Lucius W. Bissell and his Dandelion Bitters

Lucius W. Bissell and his Dandelion Bitters

Bellows Falls Vermont & Keene, New Hampshire

11 February 2015 (R•042419) (R•051019)

Apple-Touch-IconAWow, another in the Dandelion Bitters series inspired by bitters ephemera authority, Joe Gourd. The three advertising trade cards used in this post are Joe’s. Sometimes these cards are the only clue we have of a bitters brand. This time it is Bissell’s Dandelion Bitters put out by Bissell’s Manufacturing Company in Keene, New Hampshire.


This one is a surprise because I have a couple of Bissell’s Tonic Bitters (see picture above) from Peoria, Illinois. I wonder if they are related? This brand also appears to be unlisted in Bitters Bottles and Bitters Bottles Supplement. If you look on the card below, you will see the bitters listed on the left of Bissell’s portrait.

[Reverse of both Trade Cards top of post]

The new listing for Bitters Bottles Supplement 2:

Trade Cards
B 108.5 BISSELL’S DANDELION BITTERS, Bissell’s Mfg. Company, Dealers in Drugs and Medicines, Keene, N.H., Established 1874, L. W. Bissell, M. A. Bissell, Trade Mark portrait, Lucius Warren Bissell
[Trade Card 3]

Lucius Warren Bissell

Lucius Warren Bissell’s first American ancestor, John Bissell, came to Massachusetts Bay Colony from England in the 1600s with one hundred others, under the leadership of Thomas Hooker. He settled the towns of Hartford and Windsor, Connecticut. John Bissell also received a charter from Charles I for a ferry across the Connecticut River at Windsor, which still retains the name, Bissell’s Ferry.


Lucius W. Bissell portrait photographed in Brattleboro, Vermont

Lucius Bissell was born in Wardsboro, Windham County, Vermont on June 8, 1833. He married Abbie Minerva (Howard) Bissell in 1857. Miss Howard was of Scotch-Irish descent, her ancestors having come first to Nova Scotia and then were among the first settlers of Brimfield, Mass. Later John Howard was one of the first settlers in Dover, Vermont. One of the Bissell’s children, Leslie Dayton Bissell, Ph.D., would later graduate from Yale and once was the Owner and Principal of The Coit School for Boys in Munich, Germany. Lucius W. Bissell would go on and become a druggist.


Portrait, Abbey Minerva (Howard) Bissell

Lucius Bissell’s early years were spent as a farmer where he lived with his wife Abbey, in Dover, Vermont. Bissell served more than three years in the Civil War, including being a Private in Cos. G and H of the 8th Vermont and 19 months as a Lieutenant and First Lieutenant in the 75th United States Colored Troops. This service permanently disabled him physically and the remainder of his later life was spent in Keene, New Hampshire, and Lynn, Massachusetts. He apparently came from a long line of Bissell’s serving in American wars as you can see from the article below.


Following the war, Bissell worked as a travelling salesman in Bellows Falls, Vermont and in 1874, opened a drug and medicine manufacturing firm in Bellows Falls. It is unclear where he received his pharmaceutical training, if indeed he had any.


Thirteen years later, in 1889, Bissell moved the firm to 322 West Street in Keene, New Hampshire and took on Charles Bissell, probably a nephew, as a partner. They called themselves The Bissell Manufacturing Company. They were advertised as Dealers in Drugs and Medicines. For a trademark, he used in all of his advertising, a portrait of himself (see above). Charles Bissell was a longtime Keene resident who worked as a clerk at Cushing’s grain store. The Bissell’s were the proprietors and advertised White’s Army Stimulant, Bissell’s Celebrated Liniment, Bissell’s Jamaica Ginger, Bissell’s Magic Hemlock Powders, Bissell’s Great Indian Remedy and of course Bissell’s Dandelion Bitters of which I see no record of a surviving, probably labeled bitters bottle example. They also manufactured bay rum, vanilla, and a variety of other extracts. The label on a Bissell’s Syrup Tulu bottle indicated that it was good for “coughs, colds, hoarseness, and any bronchial trouble. Also the best remedy for whopping cough. Try it and be convinced of its merits.”

