Monday, May 29, 2023






Mineral water has been a rich resource of California for many years. Tucked into the lee side of Snow Mountain, and within Mendocino National Forest is a mineral spring resort first established in 1874. Established by John Fleming Fouts along with his wife Elizabeth (O’Neil) Fouts, they came to California from Iowa in 1854 and eventually established the town of Meridian, near Yuba City, in 1863. Their oldest child, Ionia Orland (Fouts) Moon , was born at Iowa Hill, Placer County, in October 1854, while their wagon train was on its way westward to Sutter County.


Among his many activities, John Fouts also acted as a Justice of the Peace for Sutter County, California after his arrival there. (Marysville Daily Appeal, Marysville, CA, 26 February 1862) 

 Fouts founded and successfully operated a ferry across the Sacramento River at Fouts Ferry, and he proceeded to lay out a town by the name of Meridian as early as May 1863. He was also the postmaster and general merchant of the town.  Three of their young children died in Meridian in the months of May and June 1866. Three more lived to be adults. He named the town, Meridian, because it lies on the Mount Diablo base meridian, which was the prime meridian for Northern California used in the Township and Range land survey system.


In his role as a general merchandiser Fouts even sold patent medicines. (Weekly Colusa Sun, Colusa, California, August 15, 1868) 

 Fouts became quite successful in his businesses at Meridian, . . . “Meridian lies ten miles above the Mill (Grand Island Mills) and is a nucleus for a village.  John F. Fouts has built a handsome brick store and dwelling house at this place. He also has a ferry that is like a mint to him.” (Weekly Colusa Sun, 4 September 1869) However, by 1872 Fouts filed a request for land patents that likely coincided with the property he would soon inhabit in Colusa County. Perhaps he was facing increasing competition with his ferry crossing on the Sacramento River as well the potential for the construction of a new bridge, which was an inevitable scenario.

 The Fouts family soon moved West into the forested lands of Colusa County where Fouts reportedly established a saw mill, and then moved nearby to a small, well watered valley, on the South fork of Stony Creek, where he established Fouts Springs in 1874.


This informative article, which sounds much like an advertisement for the newly established Fouts Springs, was published in the Sacramento Daily Union, August 5, 1874. 


During his tenure at the springs, Fouts never exploited the water beyond the resort itself, but he did champion the water’s healing properties. (Weekly Colusa Sun, 22 April 1876) 


By 1879 Fouts had leased the operation of the Springs to George H. Ware, who took over management. Fouts maintained the stage line to the springs he established about a year earlier. By 1882 the springs were leased to Alfred Sax Moon, who was the husband of his daughter, Ionia Fouts.

Fouts Springs Hotel, circa 1900, all decked out with flags for Independence Day.


After two years, for reasons that are not clear, Fouts again retained operation of the springs in 1884.   (Colusa Sun, 14 June 1884) 


 While Fouts Springs water was known to have been shipped to various retailers within the vicinity as early as 1897 there was no mention of it being bottled during that time. Probably bulk shipments were made but only for a short while.


A quart size FOUTS SPRINGS / NATURAL MINERAL / WATER bottle. Tooled blob top, with a large “M” embossed on the base. The bottle is considered rare.

 Fouts Springs prospered throughout the first two decades of the 20th century but the bottling of its waters appeared to have dried up about 1913, with no mention of sales of the water after this date. The cost of hauling the water from its source caused a cessation of the product within the year of 1913. Not until ten years later another company was formed to put the water back on the market. (Colusa Herald, 19 Apr 1923)  Besides the Red Eye Spring, Fouts also maintained Champagne, White Sulphur, New Life, and Arsenic Springs. None of the latter were mentioned as being bottled except Champagne Spring.


The Fouts bottle pictured above likely contained water from the Red Eye Spring. (Marysville Daily Appeal, February 26, 1913)


 John F. Fouts died August 30, 1913 in Oakland, California, and is buried in the Meridian Cemetery, along with his wife and four of his children.

Monday, May 22, 2023



This sketch should really begin with William L. Dall, the brother of C.C. Dall. Just prior to the discovery of gold in California, the Pacific Mail Steamship Company was organized in New York in 1848. Three steamships were fitted up to run on the Pacific Coast between Panama and Astoria, Oregon – the steamers Panama, California and Oregon. William L. Dall signed on to the Oregon as second officer, and arrived in California about April 1, 1849.


Wm. L. Dall, was captaining ships on the West Coast at least as early as 1851. He is first noted with the Carolina from Panama to San Francisco. (Daily Alta California, December 13, 1851) His first voyage on the SS Columbia, was in 1852 to Oregon. (Daily Alta California, March 15, 1852) The Columbia appeared to be his ship of choice throughout most of the decade of the 1850’s. Wm. L Dall brought his wife, infant and servant to California in October 1857, via Steamer Sonora. (Sacramento Daily Union, October 2, 1857). I could find no record but C. C. Dall arrived in San Francisco in the same year, and possibly accompanied his sister-in-law to California, as he was the brother of W.L. Dall.


