Dr. De Andries Pure Sarsaparilla Bitters – New Orleans

Dr. De Andries Pure Sarsaparilla Bitters

E. M. Rusha – New Orleans

19 February 2019

I recently updated the post for the extremely rare Dr. Hyde’s Southern Stomach Bitters put out by Dr. Edward Caleb Hyde in New Orleans around 1868. The Dr. De Andries Pure Sarsaparilla Bitters was made during the same time period by E. M. Rusha who operated within walking distance of Edward Hyde off of Tchoupitoulas Street in New Orleans. Both of their bottles are very similar with the shape, column bevel and shoulder detail. You can see a comparison below. Maybe they were friends but they were certainly competitors with their bitters. Most likely, Hyde aped Rusha with his bitters.

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

D 35  Dr. De Andries Sarsaparilla Bitters
DR DE ANDRIES // SARSAPARILLA / BITTERS // E.M. RUSHA / NEW ORLEANS // f // 10 x 4 x 2 1/4 (7 3/8) Rectangular, LTC, Applied mouth, 3 sp, Column bevel, Olive green, Metallic pontil mark, Extremely rare; Amber and Olive amber, Rare

Edwin Morris Rusha

Edwin Morris Rusha was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 6, 1811. Rusha left his parents at the young age of fourteen and came to New Orleans, Louisiana. Considered well-educated, Rusha first found employment as a painter for a short spell. He apparently was optimistic and successful in his early endeavors as he sent for his mother when he was twenty years old. His father had died shortly after his departure from Philadelphia. Rusha was close to his mother and she lived with him until she died many years later.

When he was twenty-two years old, Edwin M. Rusha went into the wholesale liquor business on Girod Street near Tchoupitoulas. He would remain on this street for half a century selling wines and liquor. He was well-known, popular and had continued success with his various pursuits which included land sales, real estate and being a cotton factor and general commission agent. It was not uncommon to see a newspaper notice saying 50 or 100 barrels of whiskey was headed his way down the Mississippi on a steamer. Great advance advertising if you liked Kentucky whiskey.

On March 9, 1837, Rusha married Mary Ann Sherman and they remained together for fifty-three years until she died in 1890. They would have fourteen children. Some would help with clerking at the liquor store. Quite a nest and a trustful work force.

For Sale: An old Negro Woman, a good Cook and Washer, to a good master will be sold at a bargain. Apply to E. M. Rusha, 24 Girod Street

Rusha once posted a newspaper ‘For Sale’ advertisement in 1850 where he was selling “An old Negro Woman, a good Cook and Washer, to a good master will be sold at a bargain.” I don’t have an illustration but I can certainly concur up an image in my mind. Sad, but true. I guess he was a generous man as another newspaper notice thanked him for sending the editors of The New Orleans Piscayune a basket of delicious peaches that were raised in his nursery in Livingston Parish, Louisiana.

Yet another newspaper notice states that his young son “had the flesh crushed off the bone of one of his hips last evening, by being caught between the cars on the Carrolton Railroad, whilst attempting, boy-like, to help himself to an outside ride.” You see these train-hopping notes in newspapers all the time, even nowadays. The New Orleans and Carrollton Railroad was one of six short-line rail systems built to connect the city of New Orleans with surrounding neighborhoods, in this case, four-and-a-half miles to the resort village of Carrollton. It was one of the first public transit trolley systems built in the urban United States. All of these referenced newspaper clippings can be read in full in the timeline at the end of this post.

In 1854, Rusha was firmly established as an Importer of Foreign Wines and Liquors and a Dealer in Domestic Spirits. He sold a wide range of products such as a general assortment of French brandies, wines, fruits in liquor, assorted cordials, bitters, essence, peppermint, curacao etc. By 1860, he was running full-page ads within the annual New Orleans City Directory. The U.S. Federal Census that year noted that he had real estate value of $50,000 and a personal estate value of $20,000.

By 1863, we see Rusha’s first advertisement for his Dr. De Andries Pure Sarsaparilla Bitters. The 1867 advertisement and illustration below looks like some pretty happy fellows partaking in his bitters. By the way, I really do not think that there was a Dr. De Andries. This was probably a made-up name to give his brand legitimacy. Rusha could not call himself a ‘Doctor’ as Edward Hyde did with his Dr. Hyde’s Southern Stomach Bitters. You could get away with a lot more stuff back then. You know, drink this medicine that was full of alcohol that was sold at a liquor establishment so you could tell your wife that you weren’t at the saloon.

