Continental Bitters – Mayer, Strouse & Baum

Continental Bitters

Mayer, Strouse & Baum – Philadelphia

14 February 2019

I recently came across this neat circa 1862 trade card advertisement (above) held by the The Library Company of Philadelphia for Continental Bitters put out by Mayer, Strouse & Baum which surprisingly, seems to be unlisted. The proprietors are noted as Importers of Wines, Brandies Gins &c. The primary image and the reason for the bitters name is an illustration of the Continental Hotel, at No. 116 North 3rd Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The card also shows street and pedestrian traffic, including horse-drawn carriages, an omnibus, and a man on horseback.

The Continental Hotel was tall for its time and sat prominently over the Washington Square neighborhood at a height of six stories. Located at the corner of 9th and Chestnut streets, the 700-room Continental Hotel opened its doors to the public in 1860 and featured one of the nation’s first elevators, in addition to a grand stairway crafted of polished Italian marble that ushered guests into its world of no-holds-barred extravagance.

The architect was John McArthur, Jr. who was known for being the architect of the Philadelphia City Hall. Abraham Lincoln visited Philadelphia on February 21-22, 1861 arriving from New York via Newark and Trenton to stay at the new Continental Hotel. There he talked with advisers about the rising tensions and learned of a newly-discovered assassination plot. The following morning, Lincoln went to Independence Hall to ceremoniously raise the nation’s new flag. He hadn’t prepared a speech but spoke to the issues of the day. The hotel was demolished in 1924.

There are no examples of this bitters other than this advertising reference. Bill Ham with Bitters Bottles Supplement 2 may want to list in his upcoming book.

Mayer, Strouse & Baum

Not much is known about Mayer, Strouse & Baum though we can see from Philadelphia city directories that they were in business from 1861-1863 at 116 North 3rd Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The partners were Jacob Mayer, Levi Strouse and Gabriel Baum who were wholesale liquor dealers and importers. It must have been challenging conducting business in the midst of the Civil War. Jacob Meyer would continue with his own operation afterwards while Strouse and Baum went into business together selling liquor.

Select Listings:

1858: Newspaper notice (below) Coat Basters Wanted at Jacob Mayer & Co’s, 116 N. Third Street – Public Ledger, Tuesday, December 14, 1858

1860: Jacob Mayer, Merchant, Age: 45, Birth Year: abt 1815, Birth Place: Germany, Home in 1860: Philadelphia Ward 12 Division 1, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Post Office: Philadelphia, Dwelling Number: 165, Family Number: 228, Real Estate Value: 10000, Personal Estate Value: 15000, Household Members: Name Age, Jacob Mayer 45, Matilda Mayer 33, David Mayer 14, Emmanuel Mayer 12, Washington Mayer 10, Marion Mayer 8, Josephine Mayer 7, Virginia Mayer 5, Charles Mayer 3, Wm Mayer 1, Morris Mayer 11, Jeannet Mayer 20, Jennie Jacobs 19 – 1860 United States Federal Census
1861: Mayer, Strousse & Baum (Jacob Mayer, Levi Strouse & Gabriel Baum), wines and liquors, 116 N. 3d, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania –  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1861
1862: Mayer, Strousse & Baum (Jacob Mayer, Levi Strouse & Gabriel Baum), liquors, 116 N. 3d, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania –  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1862
1863: Mayer, Strousse & Baum (Jacob Mayer, Levi Strouse & Gabriel Baum), wholesale liquor dealers and importers, 116 N. 3d, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania –  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1863
1863: Jacob Mayer, Dealer, Birth Year: abt 1816, Age: 47, Residence Year: 1863, Residence Place: Philadelphia Ward 12, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Pennsylvania, Septennial Census, 1779-1863
1864: Jacob Mayer, liquors, 116 N. 3d, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania –  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1864
1864: Strouse & Baum, wholesale liquors (Levi Strouse and Gabriel Baum), 337 N. Front, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1864
1865: Levi Strouse, liquors, 337 N. Front, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1865
1867: Mayer & Morgan, wholesale liquors, N. 3d, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania –  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1867
1870: Newspaper notice (below) Steamship Salvor, Ashcroft arrives in Charleston with 1 bbl whiskey from Jacob Mayer – Philadelphia Inquirer, Wednesday, August 10, 1870

1870: Strouse & Baum, liquors (Levi Strouse and Gabriel Baum), 122 Walnut & 17 Granite, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1870
1880: L. Strouse & Co., (Levi and Benjamin Strouse), liquors, 213 N. 3rd., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania –  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1880
Posted in Advertising, Art & Architecture, Bitters, Brandy, Gin, History, liquor, Liquor Merchant, Spirits, Wine & Champagne | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lieber’s French Cordial Bitters

Benjamin Lieber’s French Cordial Bitters

Philadelphia

13 February 2019

I recently came across this neat advertisement (above) held by the The Library Company of Philadelphia for B. Lieber (Benjamin) showing his storefront in Philadelphia in 1849. The illustration shows that Lieber is an Importer of Brandies, Wines and Gins. His address is No. 121 North Fourth Street between Vine & Callowhill Streets in Philadelphia. The ad also notes that he specializes in Foreign Wines and Liquors, London Brown-Stout, Scotch Ale, Absinthe, Segars, &c. and that he is a Manufacturer of Punch Essence, Cordials, Lemon Syrup, Raspberry, Lavender, Rose, Blackberry and Wild-Cherry, Brandies, Bitters &c. The bitters reference set me off in a search for more information.

Closer inspection of the advertisement shows the four-story storefront adorned with signage and displays including bottles, small boxes, and broadside advertisements, predominately for French cordials and an unlisted B. Lieber French Cordial Bitters crate or sign in the center of the display window. There is also a large model cask with advertising text and stacks of labeled boxes flank the open entrance. Box labels include “Ysla de Cuba,” “Assorted Cordials,” “Glorias,” “Habano.” A clerk confers with a patron within the entrance as a laborer enters the cellar to continue to retrieve barrels of “Madeira No.1” and “Port,” which line the sidewalk. In the street, a drayman departs with his delivery of a cask of “J. Hennesy [sic] & Co. Cognac.” The illustration also includes a massive street post adorned with a weather vane designed as a Native American figure, and partial views of adjacent buildings. Another signs says wholesale & retail.

There is a listing in the Carlyn Ring and W.C. Ham Bitters Bottles as follows:

L 87  LIEBER’S WINE BITTERS
B. Lieber, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia Directory 1853

Bitters Bottles Supplement 2 may want to be updated per this post to say Lieber’s French Cordial Bitters or a new listing may want to be created. I din not find any reference to Lieber’s Wine Bitters and suspect both bitters are the same. No bottle examples exist that I am aware of.

Benjamin Lieber

Not much is known about Benjamin Lieber who was born in England on February 26, 1813. Both of his parents were English. His wife was named Rachel. The earliest Philadelphia listing I could find was for a B. Lieber noted as an Importer of Wines and Liquors at 239 South 2nd Street in 1837. By 1849, he has a retail and wholesale establishment at 121 North 4th Street. That is the building image posted above. He also had a second outfit at 283 Market Street.

This guy moved his shop around like it was on wheels. By 1861, he is located at 123 South 2nd in Philadelphia. In 1863, he is located at 333 North 3rd. In 1864, it is 911 North 2nd. In 1866, it is 239 South 2nd. He would finally settle in 1868 at 111 S. Water in Philadelphia. The business was now called Lieber & Son as his son David joined him. They were still listed as importers of wines and liquors. They would remain at this location until at least 1872 when the pair drop off the Lieber & Son business radar. David would move into the sales business. Benjamin Lieber would die in 1903 in New York City.

Select Listings:

1813: Benjamin Lieber, Birth Date: 26 Feb 1813, Birth Place: England – U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current
1837: Importer of Wines and Liquors: B. Lieber, 239 S 2d – McElroy’s Philadelphia city directory
1849: Advertising print (above). B. Lieber, Apri 1849, importer of brandies, wines, gins, brown-stout, scotch ale, absinthe, segars, &c. and manufacturer of punch essence, cordials, lemon syrup, raspberry, lavender, rose, blackberry and wild-cherry. Brandies, bitters &c. No. 121 North Fourth Street between Vine & Callowhill Streets Philadelphia. – The Library Company of Philadelphia
1849: Newspaper advertisement (below) To Country Merchants, Hotel Keepers and Others. For sale on liberal terms by B. Lieber, Importer, at 121 North Fourth Street or 283 Market Street. Note Napoleon Bitters for sale – Public Ledger, Friday, August 31, 1849

1849: Newspaper advertisement (below) Punch Essence sold by B. Lieber, 283 Market Street and 121 N. Fourth Street – Public Ledger, Friday, November 9, 1849

1850: Benjamin Lieber, Liquor Merchant, Age: 37, Birth Year: abt 1813, Birthplace: England, Home in 1850: Philadelphia North Mulberry Ward, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – 1850 United States Federal Census
1850: Newspaper advertisement (below) To Families, Very superior Old Brandy (1801) just arrived, 283 Market Street between Seventh and Eighth Streets, B. Lieber, Wine Merchant – Public Ledger, Friday, April 19, 1850

1851: Newspaper advertisement (below) Danzic Spruce Beer just received at B. Lieber, Wine Merchant, 283 Market Street – Public Ledger, Thursday, May 8, 1851

1853: Newspaper advertisement (below) To Confectioners, Hotels &c., B. Lieber, Wine Merchant, 283 Market Street – Public Ledger, Thursday, December 22, 1853

1856: Lieber B., wines and liquors, 283 Market ab 7th, h 101 Franklin ab Buttonwood – McElroy’s Philadelphia city directory, Volume 19, 1856
1856: Lieber Isaac, wines & liq., 441 Market – McElroy’s Philadelphia city directory, Volume 19, 1856
1860: Benjamin Lieber, Merchant, 45, Benjamin Lieber, Birth Year: abt 1815, Birth Place: England, Home in 1860: Cheltenham, Montgomery, Pennsylvania, Post Office: Cheltenham, Dwelling Number: 223, Family Number: 223, Real Estate Value: 50,000, Personal Estate Value: 11,000, Household Members: Benjamin Lieber 45, Rachel Lieber 40, David Lieber 14, Juliet Lieber 16, Flewrette Lieber 12, George Lieber 10, Washington Lieber 8, Franklin Lieber 6, Harriet Lieber 4, Clara Lieber 2, Walter S Lieber 1 – 1860 United States Federal Census
1861: Benjamin Lieber, Wholesale Wines and Liquors, 123 S 2nd, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1861
1863: B Lieber, Wholesale Wines and Liquors, 333 N 3d, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1863
1864: B. Lieber, Liquor, 911 N. 2d, h Abington, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1864
1866: B. Lieber, Importers of Wines and Liquors, 239 S 2d, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1866
1868: B. Lieber & Son, (Benjamin & David), Wines, 111 S Water, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1868
1869: B. Lieber & Son, (Benjamin & David), importers of wines and liquors, 111 S Water, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1869
1870: Benjamin Lieber, Wholesale Liquor Dealer, Age in 1870: 57, Birth Year: abt 1813, Birthplace: England, Dwelling Number: 367, Home in 1870: Cheltenham, Montgomery, Pennsylvania, Personal Estate Value: 10,000, Real Estate Value: 27,000, Inferred Spouse: Rachel Lieber, Inferred Children: David Lieber, Fleurette Lieber, George Lieber, Benj F Lieber, Harriet Lieber, Clara Lieber, Walter S Lieber, Morean Lieber – 1870 United States Federal Census
1870: B. Lieber & Son, Wholesale Wine and Liquor Dealer, 111 S. Water, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Gopsill´s Philadelphia Business Directory, 1870
1871-1872: B. Lieber & Son (Benjamin & David), liquors, 111 S. Water, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1872
1874: B. Lieber , Merchants, Commission, 111 S. Water, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Philadelphia Trade Directory, 1874
1880: Benjamin Lieber, Liquor Merchant, Age: 67, Birth Date: Abt 1813, Birthplace: England, Home in 1880: Cheltenham, Montgomery, Pennsylvania, Dwelling Number: 82, Spouse’s name: Rachael Lieber, Father’s Birthplace: England, Mother’s Birthplace: England, Household Members: Benjamin Lieber 67, Rachael Lieber 57, Clara Lieber 22, Walter S. Lieber 20, Morean G. Lieber 18 – 1880 United States Federal Census
1900: Benjamin Lieber, Age: 87, Birth Date: Feb 1813, Birthplace: England, Home in 1900: Manhattan, New York, New York, Street: Seventh Avenue, House Number: 2145, Sheet Number: 3, Number of Dwelling in Order of Visitation: 21, Family Number: 53, Immigration Year: 1835, Marital status: Married, Spouse’s name: Rachael Lieber, Marriage Year: 1843, Father’s Birthplace: England, Mother’s Birthplace: England, Household Members: Benjamin Lieber, Rachael Lieber – 1900 United States Federal Census
1903:  Benjamin Lieber, Death Date: 7 Jan 1903, Death Place: New York, Cemetery: Mikveh Israel Cemetery #03, Burial or Cremation Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania – U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current
Posted in Advertising, Bitters, Brandy, Cordial, History, liquor, Liquor Merchant, Spirits, Wine & Champagne | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Could this bottle be for Tobias’s Wine Bitters?

Could this bottle be for the Celebrated Tobias’s Wine Bitters?

11 February 2019

Robert Biro posted over on the Peachridge Glass Facebook page, a series of images for a dug Tobias & Son ladies leg cylinder with a killer iron pontil. The bottle also has a Philadelphia embossing on the base. I believe this bottle held the Celebrated Tobias’s Wine Bitters though that name is not embossed on the bottle. Roberts email consisted of the following text and bottle images:

1850s… TOBIAS & SON PHILADAS. – This two-part mold ladies leg bitters type of bottle was dug from a 1850s trash pit from downtown Savannah Ga. The bottle has an iron pontil mark and also has applied string glass around the top that is sheared off at the lip. This bottle is nine and a half inches tall and two and three-quarters inches wide. There is a photo of another bottle like this that sold at Glass Works Auctions not too long ago that has a different type of top. – Robert

 

Looking in the Carlyn Ring and W.C. Ham Bitters Bottles book, there is a  listing for the following:

T33  Tobias Wine Bitters
S. Tobias, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia Directory, 1845

S. Tobias & Son

Solomon Tobias was born in Charleston, South Carolina in 1790. We know that he was still in Charleston in 1818 as there is “a petition of young Solomon Tobias, Charleston, for an appointment in the army, July 4, 1818.” Later Tobias advertising states that he established his wine and liquor business in 1821, presumably in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where the Tobias wholesale wine and liquor business was carried on for many decades.

