Louise had four children, Helen, Grace, William and Bertha. These added to four children from his previous marriage.


In 1870, Hathaway relocated to Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania and went into business with William R. Herbert. Wilkes-Barre was established in 1769 along the banks of the Susquehanna River. The community was named after two British members of Parliament that supported America, John Wilkes and Isaac Barre. Wilkes-Barre was found to be situated in the midst of the anthracite coal regions of Pennsylvania in the late 1800’s.

Herbert & Hathaway operated three large mercantile stores; on each in Wilkes-Barre, Nanticoke and Mill Creek and sold dry goods and groceries. Their address in Wilkes-Barre was 35 Public Square. They seem to split around 1873 or so and Hathaway goes into business himself in Wilkes-Barre and puts out the labeled Hathaway’s Celebrated Stomachic Bitters as the bottle does not have the word Bitters embossed on it. He sells it for a dollar a bottle.

In 1879, Hathaway came back to Carbondale and established himself in the grocery and dry goods business for the next 20 years or so. He retired in the late 1890s only to get restless and become a traveling salesman for South Philadelphia Wollen factory from about 1900 to 1907. Levi C. Hathaway died on July 20, 1908. His obituary is below.


Levi C. Hathaway Obituary – The Scranton Republican, Tuesday, July, 21 1908

Select Listings:

1829: L. C. Hathaway born in New South Berlin, New York on 20 June 1829. Father (Silas B. Hathaway) born in New York, Mother Elizabeth (also Nancy Preston?) born in New Jersey.

1840: Levi Hathaway, Venango, Erie, Pennsylvania – United States Federal Census

1850: Levi C. Hathaway, age 21, Tioga, Pennsylvania, sister Charlent – United States Federal Census

1860: Levi C. Hathaway, farmer, Shakopee, Scott, Minnesota, born in Pennsylvania, wife Elizabeth – United States Federal Census

1869: L. C. Hathaway married to Mary L. Hathaway

1871: Herbert & Hathaway (William R. Herbert and  Levi C. Hathaway), dry goods and groceries, 35 Public Sq – Boyds Wilkes-Barre City Directory

1871: S. B. Hathaway & Son (Silas B. Hathaway and Charles A. Hathaway), fruit and meat market, 210 N. Main – Boyds Wilkes-Barre City Directory

1873: Levi C. Hathaway, h. 132, N Franklin – Boyds Wilkes-Barre City Directory

1875: Levi C. Hathaway, drygoods, 105 N. Main, h. 132, N Franklin (Charles A. Hathaway, clerk) – Boyds Wilkes-Barre City Directory

1880: L. C. Hathaway, grocer, Carbondale, Lackawanna, Pennsylvania – United States Federal Census

1883-1885: L. C. Hathaway, grocer and baker, 12 Salem – Scranton (Carbondale), Pennsylvania City Directory

1888: L. C. Hathaway, general store and bakery, Market bet Church and Main – Scranton, Pennsylvania City Directory

1892: L. C. Hathaway, constable, collectors, h. 66 N Terrace – Scranton, Pennsylvania City Directory

1900: L. C.Hathaway, age 71, traveling salesman, Carbondale Ward 2, Lackawanna,Pennsylvania, married to Mary L. Hathaway – United States Federal Census

1908: Death Levi C. Hathaway July 20, 1908, traveling salesman, Carbondale, Lackawanna, Pennsylvania

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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