Thursday, January 31, 2013

Chicago Board of Trade Members: J. Finley Barrel, James Barrell, and Stewart Barrell

J. Finley Barrell, of Finley Barrell & Company, was CBOT member #5224 along with James Barrell, #5787 and Stewart Barrell, #6651.  Apparently the father of Finley, James Barrell, was a veteran of the grain commission business and had retired before reentering the business with his sons in a firm named for Finley, above.  The CBOT member numbers indicate that Finley had joined earlier than his father.

F. B. & CO.

Thompson scan of a cancel by Finley Barrell & Company

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Chicago Board of Trade Members: Robert Pringle & Company

R. Pringle & Co.

Langlois scan

Robert Pringle, commission trader, was CBOT member #5267.

New York Times, February 12, 1919

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Edwin Hawley, Southern Pacific Assistant General Traffic Manager

E. HAWLEY, A. G. T. M.

Langlois scan


New York Times obituary on Mr. Hawley from February 2, 1912:


Financier and Railroad Magnate Dies at His Home in His 63rd Year.


Roes from Office Boy to be Rival of Harriman--Joined with Goulds in Building Western Pacific.

Edwin Hawley, one of the leading railroad men and financiers of this country, died at his home, 19th East Sixtieth Street, at 4 o'clock yesterday morning.  Mr. Hawley had not been in good health for more than two months...  

Mr. Hawley was an interesting figure because his habits of life and his manners were directly opposite to those who are deemed interesting.  He was always a slow moving, careful, and somewhat ponderous figure in the life of Wall Street.  It was said of him yesterday that when he got started in any direction any person patient enough to keep on his trail would finally discover what goal he was bound for, because, once started, he never turned out of his path until he reached it...In 1909, after one of his spectacular moves in the railroad world, it was said that he had amassed a fortune of more than $20,000,000.  Yesterday, it was said that he was worth anywhere from $40,000,000 to $60,000,000.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

On Beyond Holcombe: Christan Xander

This edition of On Beyond Holcombe by Malcolm A. Goldstein is a part of a continuing series on the firms that used battleship proprietary revenue stamps:

DEC  31  1898

The number of cancellations involving the letter “X” on battleship revenues approaches zero, and the challenge of finding one to construct a philatelically based article around is daunting.  The RB27 cancelled by Christian Xander offers such an opportunity and this writer willingly embraces it, perhaps because his family name makes researching Christian Xander considerably easier than it would be to reconstruct the life of a John Smith whose life paralleled Xander’s in every detail.  Suffice to say, Xander proves an interesting subject.

The genealogical records are sufficient and reasonably straightforward enough to sketch the broad outlines of Xander’s life, providing just enough detail to tantalize.  He appears to have been born in Grossweier, a small town in the state of Baden in southwestern, Germany, quite near Strasbourg, France, on January 10, 1837 the son of an earlier Christian Xander and his wife Magdalena Zerr (Zirn), who himself was the son of an earlier Christian Xander and his wife Maria Jorger.  By 1864, he had emigrated to the District of Columbia, and on December 22nd of that year married Caroline Blume (Blum), also a German emigree born in 1848, at the Concordia Lutheran Church in Washington, D.C.  Although the online baptismal records of the Church (corralled and posted by the Mormon Church) show a male birth (Carl Hy) in September, 1865 and a female birth (Maria Wilhelmine) in December, 1866, he listed his two children as Henry born in 1866, and Mina born in 1868, in the 1880 Census.  Perhaps he simply did not remember his children’s birth dates.

Xander listed himself as a wholesale liquor dealer in that census, but as early as 1872, he was sufficiently established as a merchant to act as an incorporator for the Boundary & Silver Springs Railway Co, a trolley system for the District of Columbia, one of a group of visionary businessmen willing to invest to build the latest transportation improvement for the city of Washington.  However, in responding to a circular letter sent out by the Senate Finance Committee to the business community inquiring about the need for change in custom duties, Xander left a portrait in his own voice of the very small manufacturing portion of his liquor business as it existed in 1893.  As background, he explained that his winery had been established in 1882 and capitalized at $18,000. For the vintage year 1893, he manufactured approximately 10,000 gallons of  “sweet reds and clarets” worth approximately $15,000. Classifying the importance of his business, he affirmed that “[w]ine is a necessity for people of sense as a nutriment and hygienically.” Responding to a series of questions aimed at ascertaining the impact of the then current economic depression, now called the Panic of 1893, on his business, Xander affirmed that he had continued to run at full capacity, had experienced no increase in competition, and had produced more goods than in 1892 “because producing exceptional quality, the demand for it is increasing.” He employed six men at $12 to $21 per week and even sniffed: “[m]y wine-making business is for quality; I care not to sell my own product wholesale - they are above trade wines in quality.” As to his view on the customs duties which were imposed only on imports, he stated, since his trade was “local,” and he feared “no import, ... [his] recommendation [was] to leave things alone.”