We first see a hard address and reference of S. Tobias as a Manufactory of Wine Bitters located No. 93 North Fifth Street in Philadelphia in 1837. He also took out newspaper notices the same year cautioning ‘Tavern Keepers in the Country’ to be wary of spurious Wine Bitters that were being sold as his product. He stated that he continued to label all of his barrels, kegs, demijohns, and bottles with his written signature, S. Tobias. He was probably using an unembossed pontiled cylinder bottle at this time for the bitters.

In other 1837 advertising (below), Tobias was selling Stoughton Bitters, Lavender Bitters, Tansey Bitters, Brandy, Wines, Liquors and Syrups along with his signature Tobias’s Wine Bitters. He would heavily advertise his Wine Bitters up until 1850 or so.

The Library Company of Philadelphia holds this super fine print of the S. Tobias storefront that was created by William H. Rease, artist and printed by Wagner & McGuigan lithography press in Philadelphia in 1845. The image shows the four-story storefront adorned with signage on the 100 block of North Third Street. Note the prominent sign for “Manufactory of the Celebrated S. Tobias Wine Bitters.”

Looking at the art above, you can play “I Spy” and see a patron entering one of the two open entryways at which a straw basket and wine cask are displayed across from a large-cask shaped sign which reads “S. Tobias No. 68 Importer & Dealer in Wines Liquors Cordials and Syrups.” At the other entryway, a laborer rolls a cask out the door near a worker entering the cellar. Within the store, the backs of a patron and a clerk are visible in the rear of the store in which shelves of liquor bottles, straw baskets, wine casks, and barrels are displayed on shelves, the floor, and the open display window. Other boxes, bottles, casks, and barrels are visible at the upper floor windows. Barrels and boxes, one marked “S. Tobias” line the sidewalk, near a street lamp in front of the store.

The print also shows partial views of the adjacent businesses and the signage adorning the storefronts of Charles M. Schott, dry goods (66 N. 3rd St.) and Scattergood & Whitall, druggists’ glassware (70 N. 3rd St.). A clerk is visible working at a table through the doorway of Schott, and a pulley and boxes are visible within the open doorway of Scattergood & Whitall.

Tobias became a tenant within the No. 68 North Third Street building starting in 1845 and renamed his business S. Tobias & Son in January 1847. This would have been the earliest date for Robert Biro’s bottle as the base is embossed ‘S. Tobias & Son.’ Advertising would continue through 1849 or so for the bitters.

There is also this fine full-page advertisement below in the 1848 Philadelphia Wholesale Business Directory for S. Tobias & Son showing the full front of their new store at No. 68 North Third Street, above the Arch. They are noted as Importers and General Dealers in Wines, Liquors, Cordials and Syrups and also Manufacturers of the Celebrated S. Tobias’s Wine Bitters, Wild Cherry, &c. On the ad, the S. Tobias stands for Solomon Tobias. His son was Joseph F. Tobias. They offered a wide range of liquors, wines, cordials and syrups of a very superior quality and said that Country Merchants will do well to call and examine their stock and will offer a liberal discount to those who purchase and agree to sell again.

Here is an 1849 advertisement where S. Tobias & Son were selling S. Tobias’s Wine Bitters to the western gold rush market.

In 1860 or so, the liquor business was renamed Joseph F. Tobias & Company. Joseph F. Tobias and James Carstairs Jr. were partners and importers of wines, brandies etc. located at 206 and 208 S. Front in Philadelphia. Solomon Tobias was listed as living at home so he must have retired. He would pass on in 1868.

The full-page advertisement below from the 1878 Philadelphia City Directory is for Joseph F. Tobias & Co. Wine and Spirits Merchants, No. 241 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia. They were noted as direct importers of wines, brandies, Holland gins and dealers in fine old Monongahela, rye, wheat and bourbon whiskies. They were also the Sole Agents in the United States for Giesler & Co’s, Blue Seal, Blue Seal Special Dry and Dry Verzenay Champagne Wines. It says he was established in 1821 which means when his father Solomon Tobias started the business. Joseph was born five years later. Note that there is no listing for a bitters product.

Here below is a section of a panoramic view of Chestnut Street in Philadelphia. You can see the Joseph. F. Tobias storefront. Again, no special bitters sign. Jos. F. Tobias & Co. would continue in business until 1893 or so at the 241 Chestnut address though at some point he moved next door to 237 Chestnut and took on new associates, Mahlon Hutchinson and Edward P. Vogele. Joseph would die in 1902. He spent his final years living at the Aldine Hotel.

So, is this bottle for the Celebrated Tobias’s Wine Bitters? Probably so. We will not know for sure until a labeled example shows up.

Select Listings:

1790: Solomon Tobias, Birth Date: 1790, Birth Place: Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina –  U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current
1818: Reference: The Papers of John C. Calhoun (Columbia, S.C., 1963) for a petition of young Solomon Tobias, Charleston, for an appointment in the army, July 4, 1818 United States Jewry, 1776-1985, Volume 1
1821: Tobias & Co. established (1878 advertisements, see post)
1836: Joseph F. Tobias, Distiller (?), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – The Philadelphia Saving Fund Society
1837: Newspaper advertisement (below) – S. Tobias’s Manufactory of Wine Bitters – Public Ledger (Philadelphia), Monday, April 10, 1837

1837: Newspaper Notice (below) – Caution to Tavern Keepers in the Country against spurious of Wine Bitters. Continue to label all barrels, kegs, demijohns, and bottles with my written signature, S. Tobias. 93 North Fifth Street – Public Ledger (Philadelphia), Tuesday, June 27, 1837

1840: Solomon Tobias, Cordial Distiller, 66 N 3rd, Philadelphia – Philadelphia Directory, A. M’Elroy, 1840
1846: Newspaper Advertisement (below) S. Tobias, No. 68 North Third Street. Manufacturer of Tobias Wine Bitters, Wild Cherry, &c. – Public Ledger (Philadelphia), Friday, April 24, 1846

1846: Newspaper Advertisement (below) Caution to Hotel and Storekeepers: S. Tobias posting warning about bogus Wine Bitters. States that all Wine Bitters and Wild Cherry produced by him have is label, with his signature on the barrel, demijohn and bottle. States that he has only one store at No 68 North Third Street. – Public Ledger (Philadelphia), Wednesday, September 16, 1846

1847: Newspaper notice (below) S. Tobias now associated with son, Joseph F. Tobias in the Wine and Liquor Business. Now S. Tobias & Son, No 68 North Third Street. Ad starts on January 1st 1847 – Public Ledger, Thursday, January 7, 1847

1847: Newspaper Advertisement (below) Caution to Hotel and Storekeepers: S. Tobias & Son posting warning about bogus Wine Bitters – Public Ledger, Thursday, April 22, 1847

1848: Advertisement (below) S. Tobias & Son, Importers and General Dealers in Wines, Liquors, Cordials and Syrups: also Manufacturers of S. Tobias’s Wine Bitters, Wild Cherry, Brandy, &c &c, No. 68 North Third Street, above Arch, Philadelphia, Solomon Tobias, Joseph F. Tobias – The Coal Regions of Pennsylvania, E.N. Carvalho & Company, 1848

1849: Newspaper advertisement (below) Adventures to California. S. Tobias & Son selling S. Tobias’s Wine Bitters to the western gold rush market.- Public Ledger, Friday, January 26, 1849

1849: Newspaper advertisement (below) S. Tobias & Son, No. 68 Third Street,Philadelphia. Note under Cordials they are selling Wine Bitters, Tansey Bitters, Lavender Bitters and Peppermint Bitters. – Lewistown Gazette, Saturday, May 5, 1849

1850: Solomon Tobias, Merchant, Age: 65, Birth Year: abt 1785, Birthplace: South Carolina, Home in 1850: Philadelphia Dock Ward, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Family Number: 607, Household Members: Solomon Tobias 65, Margaret Tobias 45, George Tobias 12, Augustus Tobias 10, Edward Tobias 8, Ella Tobias 6 – 1850 United States Federal Census
1850: Joseph F. Tobias, Marriage, 10 Jan 1850, West Whiteland, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Church of the Atonement, Spouse: Mary Ann Jenneff – Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1669-2013
1860: Sol Tobias, Wine Dealer, Age: 68, Birth Year: abt 1792, Birth Place: South Carolina, Home in 1860: Philadelphia Ward 10 East District, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Post Office: Philadelphia, Dwelling Number: 896, Family Number: 988, Household Members: Sol Tobias 68, Margt Tobias 55, Amanda Tobias 21, Augustus Tobias 19, Edwd Tobias 17, Ella Tobias 14 – 1860 United States Federal Census
1860: Joseph Tobias, Carpenter, Age: 34, Birth Year: abt 1826, Birth Place: Pennsylvania, Home in 1860: Philadelphia Ward 10, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Post Office: Philadelphia, Dwelling Number: 1303, Family Number: 1394, Real Estate Value: 10,000, Personal Estate Value: 10,000, Household Members: Joseph Tobias 34, Mary A Tobias 30, J S Tobias 10, Katty Tobias 7 – 1860 United States Federal Census
1860-1863: Joseph F. Tobias & Co., (Joseph F. Tobias & Jas. Carstairs Jr.), importers of wines, brandies etc., 206 and 208 S. Front, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Solomon Tobias listed living at home) – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1864
1860: The Carstairs were a large family and all seemed to be in the liquor business. It seems that James Carstairs Jr was the original member of this company. In 1860 he is shown in partnership with Joseph F. Tobias and George W Wood, (clerk) in Jos. F Tobias & Co., another liquor dealer. – pre-pro.com
1864: Joseph F. Tobias & Co., (Joseph F. Tobias), wholesale liquor merchants, 206 and 208 S. Front, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1864
1867-1868: Joseph F. Tobias, liquors, 206 S. Front, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Solomon Tobias listed living at home) – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1868
1868: Solomon Tobias, Death Date: 27 Jan 1868, Death Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, Cemetery: Forest Hills Memorial Park, Burial or Cremation Place: Huntingdon Valley, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania –  U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current
1868: Legal notice: Estate of Solomon Tobias, deceased – Intelligencer, Volume 25, 1868
1870: Joseph F. Tobias, (Office Fronts Walnut),  Age in 1870: 43, Birth Year: abt 1827, Dwelling Number: 1703, Home in 1870: Philadelphia Ward 8 Dist 23 (2nd Enum), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Inferred Spouse: Mary Ann Tobias, Inferred Children: Kate Tobias, Household Members: Joseph F Tobias 43, Mary Ann Tobias 40, Kate Tobias 18, J serieffe (hard to read) Tobias 20 – 1870 United States Federal Census
1874-1875: Joseph F. Tobias & Co. (Joseph F. Tobias), Liquors, 206 S. Front, Philadelphia – Philadelphia Trade Directory, 1874
1878: Philadelphia Directory Full Page Ad (above in post): Joseph F. Tobias & Co. Wine and Spirits Merchants, No. 241 Chestnut Street – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1878
1880: Joseph F. Tobias, Liquor Merchant, Age: 53, Birth Date: Abt 1827, Birthplace: Pennsylvania, Home in 1880: Philadelphia,Pennsylvania, Street: North Side of Locust Street, House Number: 1705, Dwelling Number: 90, Marital status: Married, Spouse’s name: Mary Anna Tobias, Father’s Birthplace: South Carolina, Mother’s Birthplace: Spain, Household Members: Joseph F. Tobias 53, Mary Anna Tobias 51 – 1880 United States Federal Census
1882: Advertisement (below) Joseph F. Tobias and Co., 241 Chestnut, Wine and Spirit, Merchants – Official Programme of the Bi-Centennial Celebration of the Founding of Pennsylvania

1889: Advertisement (below) Joseph F. Tobias & Co., Wine and Spirits Merchants, 237 Chestnut Street – Records of the American Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia, Volume 2, By American Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia

1889-1891: Joseph F. Tobias & Co. (Joseph F. Tobias, Joseph Tiers & Mahlon Hutchinson), liquors, 237 Chestnut, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1889
1893: Joseph F. Tobias & Co. (Joseph F. Tobias, Mahlon Hutchinson & Edward P. Vogele), wines, 237 Chestnut, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1893
1897: Joseph F. Tobias residing at Aldine Hotel, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1897
1902: Joseph F. Tobias, Birth Date: abt 1822, Birth Place: Phila, Death Date: 12 Nov 1902, Death Place: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Age at Death: 80, Burial Date: 16 Nov 1902, Burial Place: Laurel Hill, Street address: Haddonfield, N J – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Death Certificates Index, 1803-1915
Posted in Advertising, Bitters, Cordial, Digging and Finding, History, Liqueurs, liquor, Liquor Merchant, Spirits, Syrup, Whiskey, Wine & Champagne | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spring Bitters – John W. Service

Spring Bitters – John W. Service

Hartford, Connecticut

25 January 2019

Bobby Conner sent me the two top-most pictures here and said, “Good morning Ferd. Here’s a bitters you may enjoy seeing. I can’t find any info on it other than Bill Steele ‘thinks’ he may have had one at one time. Enjoy.”

I’ve not seen this bottle before so I thought I would check it out. Spring Bitters was somewhat of a generic term for bitters but there are certainly a few embossed and labeled Spring Bitters out there associated with proprietors. Here is a 1935 article about “Grandma’s Spring Bitters.”

Looking at Bitters Bottles by Carlyn Ring and Bill Ham, I see S 98, Shedd’s Spring Bitters from Jamestown, New York which is a rectangular, amber bottle with a tooled lip. A labeled example is pictured below.

