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Black Draught and Wine of Cardui

Posted by | November 20, 2017

When the Civil War ended, two Federal soldiers, Z. C. Patten and T. H. Payne, were mustered out of the army in Chattanooga. They formed a partnership for selling paper, blankbooks and miscellaneous stationery supplies. Business in Chattanooga was in a disorderly state because of the chaos caused by the war, and the rapid surge forward of business reorganization.

Zeboim Carrter Patten (1840 – 1925), taken just after the Civil War. Courtesy Wikipedia.

Zeboim Carrter Patten (1840 – 1925), taken just after the Civil War. Courtesy Wikipedia.

Soon after its formation the Patten-Payne partnership acquired control of the debt-laden Chattanooga Times. This fortunate deal perhaps inspired Z. C. Patten to favor a program of expansion, while his more conservative partner wished to hold on to the property which they already owned.

Patten, however, gave rein to his expansive ideas and bought the formulas of Thedford’s Black Draught and McElree’s Wine of Cardui, and organized the Chattanooga Medicine Company for large-scale production of these medicines.

Fourteen years after the end of the war Chattanooga had practically recovered from the rigors of reconstruction, and was rapidly becoming a prosperous city of the postwar South. Falling under the spell of southern progress, Adolph Ochs of Knoxville, an enterprising lad of twenty, began his illustrious career with the struggling Chattanooga Times.

He was offered the paper for the modest price of $800, but, even with the aid of his friend Colonel E. A. James, he was unable to borrow more than $300 on his note. In two years, however, the youthful publisher had increased his paper’s business to such an extent that it cost him $10,000 to complete the purchase which was originally offered him for $800. The lack of $500 cost him $9,500.

Before Ochs became owner of the paper a negotiated sale was necessary to clarify its final disposition. Through this deal, arranged by Z. C. Patten, Ochs became indebted to the drug manufacturer, and the two later developed a warm friendship.

Doubtless it was because of this friendship that Adolph Ochs was tempted to violate a rule of publishing ethics which he upheld so rigorously in his later years as publisher. In addition to his responsibilities in the management of his paper, he became the second president of the Chattanooga Medicine Company.

A rare photo of Adolph Ochs, about the time he was beginning his career as a Knoxville journalist. Courtesy Metropulse.

A rare photo of Adolph Ochs, about the time he was beginning his career as a Knoxville journalist. Courtesy Metropulse.

Thus it was that medicine making and newspaper publishing in Chattanooga were intimately linked for a brief time. Ochs, however, in later years went on to bigger things in New York, and Z. C. Patten’s medicine company concentrated its attention on the rich medicine trade of the New South. Sticking rather faithfully to the territory of the ex-Confederate states, with Kentucky, West Virginia and Missouri added for good measure, the Chattanooga Company sought business at every crossroads store.

Publicity was the soul of the business, and salesmen were instructed to see that the name of the two medicines became household words in the region. Freely they wielded the tack hammer and paintbrush.

The only paint used on many barns and buggy sheds in the South was that which proclaimed in black and yellow the inseparable names of Black Draught and Wine of Cardui. In 1884, when the Pure Food and Drug Act was unknown and the lid was off, a medicine manufacturer’s ad writer was constrained by no inhibitions when it came to boosting his products.

Of Wine of Cardui, a newspaper ad said, ‘This pure wine is a simple vegetable extract without intoxicating qualities, and has proved to be the most astonishing TONIC FOR WOMEN known to medical science.”

Twenty years later when Samuel Hopkins Adams published his “Great American Fraud” articles, he mentioned the advertising of the Chattanooga Medicine Company as not being suitable reading material for a family gathered around the breakfast table.

In keeping with this reformer’s cryptic remarks, some of the Cardui ads do constitute a revealing chapter in medical publicity. Somewhere in the periphery there seemed always to be a literate husband who was anxious to testify to his mate’s suffering and final cure.

“My wife,” said a well- known gentleman, “has been in delicate health for fifteen years. She suffered fearfully every month with pains and excessive menses. Doctors could do her no good. One bottle of McElree’s Wine of Cardui restored her health, and she gained eighteen pounds of weight in two months while taking it.”

This was good stuff, but not good enough, and being a little carefree in the wording of his sentences, the copywriter took his lead from the enthusiastic husband.

He said, “McElree’s Wine of Cardui is recommended as a tonic for delicate ladies. It was tested in 7000 cases and cured 6500 of them. Its astonishing action mystified Doctors, delighted sufferers, and restored thousands of suffering women to health and happiness.” Obviously a batting average of 6,500 out of 7,000 cases was enough to mystify the doctors and delight the sufferers.

Likewise for a puny and failing wife to gain eighteen pounds from taking one bottle of Wine of Cardui explains why Z. C. Patten’s friends sometimes chided him by asking whether his “female preparation” was “a beverage or a medicine.”