As a wholesaler, Xander gave a plug to one of his domestic champagne manufacturers in 1896, by issuing a hearty recommendation of its product as equal to the more expensive imported champagnes.  The manufacturer then printed Xander’s letter in a trade magazine with the following elaboration: “The Opinion of a Wholesale Dealer -  Christian Xander is the largest wholesale liquor dealer in the City of Washington, and enjoys the reputation of being one of the most careful and competent judges of wines in the United States.” Xander’s letter carefully explained that:

As many physicians constantly order your Imperial Sec for delicate patients it must be on their experience that your wine can conveniently take the place of the expensive French champagnes, which especially in the case of poor families, are rather inaccessible, and be the sickness ever so severe, your wine does take the place of the foreign brands with equal effect,

and effusively concluded: “You may use these, my assertions and experiences, for they testify simply to the high character of an honest wine.”  Xander was willing to carry the challenge to foreign imports even further by displaying his own quality wines at the Paris Exposition of 1900.

In 1905, Xander was regarded as a significant enough citizen to serve on one of the committees charged with organizing the Inauguration of President Theodore Roosevelt which took place on March 4th of that year.  However, the most revealing insight into Xander’s private life may be his long support of, and membership in, the Washington Saengerbund, a society dedicated to the promotion of German music.  His son, Henry, who often appeared as the society’s pianist, went on to serve as a longtime director of the group.  Xander died apparently suddenly on March 7, 1908 at age 71 and was buried on March 10, 1908.  His widow continued to make donations of wine to one of the local charity hospitals for years after his death.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Finally A $3 Ocean Passage Ticket -- The Pacific Steam Navigation Company(PSNC)

Frank Sente is back with this post on Ocean Passage Tickets.

It's been nearly two years since we last blogged about Ocean Passage Tickets, and I'm now pleased to report that an example demonstating the $3 tax rate has surfaced.  Now examples are known for all three tax rates: $1 for tickets not exceeding $30; this $3 example for tickets costing more than $30 and not exceeding $60; and $5 for tickets costing more than $60.

Pacific Steam Navigation Company Steamer Colombia  

On March 6, 1901, J.(ohn) O.(scar) Meyerink, a commission merchant from San Francisco, booked first class passage from San Francisco to Punta Arenas on the Pacific Steam Navigation Company Steamer Colombia. 

The Pacific Steam Navigation Company Ocean Passage Ticket
San Francisco, California to Punta Arenas, Costa Rica
March 6, 1901   

At first I assumed the destination, Punta Arenas, referred to the Chilean port city by that name in the Strait of Magellan.  However as I began to research the document and the various travel endorsements penned upon the back side where the $3 stamp is located (see image below), I'm now quite certain that Meyerink's ticket instead was for Puntarenas, then a major port city on the west coast of  Costa Rica.

According to this destination and rate chart for the Pacific Steam Navigation Company as published in the Pacific Line Guide to South America, the company's routes did not extend south of Valparaiso, Chile and note that the reduced cabin rate for "Punta Arenas", Costa Rica is listed as $40, the price of this ticket.  Flip back a page in the rate chart, and you'll see that the rate previously had been $80.  Apparently the Pacific Steam Navigation Company, a British firm, was having a rate price war with the better established and more popular Pacific Mail Steamship Company, a U.S. firm, but that's another story.  I also was particularly interested to note mention of  "U.S. Revenue Stamp Additional" in the heading of the PSNC rate chart.