Also in 1867, Rusha takes a full-page city directory ad that is similar to the ad further above but now states that he is the Proprietor of Dr. De Andries Pure Sarsaparilla Bitters. As noted previously, he actually began selling it in 1863. He says that it is sold by grocers and druggists throughout the United States and that his bitters “are the best Preventative of Health ever introduced into this Country. As a general drink they are exhilarating; they give tone to the stomach, being free from all impurities.” He also says that his bitters are “Guaranteed to be Purely Vegetable” which might make you think there was no alcohol in it. You can bet dollars to doughnuts that his bitters was fully spiked. Another ad infers that Gen. Grant was recommending Dr. De Andries Pure Sarsaparilla Bitters for Cholera.

During all these years, Rusha was very high up in the leadership of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in New Orleans. The I.O.O.F. was (and is) a non-political and non-sectarian international secret society and fraternal order of Odd Fellowship. It was founded in 1819 by Thomas Wildey in Baltimore, Maryland though its origins were much earlier in England.

Rusha left the I.O.O.F. in 1891, renouncing the secret society and joined the Catholic Church. He was in prayer with Rev. Father Cavanaugh of St. Stephen’s Church when he suffered his third stroke and died on August 24, 1893 at the age of 82. Quite a man, quite a life and quite a bitters.

Select Listings:

1811: Edwin Morris Rusha, Birth: 6 Jul 1811, Pennsylvania, – U.S. Find a Grave
1845: Newspaper notice (below) Dwelling House and Furniture, A Lot of Ground drawn by E.M. Rusha – The Times Picayune, Friday, October 17, 1845

1850: Newspaper notice (below) For Sale: An old Negro Woman, a good Cook and Washer, to a good master will be sold at a bargain. Apply to E.M. Rusha, 24 Girod Street – The New Orleans Crescent, Monday, November 25, 1850

1854: Newspaper advertisement (below) E. M. Rusha, Importer of Wines & Liquors and dealer in Domestic Spirits, Nos. 54 and 56 Broome Street (late Girod street), New Orleans, Keeps constantly on hand a general assortment of French Brandies, Wines, Fruits in Liquor, assorted cordials, bitters, essence, peppermint, Curaco etc.- The South Western, Wednesday, September 6, 1854

1856: Newspaper notice (below) Work-House and Prisons, E.M. Rusha on committee signing of on prison invoiceThe New Orleans Crescent, Friday, January 18, 1856

1857: Newspaper notice (below) Receipts of Produce, Cincinnati, Steamer Susquehanna, 56 bbls whiskey E.M. Rusha – The Times Picayune, Sunday, May 3, 1857

1857: Newspaper notice (below) E.M. Rusha sends the editors of the New Orleans Piscayune a basket of delicious peaches, raised in the nursery of E.M. Rusha of Livingston Parish, Louisiana – Nashville Union and American, Saturday, July 11, 1857

1858: Newspaper notice (below) E.M. Rusha Girod Street, For Sale of Lease, Speedwell Cottage Coffee House – The Times Picayune, Tuesday, June 22, 1858

1860: E.M. Rusha, Merchant (tough to read), Age: 45, Birth Year: abt 1815, Birth Place: Pennsylvania, Home in 1860: New Orleans Ward 2, Orleans, Louisiana, Post Office: New Orleans, Dwelling Number: 685, Family Number: 1473, Real Estate Value: 50,000, Personal Estate Value: 20,000, Household Members: E M Rusha 45, Mary Ann Rusha 34, John A Rusha 21, Edward Rusha 19, Emma Rusha 17, Elizabeth Rusha 15, Joseph Rusha 13, Frederick Rusha 11, Catharine Rusha 9, Mary Rusha 7, Ida Rusha 5, Hister Rusha 1, Mary Murphy 30 – 1860 United States Federal Census
1860: Newspaper notice (below) Receipts of Produce, Cincinnati, Steamer Lecomte, 80 bbls whiskey E.M. RushaThe New Orleans Crescent, Wednesday, November 28, 1860

