Riddle, Fuller & Co. selling Celebrated California Bitters?

Riddle, Fuller & Co. selling Celebrated California Bitters?

Council Bluffs, Iowa

27 December 2018

I recently received a couple of emails and newspaper clippings from Mark Wiseman, a experienced bottle collector from Iowa that included advertisements for unlisted bitters including Adler’s Celebrated Anti-Cholera Bitters and Dr. Smith’s Magic Bitters from Council Bluffs, Iowa. I knocked off the first two and am now looking at the 1867 advertisement below for Riddle, Fuller & Company who are noted as the Sole Agents in Council Bluffs for the sale of the Celebrated California Bitters. I was curious if this was a new unlisted bitters or reference to another known bitters.

Ridder, Fuller & Company

Riddle & Company was founded by Samuel H. Riddle sometime around 1851. He took on S. Fuller as a partner and most of the Riddle, Fuller Co. advertising dates around 1867. The two were located on Palmer’s Block, on lower Broadway in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Julius Palmer worked as a butcher near Coatesville, Pennsylvania before he moved to Council Bluffs in 1854. He built the Palmer Block on the northwest corner of West Broadway and Sixth Street. The red box on the top map image indicates their location.

By 1868, Council Bluffs, on the eastern shore of the Missouri River and across the river from Omaha, Nebraska, was near the end of its era as the trail head and supply point for the Mormon Pioneer Trail and other westward routes. The Chicago & Northwestern Railroad began serving Council Bluffs in 1867. In 1869, the transcontinental railway opened and Council Bluffs was designated as a major railroad hub.

Samuel H. Riddle was born on July 9, 1820, in Hardin County, Kentucky, and at an early age engaged in mercantile pursuits. He was married in Nelson County, Kentucky, on October 25, 1842, to Rebecca Furman, sister of J. L. Furman, of Council Bluffs, by Rev. Smith Thomas, pastor of the Baptist Church at Coxes’ Creek.

In 1845, he moved with his faintly to Savannah, Missouri, where he resumed his retail pursuits. In 1851, he moved to Council Bluffs and continued the business of wholesale and retail liquor dealing under the firm name of Riddle & Co. and Riddle, Fuller & Co. for nearly a quarter of a century.

Riddle was called to the Bench taking his seat as Judge of the District Court, November 7, 1853. He retired from this position on the 7th of October, 1858. He was elected to represent Pottawattamie County in the Eighth General Assembly in 1860. Riddle would pass on in 1875.

Not much is known about his partner S. Fuller.

Because Riddle, Fuller & Company are noted as the Sole Agents for the sale of the Celebrated California Bitters, this rules out that they were the proprietors or manufacturers of the Celebrated California Bitters.

If we look west in this 1867 time period, we are probably talking about Dr. Henley’s Celebrated California IXL Bitters. This is most likely the bitters referenced in the ad.

If we look east in this 1867 time period, we are probably talking about the California Herb Bitters from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The advertising below actually calls it “The Celebrated California Bitters.”

Select Listings:

182o: Samuel H Riddle, born on July 9, 1820, in Hardin county, Kentucky
1853: Newspaper notice (below) – Changes in District: Samuel H. Riddle, of Council Bluffs, who strange to say was not a lawyer was elected in 1853 and served until 1857 – Sioux City Journal, Tuesday, December 20, 1904

185o: Samuel H Riddle, Merchant, Age: 29, Birth Year: abt 1821, Birthplace: Kentucky, Home in 1850: Savannah, Andrew, Missouri, Family Number: 445, Household Members: Samuel H Riddle 29, Rebecca Riddle 26, Ben H Riddle 5, William Riddle 3, Elizabeth Forman 14, Virginia Forman 6, W A Riddle 27, Mary C Riddle 23, Hardin Riddle 2 – 1850 United States Federal Census
186o: Samuel H Riddle, Sawyer, Age: 39, Birth Year: abt 1821, Birth Place: Kentucky, Home in 1860: Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie, Iowa, Post Office: Council Bluffs, Dwelling Number: 139, Family Number: 119, Real Estate Value: 20,000, Personal Estate Value: 2,000, Household Members: Samuel H Riddle 39, Benjamin Riddle 15, Helen Riddle 12, Joseph Riddle 7, Marshall Riddle 5 – 1860 United States Federal Census
1863: Samuel H Riddle, Trader, Age: 43, Married, Residence: Kane, Pottawattamie, Iowa, Fifth Congressional District – U.S., Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865
1867: Newspaper advertisement (above) for Riddle, Fuller & Co. in The Council Bluffs Weekly Non Pareil, December 4, 1867
1868: Advertisement (below) for Riddle, Fuller & Co. – Turners’ Guide from the Lakes to the Rocky Mountains, Spalding & LaMontes, printers, 1868

1869: Riddle & Fuller, wholesale wines and liquors, 442 Broadway, S. H. Riddle and S. Fuller (bds Pacific House) – Council Bluffs City Directory, 1869-70
1870: S H Riddle, Wholesale Liquor Dealer, 50, Birth Year: abt 1820, Birthplace: Kentucky, Dwelling Number: 90, Home in 1870: Council Bluffs Ward 2, Pottawattamie, Iowa, Personal Estate Value: 3,000, Real Estate Value: 25,000, Household Members: S H Riddle 50, Benjamin Riddle 24, Hellen Riddle 21, Joseph Riddle 17, Marshall Riddle 15 – 1870 United States Federal Census
1875: Samuel H Riddle Death Date: 9 Apr 1875, Cemetery: Fairview Cemetery, Burial or Cremation Place: Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie County, Iowa – U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s – Current

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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