There is also a labeled, S 168, Spring Bitters which is rectangular and amber, another S 168 Spring & Summer Bitters put out by A.S. Davis who was an agent in Chelsea, Massachusetts.

Most interesting is a S 168.7 Spring Bitters noted in Bitters Bottles Supplement with (street address) and (city and state). It is noted as oval, aqua and has a tooled lip. I suspect this is our bottle with outdated information or incomplete information.

The new Carlyn Ring and W.C. Ham listing in Bitters Bottles Supplement 2 is as follows according to Bill Ham:

S 168.7  Spring Bitters
SPRING BITTERS / J. W. SERVICE / 243 PARK ST / HARTFORT CT // f //
7 5/8 x 3 1/8 x 1 7/8
Oval, aqua, NSC, Tooled lip, Very rare

Here are a few additional pictures Bobby sent with an outdoor setting.

John W. Service

John W. Service was born on February 21, 1858 in Worcester, Massachusetts. His father was William Service and his mother was Hellen Smith. He first married a Rebecca G. and she died in 1892. He then married Susan Ellen Aldred in 1893. His father died at the young age of 30 or so while his mother, from Scotland, died in 1910.

We first see John clerking in a drug store in the late 1870s with an Edwin Crary who had a drug store at the corner of Park and Squire Streets in Hartford, Connecticut. This leads to an almost 40 year span where he was a prominent and popular druggist, most for his own concerns at 243 and 299 Park Street in the South End of Hartford. He called his 299 store “The Modern Pharmacy.”

He probably sold his aqua Spring Bitters in the late 1880s though there was another Spring Bitters being sold at the City Hotel Drug Store on Main Street in Hartford, Connecticut in 1884, according to this Hartford Courant advertisement below. Maybe this product gave him the idea? Later in 1890, another advertisement said that various spring bitters were being sold in nearly every drug store in Hartford. “Their show windows are full of bottles of spring tonic bitters; you buy a bottle, you think that it does good.” They go on to say that all those spring bitters don’t work and you should use their Pure Wines of California Spring Bitters made by the California Wine Agency, located at 72 Trumbull Street in Hartford.

Like many druggists bottles, the typography on the Spring Bitters bottle is slanted left opposed to straight or italicized right which I find interesting. It must have been a short run since this example is the only bottle example that I, and others have seen. I also can not find any advertising for the product. I did find this picture below of his standard druggist bottle.

In 1910, with regulations severely tightened with what druggists could sell, John Service updated his druggist license to sell spirituous and intoxicating liquors, ale, lager beer, Rhine Wine and Cider at the 299 Park Street address. He had previously pled guilty to violating the provisions of his earlier liquor license and was fined $25 and costs. He was to sell these products for medicinal purposes and not to get drunk on the premises. They had taverns and bars for that. He agreed to not sell spirituous liquors in quantities exceeding one gallon, except other than distilled liquors and those in quantities exceeding five gallons. His license cost fifty dollars. Basically these drug stores, in many cases, were the first convenience stores that are everywhere today.

Though I could not find a picture of his drug stores, I did find the picture below for Lester H. Goodwin, Pharmacist located at 336 Main Street in Hartford during the same time period. If you enlarge the picture you can read that he his selling Drugs & Medicines, Mineral Waters, Soda, Poland Water, Trusses, Elastic Stockings and Supporters. His Homeopathic Pharmacy also had a sign reading “Open All Night.” His products were displayed neatly in his first floor corner shop windows.

John W. Service retired in 1917 when he sold his drug store at 299 Park Street to James DeLeo and James P. Murray, who had been his clerks, one about nine years and the other about three. He also sold his interest in the 243 address to George Robertson who had run the store and been his partner.

John Service was well known in other ways and was considered one of the earliest baseball fans and financial supporters of local clubs in Hartford. Hartford had nearly continuous baseball from 1874 to 1952, including early major league baseball teams from 1874-1877. He retired in Middlesex, Massachusetts where we last see him in 1920. He died around 1929.

Select Listings:

1858: John W Service, Birth Date: 21 Feb 1858, Birth Place: Worcester, Massachusetts, Father: William Service, Mother: Hellen Smith – Massachusetts, Birth Records, 1840-1915
1880: John W. Service, Clerk in Drug Store, Age: 20, Birth Date: Abt 1860, Birthplace: Massachusetts, Home in 1880: Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut, Street: Lawrence Street, House Number: 43, Dwelling Number: 155, Marital status: Single, Mother’s Birthplace: Connecticut – 1880 United States Federal Census
1890: Pure Wines of California Spring Bitters made by the California Wine Agency, located at 72 Trumbull Street in Hartford. – Hartford Courant, Wednesday, May 7, 1890

1892: Newspaper notice (below) Mrs. Rebecca G. Service, wife of John. W. Service died…- Hartford Courant, Wednesday, June 15, 1892

1893: Newspaper advertisement (below) Richardson’s SherryWine Bitters being sold by John W. Service – Hartford Courant, Thursday, September 21, 1893

1893: Marriage John W Service, Age: 34, Birth Year: abt 1859, Birth Place: Worcester, Marriage Date: 14 Feb 1893, Marriage Place: Boston, Massachusetts, Father: William Service, Mother: Helen Service, Spouse: Susan E Aldred – Massachusetts, Marriage Records, 1840-1915
1893-1894: John W Service, Druggist, Street address: 243 Park, Hartford, Connecticut – Geer’s Hartford, Connecticut, City Directory, 1894
1897-1899: John W Service, Druggist, 243 & 299 Park, h 42 Allen, Hartford, Connecticut – Hartford, Connecticut, City Directory, 1897 also Geer’s Hartford, Connecticut, City Directory, 1897
1899: Newspaper notice (below) Druggist’ License for John W. Service, 299 Park Street – Hartford Courant, Wednesday, May 3, 1899

1900: John W Service, Druggist, Age: 42, Birth Date: Feb 1858, Birthplace: Massachusetts, Home in 1900: Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut, Ward of City: 8th, Street: Allen Place, House Number: 70, Sheet Number: 8, Number of Dwelling in Order of Relation to Head of House: Head, Marital status: Married, Spouse’s name: Susie E Service,Marriage Year: 1893, Father’s Birthplace: New York, Mother’s Birthplace: Scotland, Household Members: John W Service 42, Susie E Service 36, Charlotte Ring 29 – 1900 United States Federal Census
1900: Newspaper advertisement (below) Dr. Holt’s Kidney Tablets sold at John W. Service, 243 Park Street and The Modern Pharmacy, 299 Park Street – Hartford Courant, Tuesday, July 24, 1900

1900 – 1903: Drug Stores: John W Service, Druggist, Street address: 243 and 299 Park, h 70 Allen Pl, Hartford, Connecticut – Hartford, Connecticut, City Directory, 1900
1905: Newspaper notice (below) John W. Service, a druggist, pleaded guilty to violating the provisions of his liquor license and was fined $25 and costs. – Hartford Courant, Saturday, October 7, 1905

1906 – 1916: John W Service, Druggist, 299 Park (Modern), Hartford, Connecticut – Hartford, Connecticut, City Directory, 1906
1910: John W Service, Druggist, Age in 1910: 51, Birth Year: abt 1859, Birthplace: Massachusetts, Home in 1910: Hartford Ward 8, Hartford, Connecticut Street: Washington, House Number: 41, Marital status: Married, Spouse’s name: Susaine C Service, Father’s Birthplace: Connecticut, Mother’s Birthplace: Scotland, Industry: Own Store, Employer, Employee or Other: Own Account, Home Owned or Rented: Own, Home Free or Mortgaged: Free, Farm or House: House, Years Married: 17, Household Members:  John W Service 51, Susaine C Service 39 – 1910 United States Federal Census
1910: Newspaper notice (below) John W. Service submits for druggists license to sell spirituous and intoxicating liquors – Hartford Courant, Friday, April 15, 1910

1910: Newspaper notice (below) death Mrs.William Service (Helen Smith), mother of John W. Service – Norwich Bulletin, Wednesday, December 28, 1910

1913: Newspaper notice (below) Burglar Enters Two Houses in South End – John W. Service – Hartford Courant, Saturday, July 5, 1913

1917: Newspaper notice (below) John W. Service Out of Drug Business – Hartford Courant, Wednesday, August 22, 1917

1920: John W Service, Age: 61, Birth Year: abt 1859, Birthplace: Massachusetts, Home in 1920: Medford Ward 2, Middlesex, Massachusetts, Street: Fells Avenue Terrace, House Number: 16, Residence Date: 1920, Marital status: Married, Spouse’s name: Susan E Service, Father’s Birthplace: New York, Mother’s Birthplace: Scotland, Household Members: John W Service 61, Susan E Service 55 – 1920 United States Federal Census
1936: Newspaper notice (below) Susan Eldredge, second wife of John W. Service dies. Notes John W. Service died about seven years ago – Hartford Courant, Tuesday, December 15, 1936

Posted in Bitters, Druggist & Drugstore, History, Medicines & Cures | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

He Sold Black Hawk Bitters

He Sold Black Hawk Bitters

23 January 2019

I saw the “He Sold Black Hawk Bitters” notice below for Black Hawk Bitters in a Mexico, Missouri newspaper dated Thursday, December 2, 1915. It caught my eye as a possible unlisted bitters.

Still more arrests for selling Black Hawk Bitters that made men climb telegraph poles and throw their tools in the street!

In the notice, J.T. Gentle, a druggist from Vandalia, Missouri, was indicted on eight counts for selling Black Hawk Bitters. This is not too surprising in the 1915 pre-Prohibition temperance era as many spirits were disquised and sold as patent medicines. He said the alcohol in the bitters was sufficient to keep the product from spoiling.

In another newspaper notice, druggist, M.K. Shuggart in Iowa also had his Black Hawk Bitters seized. In court, he said it was a medicine and that it was a summer drink and should be classified with lemonade, even though the bitters was labeled 30 percent alcohol. Still more arrests for selling Black Hawk Bitters that reportedly made men climb telegraph poles and throw their tools in the street! The last from the Kansas Democrat in Hiawatha, Kansas. This is the kind of material you find in bitters researching, just like the assorted nefarious material put in a bitters bottle.

While this bitters may be unlisted, I doubt it. There are no proprietors listed and each druggist would not make his own Black Hawk Bitters. In Bitters Bottles by Carlyn Ring and Bill Ham, there is a B 114, labeled amber square for Black Hawk Stomach Bitters (Windsor’s Black Hawk Liver and Stomach Bitters) being sold by Hartz & Bahnsen, Sole Proprietors in Rock Island, Illinois in the 1890s.

In the follow-up Bitters Bottles Supplement there is a listing B 114.5, for a labeled amber oval square Black Hawk Stomach Bitters with a graphic of a Indian Chief in headdress. This was a tonic put out by the Columbia Chemical Co. in Saint Louis, Missouri. An example is pictured below from the Lou Hollis collection.

There was also a Black Hawk Bitters made by Meyer Bros. Drug Co. in Saint Louis, Missouri in 1914 as reported in National Association of Retail Druggists.

Any one of these bitters could be the Black Hawk Bitters referenced in the top advertisement.

Another Black Hawk Bitters

Here is another newspaper notice (represented further below) about a fellow named Albert Lehman who was the manufacturer of Black Hawk Bitters in 1867 according to the Quad City Times in Davenport, Iowa. He was arrested for Licentious Assault for the intent to commit a rape of a Regina Magnus. That was his wife.

He was arrested for Licentious Assault for the intent to commit a rape of a Regina Magnus. That was his wife.

Evidence presented said that it appeared that Regina Magnus was the daughter of Franz Staufenbeil, who at the time was engaged with Lehman to manufacture Black Hawk Bitters. In court, the assault was proved by Regina, her mother and her father.

Albert Lehmen filed an affidavit denying the assault and claiming the prosecutions malicious. In the document given by the police magistrate, Franz Staufenbeil had been previously convicted of keeping a house of ill-fame.

Another crazy bitters story. This bitters may have been the genesis of the bitters produced in the 1890s and 1900s.

Black Hawk

Black Hawk, (1767 – October 3, 1838) was a band leader and warrior of the Sauk American Indian tribe in what is now the Midwest of the United States. Although he had inherited an important historic medicine bundle from his father, he was not a hereditary civil chief. Black Hawk earned his status as a war chief or captain by his actions: leading raiding and war parties as a young man, and a band of Sauk warriors during the Black Hawk War of 1832.

During the War of 1812, Black Hawk fought on the side of the British against the U.S., hoping to push white American settlers away from Sauk territory. Later he led a band of Sauk and Fox warriors, known as the British Band, against European-American settlers in Illinois and present-day Wisconsin in the 1832 Black Hawk War. After the war, he was captured by U.S. forces and taken to the eastern U.S. He and other war leaders were taken on tour of several cities.

Just 49 years had passed since Black Hawk had been laid to rest in 1870 at Spring Lake, Utah, when members of the LDS Mormon Church robbed the contents of his grave in 1919. Accompanying the article is a photo of William E. Croft standing in the open grave, grinning ear to ear, while holding the skull of Black Hawk. While the living descendants of Black Hawk were outraged and heartbroken, their voices fell on deaf ears. Seemingly without conscience or remorse church leaders without a lick of civility made no apologies, in spite of a federal law passed in 1906 called the Graves Protection Act. Descendents of Black Hawk had no real legal recourse until the enactment of the National American Graves Protection Reparation Act, or NAGPRA, passed in 1994. (Source Marriott Library Special Collections Brigham Young University)

Read more about bitters named after Indians:

Red Cloud Bitters – One of the Chicago ‘Indians’

Red Jacket Bitters – Another Chicago ‘Indian’

He had a new variety of bitters known as Red Jacket Bitters

Lewis’ Red Jacket Bitters – New Haven, Connecticut

Barnett & Lion’s Southern Grey Jacket Stomach Bitters

Select Listings:

1867: Newspaper notice (below) Albert Lehman, the manufacturer of Black Hawk Bitters, assaulted his wife – Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), Wednesday, March 20, 1867

1912: Newspaper notice (below) Still More Arrests for selling Black Hawk Bitters That Made Men Climb Telegraph Poles and Throw Their Tools in the Street – The Kansas Democrat (Hiawatha, Kansas), Thursday, September 26, 1912.

