Georgia Bitters Barrett Land & Co.
Barrett Land & Co.
William H. Barrett and Robert H. Land, Augusta, Georgia
Provenance: Walter Smith Collection
Georgia Bitters was manufactured and sold by two well-known druggists, William H. Barrett and Robert H. Land, in Augusta, Georgia. Their wholesale and retail drug business was named Barrett Land & Co., which is embossed on our bottle.
Two examples exist. One is in the Augusta Museum of History in the permanent Bill & Bea Baab antique bottle and jug exhibition. The second is in a private collection and was imaged for the museum. Both were found many years ago in a dump on 8th Street near the Augusta Canal. The consignor also owned the second bottle and gave it to the Baabs for their museum display.
Augusta’s first 100 years, beginning in 1735, saw it become a tobacco and cotton distribution center, with the adjacent Savannah River making the city one of the world’s largest inland cotton centers. After the railroads came into the picture, river traffic diminished. One of the city leaders recommended that a canal be constructed to provide hydropower for textile factories and a plentiful water supply for the city. The canal was built in 1845 and enlarged 30 years later to meet the high demand for hydropower needed by growing industries. The canal is essentially intact today. The canal was depicted on one of the two commemorative jugs for the FOHBC 2019 Augusta National Antique Bottle Convention.
The extremely rare amber square with beveled corners has an applied long tapered collar with a ring, a very tall neck, and a smooth base with an indented circle. The bottle measures 9 ¾ inches tall by 2 ¾ inches wide and is considered extremely rare. There are three deep recessed arched and beveled panels. Within two panels is embossed sans serif copy reading from shoulder to base ‘GEORGIA BITTERS’ and on the opposite side ‘BARRETT LAND & Co.’ The fourth panel is smooth and blank and is where the proprietor would have placed a long-lost paper label.
The updated listing in the R/H Meyer Bitters Bottles Supplement 3 draft is as follows:
G 17.5 GEORGIA BITTERS // f // BARRETT LAND & Co. // sp //
9 ¾ x 2 ¾ (7 ¼)
Square, Amber, LTCR, 3 sp, Extremely rare
William H. Barrett and Robert H. Land were both wholesale and retail druggists in Augusta, Georgia.
See T 71 in Bitters Bottles and sT 71.7. See FOHBC Virtual Museum.
On November 15, 1870, a Copartnership was announced in The Augusta Constitutionalist for “Barrett, Land & Co. for the purpose of carrying on the wholesale drug business at the old established drug stand of W. H. Barrett’s, No. 291 Broad St, and do cordially invite the patronage of the public.” The post was closed with the three partner names; W. H. Barrett, R. H. Land and Samuel H. Shepard. Barrett had been working as a druggist alone while R. H. Land had spent the previous two years with Dr. William H. Tutt under the banner Wm. H. Tutt & Land, wholesale druggists. They were selling all of the popular patent medicines of the day and Tutt’s medicines like Tutt’s Extract of Sarsaparilla and Queen’s Delight.
William H. Tutt was born in Augusta, Georgia, on August 31, 1823, and was a wealthy druggist and prominent physician in the south. He would graduate from Augusta Medical College and later amass a sizable fortune as he became a manufacturer of patent medicines in both Augusta and New York City. Dr. Tutt first started in the drug business in Augusta in 1850 and soon moved to 264 Broad Street, taking on Robert Henry Land as a partner with Wm. H. Tutt & Land – Druggists in late 1867. Dr. Tutt remained in the drug business until he moved to New York City in 1873 and engaged in the manufacture of proprietary medicines on a larger and broader scale. While in New York, he retained his Augusta drug business as W. H. Tutt & Remsen. This was probably his wife’s father or brother as Dr. Tutt married Miss Harriet Remsen Bell in 1847. Although most of Tutt’s concoctions appeared to be manufactured in his New York plant, many bear Augusta’s name, indicating strong personal ties with his place of birth. Dr. Tutt moved his family back to Augusta in 1888 but continued his business in New York until he sold it in the mid 1890s.
Robert Henry Land was born in Alabama in 1834. In early life, he worked for a printer in the 1850s in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Land moved to Newbury, South Carolina, and through the “kindness of a Dr. Pratt,” learned the drug business. After the close of the Civil War, R. H. Land moved to Augusta.
On September 1, 1874, a Dissolution was posted in the same newspaper saying Barrett Land & Co. was dissolved by mutual consent. W. H. Barrett, R. H. Land and S. H. Shepard signed it off. A new Copartnership was formed to “carry on the wholesale drug business at the old stand of Barrett, Land & Co., 291 Broad Street under the style of Barrett & Land. W. H. Barrett, R. H. Land.” The Augusta Constitutionalist displayed ads in late 1875 saying Barrett & Land was selling other products besides patent medicines, such as fireproof oil, fine brandies, olive oil, spices, and teas. Barrett & Land was now located at 270 Broad Street.
A notice was placed in the Augusta newspaper on January 2, 1876, stating, “I have this day disposed of my entire stock of Drugs, Medicines and Store Fixtures to Messrs. Barrett & Land to whom I cheerfully recommend my friends and former patrons. F. D. Kenrick.” This was followed by a Barrett & Land note; “Having purchased the stock of Medicines and Fixtures of F. D. Kenrick, we propose conducting a first-class Retail and Prescription Drug Store at his old stand, opposite the Planters Hotel, where we will keep constantly on hand a full supply of Pure Drugs, Medicines and Chemicals. Special attention will be given to the Prescription Department, and the public can feel assured of having their prescriptions carefully prepared of pure Medicines and of full strength. We have placed Mr. F. D. Kenrick in charge of our business at this store feeling that his long acquaintance with the business in all of its details will ensure a liberal patronage. Prescriptions prepared at all hours, day and night, and on Sunday. Barrett & Land,”
Barrett & Land would remain in business through the 1870s until they separated, each going their own way in the early 1880s.
Primary Image: “Georgia Bitters – Barrett, Land & Co.” bottle imaged on location by Alan DeMaison, FOHBC Virtual Museum Midwest Studio.
Support: Reference to Bitters Bottles by Carlyn Ring and W. C. Ham.
Support: Reference to Bitters Bottles Supplement 3 by Ring, Ham & Meyer. Use of Bitters illustration courtesy Bill Ham.
Support: Reference to Walter Smith was bitten early by the collecting bug, by Bill Baab, Bottles and Extras, Sept-Oct 2018.
Support: Reference to Georgia Top 25 Bottles by Bill Baab, Bottles and Extras, Winter 2003
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