An advertisement documenting both Dall brothers commanding their respective coastal route ships in 1857. (Daily Alta California, October 3, 1857)


Christopher Columbus Dall was a demanding captain, more than once being harshly judged for his actions. One example of several events he endured, notes. . . “We learn from the Oregon Times of July 31st, that Portland was the scene of considerable confusion, bordering upon riot, on the 26th Ult. It appears that Capt. C.C. Dall, of the Columbia, was arrested on a complaint for mal-treatment of one of the hands on board the steamer; and after being fined to the amount of $50 by the Recorder, made a narrow escape of passing through the hands of Judge ‘Lynch’. – On coming out of the Recorder’s office, after the trial (about dusk) Capt. D. found the ‘outside pressure’ pretty strong against him – being saluted with hisses, howls, shouts, and a shower of substantials.  Several shots were fired at him, but he escaped to his ship uninjured.  Several of the citizens were more or less injured from the free circulation of rocks and other missiles. One pistol ball pierced the coat of the Marshal. Several of the alleged rioters were subsequently arrested, and bound over to court for trial. (Pioneer and Democrat, Olympia, Washington Territory, August 13, 1858)

His brother, W.L. Dall, while charged with the steamer Northerner, struck a rock near Cape Mendocino during a nasty storm. The ship was eventually beached but 34 passengers lost their lives. By an ironic coincidence, the steamer Columbia, under the charge of C.C. Dall, was en route not far behind the Northerner, which rendered considerable assistance to the tragedy that occurred. (The Weekly Chicago Times, Feb 16, 1860, pg 2).  Among those who were lost was Daniel Webster Barry, the messenger for Wells, Fargo & Company, and brother of Theodore Barry of the firm of Barry & Patten. 

It was reported that Capt. W.L. Dall had made over 200 voyages over the previous decade with no problems. (The Empire, Sydney, Australia, April 3, 1860, pg 3) Wrecking the Northerner  must have shaken W.L. Dall considerably.  Captain W.L. Dall made a couple more runs on the coastal route, but retired from his captaincy in May 1860. He then became a member of the Ophir Mining Company, acting as General Superintendent, and moved to Virginia City, Nevada Territory. (Sacramento Daily Union, May 4, 1860)  W.L. Dall died May 22, 1866, at his home town of Rye, New York. “Captain Dall had been afflicted for the last few years with an obstinate and painful disease which baffled all medical skill, and at last caused his death.” (Daily Alta California, May 23, 1866.)

Captain C.C. Dall continued his charge of commanding steamships along the western coast of North America. Despite his long sojourns away from home, he and his wife, Martha Martin Dall,  had eleven children, all born between 1856 and 1874.

The life of a marine captain was a notoriously dangerous venture. Just as the loss of a steamer occurred with Captain W. L. Dall, his brother Captain C. C. Dall experienced a similar tragedy a decade later. While charged with the SS Continental, Dall had left Mazatlan for San Francisco on September 29, 1870. “The steamer was heavily freighted with salt, silver ore, coal, fruits, etc., and encountering a heavy gale, sprung a leak, which gained upon the pumps until the fires in the furnaces were put out, and ultimately compelled the abandonment of the ship by officers, crew and passengers, all of whom were ultimately saved – with the exception of a party of seven, who, through feat, refused to take to the boats.  Capt. Dall is severely censured by the San Francisco press for abandoning the poor fellows to their fate.” (Petaluma Weekly Argus, October 22, 1870) 

Hardly missing a beat, Dall continued his San Francisco to Mexico schedule, this time on the Steamship Idaho, which was scheduled to leave San Francisco on October 22, 1870. This was, however; the last run for the captain, and his name was no longer associated with commanding ships in the newspapers. Two stellar reasons may be given for Dall to exit the world of ship captain. First, he took considerable heat from newspapers in accusations that he had abandoned his duties as ship captain in not doing more to make everyone abandon the Continental even though they refused. Secondly, he had a near death experience. With the perils of his job, and likely with strong urging from his wife and family, it is quite possible that he was driven to pursue something less life threatening. His obituary notes he. . . . “was compelled to give up the sea on account of paralysis of the lower extremities.” (San Francisco Examiner, June 17, 1885) This is questionable.

By June of 1871 Thomas Harris and C.C. Dall were advertising Crystal Springs as a resort destination for San Francisco residents. (San Francisco Chronicle, June 15, 1871, pg 4). By September 1871 Harris had exited the partnership leaving Dall as the sole lessee of the Crystal Springs Hotel, located about ten miles south of San Francisco.


Previous advertisements included the name of Thomas Harris as a partner. This is the first ad with Dall taking on the task of hosting the Crystal Springs resort by himself.  (Daily Alta California, September 4, 1871)

The Crystal Springs Hotel sat at the bottom of a verdant elongated valley supplied with adequate water. The valley is actually a geomorphic longitudinal “gouge’ in the landscape caused by the trace of the San Andreas Fault.