1914: Blackhawk Bitters, Meyer Bros. Drug Co., Saint Louis, Missouri –National Association of Retail Druggists., 1914
1915: Newspaper notice (above) J.T Gentle, druggist from Vandalia, Missouri indicted on eight counts for selling Black Hawk Bitters –  Mexico Missouri Message, Thursday, December 2, 1915
1917: Newspaper notice (below) Havner Makes Tama Bone Dry. M.K. Shuggart asks for seized Black Hawk Bitters to be returned. Though it is labeled 30 percent alcohol, he said it was a medicine. – Evening Times Republican (Marshalltown, Iowa), Friday, August 3, 1917

Posted in Advertising, Bitters, Druggist & Drugstore, History, Medicines & Cures | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tincture of Centaury Bitters – Bernheim Brothers & Uri

Tincture of Centaury Bitters – Bernheim Brothers & Uri

Louisville, Kentucky

20 January 2019

If you go to the I.W. Harper website and visit the history menu on the banner, the following opening screen reads, “THE I.W. HARPER LEGACY, A LEGEND IS BORN” followed by “I.W. Harper’s story begins in 1848 when our founder, I.W. Bernheim, came to America with $4 and a dream. A century later, his bourbon whiskey empire remains.”

Jerry Phelps recently shared some bottle images of a round, amber, sealed and pontiled Tincture of Centaury Bitters bottle from Louisville, Kentucky. I have heard of this bottle but have never seen pictures before, so this is pretty exciting.

Back in 2014, I posted a list of “Kentucky’s Top 25 Rarest Bitters Bottles“, compiled by Paul Van Vactor, Sheldon Baugh and Steve Keith. The Tincture of Centaury Bitters was noted as No. 6 without a picture. Well, today I finally added that picture.

6. Round amber seal bottle embossed on seal BERNHEIM BROS. / & URI / LOUISVILLE / KY. Embossed horizontally below seal ULBRIGHT / RELIABLE / IMPORT CO. / TINCTURE / OF / CENTAURY / BITTERS. Also, embossed vertically on sides: BLOOD PURIFIER / STOMACH TONIC.

Tincture of Centaury Bitters

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

C 111  Centaury Bitters
seal BERNHEIM BROS. (cu) / & URI / LOUISVILLE (s-u-d) / KY ULBRIGHT ( ad ) / RELIABLE ( ad ) / IMPORT CO ( ad ) / TINCTURE ( ad ) / OF / CENTAURY ( ad ) / BITTERS ( ad ) // vertical lettering BLOOD PURIFIER // c // vertical lettering STOMACH TONIC //

Sir. John Hill’s Medicines – Tincture of Centaury – 1776

The newspaper clipping below from The Caledonian Mercury (London), July 6, 1776 notes that Sir John Hill was making a Tincture of Centaury in 1776. Centaurium erythraea is a species of flowering plant in the gentian family known by the common names, common centaury and European centaury. The European centaury is used as a medical herb in many parts of Europe. The herb, mainly prepared as tea, is thought to possess medical properties beneficial for patients with gastric and liver diseases.

Hill developed his bitters for Disorders in the Stomach, and creating an appetite. He called Centaury “the great Stomachic; in preference to all other bitters; in that it gives an appetite and good digestion, and neither heats nor binds the body. With an account of the plant, and the method of gathering and preparing; and a few rules for such as have weak stomachs.” Price 6d.

Bernheim Bros. & Uri Overview

At one point, Bernheim Bros. & Uri were one of the largest wholesale liquor dealers and distillers in Kentucky and the United States. Bernheim Brothers was started in 1872 by Isaac Wolfe Bernheim and Bernard Bernheim on a small scale and developed at a phenomenal rate and in 1891 reported annual sales of about $2,000,000.

Their slogan was “Tall Oaks from Little Acorns Grow.” The Bernheim Bros. distillery opened its doors in 1870 and thrived through Prohibition. The I.W. Harper namesake was born by 1872 and began producing a whiskey that would win Gold Medals throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s. In 1875, Nathan M. Uri became a member of the firm and the firm name changed to Bernheim Bros. & Uri. This would have been when the Tincture of Centaury Bitters was made.

Isaac Wolfe Bernheim

Isaac Wolfe Bernheim, also known as Ike, was born on November 04, 1848 in Schmieheim, now part of Kippenheim in Germany. He was the son of Leopold (Leon) Solomon Bernheimer and Fanny Weil-Bernheim and the husband of Emma Bernheim and Amanda “Mandie” Bernheim. His father was a merchant by profession.

In 1861, when laws regarding civil rights for Jews were liberalized, the Weil/Bernheim family moved to Freiburg, Germany. Isaac’s sister Elise died, leaving Isaac with only one brother, Bernard, two years his junior from his mother’s first marriage. He was apprenticed in Freiburg eventually to learn bookkeeping and money handling until 1864 when at age 16, he first gained employment as a clerk in Mannheim and in Frankfurt am Main in 1865. He gradually became somewhat independent in Frankfurt until the summer of 1866 when war with Austria eventually hindered business in Frankfurt. It was during that time that he met with his uncle Livingston who was visiting from the United States who impressed Isaac with the success that could be achieved with hard work, health and good fortune. The uncle also promised him a job in New York. With Europe in the grips of war, Isaac emigrated to the United States, arriving in New York in April 1867.

Isaac arrived only to find his uncle’s cotton and yarn mills near Broadway in New York City closed, with his uncle close to being bankrupt. The country was in a state of flux from the effects of the Civil War and he could find no gainful employment. He left New York for Pennsylvania to become a peddler (pictured above), selling household items such as needles, pins, threads, suspenders, handkerchiefs and ladies stockings. He became more fluent in English and American customs and by October 1867 was able to enlarge his stock and buy an old horse and a wagon.

The young I.W. Bernheim then established winter headquarters in Overton, a small town in Pennsylvania. When his horse died he moved to Paducah, Kentucky in May 1868 and took a position as bookkeeper and salesman in his uncle Livingston’s firm, Livingston & Weille. The uncle had moved to Paducah to join in business with another uncle of Isaac. Later that year, he moved to the prominent liquor wholesalers Loeb & Bloom and became their bookkeeper at $40 per month. It was here that he began to realize greater success and was able to save enough money over a two year period to pay off his debts, buy some clothing and begin sending money home to his mother. His steady income allowed him to save enough to bring Bernard Bernheim, his younger brother by two years, over from Germany to join him in Paducah. In 1870, he gained some say with the firm and Isaac’s brother Bernard was hired to replace Isaac as bookkeeper. Isaac then became a traveling businessman for the liquor business.

On January 1, 1872, the two Bernheim brothers left the firm in a dispute with the owners over becoming partners with interest in the business. With the money they had saved plus a considerable investment from a silent partner, Elbridge Palmer, they were able to open a competing business, called Bernheim Brothers in Paducah, Kentucky. The brothers are believed to have contributed their life savings of $1,200 to help fund the $3,200 start-up. They also set up administrative and distribution offices in Chicago at 87 Washington Street.

Both the brothers were young, wide-awake, aggressive, had persistent natures, full of enterprise and ambitions to grow. Because of their proximity to large waterways and the ability to ship product throughout the Midwest, the company prospered.

The business was successful and the brothers bought out their silent partner and admitted Nathan M. Uri (brother to Isaac’s wife, Amanda) as a partner. He is pictured above. The company was renamed Bernheim Brothers and Uri. Nathan’s father, Morris “Moses” Uri, an immigrant from Hechingen, Germany, was an early settler in Paducah, Kentucky. He owned a small frontier type general store there that burned in a citywide conflagration in 1851. Surviving the loss, Morris continued in commerce, running a grocery with a large liquor component. He ultimately became part owner of a distillery and opened a liquor sales office in Chicago. With wife Amelia (Halheimer), also a German immigrant, Morris sired a family of six, five girls and Nathan, born in 1857. Within 15 years, their business trading covered the entire South and spread into parts of the West and Northwest.

In 1879, the Bernheim Brothers register the I.W. Harper brand. The I.W. initials were borrowed from Isaac’s own name, while Harper was the surname of a famous horse breeder (F.B. Harper). The brand went on to win multiple medals for quality, the first being at the New Orleans Exposition on 1885.

In March 1896, Bernheim Bros. and Uri bought out all interests in the Pleasure Ridge Park distillery, seven miles southwest of Louisville. That facility had been built in the early 1870s but the owner had lost it in the Panic of 1870 and they joined a combine of investors to buy him out.

At this time Bernheim and Uri were not distillers themselves but rectifiers and wholesalers of a wide variety of alcoholic spirits. Pleasure Ridge provided them with the raw whiskey for blending into brands they vigorously marketed nationwide. The arrangement was that Isaac worked sales to the West, Nathan to the East. Endowed with a strong work ethic, the two men were on the road constantly. Meanwhile Bernard looked after day to day operations. The plant was equipped for the manufacture of sour mash, fire copper sweet mash, quick maturing Bourbons, ryes identical with those made in Pennsylvania and Maryland and neutral spirits. On June 1, 1891 Nathan M. Uri left the partnership and set up his own company.

One newspaper report stated that the Bernheim Bros. had the finest office in America for whiskey distribution. It was 65 feet long, 25 feet wide and had a 35 foot high ceiling which had relief work of steel painted white and gold. The rear of the office had one immense oval window 25 feet wide and about 30 feet high in the center. The walls were wainscoted with quarter sawed oak for about 10 feet and above, they are decorated in yellow and gold with deep blue background. All the fixtures and desks were of oak, the floor also being oak. At night, an immense chandelier of incandescent lights supported a single light on each desk.

The entire building had a steam heated system, was lighted by electricity and had two electric elevators used for freight and passenger service. The balance of the second floor was used for storage that held tax-paid stocks for use in the blending departments.    Another warehouse on Washington Street held much larger stocks. The third floor was where goods were gauged, sampled and marked before being lowered to the first floor for shipment. The fourth floor was fitted up to be the bottling department that had the most modern appliances used for washing bottles, filtering whiskey, filling bottles, corking, capping etc. A large support force of men and women were employed that included thirty-odd salesmen. In 1898, the offices were relocated to 133 West Main Street between First and Second in Louisville. The new building was four stories in height, plus the cellar, 225 feet in length and 25 feet wide and had similar departments as the previous location.

Bernheim Bros main offices, 133 West Main Street, Louisville Kentucky

In 1896, The Pleasure Ridge Park distillery was destroyed by fire, leaving the Bernheim Brothers with a $1 million dollar tax bill on the bonded whiskey that had been stored in its warehouses. The Brothers begin building the Bernheim Bros. distillery on Bernheim Lane and they are again in production the following year. By 1903, the company incorporated as Bernheim Distilling Co. with $2m in capital.

In 1906, Bernheim Distilling Co. acquired the Warwick distillery. The company apparently also had a stake in the Mayfield distillery. During the Prohibition era, Bernheim Brothers Distillery was one of only ten distilleries allowed to continue to make bourbon for medicinal purposes.

The various linear companies in this post used the brand names: A Fair Exchange, Comet Whisky (pictured above), Crestmore (bottle pictured further below), F.F.V., F.F.V. Rye, I.W. Harper, Kentucky Reserve, Metropolitan, Old Complimentary, Old Continental (pictured below), Old Moorehead, Old National Whiskey (pictured below), Owl Hollow, Prosperity, Shaw’s Malt, and The Whiskey Your Grandfather Used.

In 1911, United American Co. was organized with Albert S. Roth, president and Milton W. Barkhouse, Vice President, to assume the property and interests of the Bernheim Distilling Co. An example of one of their brands is pictured below. From 1920 to 1933, both the Bernheim Bros and Warwick plants were partially dismantled and the property sold, but Bernheim Distilling Co. operated as a medicinal whiskey distributor. In 1934, Schenley purchased the brands, ultimately becoming the property of United Distillers.

In 1992, a large distilling plant called the Bernheim Distillery was opened in Louisville (on West Breckinridge Street near Dixie Highway) by United Distillers, which was owned by Guinness. United owned the I.W. Harper brand at the time the distillery was opened, but it had cheapened the quality of the brand in the U.S. market, focusing instead on Asia and Europe (especially Japan, where the product became a top brand of bourbon). They then took the brand off the U.S. market entirely. United became Diageo in 1997 when Guinness merged with Grand Metropolitan, and Diageo continues to own the brand but no longer owns the distillery. The modern Bernheim distillery is not to be confused with the prior Bernheim distillery sites. [Wikipedia]

I.W. Bernheim became a notable philanthropist and member of the national Jewish Community in the United States. He financed two Kentucky statues in the statuary hall of the U.S. Capitol (the only two statues privately purchased there), a statue of Abraham Lincoln outside the Louisville Free Public Library and the statue of Thomas Jefferson outside the Jefferson County, Kentucky courthouse.

Upon visiting his hometown of Schmieheim in the early 20th Century, Bernheim financed Schmieheim’s first plumbing system and built homes for the elderly and for children. In 1928 he purchased 14,000 acres of farm land in Bullitt and Nelson Counties, Kentucky and established the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest in 1929.

I.W. Bernheim died on April 01, 1945 at age 96 in Santa Monica, Los Angeles County, California and is buried in Kentucky. He truly waste of the great pioneers of American whiskey, and he also made a bitters.

Historical data of young I W Bernheim references an article by Charles Hartley that appeared in The Courier-Journal on 11 September 2013.