Reverse of PSNC Ticket
$3 R174 Commerce Issue tied by blue double ring cancel of
The P.S.N.C. Co. and C.S.A. de V.
San Francisco

stamp and cancel detail
(double click to enlarge)
The stamp is damaged, creased, and has a cut cancel, but hey, it's the only example of a $3.00 ocean passage usage that's ever been reported, and only the ninth ocean passage ticket recorded from the Spanish American War tax era.
Five separate endorsements appear on the reverse side of the ticket.  First, a typed endorsement at right reading:
Stop-over between San Francisco and Corinto (Nicaragua)
good for three (3) months.
Balfour, Guthrie & Co.
Genl Agts.
That stop-over provision was standard practice for the firm, applicable to every ticket sold, as it appears as one of the purchase conditions stated on their rate chart.
NOTE:      For a map showing the location of Meyerink's various stopover
locations that are detailed in the following text, go to the end of this blog.  
The red boxed handstamp at the top seems to be a ship purser's marking in Spanish documenting the first leg of Meyerink's journey from San Francisco to Champerico, a Guatemalan port town. We don't have other examples to compare to, but it appear to read as follows:
De San Fc. (San Francisco?) a Champerico (Guatemala)
por "Colombia" illegible Z2? or 32?
I'm guessing it was applied to the ticket when the Steamer  Colombia arrived at Champerico and Meyerink disembarked. The handwritten endorsement to the left of the red boxed handstamp also appears to be in the purser's hand and as part of it extends across the left edge of the box, it likely was written directly after the boxed endorsement was completed.  It appears to read as follows:
Good for P.S.N.Co
steamer only from Champerico
to Punta Arenas. Signature
26/3/01 (March 26, 1901)
Nine days later it seems that Meyerink traveled further down the coast of Guatemala from Champerico to San Jose aboard the Chilean C.S.A. de V. steamer Tucapel. The relevant endorsement which appears to the right of the $3 tax stamp reads:

Champerico a San Jose
v.(ia)  Tucapel  3
9/4/901 (April 4, 1901) Signature
Compania Sud-Americana de Vapores
Chilean Steamer Tucapel

Built in 1900 and primarily a cargo ship, the Tucapel, laden with oranges, sank off the coast of Chile in 1911.

The final ticket endosement, to the left of the cancel tying the $3 tax stamp to the ticket, documents travel from La Union, El Salvador to Corinto, Nicaragua, both ports of call on the PSNC route chart, via the steamer Chile.  The endorsement in green ink reads:

La Union to Corinto
por "Chile" v. 4
May 3/01

How Meyerink got from San Jose, Guatemala to La Union, El Salvador is unclear.  Perhaps by land transporation, but I suspect by sea via an undocumented PSNC steamer voyage.  I'm betting that sometime between April 4, when he left for San Jose, Guatemala and May 3 when he left La Union, El Salvador there was another voyage between those locales where Meyerink showed his ticket and the ship's purser simply allowed him to embark and travel without bothering to endorse the ticket. That's conjecture on my part, but I doubt that land travel between San Jose and La Union would have been easy and it would have added to his expenses. 

So why did this ticket survive?  Generally, when one traveled they surrendered their ticket to the ship's purser upon boarding.  In this instance as Meyerink had the opportunity to make stop-overs on his voyage to Punta Arenas, he either was allowed to keep his ticket after it was properly endorsed, or it was returned to him at each point of disembarkation so that he could reboard another vessel to continue his voyage. 

While Meyerink's ticket was written for travel to Punta Arenas, Costa Rica I suspect his final destination all along was Corinto, Nicaragua.  The typed endorsement allowing for stop-overs specifically refers to Corinto, not Punta Arenas.  And if one looks carefully, it appears the handstamped word "Corinto" appears underneath "Punta Arenas" on the face of the ticket. 
faint "Corinto" underneath "Punta Arenas" on ticket

Again, while simply conjecture on my part, I suspect that when Meyerink bought the ticket he specified a final destination of Corinto and in the course of purchasing the ticket a helpful agent pointed out that the price of a ticket to the further port of Punta Arenas, Costa Rica was the same $40 fee as for the Nicaraguan port of Corinto.  So why not have the ticket written for Punta Arenas so that should Meyerink so decide he could have the opportunity to travel to that further destination?  Per PSNC's rate chart, tickets from San Francisco to Corinto, San Juan del Sur, and Punta Arenas all cost $40.

Thus when he disembarked in Corinto, Meyerink was allowed to keep his ticket as it still allowed him the opportunity to travel on to Punta Arenas.  I'm betting he did not travel beyond Corinto, Nicaragua.