A sketch rendered by the photographer/artist Edward Vischer is currently thought to be the only known likeness of the Crystal Springs Hotel. (photo courtesy Redwood City Pulse,


 While it provided an ideal respite for city dwellers the site soon became a promising location for speculators to construct a dam that could supply water for the ever growing population of San Francisco. Since Dall only had a lease on the property he had no ability to stop progress. The property was sold and, all the furniture, etc.,  of the Crystal Springs Hotel was auctioned on Sep 3, 1874. (Times Gazette, Redwood City, California, August 22, 1874) And finally, “The Crystal Springs Hotel has been razed to the ground” (Times Gazette, Redwood City, California, February 6, 1875) 

The loss of the Crystal Springs Hotel left Dall without a job. Three of his sons had recently secured jobs at the San Francisco Mint about this same time. It is not clear whether Dall first went to work at the Mint in about 1877 or whether he organized his Columbia Soda Works first. Regardless, both occurred nearly concurrently.  His son, C.C. Dall, jr., acted as bottler for the soda operation.  C.C. Dall’s son, George Alfred Dall, was the first Dall to work for the U.S. Mint. He is noted in the 1875 San Francisco directory as a clerk with the Melter and Refiner’s Department of the U.S. Mint. C.C. Dall went to work for the same department as a floor sweeper. While this sounds like a menial occupation for a sea captain and resort operator, the job did carry some value. The process of refining precious metals for use as coinage created some minor losses which ended up on the floor. Dall’s job was to recover the valuable material by sweeping the floor.


 (San Francisco Examiner, October 22, 1878)

Apparently, Dall couldn’t resist recovering some of the floor sweepings for himself, for which he got caught. The Daily Alta reported. . . . “The detectives have recovered some seventeen ounces of sweepings alleged to have been stolen from the Mint by C.C. Dall.” (Daily Alta California, October 5, 1878)


One newspaper gave an account of Dall’s version of what happened with the “sweeping” incident. (Los Angeles Herald, October 5, 1878)

Dall’s penalty for stealing some floor sweepings at the Mint was not detailed in the newspapers. Whether he was charged with a penalty is not known, however; the situation must have caused him considerable embarrassment. C.C. Dall decided to move his soda water business across San Francisco Bay to Oakland, where the Columbia Soda Works was last listed in the 1880 Oakland directory.  By 1881 Dall had moved back to his old San Francisco residence at 733 Broadway Street, and chose to define himself as a master mariner, but was long retired from that profession. However; a brief three year business as a soda water bottler, with his name embossed on the bottles, has clouded the impression of what C.C. Dall actually did during his lifetime.

Captain Christopher Columbus Dall died in San Francisco on June 14, 1885, aged 54 years




A question remains why Dall decided to name his soda water business the Columbia Soda Works. Yes, he had a connection with the U.S. Mint since he and his sons worked there, as did he for a while, and a number of U.S. coins had the impression of a seated goddess, Columbia. We also, shouldn’t forget that one of the steamers he previously captained was the Columbia. He may have also had a special connection with that ship, that both he and his brother had commanded. The idea of an embossed seated Liberty on the reverse of his bottles could easily have been borrowed from the U.S. Mint, as it was a common symbol on coins at the time he and his sons worked there. It is doubtful we will ever have a clear picture of Dall’s thoughts on this subject.



Friday, March 24, 2023


Born in Bucharest, Romania about 1864, Moscu I. Herdan came to the United States sometime between 1884 and 1890. His early years in the U.S. are a little sketchy. The 1890 voting register for Chicago, Illinois, notes he had lived in Chicago for one year but lived in Illinois for four years. It states his naturalization occurred in Kansa City, in 1884. He claimed he had medical degrees from several schools, none of which were verified. Dr. Herdan had dreams about making it big in the medical world and tried several ideas. None seemed to have worked. The bottle he had produced is tangible evidence of unfortunate circumstances that kept Dr. Herdan from achieving success.


Dr. Herdan’s first advertisement was located in Atchison, Kansas. It set the stage for his future advertising style where he generally worked from his hotel ‘residence’. He often stated that he was in residence permanently, which was usually not very long. Herdan also openly stated that he preferred women and children patients. (The Atchison Daily Champion, Atchison, Kansas, July 12, 1890)

By December 1890 Herdan had moved from Atchison,  west to Salt Lake City, and set up shop in the St. James Hotel, advertising “Diseases of Women a Specialty” (Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, December 26, 1890)

 Suicide is generally considered an act of desperation to avoid continued mental or physical pain. It was on January 10, 1891, in his room at the St. James Hotel in Salt Lake City, that Herdan attempted to kill himself. He left Salt Lake the following Tuesday, knowing his act would have ruined his reputation as a trusted physician. “At the depot, before the train pulled out, he amused the bystanders with a speech, in which he paid his compliments to the city and its people and said that he would never visit the place again”   (The Salt Lake Tribune, (Salt Lake City, Utah) January 15, 1891, Page 8) 


 Cabinet card of Dr. Herdan with his signature top hat, taken circa 1892.  Photo taken in Austin, Nevada. Sunbeam Photo Gallery, L. A. Weller, Operator. (Picture courtesy Mildred Morris  at Berman-Morris/Pressly/Williams/Mount Family Tree at

He may have gone back to Chicago for a short while, as he had a brother located there, as well as a woman that he wanted for his wife. By the end of January, Herdan had located his residence and business in Reno, Nevada, living at and working from the Inverness Hotel. (Nevada State Journal, January 27, 1891)  In March 1891 Herdan added Carson City to his consultation circuit, working out of the Arlington Hotel, in Carson, on Mondays. (The Daily Appeal, Carson City, Nevada, March 12, 1891)