Newspaper Support

Advertisement for Bernheim Bros. & Uri – The Courier Journal (Louisville) Tuesday, January 15, 1895

I.W. Harper Whisky full-page advertisement by Bernheim Brothers, Sole Controllers – The Courier Journal (Louisville) Tuesday, January 15, 1895

KENTUCKY WHISKY full-page advertisement – The Courier Journal, Sunday, December 11, 1898

Select Notes:

1848: Isaac Wolfe Bernheim, Birth Date: 4 November 1848, Birth Place: Baden-Württemberg, Germany, Father: Leon Solomon Bernheim, Mother: Fanny Weil-Bernheim – U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current
1865: I. Bernstein & Co., 320 Main, between 3rd & 4th, Retail Dealers, Kentucky – U.S. IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862-1918
1870: Isaac W Benheim, Traveling Agent Wholesale Liquor Store, Age in 1870: 22, Birth Year: abt 1848, Birthplace: Baden, Home in 1870: Paducah, McCracken, Kentucky, Father of Foreign Birth: Y, Mother of Foreign Birth: Y, Male Citizen over 21: Y, Household Members: Bernard Bernheim 20, Isaac W Bernheim 22 – 1870 United States Federal Census
1880: Issac W. Bernhiem, Wholesale Liquor Dealer, Age: 31, Birth Date: Abt 1849, Birthplace: Baden, Home in 1880: Paducah, McCracken, Kentucky, Street: Jefferson Street, House Number: 203, Dwelling Number: 58, Race: White, Gender: Male, Relation to Head of House: Self (Head), Marital status: Married, Spouse’s name: Amanda Bernhiem, Father’s Birthplace: Baden, Mother’s Birthplace: Household Members: Issac W. Bernhiem 31, Amanda Bernhiem 25, Leon S. Bernhiem 4, Monis U. Bernhiem 2, Bertrain Bernhiem 4/12 – 1880 United States Federal Census
1890: Bernheim Bros. (I W Bernheim, B Bernheim and N M Uri), Wholesale Whiskies, 135 and 137 W. Main, Louisville, Kentucky – Louisville, Kentucky, City Directory, 1894
1894: Bernheim Bros. (Isaac W Bernheim & B Bernheim), Whiskies, 125 W. Main, Louisville, Kentucky – Louisville, Kentucky, City Directory, 1894
1895: Newspaper advertisement (above) I.W. Harper Whisky represented by Bernheim Brothers, Sole ControllersThe Courier Journal (Louisville) Tuesday, January 15, 1895
1900: Isaac W Bernheim, Whiskey Distiller, Age: 51, Birth Date: Nov 1848, Birthplace: Germany, Home in 1900: Anchorage, Jefferson, Kentucky, Sheet Number: 4, Number of Dwelling in Order of Visitation: 46, Family Number: 49, Immigration Year: 1867, Relation to Head of House: Head, Marital status: Married, Spouse’s name: Amanda Bernheim, Marriage Year: 1874, Father’s Birthplace: Germany, Mother’s Birthplace: Germany, Years in US: 32, Household Members: Isaac W Bernheim 51, Amanda Bernheim 45, Leon S Bernheim 24, Morie W Bernheim 22, Bertram M Bernheim 20, Ellrige P, Bernheim 18, Amelia Bernheim 15, Helen Bernheim 14, Margaret Bernheim 11 – 1900 United States Federal Census
1903: Bernheim Bros. (Issac W., Morris  U. and Leon S. Bernheim), Wholesale Whiskies, 648 W. Main, Louisville, Kentucky – Louisville, Kentucky, City Directory, 1903
1909: Bernheim Distilling Co., Inc., Issac W. Bernheim, president, Bernard Bernstein vice president, M.H. Flarsheim, sec., A.B. Flarsheim, asst sec., E. Palmer Bernheim, treas, Frank D. Bernheim, asst treas., also Bernheim Distribution Co. – Louisville, Kentucky, City Directory, 1909
1910: Isaac W Bernheim, Whiskey Merchant, Age in 1910: 61, Birth Year: abt 1849, Birthplace: Germany, Home in 1910: Louisville Ward 7, Jefferson, Kentucky, Street: South Third St, House Number: 1014, Immigration Year: 1867, Marital status: Married, Spouse’s name: Amanda Bernheim, Father’s Birthplace: Germany, Mother’s Birthplace: Germany, Native Tongue: English, Household Members: Isaac W Bernheim 61, Amanda Bernheim 56, Margurite Bernheim 21 – 1910 United States Federal Census
1916: Newspaper advertisement (below) I.W. Harper Whiskey, Bernheim Distilling Co. – Pacific Wine Brewing Spirit Review, 1819

1920: Isaac W Bernheim, Age: 71, Birth Year: abt 1849, Birthplace: Germany, Home in 1920: Louisville Ward 7, Jefferson, Kentucky, Street: Third, House Number: 1014, Residence Date: 1920, Marital status: Married, Spouse’s name: Amanda Bernhiem, Father’s Birthplace: Germany, Mother’s Birthplace: Germany, Native Tongue: German, Household Members: Isaac W Bernhiem 71, Amanda Bernhiem 66, Celia Bachman 27, Fanny Staits 65, Mary Kavanaugh 45, Eddie Layson 18 – 1920 United States Federal Census
1945: Isaac Wolfe Bernheim, Death Date: 1 Apr 1945, Death Place: Santa Monica, Los Angeles County, California, Cemetery: Isaac Bernheim Cemetery, Burial or Cremation Place: Clermont, Bullitt County, Kentucky, Father: Leon Solomon Bernheim, Mother: Fanny Weil-Bernheim, Spouse: Amanda Bernheim – U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current
Posted in Advertising, Bitters, History, liquor, Liquor Merchant, Medicines & Cures, Spirits, Tonics, Whiskey | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Congress Bitters – The Great American Tonic!

Congress Bitters – The Great American Tonic!

Dundas Dick & Co. – New York

15 January 2019

I have an amber rectangular embossed Congress Bitters bottle in my collection (pictured at the top of post) that I know nothing about. There is no proprietor name or location embossed on the bottle. Of course a paper label would have had that information, but the label is long gone. I also have an advertising trade card for Congress Bitters, The Great American Tonic with no proprietor name noted. It is pictured below. I always assumed the bottle and the card were related.

For the bottle, the Carlyn Ring and W.C. Ham listing in Bitters Bottles is as follows:

C 216  Congress Bitters
CONGRESS // sp // BITTERS / f //
9 1/4 x 3 1/4 x (7) 1/8
Rectangular, Amber, LTC, Applied mouth, 3 sp
Scarce

For the advertising card, the Capitol constitutes the logo or trade mark for Congress Bitters. The New York lithography firm of Schumacher & Ettlinger created this skillfully rendered view, giving the product a sense of delicacy. Fine details of a carriage and the building’s innumerable columns were set in a frame of flowers and ferns. The sophisticated design belied the cruder approach to the reverse. A tightly packed mass of text argued the benefits of the tonic “for invalids, females and delicate persons.” The bitters was sold for $1.00 a bottle by druggists and medicine dealers. Like many widely distributed trade cards, this one provided a space at the bottom for a local merchant to print their retail information. In my case, the druggist is J. C. Saur from Napoleon, Ohio.

Searching on the Internet and through newspapers, I see other listings for Congress Bitters but not the one I am looking for. This includes William Allen’s Congress Bitters, Hellman’s Congress Bitters and Sterne’s Celebrated Congress Bourbon Bitters. Been there before.

Finally, I find some information noting that there was a Congress Bitters made by Dundas Dick & Co. in New York. The bitters was considered a fraud as it contained 29.06% of alcohol by volume and sugar with very little else except flavoring. A Special Bulletin was put out by the North Dakota State University, Regulatory Division in 1914. You can see a short clipping below followed by the full text.

CONGRESS BITTERS

From the North Dakota. Agricultural Experiment Station, Agricultural College, Agricultural Experiment Station, Food Department, 1914

“Congress Bitters are not an intoxicating beverage and being purely vegetable they can be used at all times with beneficial results. In the case of dipsomania or for persons having an unnatural desire for liquor they will be found peculiarly suitable as the use of the Bitters will enable them to free themselves of this pernicious appetite by acquiring a healthy appetite for solid foods.”

Sounds good, doesn’t it? A cure for the liquor habit and contains 29 per cent of alcohol, a little sugar, and scarcely anything else, except aromatics. In other words, about the strength of whiskey when reduced with water by the average drinker. A fine cure this would be, supplying the very thing that the unfortunate victim needed to avoid. Another of America’s disgraces in the patent medicine line.

Congress Bitters, “The Great American Tonic,” according to the label, is put out by Dundas Dick & C0., of New York, our Lab. No. 8586, and claims to be a healthful appetizer, a safe invigorant, and, according to the label, a remedy for dyspepsia, indigestion, constipation, ague and diseases of the stomach, bowels, liver and kidney.

“They purify and enrich the blood, tone and impart strength to the system stimulate the digestion, regulate the bowels, promote a healthy appetite, dispel nervous exhaustion, cure general debility, revive the physical energies, correct weakening irregularities, banish languor, and give buoyancy to the spirits. Are especially recommended as a true tonic and restorer for invalids, females and delicate persons.”

Not much question but what if enough were taken it would give buoyancy to the spirits. Among other things it is a nerve stimulator, a sure remedy for dyspepsia and indigestion; a reliable antidote for chills, fevers and. all malarial diseases.

On their circular they again repeat:

“Congress Bitters are not an intoxicating beverage. * * * They are classed strictly as a medical agent. Can be given at all times with beneficial results.”

This wonderful preparation, $1.00 per bottle for about 12 ounces, is found to contain as follows:

Volume . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 360 c. c.

Specific gravity at 25° C . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9702

Solids, grams per 100 c. c . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.70

Ash, grams per 100 c. c . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0.0128

Sugar, grams per 100 c. c . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.01

Alcohol by volume . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29.06%

Phosphates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. present

Emodin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. absent

Cinnamon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . , . .. present

Capsicum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. present

Plant tissue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . absent

Plant extract . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . small amount

Aside from the sugar, there is very little of other solids. At most only a slight trace of mineral matter is present; the sugar and alcohol are the chief and essential constituents, together with flavoring matter in this beverage.

Dundas Dick & Company

That is an unfamiliar and interesting name. Is it one person or two? A search and follow-up uncovers a special medicine-man from Edinburgh, Scotland. Dundas Dick was born around 1838 and brought up in Heriot’s Hospital, which was founded in Edinburgh to educate the sons of freeman of that city.

At the age of fourteen he was apprenticed by the governors of the hospital to an apothecary in Edinburgh. After that apprenticeship, he found similar employment in Glasgow. While there he learned how to make gelatin capsules. An 1861 Scotland census shows Dundas Dick living in Edinburgh with his mother Isabella Dick who was sixty years old. In 1864, he came to New York alone with dreams of a new life, capsules on his mind and I’m sure, his savings from Scotland.

Dundas next shows up in 1865 in New York City where he is selling capsules for Tape Worms. He was described as a slight-built, low-sized, delicate-looking man with a smooth face by one newspaper account. He was a life-long bachelor and and his only relative in the states was his brother. An 1866 IRS Tax Report notes a Dundas Dick, Manufacturer who is located at 547 Broome in New York City. He receives his U.S. naturalization papers in 1868. Here is an 1872 newspaper ad below saying how safe his Castor Oil soft capsules are. No taste, no smell, no Croton Oil and so pleasant that children ask for more!

His capsules would make him rather famous, wealthy and get him in trouble too. In 1873, there was a mysterious death of an Italian, Professor Domenico Minneill in New York. Dundas Dick was accused, after all, of putting Croton Oil in this Castor Oil capsules. Apparently the professor took the Dundas Dick & Co. pills that lead to his death. Read Full Account.

The Pharmaceutical Era reported in 1902, “It may be news to many druggists that Dundas Dick & Co. were the original makers of soft capsules in this country, having introduced them to the medical profession in 1865. It will not be news, however, to know that their Docuta Sandalwood capsules are being quite generally prescribed by physicians for diseases of the genito-urinary organs. There is good profit in selling these goods and those unacquainted should write to Dundas Dick & Co., 112 White street, New York, for their literature.”

Dundas Dick, in his chemical and manufacturing laboratory, would come up with all kinds of medicines and cures along with his Tape Worm Capulets such as Sandalwood Capsules, Castor Oil Capsules, Seidlitine Seidlitz Powders, Thermaline and eventually his Congress Bitters in 1879 or so. He brought capsules to America and invented and patented many machines for facilitating and producing capsules in a cheaper way.

His bitters were so popular, they would sell all the way up to 1908. I suspect the C 215 Congress Bitters amber square listed in Bitters Bottles might have been his first bottle while the C 216 amber rectangular bottles were his work horse. This bottle is rated scarce but they are out there. Is it the Congress Bitters bottle related to Dundas Dick? Probably so, but we will not know until a labeled example shows up.

The postal card below from the Joe Gourd collection certainly ties the Capitol trade-mark card to his card. Note that it says “Please send one doz. Congress Bitters, with the framed Show Card and Advertising matter…” The bottles analyzed in Kansas were 12 ounces so that also matches the bottle sizes noted in Ring and Ham.

During his years in the patent medicine business, Dundas Dick made several fortunes which indicates that he lost the same in intervals. In the late 1880s, Dundas seemed to have been suffering from mental health issues. One report finds him arrested in 1887 for leaning against a lamp post and singing in a loud and inharmonious strains. When confronted, he said he had no home and he would do as he pleased. This sounds like onset dementia to me. His new partners at the time, James Hardie and Michael E. Finnigan, would bail him out at the local police station and take him to debtors quarters where he lived by himself with three nurses who were employed to care for him and see that the was not left alone, as he would often wander away or run off. A physician was also employed to give him the necessary medical attention. This help all cost money and it was said that his present wealth in 1887 was estimated at over $100,000 and that the had a nice income from property in New York City, Brooklyn and Flatbush.

Dundas Dick would die on April 1, 1893, on his birthday. He was 55 years old. His obituary said he died of paresis.

The Dundas Dick Co. would continue in business until 1906 or so followed by the Dundas Drug Co. until 1914. They were selling Quinine, 3-D Kidney Pills, Liver Pills and Stomach Pills at 502-4 Canal Street in New York City. The little bottle above contains Quinine with a Dundas Drug Co. label. That’s a 50 year run of the Dundas name in capsules, pills, medicines and the Congress Bitters, A Great American Tonic!