Interestingly enough, in sixty years of ad writing, the man at the copy desk has grown considerably more conservative. He has become exceedingly skeptical of the word cure; in fact, there is no such word in his glossary, and he will not let a grateful patron become so exuberant in praise as to say that she has been healed.

Chattanooga Medicine Company published this 1912 cookbook as an ad giveaway, liberally sprinkled with ads for both Wine of Cardui and Black Draught. Courtesy Digital Library of America.

Chattanooga Medicine Company published this 1912 cookbook as a giveaway, liberally sprinkled with ads for both Wine of Cardui and Black Draught. Courtesy Digital Library of America.

 

Illustrative of this was the moderation with which Mrs. John A. Bailey, R.F.D. 2, Arab, Alabama, wrote in 1914 that “my use of Cardui dates back to my mother’s home, she would give me Cardui when I needed it and it always seemed to help me. I have used it since, when needed. Cardui is the only tonic I have ever used.”

Even Samuel Hopkins Adams’ gentleman of the Victorian breakfast table would find practically nothing in the new-style advertising to offend his sensitive womenfolk.

Frankly Thedford’s Black Draught has become a forthright laxative containing, in its liquid form, “extract of senna, rhubarb, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and annis.” In powdered form the formula is essentially the same.

Even more interesting is the candid warning which appears on the back of the traditional yellow pasteboard packages. “Some people,” say the manufacturers, “have a tendency to rely too much on laxatives, which, if continued a long time, may lead to too much dependence on them. Medical authorities advise against this.”

This admission within itself constitutes a significant chapter in American social progress, which perhaps explains why Black Draught has been able to enjoy a rich market for so long a period.

 

Source:  Clark, Thomas D. Pills, Petticoats and Plows; The Southern Country Store. New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1914, pp. 248-251. Print.

Special thanks to Cindy B. Cady for her help with this article.

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Cold Winter Shadow

Posted by | November 17, 2017

When a cold winter shadow I cast on the ground
And frost from the foothills is creeping all around
I now and then glance down the road towards the town
In a kind of a hope you’ll be coming on down

It must have been November when I left you to the train
I watched your carriage disappear in the lonely western rain
And I wiped the rain from off my face and turned the way I’d come
And drove our old spring wagon thru the hills near Edmonton

Winters here are very long, the roads are thick with snow
A year is gone since first you left, no courage left to go
I know I should leave, but you won’t know where I’ve gone
Be kind of nice to have you here with Christmas coming on

Kentucky folk song, anonymous

appalachian history
appalachian mountain history
appalachian stories
Appalachian Studies
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Hard work, fresh air, and plenty of food

Posted by | November 16, 2017

Shortly after taking office in 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt announced plans for creation of a “conservation army.” FDR at first saw the Civilian Conservation Corps primarily as a forestry organization — fighting fires, planting trees, thinning timber stands, stopping soil erosion and floods — but the field personnel of the State and Federal agencies involved soon realized that CCC labor might also be directed toward the construction of forest improvements–particularly roads, trails, buildings, and recreation sites. The CCC men literally built the foundations on which the national forests now stand.

Camp Ellison D. Smith F-l, located near the Whetstone Road in Oconee County, was the first CCC camp to be located in South Carolina. This and two others soon to follow employed approximately 800 men at their peaks, and remained operational for nearly 10 years.

Oconee State ParkThe men of these camps built Oconee State Park, Long Mountain Fire Tower, and Walhalla Fish Hatchery, and rebuilt Highway 107. There were many other less obvious projects. Millions of trees were planted; girdling to kill undesirable rotten trees was done on thousands of acres; growth plots for long-term forest inventory were established. Erosion control work was done on eroding fields which were on farms purchased by the Forest Service; property boundaries were surveyed, painted, and posted, in addition to wildlife being stocked.

Hard work, fresh air, and plenty of food were considered essential for CCC employees to accomplish one of the goals established by the office of education, “to develop an appreciation of nature and of country life.” And to that third end, here is the 1938 Thanksgiving menu for Camp 1:

OLIVES
GIBLET GRAVY
CANDIED SWEET POTATOES
GUAVA JELLY
FRIED CORN
FRUIT PUNCH
SWEET PICKLES
CREAM OF PEA SOUP
SALTINES
ROAST TURKEY
CRANBERRY SAUCE
ROAST PORK HAM
HOT ROLLS
LETTUCE SALAD
BUTTER
CELERY HEARTS
OYSTER DRESSING
CREAMED CAULIFLOWER
GRAPE JELLY
CREAMED POTATOES
PUMPKIN PIE
FRESH FRUITS
PLUM PUDDING
CIGARETTES
ICE CREAM
NUTS
COFFEE
MINCE MEAT PIE
ASSORTED CANDIES
BRANDY SAUCE
CIGARS
FRUIT CAKE

Oconee State Park was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on June 16, 2004.

sources: http://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/usgenweb/sc/oconee/history/MR-03.txt
www.nationalregister.sc.gov/oconee/S10817737015/index_2.htm

related post: “He is now in the C.C. Camp”