Further, in seeking information about J. O. Meyerink, I discovered he was a stamp collector!  His name appeared in the March 1893 Secretary's Report of the American Philatelic Association (became American Philatelic Society in 1908) as a reinstated member.  APS confirmed that Meyerink originally joined in 1891 and became a stockholder in 1893 after the APA incorporated.  He apparently let his membership lapse in 1894.  That he was a collector, I'm sure gave him added incentive to keep this document , not only as a souvenir of a trip, but also because it had that $3 tax stamp on it.  Thank goodness for stamp collectors!

I found him listed in several San Francisco directories at 428 Sansome Street as a shipping and commission merchant, one of which indicated he was a fruit wholesaler.  An 1895 suit against a California salt manufacturer who delivered inferior salt through Meyerink to a Guatemalan firm and an 1894 report of dealings with a Guatemalan coffee plantation offer confirmation of his Central American business dealings and connections. 

His listing in the 1900 census indicated he was born in Germany in 1862, immigrated  in 1880, and became a U. S. citizen in 1892.  In 1884 he married Katie Meyer and they had four children between 1887 and 1895.  Apparently he died sometime before 1910 as he doesn't appear in that census, but Katie, listed as a widow, and the four children are included in the 1910 census.

Most assuredly this was a business trip to either visit existing merchant contacts or to establish new business connections.  It must have been a fancinating trip and a great time to be living in San Francisco.       

Central America Map showing the location of the
five ports referenced on Meyerink's ticket:
1. Champerico, Guatemala
2. San Jose, Guatemala
3. La Union, El Salvador
4. Corinto, Nicaragua
5. Puntarenas (Punta Arenas), Costa Rica

Anyone having knowledge of other taxed ocean passage tickets is invited to report them, with scans if possible, to


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Chicago Board of Trade Members: Luther W. Bodman

Luther W. Bodman was member #3829 of the Chicago Board of Trade.  Edward Bodman was member #6269.  Bother were commission traders on the CBOT.

Milmine, Bodman & Co.
APR  26  1899

Langlois scans

Milmine, Bodman & Co.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Chicago Board of Trade Members: George A. Seaverns Sr. & Jr.

G.  A.  S.
JUL   29   1898

G.  A.  S.
NOV  12  1898

G.  A.  S.
APR  24  1901

The obituary for Louis Seaverns in 1991 tells us something about the work of the George A. Seaverns during the 1898 tax period.  George Sr. was a grain broker along with his son George Jr.  By 1921 George Jr. would start Seaverns & Co. with Louis:

From The Chicago Tribune, June 25, 1991:

Louis Seaverns, 103, a retired stockbroker for Dean Witter Reynolds Inc., worked for the firm until he was 94 years old. He graduated from Harvard University and was in the 1910 class with poet T.S. Eliot, columnist Walter Lippman and John Reed, subject of the movie, ``Reds.``

A longtime resident of Lake Forest, he died Sunday in Lake Bluff Health Center.

His grandfather, George A. Seaverns, had started as a grain broker in Chicago in 1853 by spending $5 to become a member of the Chicago Board of Trade. Mr. Seaverns became a broker in 1913 and he, with his father, George Jr., started the firm of Seaverns & Co. in 1921.

He was successful in the 1920s, but lost heavily in the 1929 stock market crash.  In 1936, he became the treasurer of the Illinois Republican State Central Committee.  He left the brokerage business in the late 1930s and did not return to it until 1960, when he was hired by Dean Witter at age 72.

Survivors include a stepson, James Holliday; a stepdaughter, Winston Dwyer; and a brother, George A. III, 101 years old.

Services for Mr. Seaverns will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday in the Church of the Holy Spirit, Episcopal, 400 E. Westminster Ave., Lake Forest.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

New Orleans Stock Brokers and Cotton Factors: H. Abraham & Son

New Orleans.

David Thompson scan

The Abraham building at 833 Gravier Street in downtown New Orleans.  To view other Cotton Factor posts on this site, click on the Degas painting from New Orleans in the right column of this page.

On Beyond Holcombe: C. Wakefield & Company

This week, Malcolm Goldstein returns with an article on C. Wakefield & Company.

C. W. & CO.
JUL  23  1900

C. W. & CO.
May  25,  '0.

Cyrenius Wakefield, the superstar of C Wakefield & Co, never intended to be either a physician or a patent medicine manufacturer.  His ambition was to homestead a farm and raise stock, and he initially molded his life to pursue this goal.  However, circumstances, both fortunate and unfortunate, led him to ownership and control of a large and prosperous mid-western patent medicine company.  Because of the westward progression of his ancestors and his own westward journey, he may be the most truly representative Nineteenth Century pioneering figure that this study so far has chanced to discuss.