Dr. Herdan began working the cities of Reno, Carson and Virginia City with his main residency dictated by demand, and this changed a number of times. This circuit, with which Herdan maintained he was not a traveling physician, divided his time into what must have been a very difficult schedule. All the while he advertised almost daily in the local newspapers, which would have been a significant part of his budget. Occasionally, Herdan would even ply new ground in the vicinity as noted by a one-day visit at the Union Hotel in Verdi, Nevada. (Nevada State Journal, July 22, 1891)   

The first mention of Herdan’s connection with his patent medicine venture was in Reno, when the newspaper noted, “Dr. Herdan has applied for a patent on a medicine invented by himself called “Self Helper” for private diseases, which he claims is the greatest medicine yet produced.  He has refused $2,500 for it, but will form a company and place it on sale in every drug store in the United States” (Nevada State Journal, Reno, Nevada 14 Apr 1891, Tue, Page 2) It is not clear if he actively began production for his “Ladies Star” at this time, but he probably did not. Newspaper advertisements did not occur for another six months.

By December 1891 he claimed a new ‘permanent’ residence in Winnemucca, Nevada. Aside from seeing patients from his room at the Winnemucca Hotel,  Herdan had an additional idea for this city. In the following January, he proclaimed his intention to open a sanitarium for drunkenness, based on the new gold-chloride treatment recently practiced by Dr. Keeley of Dwight, Illinois. It was appropriately named The Nevada Sanitarium for the Cure of Drunkenness. Little is known of the establishment which was actually located in the Silver State Hall. 


Herdan was apparently quite taken by the Keeley cure process and decided to use the concept for his new sanitarium in Winnemucca. It was a novel idea and most Nevada towns had no shortage of individuals who imbibed in too much alcohol. Whether the residents wanted to quit alcohol use is another issue. (The Silver State, Winnemucca, Nevada, January 6, 1892, pg 3)




The sanitarium was a failure, and owing back rent, Herdan left town on May 9, 1892, and headed south for Austin, Nevada. (Advertisement from The Silver State, Winnemucca, Nevada, March 17, 1892)

On November 19, 1892 The Self Helper Company was organized in Austin under the corporate laws of Nevada. Along with Herdan were two other directors, David S. Truman and Osmer B. Vincent. Truman was a practicing lawyer and continued in that capacity. It is likely that he obtained the corporate papers for the new Pacific Self-Helper Co. Truman worked as a lawyer for the remainder of his career, mostly in Nevada, until his mysterious disappearance in 1910. He was never heard from or located after that date. (The San Francisco Call, February 3, 1910) 

The primary objective of this new corporation was to, “purchase of Dr. M. Herdan and his co-owners, a certain patent for the right to manufacture exclusively those medicines made by them and for which a patent has been applied for from the Hon. Commissioner of Patents of the United States of America, by said Dr. M. Herdan, and which said medicines are known as and called Dr. Herdan’s SELF HELPER and Dr. Herdan’s LADIES STAR and also any trade marks he may obtain therefore.”  The capital stock of the corporation was $500,000, with $342,500 being paid up at the company’s inception. The paid-up amount appears quite large and is difficult to believe. This amount was probably inflated or may not represent actual cash.

 The partners soon decided to move their laboratory and bottling facilities to San Francisco, where supplies were more readably available. Herdan remained in Austin where he continued his practice as a physician.  Osmer B. Vincent became the agent in San Francisco. He was a telegrapher by trade and was probably a great asset to this new company in relaying information about the Pacific Self Helper Co. to various newspapers. Truman’s role was probably just as an investor along with dealing with legal issues as they may arise.

Meanwhile, Herdan became frustrated with his inability to successfully operate as a physician in Austin. He openly expressed his feelings in the local newspaper by stating . . . “the inhabitants are very sociable, but don’t get sick often enough, which healthful condition he attributes to the lack of bad whisky and gossip”. (The Daily Appeal (Carson City, Nevada) December 10, 1892, p 3)



Six inches in height, the bottle is produced with clear glass and is well made. It could be the product of any established glass works of the period. Embossed on the front panel is, LADIES (Star of David) STAR. On the right panel is PACIFIC. On the left side is, SELF HELPER CO.


The other side of the bottle showing the embossing. The remaining large bottle face is devoid of lettering, probably reserved for a label.

The advertisement for Ladies Star was printed throughout the West during 1892 and 1893 (The Central Nevadan, (Battle Mountain, Nevada) December 8, 1892, Page 2)

Herdan left Austin in January 1893, but the day prior to leaving he sold a block of his shares in the Self Helper Company, and that night he lost $220 at faro. (The Silver State, (Winnemucca, Nevada), January 31, 1893, p 3) Gambling was one of his weaknesses. 