Full page advertisement for Dundas Dick & Co., Manufacturing Pharmaceutical Chemists, 112 White Street, New York – Nashville Journal of Medicine and Surgery, Volumes 50-51, 1882

Dundus Dick & Co. were eventually listed in 1881 as manufacturing chemists located at 112 White Street in New York. The company and their products are represented nicely below. The select group of images are from an 1881 Dundas Dick & Company Thermaline Malaria Medicine booklet given out by druggist, J. F Schmidt from Patterson, New Jersey.


The following represent a select group of advertising trade cards. Most mention product names accompanied by eye-catching illustrations and many had handy annual calendars.

Select Listigs:

1838: Dundas Dick, Birth Date: abt 1838 – New York, New York, Death Index, 1892-1898, 1900-1902
1861: Dundas Dick, Chemist & Druggist’s Assistant, Age: 22, Estimated Birth Year: abt 1839, Relationship: Son (visitor), Where born: Edinburgh, Midlothian, Registration Number: 685/2, Registration district: St Andrew, Civil Parish: Edinburgh St Mary, County: Midlothian, Address: 2 East Broughton Pl, Household Members: Isabella Dick 60, Dundas Dick 22, Magdalene Johnston 12, Andrew Robertson 25 – 1861 Scotland Census
1865: Dundas Dick & Co. introduced capsules for Tape WormsNashville Journal of Medicine and Surgery, Volumes 50-51, 1882
1866: Dundas Dick, Manufacturer, 547 Broome, assets 10.00, State of New York – U.S. IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862-1918
1868: Dundas Dick, Declaration, 3 August 1868, State of New York, Herkimer County, New York – New York, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1940

1872: Newspaper advertisement (below) Castor Oil sold by Dundas Dick & Co., 35 Wooster Street in New York – New York Herald, Wednesday, October 16, 1872

1873: Newspaper notice (below) The Mysterious Death of the Italian Prof. Domenico Minneill. Dundas Dick & Co. does not use croton oil – The Sun, Monday, February 17, 1873

1875: Dundas Dick & Co., capsules, 30 Wooster – Goulding’s Business Directory of New York, 1875
1877: Dundas Dick & Co., Capsules, 35 Wooster – Goulding’s Business Directory of New York, 1877
1878 – 1880: Dundas Dick & Co. (Dundas Dick), Drugs, 35 Wooster – New York, New York, City Directory
1879: Dundas Dick of New York files a patent application for “A medical compound“, 5th June, 1879 – US Patent Office

1881: Newspaper advertisement (below) Various Dundas Dick & Co. products, manufacturing chemists, 112 White Street, New York – New Philadelphia Ohio Democrat, November 10, 1881

1882: Full page advertisement (above) for Dundas Dick & Co., Manufacturing Pharmaceutical Chemists, 112 White Street, New York – Nashville Journal of Medicine and Surgery, Volumes 50-51, 1882
1882: Newspaper advertisement (below) Congress Bitters by Dundas Dick & Co. –  New Philadelphia Ohio Democrat, January 12, 1882

1883: Dundas Dick & Co. (Dundas Dick), Chemist, 112 White – New York, New York, City Directory, 1883
1890: Dundas Dick, State: New York, County: Kings, Town: Flatbush, Year: 1890 – U.S., Indexed County Land Ownership Maps, 1860-1918

1893: Dundas Dick, Death: 1 Apr 1893, New York, New York – New York, New York, Death Index, 1892-1898, 1900-1902
1897: Dundas & Co., Chemists, 112 White – New York, New York, City Directory, 1897
1906: Capsules: Dundas Dick Co., 79 Varick, New York, New York – New York, New York, City Directory, 1906
1914: Newspaper advertisement (below) The Dundas Drug Co. selling 3-D Kidney Pills, 502-4 Canal Street, N.Y.C. – New York Tribune, Sunday, July 5, 1914

Posted in Advertising, Apothecary, Bitters, Druggist & Drugstore, Ephemera, History, Liquor Merchant, Medicines & Cures, Remedy, Scams & Frauds, Tonics, Trade Cards | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Excelsior Stomach Bitters – Rose’s Drug Store, Westminster, Maryland

Excelsior Stomach Bitters – Rose’s Drug Store

Westminster, Maryland

04 January 2019

Here is an advertisement below for a possibly unlisted Excelsior Stomach Bitters that I came across during research for the Excelsior Stomach Bitters post from St. John, Iowa. This bitters is late and was advertised in 1904, came in three sizes (25c, 50c and $1 bottles) and could be purchased at Rose’s Drug Store in Westminster, Maryland. Westminster is northwest of Baltimore City. Being from Baltimore, I was curious.

Excelsior Stomach Bitters at Rose’s Drug Store, Westminster, Maryland

The Democratic Advocate, March 5, 1904

John J. Rose

At first I pictured a more matronly “Rosie the Riveter” type lady behind the druggist counter doling out drugs but it turns out that we are talking about John J. Rose, a life-long druggist born in Baltimore, Maryland on March 9, 1869. He was the youngest son of George and Eliza Rose. His father and older brother were butchers in Baltimore.

By 1900, at the age of 31, he purchased A. H. Huber’s long-standing drug store and opened his drug store at 183 East Main Street in Westminster, Maryland. Huber had started his own drug store in 1865 and was the successor to Huber and Royer at No.2 Carroll Hall in Westminster. They sold drugs, chemicals, patent medicines, fancy articles and perfumery. One of their main products was Hering’s Compound Syrup of Blackberry Root.

Soda Fountain, circa 1905

Rose’s first newspaper advertisement in 1900 asks the reader to “Try My Ice Cream Soda” drawn from his new soda fountain at Rose’s Modern Drug Store. He was also selling crushed fruit, pure fruit juices, ice cream, mineral waters, pure drugs, chemicals, toilet articles, soaps, patent medicines, perfumery, shoulder braces and trusses, cigars, Kodaks and photo supplies and stationery etc. Of course he was filling prescriptions too. As noted above, he would sell the Excelsior Stomach Bitters in 1904. Rose would guarantee in his ads that the bitters would give great relief or a cure for dyspepsia, indigestion, biliousness, constipation and sour stomach.

We can’t say for certain that this is his bitters but it probably was, as we find no reference in this time period and region of a maker of Excelsior Stomach Bitters. I am not aware of any surviving bottles.

Rose would operate his drug store up until his death in January 1918. At this point, Randolph Wehler, from Washington, D.C. opened a new drug store that was formally occupied by Rose’s Drug Store.

5c Trade Token from Rose’s Drug Store, Carroll County, Westminster, Maryland

Main Street Post Cards, Westminster, Maryland

A.H. Huber (Successor to Huber & Royer) (John J. Rose would buy this concern in 1900, see below), Westminster, Maryland

The Democratic Advocate, December 21, 1865

Try My Ice Cream Soda at Rose’s Drug Store (formerly Huber’s), Westminster, Maryland

The Democratic Advocate, December 29, 1900

Ex-Sheriff wins the handsome doll at Rose’s Drug Store, Westminster, Maryland

The Democratic Advocate, December 29, 1900

Rose’s Phosphatic Emulsion of Norwegian Cod Liver Oil being sold at at Rose’s Drug Store, 185 E. Main Street, Westminster, Maryland

The Democratic Advocate, November 7, 1903

Soda Fountain just installed at Rose’s Drug Store, Westminster, Maryland

The Democratic Advocate, June 30, 1911

Rose’s Drug Store robbed on East Main Street in Westminster, Maryland

The Democratic Advocate, June 29, 1917

New Drug Store formally occupied by Rose’s Drug Store, 183 East Main Street, Westminster, Maryland

The Democratic Advocate, October 4, 1918

Select Listings:

1869: John J. Rose, Birth Date: 9 March 1869 – U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current
1870: John Rose, Age in 1870: 1, Birth Year: abt 1869, Birthplace: Maryland, Dwelling Number: 453, Home in 1870: Baltimore Ward 17, Baltimore, Maryland, Inferred Father: George Rose, Inferred Mother: Eliza Rose, Household Members: George Rose 50, Eliza Rose 41, Andrew Rose 20, Charles Rose 18, Francis Rose 16, Theresa Rose 14, Harry Rose 12, Clara Rose 10, Irene Rose 8, Welborne Rose 5, John Rose 1 – 1870 United States Federal Census
1900: John J Rose, Druggist, Age: 31, Birth Date: March 1869, Birthplace: Maryland, Home in 1900: Westminster, Carroll, Maryland, Street: East Main Street, House Number: 67, Sheet Number: 22, Number of Dwelling in Order of Visitation: 422, Family Number: 441, Relation to Head of House: Boarder, Marital Status: Married, Marriage Year: 1895, Father’s Birthplace: Maryland, Mother’s Birthplace: Maryland – 1900 United States Federal Census
1900: Newspaper advertisement (above) Try My Ice Cream Soda at Rose’s Drug Store (formerly Huber’s), Westminster, Maryland – The Democratic Advocate, December 29, 1900
1903: Newspaper advertisement (above) Rose’s Phosphatic Emulsion of Norwegian Cod Liver Oil being sold at at Rose’s Drug Store, 185 E. Main Street, Westminster, Maryland – The Democratic Advocate, November 7, 1903
1904: Newspaper advertisement (above) Excelsior Stomach Bitters at Rose’s Drug Store, Westminster, Maryland – The Democratic Advocate, March 5, 1904
1911: Newspaper advertisement (above) Soda Fountain just installed at Rose’s Drug Store, Westminster, Maryland – The Democratic Advocate, June 30, 1911
1918: John J. Rose, Death Date: 21 Jan 1918, Cemetery: Saint Johns Cemetery, Burial or Cremation Place: Westminster, Carroll County, Maryland, Spouse: Regina C. Rose – U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current
1918: Newspaper advertisement (above) Randolph Wehler Opening a New Drug Store formally occupied by Rose’s Drug Store, 183 East Main Street, Westminster, Maryland – The Democratic Advocate, October 4, 1918
Posted in Advertising, Apothecary, Bitters, Druggist & Drugstore, History, Medicines & Cures, Questions | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Daily Dose | 2019

2 0 1 9

14 February 2019 | Thursday (Valentine’s Day)

I posted earlier today on Continental Bitters advertised by Mayer, Strouse & Baum in Philadelphia from 1861 to 1863. During my research, I came across these other Continental Bitters and Old Continental Bitters ads.

The first is an 1864 advertisement for McCullough’s Continental Bitters advertised in Richmond, Virginia in 1864. This appears to be unlisted.

Here is an 1868 advertisement below for an Old Continental Bitters “now manufactured by Dr. H.S. GeEENO of Topeka, Kansas.” This appears to be unlisted.

Here below is an advertisement for Thurston’t Old Continental Bitters sold in Lynn, Massachusetts 1887. The bitters is listed in Bitters Bottles as T 26, Thurston’s Old Continental Bitters. It was prepared by George B. Thurston of Lynn, Mass. There are rectangular, aqua bottles out there.

12 February 2019 | Tuesday

Hoofland’s German Bitters advertisement for the patent medicine showing a medieval scene. – Library Company of Philadelphia Print Department. According to Hoofland’s Almanacs, this eponymous bitters was “the happy result of intelligent research, coupled with the extensive practice of Dr. Christoph Wilhelm Hueflin (Hoofland) of Gena, Germany.” Dr. Hoofland’s Celebrated German Medicines were first being sold in Philadelphia at 278 Race Street in 1847.

Interesting stereo card for the New Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane. Looks like the architect and contractor working in field. The Institute of Pennsylvania Hospital, also known as Kirkbride’s Hospital or the Pennsylvania Hospital for Mental and Nervous Diseases, was a psychiatric hospital located at 48th and Haverford Streets in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It operated from its founding in 1841 until 1997.

11 February 2019 | Monday

Post update: Tobias Barto and his Great Gun Bitters – Reading, PA

09 February 2019 | Saturday

Advertisement for an O 82, Original Aromatic German Bitters put out by Charles Schneyer, Rectifier and Wholesale Liquor Dealer, Not. 154 and 156 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia – Philadelphia City Directory

03 February 2019 | Sunday

It made my day when I pulled this bad boy out of the ground. I dug it from a small 1860s to a early 1870s dump in downtown Savannah. This bitters is the rarest from Savannah and also one of the rarest from the state of Georgia The bottle is about 9 1/2 inches tall and is a dark puce amber color. A hard bottle to photograph due to the intense rainbow color patina on the bottle. – Robert Biro

Read: Deutenhoff’s Swiss Bitters –Savannah

01 February 2019 | Friday

Unlisted bitters listing for Southern Stomach Bitters prepared by Buck, Bailey & Co., Wholesale and Retail Druggists, Jackson, Mississippi. These guys also put out Buck’s Aromatic Bitters. Ad from The Daily Clarion, Saturday, December 16, 1865.

Read more: Dr. E. C. Hydes Southern Stomach Bitters – New Orleans

31 January 2019 | Thursday

Post update: Arabian Bitters – One Thousand and One Nights

26 January 2019 | Saturday

Recently I wrote about a rare Spring Bitters bottle by John W. Service, druggist in Hartford, Connecticut. Here is a much earlier 1859 reference an unlisted Dr. Day’s Spring Bitters in the The Democrat, Tuesday, May 24, 1859. J.H. Leonard was druggist and apothecary from St. Albans, Vermont. This could be related to the D 31 listing in Bitters Bottles.

17 January 2019 | Thursday

New image of extremely rare, Tincture of Centaury Bitters from Louisville, Kentucky. Added to Kentucky’s Top 25 Rarest Bitters Bottles, compiled by Paul Van Vactor, Sheldon Baugh and Steve Keith.

Read: Tincture of Centaury Bitters – Bernheim Brothers & Uri, Louisville, Kentucky

6. Round amber seal bottle embossed on seal BERNHEIM BROS. / & URI / LOUISVILLE / KY. Embossed horizontally below seal ULBRIGHT / RELIABLE / IMPORT CO. / TINCTURE / OF / CENTAURY / BITTERS. Also, embossed vertically on sides: BLOOD PURIFIER / STOMACH TONIC.