Cyrenius Wakefield

Directly descended from an ancestor who had emigrated to the colonies about 1680 from the village of Wakefield, England, (the same memorialized by the 18th Century writer Oliver Goldsmith in his novel “The Vicar of Wakefield,” as Wakefield’s advertising later trumpeted),  Cyrenius (sometimes Sirenus) Wakefield was born in Watertown, NY in 1815, the fourth of the six children of Joseph Wakefield.  Joseph himself had moved west from Rutland, VT to develop his farm with his wife Susan, born in New Hampshire.  Young Cyrenius grew up in Watertown, farming in season and teaching school in winter.  In 1837, he journeyed by steamboat, stage and on foot (for the last two days, since there was no public conveyance) to Bloomington, IL, then on the western frontier, where he apparently believed he would find his opportunity to homestead. Exactly why he harbored this supposition about this particular location on the frontier is not recounted in the extant records.  Supporting himself for fifteen months as a school teacher, particularly to benefit in winter from the large stove (rare in the West) with which the schoolhouse was equipped, he eventually purchased land in DeWitt County south of Bloomington. Over the next several years, he cleared land in summer and taught school in winter, until he had created enough of a farmstead to begin his own family.  In 1843, he journeyed back to Watertown, to marry “an old schoolmate” to be his “housekeeper” (in the quaint words of the Nineteenth Century Illinois regional history book puff biographies of Wakefield).

One of Dr Wakefield’s neighbors summarized the pristine state of the region around Bloomington, IL in the pioneer era in the following poetic doggerel:

Great western waste of bottom land,
Flat as a pancake, rich as grease;
Where mosquitoes are as big as toads
And toads as big as geese.

Beautiful prairie, rich with grass,
Where buffaloes and snakes prevail;
The first with dreadful looking face,
The last with dreadful sounding tail.

I’d rather live on camel’s rump
And be a Yankee Doodle beggar,
Then where they never see a stump
And shake to death with fever ager.

In 1845, Cyrenius was visited by his older brother, Zera, a circumstance that ultimately altered the trajectory of both their lives.  After graduating from medical school in Cincinnati, OH, Zera had settled in southwestern Arkansas and had been practicing medicine there for ten years.  He was so favorably impressed by the farm that Cyrenius had develop in Illinois, that he decided to re-settle there himself, and moved to Bloomington.  In 1846, Zera lent Cyrenius money to start a country store, which Cyrenius managed successfully while Zera established his medical practice.  When the seasonal “miasmatic” fevers began in the region the next year, Zera applied the techniques he had developed “down South” in Arkansas, and was recognized immediately as an expert able to “break up the most severe cases here in a few hours.  His wonderful success created a great sensation, and his fame soon extended fifty miles around.  With the aid of a driver and a change of horses, he was quite unable to fill all of the demands upon him.”  To meet the needs of those patients he was unable to attend himself as demand grew, Zera prepared careful formulas for his medicines and taught Cyrenius how to compound them. This development, in turn, led Cyrenius to order uniform bottles and himself prepare directions so that growing number of patients could self administer the medicine that Cyrenius was preparing.  The Wakefield country store gradually transformed into a medical laboratory.  Advertising for Wakefield’s remedies always thereafter dated the founding of the company as 1846.  Then Zera died suddenly in 1848 of a “violent congestion of the lungs which carried him off in thirty-six hours.” Although devastated by his brother’s death, Cyrenius felt obliged to sell his farm, invest the proceeds into consolidating control of the business by buying out his brother’s bride of two months, and move to Bloomington to “obtain better postal and express facilities.” In this way, Cyrenius Wakefield created C Wakefield & Co out of the opportunity of his brother’s fortuitous re-settlement and the bitter adversity of that same brother’s death.

Once settled in Bloomington, Cyrenius operated a retail drug business in a storefront with a partner, while using the rear of the store as his manufacturing plant.  He “applied himself diligently to the study of medicine and pharmacy ... and here gained the title of Doctor.” In other words, Dr C Wakefield’s title was self conveyed.  By 1857, he gave up the retail drug trade and devoted himself entirely to the manufacture of the line of Wakefield remedies.  While there were setbacks along the way - a fire that burned his newly built house in February, 1853 (or 1854) (for which he was uninsured) and another great fire in October, 1855, that, in the course of destroying downtown Bloomington, destroyed most of his business location (for which he was under-insured) -  the business ultimately grew and prospered as he “extended his local agencies over all of the Western States.”  Although Wakefield never bothered to order and print his own private die proprietary stamps during the period of the Civil War revenue tax between 1863 and 1883, cancels on several RBs are identified with his company.