Herdan finally convinced his love interest, Mollie Abraham, to marry him. They tied the not in Chicago on February 20, 1893. After returning to Austin their relationship became strained and Mollie decided to leave him and she went back to Chicago – and Herdan stayed in Austin. “ The Reveille says: Dr. Herdan has returned to Austin. He had partially raised money enough to take him back to Chicago but blew it in a game of stud poker Saturday night, and from present indications, he will spend the summer in Austin.  His sleek plug (slang for top hat) sits at the same angle, however, say 45 degrees, as formerly, and his shirt front is as immaculate as ever.  He still persists in trying to run a lot of business in Austin, including this office, but we take pleasure in announcing that he is “not in it.” (The Silver State, Unionville, Nevada, April 14, 1893, p 3) This is a clear indication that Herdan worked newspapers to the best of his ability.

Herdan left Austin, Nevada, on April 19, 1893, and it was thought he was going to Lovelock, but he went to Grand Junction, Colorado instead. After his arrival there, the local paper noted, “Dr. M.I. Herdan, the new physician and surgeon, has removed to his headquarters over Haskell’s drug store, The Dr. comes very highly recommended, and came here to reside permanently.  He is a graduate of the Imperial Hospital of Austria, and post graduate of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Chicago, and is, also an active member of the World’s Fair congress of physicians and surgeons, which meets in Chicago next month.  The Dr. is a scholar and collaborator of medical periodicals, and very often his pen in materia medica and scientific points appears in the newspapers.” (Grand Junction News, April 29, 1893)  In his usual manner, likely motivated by poor success, Herdan left Grand Junction on July 22, 1893. His next location was probably Chicago for several months, however; the record is silent. His next try at success was in Richmond, Indiana, where his sister-in-law was living. The local paper noted, “ Dr. M.I. Herdan, a physician from California, is in the city and will locate here. . . he is a graduate of a European college and of the Chicago Medical college.” (The Richmond Item, Richmond, Indiana, November 4, 1893)

Herdan operated for about a month in Richmond. By the end of December 1893, he made his final act from which there was no return. Dr. Moscu I. Herdan took his own life while staying at the Palmer House in Chicago.

The newspapers quickly picked up on the story of Herdan’s suicide, with none more complete than the Inter-Ocean of Chicago:

“MADE SURE OF DEATH – Dr. Moses I. Herdan Found Dead in the Palmer House – HE WAS TIRED OF LIVING. – Thought the World Unappreciative of His Talents.”


“The chambermaids have tried to get into No. 443 several times today.  The door was always locked, with the key on the inside.  No one answers to their knocks.”


“This was the report made by a Palmer House bellboy to Clerk Cunningham last evening.”


“Mr. Cunningham glanced at the rack before him and saw that “Moses I. Herdan, M.D., City” was posted up as the occupant of room No. 443.  Mr. Cunningham went to the room, a bellboy was lifted up to the transom, and said that there was a dead man lying on the bed.  The boy clambered into the room through the transom and opened the door.  Dr. Evans, the house physician, was called and led the way into the room.”


“Dr. Herdan had been dead some hours.  He lay propped up on a pillow, his shoes off and vest and collar unbuttoned.  An empty glass and a syringe lay on the dresser with a phial containing about ten grains of morphine.”


“If the phial was full,” said Dr. Evans, “he injected about fifty grains of morphine into his body.”


“Dr. Herdan arrived at the hotel at 6 o’clock Thursday night.  He left his trunk check with Clerk Cunningham and said he expected his wife to arrive in the morning.  He never left the room after taking possession.  He probably spent the night writing letters, for his bed had not been occupied, except when he administered the injection.  On the top of the dresser was a pile of burned paper.  On the table lay several letters, an express company’s receipt, a meerschaum pipe, a bag of tobacco, six cigars, and his gold watch.”


“In a letter addressed to the Coroner the suicide said:

Deliver my body to the A. O. U. W. brothers of this city.  I don’t want to be buried before three days.

The cause of my suicide is I don’t think life worth living.

Inform my brother at No. 354 May street; also my father-in-law, at No 1826 Bishop street.”

“I don’t think it is necessary to hold a postmortem examination. Yours  respectfully.

                                                                                                    DR. HERDAN”


“In a letter addressed ‘To my wife,” he said:

God bless you.  As God is my witness I have loved you truly.  Please forgive me for this act. I think you will be happy without me.  I hope you will forgive me for this wrong act.  So marry again and be happy.  I know I love you and you alone.  Your husband,  MOSES”


“Another letter was addressed to The INTER OCEAN. – Will you be kind and wire through the Asoc Press to Austin, Nev., to Mr. Louis A. Veller to my last act.  I took this mean. I know I was a reader of your Paper many thousand miles from here.”


“The cause of my act is I have enough of earthly misery; I had good success always in my profession but I heat (sic) to practice. A Doctor and a Dog is alike., people don’t appreciate the value of a good Physician.  So I think to finish tonight I love my wife and poor woman, I leave her in the biggest misery.  O God have mercy with her, and to think she is in a delicate position, but I can’t resist from doing which makes me Dey (sic) twice I trust in God and leave her in his care.  Thanking you for your kindness in executing my last wish.