Charles Bissell soon left the firm and Lucius continued with M.A. Bissell as a partner in Keene until 1897. He had relocated the company to Forest Street by that time. Bissell moved on in 1898 to Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts where he died on 21 September 1911. His bitters will not be forgotten. As to a relationship to the Bissell’s Tonic Bitters brand from Peoria? Look for a future post.

Reference: L Bissell Manufacturing Company, Monadnock Moment No. 109, Era 6: Development of the Industrial United States – 1870 to 1900

[Receipt September 1895]

The new listing for Bitters Bottles Supplement 2:

B 108.5 BISSELL’S DANDELION BITTERS, Keene, N.H. Sept 1895, Bought of Bissell’s Mfg. Company, Dealers in Drugs Medicines Extracts and Perfumes, Proprietors of Bissell’s Dandelion BittersTrade Mark portrait, Lucius Warren Bissell

Select Listings:

1833: Lucius Warren Bissell born in Wardsboro, Windham County, Vermont on 8 June 1833. Father Austin Bissell of Wardsboro, Vermont, Mother Abigail Minerva (Howard) Bissell, daughter of Herbert Howard of Dover.
1857: Marriage to Abbie Minerva Howard on 10 November 1857 in Brattleboro, Vermont, Children, Mary A Bissell, Stella J Gibbs, Arthur E Bissell
1860: Lucius Bissell, Farmer, age 26, wife Abbey, home Dover, Windham, Vermont – United States Federal Census
1861: Leslie Dayton Bissell, son born February 7, 1861m in Dover, Vermont, died September 28, 1947 in Norhhampton, Mass.
1863: Lucius Bissell served almost three years in the Civil War, including 19 months as a First Lieutenant in the 3rd Regiment of the U.S. Colored Troops. Following the War. Enlisted December 30, 1863, Mustered: January 5, 1864, Mustered out of service: July 17, 1865.
1869: L. W. Bissell in the U.S., Indexed County Land Ownership Maps, Windham, Vermont (Dover; West Dover; East Dover)
1874: Lucius Bissell opened a drug and medicine manufacturing firm in Bellows Falls.
1880: Lucius W. Bissell, age 46, Peddler, home Rockingham, Windham, Vermont, Father born in Connecticut, Mother born in Massachusetts – United States Federal Census
1887: Leslie Dayton Bissell gets a B.A. at Yale – Yale University Obituary Record
1889: Lucius Bissell moved the firm to 322 West Street in Keene, and took Charles Bissell, probably a nephew, as a partner.
1889-1890: Lucius W. Bissell and C. H. Bissell, Bissell’s Manufacturing Co. manufacturer of medicines, office and manufactory 322 West, Keene, NH – Keene, New Hampshire City Directory
1891-1896: Bissell’s Manufacturing Co. (L. W. Bissell and M. A. Bissell) medicines etc. office and manufactory 322 West, Keene, NH – Keene, New Hampshire City Directory
1897: Bissell’s Manufacturing Co. (L. W. Bissell) medicines etc. office and manufactory 14 Forest, Keene, NH – Keene, New Hampshire City Directory
1910: Lucius Bissell, Boarder, age 77, home Lynn Ward 7, Essex, Massachusetts – United States Federal Census
1911: Lucius Bissell died on 21 September 1911 in Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts

Read more about other Dandelion Bitters

Lyman’s Dandelion Bitters – Bangor, Maine

Dandelion & Wild Cherry Bitters – Iowa

Dandelion Bitters – The Great Herb Blood Remedy

The Beggs’ and their Dandelion Bitters

Dr. J.R.B. McClintock’s Dandelion Bitters – Philadelphia

Dr Grant’s, Dandelion Bitters, New York.

Bond’s Dandelion Bitters – Fort Wayne, Indiana

Smith’s Gentian, Dandelion and Yellow Dock Bitters

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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