Kentucky’s Top 25 Rarest Bitters Bottles, compiled by Paul Van Vactor, Sheldon Baugh and Steve Keith

15 January 2019 | Tuesday

Neat advertising trade card for Drs. Starkey & Palen’s Compound Oxygen, 1529 Arch Street, Philadelphia, circa 1887.

13 January 2019 | Sunday

Post update: Who is I. & L. M. Hellman of St. Louis, Missouri?

12 January 2019 | Saturday

Post update: The great William Allen’s Congress Bitters

03 January 2019 | Thursday

HECKLER has a clear U.S. Gold Bitters in their next auction. Read: U.S. GOLD BITTERS – Augusta, Maine

02 January 2019 | Wednesday

Here is an advertisement below for an unlisted Excelsior Stomach Bitters that I came across during production of the Excelsior Stomach Bitters post from St. John, Iowa. This bitters is late, came in three sizes and could be purchased at Rose’s Drug Store in Westminster, Maryland. Found in the The Democratic Advocate, Saturday, March 5, 1904. I found the token online for sale on eBay.

Read: Excelsior Stomach Bitters – Rose’s Drug Store, Westminster, Maryland

Posted in Advice, Daily Dose, News | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Excelsior Stomach Bitters – Drs. Ault and McGavern – St. John, Iowa

Excelsior Stomach Bitters – Drs. Ault and McGavern

St. John, Iowa

01 January 2019

I recently received, reviewed and responded to a couple of emails and newspaper clippings from Mark Wiseman, a well-known antique bottle collector from Iowa that included advertisements from Iowa newspapers for unlisted bitters including Adler’s Celebrated Anti-Cholera Bitters and Dr. Smith’s Magic Bitters from Council Bluffs, Iowa. One ad also mentioned the Celebrated California Bitters which was a mystery.

I am now looking at an 1867 advertisement from Mark from the Sioux City Register below for an unlisted Excelsior Stomach Bitters manufactured by Drs. Ault and McGavern in St. John, Iowa which is a small town that is not around anymore. Mark included the ad with his email and included an advertisement from the bitters agents, Smith & Moore of Sioux City, Iowa.

Here is Marks email:

Hi Ferdinand, first of all, I wanted to thank you for all the work you did on the bitters ads I had previously sent you. I have really enjoyed your research, on each one, and I have saved them for future use maybe in the Iowa Antique Bottleers Newsletter, if that would be OK with you in the future?

I have been looking for more bitters advertisements at the State Historical Library on microfilm that you might be interested in. I have looked and looked. Today I finally found a real teaser. It also is from 1867. The ad started on June 1, 1867 in the Sioux City Register newspaper. It is for “Excelsior Stomach Bitters” Manufactured by Drs. Ault and McGavern, of St. Johns, Iowa and sold by Smith & Moore, Sioux City, Iowa. There is no St. Johns, Iowa anymore.

I do have this this initial information from the book, Abandoned Towns, Villages and Post Offices of Iowa by D. C. Mott, reprinted from the Annals of Iowa Volumes XVII & XVIII, 1930-1932.

Harrison, County, Iowa: “Saint Johns. A town in sections 27 and 28, Saint Johns Township, on the southeast side of the Boyer River and about two miles southeast of the present city of Missouri Valley. Platted in 1857 and an important town in its day. Post office, 1858-71”

(New Saint Johns. The name first applied, but only for a brief period to the present city of Missouri Valley.) (Old Saint Johns. The name applied to Saint Johns in the later years of its existence.)

I have attached three photos of the advertisement, and will follow with the first advertisement from Smith and Moore on June 9, 1866.

I hope you can have some fun with this. The Iowa 1875 Atlas had nothing.

Your Friends, Mark and Jimmy the Pup

I was able to find the following support information related to Mark’s email. I embellished the map below with graphics so to better understand the locales discussed. Just click to enlarge.

1868 History: St. John Township, Harrison County, Iowa

Missouri Valley, Harrison County, Iowa

Missouri Valley is beautifully situated at the foot of the bluffs, is one mile from the Boyer River, six miles form the Missouri and at the junction of the C. & N. W. Railroad and U. P. & S. C. Railroad. It contains one hundred dwellings. The population is about 600 hundred. The freight agent, Mr. Waldo Abell, of the C. & N. W. Railroad Company, informed me that during the winter months of 1867 and 1868, the net income of this office was $35,000 per month. The township now has six school houses, in each of which are taught from six to nine months of school.

Historical View of Erie Street, Missouri Valley, Iowa taken on July 4th, 1876. Photo was most likely taken by W.E. Benton who had a studio in Missouri Valley, and did Stereo Photography.

Missouri Valley Businesses

T. E. Brannen, attorney at law; P. D. Mickel, attorney at law; J. M. Riley, saddler and harness maker; H. C. Warner, wholesale and retail dealer in general merchandise; R. McGavern & Company, dealers in hardware and agricultural implements; Smith and Cogswell, carpenters and joiners; McGavern & Hull, dealers in drugs; D.A. Babcock, dealers in stoves, tinware and farming implements; J.C. Enke, plaster and brick layer; McBride & Birchard, druggists; L. S. Snyder & Company, dealers in stoves, tinware and hardware.

Here is a newspaper advertisement below from 1867 from the Sioux City Register noting that Sharpe & Clark were architects and builders in St. John, Iowa in 1867, the same year as the bitters ad.

St. John Township, Iowa

According to the Iowa State Gazetteer: St. John is situated in the southern part of the county, six miles from the Missouri River. It has one general store. Population 30.

St. John was located in Missouri Valley, Harrison County, Iowa pretty much across the river and due east from Omaha, Nebraska.

Harrison County was organized in 1853, and from that period up until 1857, the south part of the county constituted a precinct for voting purposes, and held elections at Harris Grove. In the summer of 1857, the township of St. John was organized.

In 1851, Mr. William Dakan, an enterprising farmer, settled here. It was again two years before any additions were made to the number of these enterprising men. This year (1853), William Spencer, John Deal, John Hatcher, Champion Frazier and others settled here and commenced preparing farms.

In the fall of 1857, a company was organized consisting of Robert and George McGavern, John Deal, G. H. Cotton, E.W. Bennett, Noah Harris, P. J. Purple and James A. Jackson. The company was organized the 27th day of August, by selecting Robert McGavern, president; E.W. Bennett, secretary. The object of this company was to lay off and build up a town; consequently, the town of St. John was laid out, and building immediately commenced.

Harvey & Woodruff opened a store that fall and Jacob Preston opened a hotel which he called the Boyer Valley House, and soon sold out to Jacob Fulton. A school house and some dwellings were built the same season. The winter not being favorable, improvements now ceased until spring, when there was a general waking up all over the township, and improvements went ahead. This year the town built a school house, the best then in the county. Thus improvements went on until wildcat banks failed all over the country, ruining a great many good business men, and casting its blight on old and new towns.

But railroads build towns, and in 1867 the cars made their appearance one mile northwest from St. John, the New St. John was laid off; since, however, the name has been changed.

Adam Thompson Ault

Adam Thompson Ault was born on August 20, 1822 in Clark County, Ohio. Ault, a physician by trade, was the son of Jacob Ault and Elizabeth Moler. He settled with his family in Johnson County, Iowa about 1839. He eventually moved to Shelby and Harrison County, in the western area of the state and partnered with George Henry McGavern to manufacture Excelsior Stomach Bitters for a very short period of time.

Ault married Mary Ann Barnett in Ottumwa (Wapello County), Iowa on 17 October 1847. They had at least four children: Mary C. (1849-Wapello County), Lily Dale (1855-Harlan), Harvey J. (1858-Harlan) and Frank A. (1859-Harlan). He was the brother of Margaret Emily, Emery and Eliza Jane Ault.

The Iowa State Historical Society noted in the History of Franklin County, Iowa, that a Dr. A. T. Ault, in 1855-56, was named a commissioner to select a seat of government for Franklin County.

Dr. Ault was one of Harlan, Iowas’s first doctors and on August 1858, Ault plotted territory for Harlan. Harlan was named for one of Iowa’s early U.S. Senators, James Harlan. Harlan was designated the county seat in 1859. The town was incorporated on May 2, 1879. Harlan was also very close to St. John, Iowa which was also in its infancy.

Looking at various federal and state census records, Ault shows up in at least four Iowa counties: Shelby (Harlan), Franklin (Hampton), Jasper (Newton) and Harrison (Missouri Valley – St. John) where the Excelsior Stomach Bitters was made. He also could have been a land agent according to some references as Ault is listed in court records as the defendant in what appears to be several lot disputes. Interesting to note, a trip by horse was estimated to cover 20 – 40 miles per day so it is plausible he often traveled back and forth between the counties in his concern.

In 1860, Ault, 38, and James M. Long built the first Courthouse at the corner of Court and Seventh Street in Harlan. Later, Dr. Ault, with A. L. Hasvey and L. W. Woodruff, kept a small general merchandise store that could be pictured below. On September 4, 1858, Ault called to order the first meeting of the Shelby County Agricultural Society (the precurser to the Shelby County Fair Board).

Dr. Ault would then muster as a Union Captain of Company C, 22nd Iowa Infantry, on 22 August 1862 in Newton, Iowa. He became badly ill during the Siege of Vicksburg, and resigned his commission on 8 August 1863.

Looking at 1866 tax records, we see that Dr. Ault would purchase a Manufacturer license for $10. This was probably for his bitters as it was in 1867 that we see Drs. Ault and McGavern in St. John, Iowa, manufacturing Excelsior Stomach Bitters. The new drug concern, Smith & Moore (B.F. Smith and M.F. Moore) in Sioux City, Iowa were noted as the sole agents for the Northwest covering Iowa, Nebraska and Dakota. They had just opened a new drug store and were selling “Pure, Fresh and New Drugs!”, “Popular Patent Medicines”, “Wines & Liquors (for medicinal purposes only,” and paints, oils, dye stuffs, cloth, tooth, nail, paint and varnish, brushes, trusses, supporters, shoulder-braces, hair oils, pomades, fancy soaps and toilet articles. Their terms stated that they would taake greenbacks, gold dust urchin, in small quantities.

Dr. Ault lived his later years in Hannibal, Missouri and Arkansas after the Civil War. In his 1881 pension application, in which he claimed he was totally disabled from his wartime illness, he described himself as 5′ 10″ tall, with dark hair and blue eyes.

Dr. Ault died on October 04, 1883, age 61 in Perry County, Arkansas.

Drs. George Henry McGavern and Robert McGavern

George Henry McGavern was born on March 8, 1819 in Indiana County, Pennsylvania. His brother Robert was born in May, two years later. Their parents were George McGavern (1778-1853) and Nancy J. Ewart (1782-1861). It is not known what brought the brothers, in the 1850s, to Missouri Valley in Harrison County Iowa where George Henry practiced medicine and his brother operated a hardware stored sold farm equipment. George Henry was noted as a county pioneer and an eminent physician, and the leading medical practitioner in that part of western Iowa up until the 1880s.

On October 15 1849, Dr. George Henry McGavern married Lucinda Fosnancht in Wyandot, Ohio. They would have seven children. He would become chairman of the first board of supervisors of Harrison county, and in 1870, he was its representative in the State Legislature.

In the fall of 1857, in Missouri Valley, Iowa, a company was organized consisting of Robert and George McGavern, John Deal, G. H. Cotton, E.W. Bennett, Noah Harris, P. J. Purple and James A. Jackson. The company was organized the 27th day of August, by selecting Robert McGavern, president; E.W. Bennett, secretary. The object of this company was to lay off and build up a town; consequently, the town of St. John was laid out, and building immediately commenced.

We see both brothers living in St John through the 1860s so one, if not both, are associated with the Excelsior Stomach Bitters.

Dr. George Henry McGavern died at the home of his daughter on the 16th of January 1895. Robert would die one year later.

The Bottle

Like many unlisted bitters that only existed in a moment of time, there are no examples of the Ault & McGavern Excelsior Stomach Bitters bottles, at least that I am aware of. The bitters was probably only made for a year, if that long.

There is however, a listing in Bitters Bottles (E 65.5) for an Excelsior Stomach Bitters with Ault & Hammer embossed on the bottle. It is square, amber, has three sunken panels and was dug on a farm in Western Iowa. I would really like to see this bottle. Obviously a huge piece to this story.

It appears that there were two druggist in Des Moines, Iowa at this time; Alfred Hammer who is reported to have opened a laboratory for manufacturing photographic chemicals in 1870 in Council Bluffs and his brother Alvin. Alvin G. Hammer was a druggist on the East side of Des Moines while his brother Alfred was a druggist on the west side of the Des Moines River.

There is also a listing in Bitters Bottles for an E 66.5 and an E 66.7 labeled Excelsior Strengthening Bitters, Des Moines Pharamacal Co. which would have been Alfred Hammer bottles.

Mark Wiseman, in a twist of irony, drives by the old Alvin G. Hammer, painted and ghosted graphics below each time he goes to the Iowa State Historical Library.

Alfred Hammer

Alvin G. Hammer and his older brother Alfred Hammer were engaged in the drug business in Des Moines. Alfred was brought to America during his infancy and was educated in the public schools of Mayville, Wisconsin, until 1866, when he took up the study of chemistry at Milwaukee under Gustavus Bode, state chemist. In 1870, he came to Iowa, settling in Council Bluffs, where he established a chemical laboratory and began the manufacture of photographer’s chemicals and also the reduction of gold and silver in conjunction with the conduct of a drug store. In 1872 he disposed of his business there to his partner and came to Des Moines, where he accepted a position with Dr. William Baker, then the oldest druggist in Des Moines, with whom he continued for two years. In 1874 he established a business of his own at the southeast corner of Court avenue and Second street, in a building vacated by George M. Hippee & Company, druggists.

[Western Druggist, Volume 14, 1892]

Mr. Alfred Hammer (pictured), who has been in the drug business here in Des Moines for over twenty-five years, has just returned from the far West, where he spent several months. True to the instincts of his craft, he visited drug stores everywhere he went, and, in an interview graciously accorded the writer, related many interesting things concerning the same.