           Yours Respectfully,

                                    M. I. Herdan, M.D.”


“His last letter was probably written to his brother, Abraham Herdan, for he says:

My head aches me and I fee awful mean.  Please don’t write hom to our parents my last act. God bless little Molly. Your brother,



“The body was removed to the morgue at No. 73 Fifth avenue, and in accordance with the wish of Dr. Herdan, Louis A. Veller, of Austin, Nev., was notified of the suicide.”


“The brother of the dead man, Abraham Herdan, who is a clerk in a retail clothing store and lives at No. 354 May street, was overcome with grief when told what had occurred at the Palmer House.  He went at once to Sigmund’s morgue and identified the body as that of his brother.  As he did so tears streamed down his face, and it was with difficulty that he could be made to leave the place of death.”


“My brother’s name,” he said, “was Moskou I. Herdan.  He was born in Bucharest, Roumania, and was 27 years old.  He studied medicine in Roumania and came to this country four years ago and engaged in the practice of his profession.  A year or so ago he came to Chicago, where he met the daughter of Meyer Abraham, of No. 1826 Bishop street.  They were married and went to Austin, Nevada to live.  They never got on well together.  Although there was never anything of a very serious nature between them.  A few weeks ago my brother returned from Nevada.  He had patented several medicines which promised to sell well, but he was tricked out of the patents by some designing persons.”

“He returned yesterday from a visit to his sister-in-law, Mrs, Morris Rice, at Richmond, Ind., where he had gone with his wife.  She was not with him, and he said nothing about her.  Thursday afternoon he left the house, in good spirits seemingly. We told him to be sure and return and he replied that he would certainly do so.  When he did not come back we supposed he had gone to visit his father-in-law, Meyer Abraham.. The only reason I can assign for the act of my brother is that he had become despondent over the loss of his patents and because he was out of funds.”


“Herdan’s parents live in Roumania, and are well to do, his father being a retired farmer. Another brother lives in New York. He has been notified.  The inquest will be held this morning.” (The Inter-Ocean, Chicago, Illinois, December 30, 1893)


As the story of his death worked its way across the country newspaper accounts became even more bazaar, with the most outlandish being Herdan’s promotion of ingesting human fat to treat obesity. Many articles include his odd behavior, including his verified proclivity for gambling and his periodic use of drugs, which are probably true. Herdan did appear to have an unusual personality, and struggled with proving his legitimacy as a licensed doctor.


The news of Herdan’s suicide made headlines across the country, but perhaps the most sensible information about the man was found in the Grand Junction, Colorado, paper – the last place Herdan practiced medicine in the West. It paints a picture of a unique individual who carried deep-seated troubles. This should be expected based on his unusual actions over the previous several years. (The Daily Sentinel, Grand Junction, Colorado, December 30, 1893, p. 4)

Herdan is buried in Waldheim Cemetery, Forest Park, Illinois. His wife, Mollie W. Abraham, was born abt 1872 in New York. She died May 31, 1944, in Los Angeles County, California,  and is buried in the Home of Peace Memorial Park, East Los Angeles, California, near her mother and sister.


                                Post Script

 After assembling a draft of the information noted above, I went back over some of the roughly 35 news articles that I pulled from various newspapers relating to Herdan. In doing so I stumbled across one that I had saved which initially didn’t appear to have much importance. Like a number of others it simply dealt with Herdan helping a sick or injured person, of which there are many in newspapers. After compiling a brief story of Herdan’s life, and reading the article appended below, I was gobstruck! Something about it was eerily familiar with the life of Herdan. The article, in fact, was the same story that unfolded in the life of Herdan himself, but was written some six months prior to his suicide. The article, which was presented to the newspaper by Herdan, tells of a man who attempted suicide, and it happened to be for the same circumstances that induced Herdan to take his own life. This cannot be a coincidence. Of course, in the article the man was saved by Herdan, or else there would be a body to deal with, which would ruin his idea of concocting it. The article was sort of a “dry run” of what was to come.

The strange news article that appeared some six months prior to Herdan's death, with fictional contents that were to become a reality for Dr. Herdan. (Grand Junction News, (Grand Junction, Colorado) June 24,1893, Page 5)

Also of significance is that no patent was approved for Herdan during his lifetime. If he did apply it was not approved. However; it is more likely that he tricked his partners into believing he held a patent for the medicine. Further, no trademark was found as well. His newspaper advertisements, which included his trademark, would have still been valid, but it just wasn’t secured by either the state of Nevada or the federal government. My assessment of Herdan is that he was operating on a healthy diet of delusion along with a mix of quackery. He may have meant well but crossed the line of cultural mores and ethical boundaries of society.

All advertisements for Ladies Star and the Pacific Self Helper Co. came to an abrupt end with the death of Dr. Herdan.


Monday, November 21, 2022




This interesting and rare sauce bottle has been very difficult to document, with scant information about its proprietor. The best available clue about its origin is embossed on the bottle. Along with the name of the contents, CALIFORNIA WALNUT SAUCE, and the apparent name of the proprietor, M. E. YOUNG & CO. This person is most likely Mary E. Young, the husband of restaurateur, John Henry Young. He and Mary were married in Knox County, Illinois, on March 20, 1883, where John began his restaurant career. The couple and their two children moved to Los Angeles, California, in 1910. 