CCC Oconee+State+Park Oconee+County+SC appalachia appalachia+history appalachian+culture

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Criminal Syndicalism comes to Harlan, KY

Posted by | November 15, 2017

http://xroads.virginia.edu/~MA05/luckey/amj/dreiserbig.jpg
In November 1931, as chairman of the National Committee for the Defense of Political Prisoners, well known author Theodore Dreiser organized a special committee to infiltrate Kentucky’s Harlan coal mines to investigate allegations of crimes and abuses against striking miners. The self-appointed group of left-leaning writers (including Theodore Dreiser, Lewis Mumford, John Dos Passos, and Sherwood Anderson) listened to various members of the mining communities—the oppressed—in order to learn about this vivid example of class warfare, and place it in the context of international class struggle.

Though many miners welcomed the Dreiser Committee’s interest in their plight, others in the community perceived the group of writers as Communist intruders. It should be noted that during this period, the Communist-led National Miners Union rivaled the United Mine Workers of America for a dominant union role.

Dreiser’s life was threatened for calling attention to the matter. Dreiser, John Dos Passos, and others on the “Dreiser Committee,” as it was called, were indicted by the Bell County Grand Jury for criminal syndicalism, and a warrant was issued for Dreiser’s arrest.

 

“It is characteristic of our whole American attitude just now,” said Mr. [Sherwood] Anderson. We are a speakeasy country. Liberal thinking is strictly private almost everywhere. That is what makes me glad for Theodore Dreiser. He and those other people have had the nerve and the manhood to go down there into Kentucky, where there is apparently a reign of terror. They went openly, and only after other men and women had refused to go. Mr. Dreiser wanted to call public attention to what was going on. He wanted truth. And then too, he spoke out loud in a speakeasy country. He said in public what millions of Americans think in private. For that he is accused of criminal syndicalism.”
–NY Times, Dec 7, 1931

 

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Governor of New York at the time, said he would grant Dreiser an open hearing, and John W. Davis agreed to defend the Committee. Due to widespread publicity and public sentiment, however, all formal charges against Dreiser and the Committee were dropped.

Sources:

http://tinyurl.com/2wjyms

http://tinyurl.com/3a6687

http://tinyurl.com/3crnta

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The Santa Train pulls into town

Posted by | November 14, 2017

In Appalachia Santa Claus comes the weekend before Thanksgiving.

Since 1943, the Santa Special, more commonly known as the Santa Train, has traveled 110 miles through the mountains of eastern Kentucky, southwest Virginia and northeastern Tennessee to distribute loads of candy, toys and other goodies to eager bystanders, most of whom have made it a family tradition. The train typically passes through more than 30 towns delivering Christmas cheer.

"The Santa Train"---Commemorating the 50th Santa Train Special. Print sponsored by the Kingsport Chamber and CSX Transportation, available for purchase at www.kingsportchamber.org

“The Santa Train”—print commemorating the 50th Santa Train Special. Sponsored by the Kingsport Chamber and CSX Transportation; available for purchase at www.kingsportchamber.org

 

This year 14-time Grammy winner Ricky Skaggs is joining CSX as the special guest on the 2017 Santa Train. Celebrities who have ridden the train include Amy Grant, Thompson Square, Alison Krauss, Wynonna & Naomi Judd, Patty Loveless, Travis Tritt, Kree Harrison, and Kathy Mattea.

The 75th annual Santa Train will make 14 stops on November 18. Ricky Skaggs, Santa Claus and volunteers will deliver 15 tons of toys to thousands of Appalachian residents who live along the route. Train staffers throw candy, crackers, popcorn, bubble gum, cookies, stuffed animals, electronic games, hats, handmade gloves, mittens, toboggans, T-shirts, wrapping paper and other treats from the train’s caboose.

The Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce awards a Santa Train Scholarship each year to a graduating senior who attends a high school along the 110-mile Santa Train route between Kingsport, TN and Pikeville, KY. The recipient is chosen based on grade point average, extracurricular activities, financial need, work records and an advisor’s recommendation.

This year’s 2017 recipient is Hope Phillips from Union High School in Big Stone Gap, VA. The four-year scholarship is worth $5,000—$625 per semester. To date, the Kingsport Chamber has given 34 scholarships since the first scholarship was awarded in 1989, totaling $170,000.

The Santa Special was the brainchild of Kingsport, TN businessmen who wanted to show their appreciation to the people of the coalfields for their patronage throughout the year.

Santa Train Route
Santa Special officials have said that the first Santa Train pulled just one car and a meager load of gifts. It reached towns and cities that at the time had no other means of transportation. Some believe the train provided many children the only toys they received during World War II.

Joe Higgins played the role of Santa Claus in 1943-44 — the run’s first two years.

sources: www.dickensoncounty.net/santatrain.html
www.kingsportchamber.org/portal/santaframe.htm

http://www.appvoices.org/index.php?/site/voice_stories/santa_train_rides_again_through_appalachia/issue/523

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