At Salt Lake City he saw and was entertained by Charles Lewis, formerly of this city. Mr. Lewis is doing well. At Portland he met Dr. Plumber, a prominent and wealthy wholesaler, who made a tour of the retail stores with him, and there are many fine ones in that thrifty city. The finest store he saw was in Oakland—says, indeed, that “there is not a single cheap Jim Crow drug store in that city.” No more was there in Victoria or Vancouver. But his account of a visit to a Chinese drug store in San Francisco was the most entertaining of all. He entered this ridiculous store—size about 16×20—bearing a letter of introduction to the proprietor, which same letter was written in Chinese. Not one single feature of the conventional American drug store was visible to Mr. Hammer as he gazed around this dismal room, although he wore his glasses. One side was all drawers clear up to the ceiling, but not one of them was labeled. He did finally get sight of an old army scale. The proprietor showed him various drugs, such as horrid dried snakes and a lot of nasty dried lizards—big ones. These, he said, were given to cure fits, and both were very salable. He next showed Mr. Hammer some pieces of ginseng root brought from China, costing him $50.00 an ounce. The ginseng, he said, was used as a charm, and he kept it very carefully; indeed, he took it out of a box which was inside of a box, and that box within yet another. In the back room was a fellow at work with a wooden mallet pounding and flattening out roots on a sort of butcher block. There were no mortars, no graduates, no bottles or glassware, and no liquids in any form whatever on the premises. Everything was dry, even to the little dried-up Mongolian who operated the ranch. It seems they fill no prescriptions. Doctors carry their own medicines with them buying their supplies of dry medicines either off him or at the other place, for there is one other similar establishment in the city. The proprietor asked Mr. Hammer, as he bid him good-by, if Americans made any money at the business? The reply must have been very satisfactory indeed, for Mr. H. assured him, with a broad smile, that “some did and some didn’t.”

Illustrative of the truths contained in a statement made in a previous letter to the effect that drug stores were fast becoming general information bureaus. Mr. Hammer told me that he never once in all his travels, asked information from a policeman; he invariably went into a drug store with his questions.

There is also a listing in Bitters Bottles (E 63) for an Excelsior Bitters with no name embossed or associated with the bottle. The book notes, “Distributor unknown, but specimens found in the West.” Jim Hagenbuch with Glass Works Auctions, auctioned off an example a few years back.

Read More on Iowa Bitters:

Dandelion & Wild Cherry Bitters – Farmersburg and McGregor, Iowa

Looking at Severa’s Stomach Bitters from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Could the Doctor John Russ Wormwood Stomach Bitters be from Iowa?

Dr. Von Hopf’s Curacoa or Curaco (or Curacao) Bitters

Select Listings:

1819: George Henry McGavern, Birth Date: 8 March 1819, Birth Place: Indiana County, PennsylvaniaU.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current
1822: Capt Adam Thompson Ault, Birth Date: 20 August 1822, Birth Place: Clark County, OhioU.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current
1848: Adam T. Ault, Marriage Date: 17 October 1848, Marriage Place: Wapello County, Iowa, Spouse: Mary Ann BarnettIowa, Select Marriages Index, 1758-1996
1849: Marriage George Henry McGavern to Lucinda Fosnancht, 15 October 1849, Marriage Place: Wyandot, Ohio – Ohio, County Marriage Records, 1774-1993
1850: Adam T Ault, Physician, Age: 29, Birth Year: abt 1821, Birthplace: Virginia, Home in 1850: District 13, Wapello, Iowa, Family Number: 502, Household Members: Peter Barnett 47, Sarah M Barnett 39, Thomas Barnett 12, William B Barnett 5, Taylor P Barnett 1, Adam T Ault 29, Mary A Ault 19, Mary C Ault 1, Sarah I Cochran 15, David E Hall 16 – 1850 United States Federal Census
1850: G H McGavern, Age: 31, Birth Year: abt 1819, Birthplace: Pennsylvania, Home in 1850: Harrison, Logan, Ohio, Family Number: 94, Household Members: Owen Sullivan 30, Mary Sullivan 30, Mary Sullivan 3, Timothy Sullivan 1, Philip Carter 19, David Thelin 25, Cornelius Sullivan 21, G H McGavern 31, Lucinda McGavern 22, John Milson 21, Hiram Krouse 18 – 1850 United States Federal Census
1856: A T Ault, Age: 33, Birth Year: abt 1823, Birth Place: Ohio, Residence Date: 1856, Residence Place: Newton, Jasper, Iowa, Gender: Male, Marital Status: Married, Household Members: A T Ault 33, Mary An Ault 24, Mary E Ault 7, Lily D Ault 1 – Iowa, State Census Collection, 1836-1925
1857: In the summer of 1857, the township of St. John was organized.
1860: George Henry McGavern, Physician, Age: 40, Birth Year: abt 1820, Birth Place: Pennsylvania, Home in 1860: St. John, Harrison, Iowa, Post Office: St John, Dwelling Number: 17, Family Number: 17, Real Estate Value: 6,000, Personal Estate Value: 1,500, Household Members: G H McGavern 40, Lucinda McGavern 30, Maria McGavern 9, Viola McGavern 7, Lenora McGavern 5, Charles W McGavern, Joseph W Reilly 30 – 1860 United States Federal Census
1860: Robert McGavern, Physician, Age: 38, Birth Year: abt 1822, Birth Place: Pennsylvania, Home in 1860: St John, Harrison, Iowa, Post Office: St John, Dwelling Number: 42, Family Number: 42, Occupation: Physician, Real Estate Value: 13000, Personal Estate Value: 3000, Household Members: Robert McGavern 38, Elizabeth R McGavern 33, James K McGavern 13, George W McGavern 11, Mary E McGavern 7, Samuel Myres 19, Stephen Furman 21, Nancy McGavern 79 – 1860 United States Federal Census
1860: Adam T Ault, Age: 38, Birth Year: abt 1822, Birth Place: Ohio, Residence Place: Harlan, Shelby, Iowa, Household Members: Adam I Ault 38, Mary A Ault 28, Mary C Ault 10, Lily Dale Ault 5, Harvey J Ault 2, Frank A Ault 7/12 – Iowa, State Census Collection, 1836-1925
1862: Adam T Ault, Iowa, Age at Enlistment: 40, Enlistment Date: 2 Aug 1862, Rank at enlistment: Captain, State Served: Iowa, Survived the War?: Yes, Service Record: Commissioned an officer in Company C, Iowa 22nd Infantry Regiment on 10 Sep 1862. Mustered out on 08 Aug 1863, Birth Date: abt 1822 – Roster & Record of Iowa Soldiers in the War of RebellionNational Archives: Index to Federal Pension Records
1865: George McGavern, St. John – Iowa State Gazetteer, 1865
1866: A.T. Ault 1866 Annual IRS Tax List; District 4, Division 6, Newton, A.T. Ault Income, $153 (3% $7.75, Carriage (worth $50) $1, Gold Watch $1, then a separate line for Ault & Co. Manufacturer, Peddler 1st Class $50 License, Manufacturer license $10. – 1866 Annual IRS Tax List
1867: Newspaper advertisement (above) Excelsior Stomach Bitters – Drs. Ault and McGavern – St. Johns, Iowa, Smith & Moore, Sioux City, Iowa, Whole Agents for the Northwest – The Sioux City Register, (Starts June 1, 1867) July 20, 1867
1868: Missouri Valley Businesses: R. McGavern & Company, dealers in hardware and agricultural implements; McGavern & Hull, dealers in drugs (probably George Henry McGavern) – 1868 History: St. John Township, Harrison County, Iowa
1870: Adam T. Ault, Physician, Age in 1870: 51, Birth Year: abt 1819, Birthplace: Ohio,Dwelling Number: 146, Home in 1870: Hannibal, Marion, Missouri, Personal Estate Value: 1,600, Real Estate Value: 8,500, Inferred Spouse: Mary Ann Ault, Household Members: Adam T Ault 51, Mary Ann Ault 39, Lillie D Ault 15, Harvey I Ault 12, Frank Ault 9 – 1870 United States Federal Census
1870: Robt McGavern, Farmer and Hardware Merchant, Age in 1870: 48, Birth Year: abt 1822, Birthplace: Pennsylvania, Dwelling Number: 166, Home in 1870: St John, Harrison, Iowa, Father of Foreign Birth: Yes, Mother of Foreign Birth: Yes, Personal Estate Value: 10,600, Real Estate Value: 53,000, Inferred Spouse: Elisabeth R McGavern, Inferred Children: G W McGavern, Mary E McGavern, John S McGavern, Seymour McGavern, Household Members: Robt McGavern 48, Elisabeth R McGavern 43, G W McGavern 21, Mary E McGavern 16, John S Mcgavern 9, Seymour McGavern 6 – 1870 United States Federal Census
1871: Dr. George H. McGavern, Dr. Robert McGavern – Index to the 1971 Centennial
for Missouri Valley, Harrison County, Iowa
1875: Legal: Reports of Cases in Law and Equity, Determined in the Supreme Court of the State of Iowa, Volume 45
Monday, December 11. The plaintiff, for the use of the school fnnd, claims of the defendant, S. J. McBride, the sum of two thousand dollars, on account of various alleged sales of intoxicating liquors to a minor, and to persons in the habit of becoming intoxicated, during the year 1875.
No personal judgment is asked against the defendant, McGavern, but it is alleged that during the time of the sales he owned the building in which the sales were made, and he is made a party for the purpose of establishing a lien upon the building for any judgment recovered against McBride. The jury returned a verdict for plaintiff for $400.
They also found specially that the defendant, S. J. McBride, did sell or give away intoxicating liquors in the drug store occupied by him, in Missouri Valley, Harrison county, Iowa, with the knowledge and consent of Geo. H. McGavern.
The court rendered judgment against the defendant, S. J. McBride, for the sum of $400 and costs, and declared that the judgment be a lien upon the building in which the sale was made. The defendants appeal.
Michel dfc Brown and W. S. Shoemaker, for appellants.
No argument for appellee.
Day, J.—I. As the appeal of the defendant, McGavern, presents for our consideration distinct questions, which have no connection with the question of the liability of the defendant, McBride, we will, in the first place, consider such questions as affect McGavern alone; and, in the second place, such as affect McBride alone, or both defendants together.
1. The defendant, McGavern, owns the building in which the alleged unlawful sale was made. Section 1558 of the I Iktoxica- Code provides that all judgments of any kind saieGtoqmTM: rendered against any person, for any violation of upon the the provisions of the chapter relating to intoxicapiemises. ting liqllorS, shall be a lien upon the premises and property occupied and used for the unlawful purpose, by the person manufacturing or selling in violation of law, with the consent and knowledge of the owner thereof. The petition in this case charges the defendant, McBride, with violating the provisions of section 1539 of the Code, in that he sold intoxicating liquors to a minor, and to persons in the habit of becoming intoxicated.
The jury found specially that S. J. McBride did sell or give away intoxicating liquor in the drug store occupied by him in Missouri Valley, Harrison county, Iowa, with the knowledge and consent of George H. McGavern. The defendants moved in arrest of judgment upon the ground that the special finding of the jury does not show that defendant, McGavern, had any knowledge of and gave consent to the sales of intoxicating liquors testified to by the witnesses on the stand, within Cobleigh v. McBrlde the year 1875, and for which plaintiff claims forfeiture to the school fund. The action of the court in overruling this motion, as to the defendant, McGavern, is assigned as error. In our opinion, the motion in arrest of judgment should have been sustained. Simply selling or giving away intoxicating liquors, if done without permit, or for an unlawful purpose, is one offense. The selling or giving intoxicating liquors to a minor, or person intoxicated, is altogether a distinct and more aggravated offense, for which a more severe punishment is prescribed. In order that a judgment for a violation of any of the provisions of the chapter relating to intoxicating liquors may be a lien upon the premises in which the unlawful act is done, owned by a third party, such person should have knowledge of and assent to the unlawful act on account of which the judgment is recovered.
The special finding in this case does not show that McGavern had such knowledge, or that he gave such assent. It did not authorize the declaring of the judgment a lien upon his premises.
2. The court instructed the jury as follows: “18th. If you find that the defendant, Geo. H. McGavern, bought intoxicating liquor during the year 1875 of the defendant, S. J. McBride, or if he sent other persons there for that purpose, this would be such knowledge and consent on his part as would bind the building owned by him, and authorize you to find against him.” This instruction is erroneous for the reasons already considered. Even if McGavern had knowledge that McBride was selling intoxicating liquors, his property would not be liable for a judgment recovered, unless he knew McBride was selling to minors or persons in the habit of becoming intoxicated.
Several errors have been assigned by McGavern relative to the admission of testimony, which need not be considered, as the cause must, as to him, be reversed for the errors above discussed, and the same questions will not likely arise upon the re-trial.
1883: Capt Adam Thompson Ault, Death Date: 4 October 1883, Death Place: Perry, Perry County, Arkansas, Cemetery: Martindale Cemetery, Burial or Cremation Place: Pulaski County, Arkansas – U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current
1895: George Henry McGavern, Death Date: 15 January 1895, Death Place: Missouri Valley, Harrison County, Iowa, Cemetery: Oak Grove Cemetery, Burial or Cremation Place: Missouri Valley, Harrison County, Iowa, Spouse: Rosella McGavern, Children: Elbert Guy McGavern, Infant Son McGavern, Lenora Dorr, Charles William McGavern, Nellie Cora Jordan, Robert C. McGavern, Jennie Rice, Hattie L. Sherwood – U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current
1895: Dr. George H. McGAVERN of Missouri Valley, died at the home of his daughter on the 16th of January. He was one of the first pioneers in Harrison county, having settled there early in the “50’s.” He was an eminent physician, and the leading practitioner in that part of western Iowa for more than thirty years. He was chairman of the first board of supervisors of Harrison county, and in 1870 he was its representative in the State Legislature. He left a widow and seven children. The Doctor was widely known throughout western Iowa and highly esteemed. – Annals of Iowa, Volume 2 – Third series, issue # 1, April, 1895
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