“Mrs. Young’s Famous Walnut Sauce” was first advertised in 1916 (Los Angeles Evening Express, April 4, 1916), and in August of that year, “M. E. Young & Co, Walnut Table Sauce” was noted as one of the many new enterprises in Los Angeles (The Los Angeles Times, August 13, 1916)

 After an unusual hiatus, it was advertised again in May 1919, along with significant changes that occurred that year.  Mrs Young was probably the registrant for the trademark of the walnut sauce which was first unveiled in June of 1919. Further examination of trademark records is necessary to confirm this.

The first advertisement including the trademarked logo for California Walnut Sauce was located in the Los Angeles Evening Express on June 6, 1919. Mary E. Young was the probable registrant. The significant change occurred when she died on June 11, 1919, which apparently caused the subsequent sale of the product to other parties.


Within a couple of months after Mary’s death, the walnut sauce had been re-branded to “An-ge-lo California Walnut Sauce”. The new advertisements note this change and also note the old and newer trademarks are included on the new labels. The new proprietor was the California Walnut Sauce Co., of Los Angeles, with no mention of M.E Young & Co. It is likely that the new owners of the Walnut Sauce Co. had been swallowed up by large corporations. By October 1920 the Columbia Products Company was given permission to take over the assets and business of the Walnut Sauce Co., which was owned by another large conglomerate, the Stetson- Barret Company (The Recorder, San Francisco, California, October 13, 1920). The brand appears to have fallen out of favor by the decade's end.


The new advertisement for “Angelo” California Walnut Sauce first appeared in this advertisement. (Los Angeles Herald, August 20, 1919) The Worcestershire-type bottles remained the same and it is only assumed that the older lettered bottles, as shown here, were no longer used.



The 8 oz. light aqua tooled-top bottles are also embossed on the heel, “I.P.G.CO”, the unmistakable mark of the Illinois Pacific Glass Company, which operated from 1902 to 1930.


It is assumed that the species of walnuts used in the California Walnut Sauce was actually the English Walnut, (Juglans regia), which is an ‘old world’ variety, typically grown on the native California Black Walnut (Juglans hindsii) rootstock. This is noted primarily because the name of the product alludes to the possibility that the California species was used in an extract form. To walnut connoisseurs, there is a slight difference in the taste of the nut, but the native species is much more difficult to harvest and is almost never grown as a commercial crop. If just the liquid extract is used, as in the case of walnut sauce, it is possible that the native variety may have been used for this product.

Mary E. Young is buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park, in Glendale, California, along with her husband, John Henry Young who died on January 27, 1930. John operated his None-Such Restaurant at 3402 South Vermont Avenue in Los Angeles from 1910 to at least 1921. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Doctor's Darrin

 Drs. Darrin

Fun Stuff!

Sometimes ya just gotta roll your eyes at the gimmicks that folks came up with to fleece an ignorant and unsuspecting public.

Here's a fun, oddball, pair of quack items focusing on the "Electric Cure Craze" of the later 19th century.

Drs. Darrin first appears in 1884, listing his / their address as 113 Stockton St. (between Geary and O'Farrel) in S.F., and specializing in curing maladies with the power of Magnetism. 


Later, he / they became itinerant "doctors" (showmen - snake oil peddlers) who appeared in Oregon ca. turn of the century, setting up shop in local small town hotels as he traveled from town to town, "curing" folks with the wonders of Electricity. "Infomercials" promoting his cure appear in numerous Oregon newspapers of the era.

The bottle is just under 6" tall x 2 7/16" wide. It has a small chip on the front of the lip. There is no base mark. The reverse has an odd design as pictured. The label has margin loss as seen. A prescription is present on the lower part of the label but I'm unable to read it. However, I can make out just enough to hazard a guess that it was for "external use" as it states in part, "For Electric cure, apply...".



The accompanying Electric "Flesh Brush" brush appears to be made of a vulcanized hard rubber, similar to gutta percha. It measures 5 3/16" x 2 1/2" and retains approximately 99% + of the horse hair bristles.



Quick PS; The brush was patented in the eighties. I guess it lent credence to their fantastic claims if another "Dr. so and so's" name was involved... Patent states that there are actually "iron rods" embedded in the handle. 

The Darrins were quite the pair to draw to. Once they wore out their welcome in SF, they migrated to Sac, then LA. After (probably) getting tarred and feathered there, they flew the coop to Washington Territory, and eventually ended up in Oregon, running their scam from small town to small town. Last records I could find were just post TOC.


Sunday, September 18, 2022


                          * OREGON TRADE MARKS*


Just as in the State of California to its south, Oregon adopted a trademark law in the mid-1860s to help protect trade names used by proprietors doing business within the boundaries of the State. It preceded the United States trademark law adopted in 1870 but which had a greater value of providing protection throughout all the states. The documentation below was gathered from the Oregon Secretary of State records about 1975. Since that date, Oregon has posted some of its historical trademark records online ( However, the online records are random and based primarily on visual appeal of the associated documents. The trademarks listed below were selected nearly fifty years ago with the primary consideration of possibly being a bottled product and the historical documentation of those bottles being a primary criterion. This listing terminates in 1903 even though registered Oregon trademarks go well beyond that date.

