Dr H. W. Jackson Druggist Vegetable Home Syrup

Provenance: Richard S. Ciralli Collection

Our museum example represents a very rare “Dr. H. W. Jackson Druggist Vegetable Home Syrup” medicine bottle. This example is exceptional because of the glass color, condition, and character.

The Vegetable Home Syrup bottle is embossed in four centered lines from shoulder to base in a sans serif typestyle as follows; ‘DR H. W. JACKSON’ (1st line, “R” in “DR” smaller and raised with no period, there is no letter spacing between “W.” and “Jackson), ‘DRUGGIST’ (2nd line), ‘VEGETABLE’ (3rd line), and ‘HOME SYRUP’ (4th line). There is a variant bottle where “Home” is misspelled “Howe.” The bottle is cylindrical with faint panels making up the radius. The glass color is a vibrant medium yellow-olive amber. There is an applied sloping collared mouth and a pontil scar. The bottle was sold in the mid-1850s by Horace W. Jackson who operated out of Columbia, Connecticut. It was most likely made at the Coventry Glass Works which was about 8.5 miles away from Columbia.

Horace W. Jackson

Horace W. Jackson was born in Hampton, Connecticut sometime around 1828. His father was Josiah C. Jackson, a farmer, and his mother was Lucy Denison Jackson. There is little information about Jackson’s early life though we know he was living in Norwich, Conn. and married Levina Wright of Columbia, Conn. on November 28, 1844. Columbia is important as this is where Jackson produced and sold his “Dr. H. W. Jackson Druggist Vegetable Home Syrup,” our subject museum bottle.

Columbia land records reveal H. W. Jackson held five properties near the center of Columbia, mostly abutting the Columbia Turnpike Road, today’s CT State Route 66 (between Columbia center and Hebron center to the west). These were sold or exchanged in payment for promissory notes he owed to William Osborn, Chester Bliss, and others from 1849 – 1854. His final transaction was to Orrin F. Jackson of New London, Connecticut. Orrin sold this property to Thankful Jackson six months later. 

After his marriage in Columbia, H. W. Jackson is listed as a brewer in the 1850 United States Federal Census. He was 22 years old and living in Hampton, Connecticut with his parents, Josiah and Lucy. An Edward Jackson, 20, Henry Jackson, 16, and Dwight Jackson, 12 were also listed under the same roof. His wife Levina was not listed.

Jackson’s next business occupation was with medicine where he said he was a druggist of some sort and put out his Vegetable Home Syrup embossed with his name, profession, and business. This information is also found on surviving paper labels along with the Columbia, Connecticut address. Oddly, there is no advertising we can find for this product. H. W. Jackson would marry again on March 6, 1860, to Jennette Loomer Miner in Swansea, Massachusetts. Three years later Horace was drafted for service in the Civil War.

H. W. Jackson was not a doctor and probably never had any true medical training. He was very careful in his advertising, city directory listings and census reports to never say he was. He just inferred that he was a doctor to sell his medicine. Over the last half of the 1800s, he was primarily a farmer like his father and he supplemented his income as a brewer, druggist, carpenter, and twice, in the mid to late 1850s, a proprietor of his Vegetable Home Syrup and again in the second half of the 1870s when he advertised and sold his “Dr. H. W. Jackson’s Universal Costive Syrup.” This was probably the next generation of his Vegetable Home Syrup. He said that “thousands had used my syrup, including cases of from four to twenty-two years standing, which have been cured with less than four bottles.” He was selling trial bottles for 50 cents and large bottles for $1. His office was 99 Fourth Street in Chelsea, Massachusetts. He was also selling his “Vegetable Pain Reliever” and “Vantriffes Drops,” at his office and through regional druggists.

From the 1880s on to his death in 1905, Horace W. Jackson was again a farmer.

Primary Image: Dr. H. W. Jackson Druggist Vegetable Home Syrup imaged on location by Alan DeMaison, FOHBC Virtual Museum Midwest Studio

Support: Consultation with Ingrid Wood, Town Historian, Columbia, Connecticut 06237

Support Image: Auction Lot 140: “Dr H. W. Jackson / Druggist / Vegetable / Home Syrup” Medicine Bottle, probably Coventry Glass Works, Coventry, Connecticut, 1830-1848. Cylindrical, medium yellow olive, applied sloping collared mouth – pontil scar, ht. 5 1/8 inches; (1/16 inch bubble on mouth). AAM pg. 263 Strong embossing, crudely formed mouth. A handsome New England color. Very rare. – Norman Heckler Jr. & Sr., Norman C. Heckler & Company, Auction #106

Support Image: Auction Lot 19: “Dr H. W. Jackson / Druggist / Vegetable / Howe Syrup” Medicine Bottle, Coventry Glass Works, Coventry, Connecticut, 1830-1848. Cylindrical, medium olive amber, applied sloping collared mouth – pontil scar, ht. 4 3/8 inches; (interior retains dried contents and residue ring). AAM pg. 263 Retains partial original label which states the medicine was manufactured in Columbia, Connecticut. Rare with the mold error embossing “Howe” not “Home”. Fine condition. – Norman Heckler Jr. & Sr., Norman C. Heckler & Company, Auction #133

Support Image: Auction Lot 80: “Dr H.W. Jackson / Druggist / Vegetable / Howe Syrup” Medicine Bottle, Coventry Glass Works, Coventry, Connecticut, 1830-1848. Cylindrical, medium to deep yellowish olive amber, applied sloping collared mouth – pontil scar, ht. 4-3/4 inches; (loss to edges of label, the embossing near the base of the bottle is partially legible). AAM pg. 263 Rare with this mold error embossing, “Howe” not “Home”. An appealing gem of a bottle with partial original label. Fine condition. – Norman Heckler Jr. & Sr., Norman C. Heckler & Company, Auction #184

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