1861: Full-Page City Directory advertisement (above in post) E.M. Rusha, Importer of Foreign Wines and Liquors, and Dealer in Domestic Spirits, Nos. 54, 56 and 58 Girod St., Between Tchoupitoulas and Commerce Streets, New Orleans – New Orleans, Louisiana, City Directory, 1861
1861: Newspaper notice (below) Accident to a Boy: Son of E.M. Rusha injured hitching a ride on a moving train – The New Orleans, Crescent, Thursday, February 7, 1861

1861: Newspaper notice (below) Independent Order of Odd Fellows, E.M. Rusha, Rec. Secretary – The Times Picayune, Wednesday, March 13, 1861

1861: Newspaper advertisement (below) Rusha & Hawn (E.M. Rusha and John P. Hawn, Tuscaloosa), Cotton Factors and General Commission Merchants, 42 Gravier Street, New Orleans – The Montgomery Advertiser, Monday, March 25, 1861

1861: Newspaper notice (below) Dissolution of Rusha & Hawn (see above) – The Times Picayune, Sun, April 4, 1861

1863: Newspaper advertisement (below) Dr. De Andries Pure Sarsaparilla Bitters, E.M. Rusha, No. 43 Girod, near Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans – The Times Picayune, Tuesday, October 6, 1863

1865: E M Rusha, Wine and Liquor Dealer, 41 43 45 Girod, New Orleans, Louisiana – Duncan and Co´s New Orleans Business Directory, 1865
1866: E M Rusha, Liquor Merchant, 63, 65 and 67 Girod, New Orleans, Louisiana – Denson and Nelson´s New Orleans and Mississippi Valley Business Directory and River Guide, 1866-67
1866: Newspaper advertisement (below) Just Received: 50 cases DeAndries’ Sarsaparilla Bitters and 100 cases Callahan’s Old Cabin Whiskey, Swarbrick & Co., 50 Camp Street – The New Orleans Crescent, Wednesday, January 3, 1866

1866: Newspaper advertisement (below) General Grant used to convince patrons buy Dr. De Andries Pure Sarsaparilla Bitters for Cholera – The Times Picayune, Wednesday, March 14, 1866

1867:  Full-Page City Directory advertisement (above in post) E.M. Rusha, Dealer in Wines and Liquors, Dr. De Andries Pure Sarsaparilla Bitters, Sold by Grocers and Druggists Throughout the United States, They are the best Preventative of Health ever introduced into this Country. As a general drink they are exhilarating; they give tone to the stomach, being free from all impurities. Try them. E. M. Rusha, Sole Proprietor, Depot, Nos. 63, 65 and 67 Girod Street, New Orleans – New Orleans, Louisiana, City Directory, 1867
1867: Newspaper advertisement (above in post) E.M. Rusha, dealer in Foreign Wines and Liquors and Sole Proprietor of Dr. De Andries Pure Sarsaparilla Bitters, Depot, Not. 63, 65 and 67 Girod Street, Near Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans – The South Western, Wednesday, July 3, 1867
1868-1870: E M Rusha, Liquor Merchant, 63, 65 and 67 Girod, res. 213 St. Charles, New Orleans, Louisiana – New Orleans, Louisiana, City Directory, 1868-70
1869: Directory listing (below) I.O.O.F. (Independent Order of Odd Fellows) officer for 1868 E M Rusha, R.W. Grand Lodge I.O.O.F. of the State of Louisiana, New Orleans, Louisiana – New Orleans, Louisiana, City Directory, 1869

1870: E M Rusha, Liquor Dealer, Age in 1870: 58, Birth Year: abt 1812, Birthplace: Louisiana, Dwelling Number: 193, Home in 1870: New Orleans Ward 2, Orleans, Louisiana, Inferred Spouse: M A Rusha, Household Members: E M Rusha 58, M A Rusha 48, Kate Rusha 19, Molly Rusha 16, Ida, Rusha 14, Esther Rusha 10, Sam Rusha 8, Robt Rusha 5 – 1870 United States Federal Census
1875-1878: Edwin M. Rusha, wines and liquors, 65 and 67 Girod, r. St. Charles, cor. Bordeaux, Joseph F Rusha, clerk E.M. Rusha, New Orleans, Louisiana – New Orleans, Louisiana, City Directory, 1875
1893: Edwin Morris Rusha, Death: 24 Aug 1893 (aged 82), New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana, Burial: Lafayette Cemetery Number 1, New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana – U.S. Find a Grave

1893: Newspaper notice (below) Mr. Edwin M. Rusha died last Thursday – Louisianna Review, Wednesday, August 30, 1893

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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