In 1868, Wakefield’s older son, Oscar, became “superintendent” of the company’s laboratory, and in 1871, Wakefield elevated his brother-in-law and Oscar to the status of partners and turned day to day control of the business over to them.  As a puff biography stated, by 1874, the Wakefield Co employed: 

forty persons in [its] medicine business (one-half of whom are female) and [its] annual sales amount to $100,000. [It] converts twenty-five tons of paper into almanacs every year for free distribution, for the purpose of advertising [its] remedies. [Its] largest sales are made where fevers are most dangerous and most common, particularly in new[ly settled] counties where [the doctor] is glad to know that his remedies are the means of doing great good. It seems now well recognized among advertisers that advertising is only of temporary benefit unless the product advertised presented to the public has intrinsic merit.  The  Doctor has made himself quite independent by the judicious advertising of good and reliable remedies.

By 1879, the company’s printing production numbers had doubled and its net worth was estimated at $150,000.  It was producing approximately “ten different remedies ...  mostly fever and ague specifics, balsams, cough-sirups [sic], [and] pills.”  These medicines were sold in “Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa ... [as well as] the Western and Southwestern states.”  To oversee his business, Dr Wakefield maintained a separate team and  wagon in six of those states and operated the business through “six thousand local agents, mostly druggists and dealers, who sell his medicine on commission.” The business employed “twenty-five to fifty hands, according to season” and kept four printing presses running to generate the necessary almanacs and other publicity. “In 1860 he got up 100,000 almanacs for his agents to circulate,” and in 1879 he sent out “1,500,000," using “fifty tons of printing paper,” and printing them in “English, German, Norwegian and Swedish.” 

In retirement, Dr Wakefield visited Atlantic City and Philadelphia in the Centennial year of 1876 and traveled with his family to Europe in the summer of 1878.  One of the regional histories summarized his character as “a man of very firm and decided principle.” Among his most notable achievements, he was a founder of the Republican Party in Bloomington, advocating for the new political party after the repeal of the Missouri Compromise and participating in the first local meeting held on September 9, 1854.  In fact, a very recent book on Lincoln’s development as a politician in Illinois prior to his run for the presidency identifies Dr. Wakefield not only as a backer of Lincoln, but also a close friend.  He was also a “liberal supporter of the Free Congregational Church” in Bloomington, and, while declining to stand for formal public office, he did serve stints as a member of the Bloomington City School Board, and as the head of the local volunteer Public Committee on Distribution.  “As a citizen, he stands among the foremost of the best known of the many public-spirited men of our city, having a fame that extends outside the city, county or State, being, in fact, a man of national reputation.”  Wakefield died in 1885 in Bloomington.

In the 1890s, C Wakefield & Co was marketing a line of remedies which included   Blackberry Balsam, Cough Syrup, Golden Ointment, Wine Bitters, Liver Pills, Pain Cure, Eye Salve, Worm Destroyer, Nerve & Bone Liniment, Egyptian Liniment, Fever Specific and Egyptian Salve. Blackberry Balsam was advertised in a company guide to its remedies as a “sure cure” for diarrhea, dysentery, cholera morbus, cholera infantum, winter and mountain cholera, summer complaint, flux and relaxed conditions of the bowels.” It was described not only as “an astringent, checking the relaxation of the bowels, but act[ing] as a regulator, leaving the stomach and bowels in such a condition that nature again asserts control.”  The prescribed average dosage was one large tablespoonful, however, “when the liver is torpid and the stomach bilious, the action of the bowels may not be fully regulated for several days.”  Cough Syrup was prescribed as a cure for “colds, coughs, la grippe, typhoid and lung fever, croup, measles, whooping cough and all throat and lung affections.”  The syrup was administered at a rate of one teaspoonful every one or two hours, with relief reported sometimes as quickly as after “four doses during an afternoon and evening.”  Golden Ointment was described as the cure for all external applications where “soothing, softening or healing” was needed, such as burns, scalds, cuts and ‘frosted parts,’ as well as “corns, running sores, boils, felons, sore nipples, caked breast, scald head, chapped hands” and finally “no equal for sore throat.”  The Ointment was formed into a plaster and applied over diseased parts.  Wine Bitters gave “tone, energy and vigor to the digestive organs, renews the blood, increases the appetite, removes old long-standing headaches, acts as a gentle laxative, breaks up a costive heart, cures dyspepsia, boils and sores by thoroughly cleaning the blood, and will soon give renewed vigor to the whole physical system.”  Recommended dosage was one tablespoonful three times a day shortly before meals.  An advertising booklet lavished similar warm praise on all of the other remedies.  Liver Pills were classed as vegetable purgatives and averred to be “superior for liver and kidney troubles, costiveness [constipation], jaundice, sick-headache, gout and all bilious affections.”  The directions were to take one every night before bed, and depending upon one’s constitution possibly one in the morning as well.  The goal was to achieve “one action of the bowel daily, and slightly increase the quantity and fluency of that action.”

