26 March 2015 (R•052615)
While searching for information on the Prof. H.P. Lorman Tonic Bitters and Appetizer, I came across this cool advertisement below for Dr. S. Griggs’ Aromatic Bitters from Detroit, Michigan. I knew I had a recent bottle picture from Glass Works Auctions (pictured above) to create this post.
The Carlyn Ring and W.C. Ham listing in Bitters Bottles is as follows:
G 117 f // DR. S. GRIGGS. DETROIT // sp // AROMATIC BITTERS //
Laboratory No. 15 Jefferson Avenue, Detroit, Michigan
10 3/4 x 3 1/4 x 2 (7 7/8) 3/8
Rectangle, Amber, LTCR, Applied mouth, 3 sp, Extremely rare
Label: Nothing equals Dr. S. Griggs Aromatic Bitters as a sure and positive cure for chills & fevers, chronic diarrhea, cholera morbus, dysentery, neuralgia pains, dyspepsia, chronic catarrh and liver complaint, asthmatic affections, bleeding piles and in all cases of general debility. The most effective remedy ever used. Try them.
Detroit City Directories: 1856 S. Griggs worked at a family store (C. W. Griggs Furniture Store) 1857-68 S. Griggs is listed as a physician. 1868 he formed Griggs & Co., with L. M. Mason and listed as drugs and medicine work 15 Jefferson. The next year Griggs, Mott & Co. comprised of Griggs, John T. Mott and Thomas Donahue list their bitters or do so until his death 1877.
Dr. Stephen Griggs
Stephen Adelbert Griggs was born in Tolland, Connecticut on 10 January 1823. His father was Chauncey Griggs (1796-1866) and his mother was Hearty Dimock or Dimmock (1795-1880). He was first married to Lydia Lyekia Fuller on 06 August 1845 in Connecticut and then to Lucy Elizabeth Swift on 27 January 1848, also in Connecticut. His siblings were Frances Elizabeth Griggs, Herman Swift Griggs, Lucy Elliott Griggs and Louisa Griggs.
Dr. Stephen Griggs, at a young age of 26, first shows up as a ‘Physician’ in Florence, Ohio in 1850. His wife Lucy was 19 at the time according to a United States Federal Census. It is questionable where he obtained his medical degree, if there ever was one.
By 1863, in the middle of the Civil War, he registered for service in Detroit, Michigan. By 1866, Dr. Stephen Griggs is listed as a physician with his office at 158 Jefferson Avenue in Detroit. So far, so good. Unfortunately in 1866, Dr. Stephen Griggs is
caught charged with smuggling $3,000 worth of whiskey from Canada to Cleveland. This is interesting because the advertising for his Griggs Aromatic Bitters says that it is purely vegetable. Uh huh. He does however go to court and is found “not guilty” as you can see from the second notice below.
In 1867, he takes on L. M. Mason as a partner and the concern is called Griggs & Company and they are selling drugs and medicines at 15 Jefferson Avenue in Detroit. In 1868 it is called S. Grigg’s & Co. with Stephen Griggs, Thomas S. Donahue and L. M. Mason as partners. They are listed as selling Griggs Aromatic Bitters, still at the 15 Jefferson Avenue address. In 1869, they are called Griggs, Mott & Co. with Stephen Griggs, John T. Mott and Thomas S. Donahue as partners, again manufacturing Griggs’ Aromatic Bitters at 15 Jefferson Avenue. So it appears that we have a very short life span for this bitters, maybe from 1868 to 1869.
From 1870 to about 1874, Stephen Griggs is listed as physician and surgeon with offices at 158 & 160 Jefferson Avenue. He is living at 66 Congress Way. Stephen Griggs dies on 30 August 1875 in Detroit, Michigan.