After the passing of its luminous central personality, C Wakefield & Co settled into the role of a stalwart supporting player among the many patent medicine manufacturers.  In 1897, it was listed as a member of the Proprietary Association of America (PAA), the patent medicine manufacturing trade association, and its principals were listed as the Estate of C Wakefield, Oscar Wakefield, Executor; General Manager Oscar Wakefield; directors Cyrenius’s younger son, Dr Homer Wakefield, and his younger daughter, Hattie Brady.  In 1902, the company, as a member of the PAA, specifically and voluntarily endorsed the Tripartite Agreement, the master retail price maintenance control plan entered into by the PAA, the National Association of Wholesale Druggists and the National Association of Retail Druggists later deemed illegal under the Sherman Act. 

C Wakefield & Co persevered through the muckraking era without its products ever drawing direct flak from the reformers (for containing either undisclosed poisons or water parading as a miracle drug).  However, its advertising of “sure” cures was included by the Federal Drug Administration in its large compilations of objectionable advertising appended as exhibits to its congressional testimony in 1912 pressing for the legislation ultimately passed as the Sherley Amendment. That law extended the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 beyond merely requiring disclosure of poisons and barring adulteration, and finally made such promises of “sure cures” also unlawful.  Yet, deprived of a dynamo at its core or even promises of “sure” cures for humans, the company continued to exist.  Since Wakefield’s remedies had been promoted equally for animals as for people, veterinary usage allowed the company to reshape its marketing policy, and by the late 1920s, Wakefield’s advertising seems to have been centered upon poultry journals, and pitched to convince farmers to use its Blackberry Balsam to cure poultry diarrhea.  Appealing to that particular audience seems to have allowed the company to carry on through the economic hard times and the era of more stringent regulation that followed.  On the Internet, one can locate an image of a box of Wakefield’s “Balsam for Diarrhea” manufactured by a C Wakefield & Co, “established in 1846,” now from a location in Levittown, NY 11756 (5 digit zip codes date from 1963, although one source concludes, perhaps on the basis of that image, that the products were being manufactured as late as the 1980s).  The final tepid word on C Wakefield & Co seems to be that it survived because its remedies did no great substantive harm to their users.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

New England Railroads: Rutland Railroad

Postcard c.1905, Center Rutland Falls, with the Rutland Railroad passing through.

Rutland, Vt.

Langlois scan

Formed as the Rutland and Burlington in 1843, the railroad would change its name to the Rutland by 1867.  The railroad's primary traffic was dairy product freight, with often entire trains made up of cars hauling milk.  

Over the railroad's lifetime it would be controlled by competing interests including the Central Vermont, the New York Central, and the New York, New Haven & Hartford.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

New England Railroads: New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad

N. Y., N. H. & H. R. R.

Langlois scan

The history of the New York, New Haven & Hartford comprised a huge chunk of the history of railroading in New England in the 20th century.  Despite its long history and economic importance in New England, the railroad was a victim of the Penn Central disaster.  When the giant yet ridiculous merged combination of the New York Central and Pennsylvania Railroad destroyed what remained of those two great railroads, the bankruptcy of the Penn Central also enveloped the New Haven.  

Some of its famous passenger services are still run by Amtrak.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

New England Railroads: St. Johnsbury & Lake Champlain Railroad

Bill of Lading on the St. Johsbury & Lake Champlain Railroad
Hyde Park, Vermont to Boscawen, New Hampshire
1 barrel of ground something

The St. Johnsbury and Lake Champlain was part of the Boston & Maine Railroad.

Monday, January 14, 2013