This trademark list is compiled by the assigned number which is also listed by date. Some of the registrants listed below were located in California but trademarked their products in Oregon as well as California in order to better protect their business from fraudulent competitors.

                                               *******                            *******

004      Clarke, J.E, Portland, OR, “Web Foot Tonic” (no printed matter included)   6  June 1866

005      Murray, J.W., Portland, OR, “Premium Lung & Liver Balsam” and  “Improved Magic Oil” (no printed matter included)  29 Jan 1867 

007      Avery, Wm. C., Salem, OR    “Mrs. L.A. Stipp’s Thoracic Balsam” (top half of label included)                24 Apr 1867

008      Gross, L., Portland, OR, “Henley’s Royal Balsam” (no printed matter included)   9 Dec 1867                                                                                                                          

010      Gross & Co., Portland, OR     “Henley’s Wild Grape Root Bitters"(label and wrapper included)               7 Jun 1868 

019      Loryea, A.M., East Portland, OR, “The South Carolina Preventive”, “The South Carolina Ague Remedy”, “The Unkweed Remedy”, “The Oregon Rheumatic Cure” (No labels submitted. Entry printed on letterhead marked East Portland Bank, Jas B. Stephens – A.M. Loryea) 7 Jun 1868

022      Arctic Root Co., Portland, OR   “Prepared Arctic Root for Making Bitters –A.R.Co.”  (Stained box label included) 28 Aug 1871

023      Brown, G.W., Portland, OR   “Dr. G.W. Brown’s U.S. Oregon Chittum Bitters (includes label)    6 Sep 1871 

024      Rennicks, S.J.,  Portland, OR “Oahu Bitters” (includes a slightly stained label)  21 Oct 1871 

030      Cunningham & Co., Salem, OR “Conquerer” (with a drawing of a standing lion and a shield. No mention of what this company makes)  28 Oct 1874 

031      Staender, Adam, Portland, OR “Adam Staender’s Vegetable Hair Renewer”(includes a trimmed wrapper)  30 Mar 1875 

036      Weatherford & Co., Salem, OR, “Wigandia – Mountain Balm”  (no printed matter included)     1 Dec 1876

045      Pfunder & Co., Wm., Portland, OR   “Oregon Blood Purifier” (label included) 20 May 1876

???       Murray & Co., O.S., Portland, OR “Dr. Crampton’s Web Foot Oil & “Dr. Crampton’s Centennial Bitters” (this trademark was only located in Vol. 1, pg. 46 of the registration books and not in the chronological trademark listings. The printed material is impressive but in poor condition)  1 Sep 1876 

046      Pfunder & Co., Wm., Portland, OR   (picture of a baby) 20 May 1878

049      (Unknown registrant) “Dr. Henley’s Oregon Kidney Tea” (included label appears to have been                removed) 18 Aug 1879                                   

 054      Simmonds, G., S.F., CA., “Nabob Whiskey” (several labels included)  29 Dec 1879 

057      Hodge-Davis & Co., Portland, OR, “Oregon Kidney Tea” (wrapper included and  label included) 18 Feb 1880 

060      Molson & Sons, Portland, OR, “Lager Bier” (label included) 22 Mar 1880 

061      Blumauer & Co., L., Portland, OR, “The Rose Pill” (stained partial label) 5 Apr 1880

???       Feurer, Louis, Portland, OR, “Gambrinus Beer” & “Weiner Export Beer” 12 May 1880

077      Wilmerding & Co., S.F., CA, “Peruvian Bitters” (labels included)  10 Mar 1881

079      Hotaling & Co., S.F., CA, (for whiskey, labels included) 28 Apr 1881

???       Post, E.S., Portland, OR, “American Eagle” (for soda water) 4 Jun 1881

088      Henley, Wm., Portland, OR, “Dr. Henley’s Dandelion Tonic” (labels included 15 Aug 1881

100      Post, E. A., Portland, OR, “Oregon Champagne Cider” (label included from Cottle, Post & Co.)  20 Dec 1881

110      Hankins, John, Portland, OR, “J. Hankin’s Catarrh Remedy” (advertising card included)              18 Apr 1882

111      Braunschwieger & Bumstead, S.F., CA, (Hibernia Stomach Bitters (labels included)                    21 Apr 1882

112      Wilhoit Springs Mineral Water Co., Portland, OR, “Wilhoit Springs Mineral                       Water” (label included)  27 May 1882

???       Meline, Mrs. E, Portland, OR, “The Great Indian Cough & Lung Remedy” (label included)        2 Jan 1886

128      Shannon, Bloomer & Son, E. Portland, OR, “Portland Champagne Cider” (label included)       16 Feb 1883 

134      Henley, Wm., Portland, OR, “Celery, Beef & Iron”, (front and back labels) 12 May 1883

146      McLellan & Druschel, Portland, OR, “Pioneer Champagne Cider & Ginger Ale”,

            (label and description of bottle embossing which includes an anchor) 15 Sep 1883 

152      Northrup & Sturgis, Portland, OR, (transfer of the company’s trademarks on company                              letterhead) 21 Dec 1883

173      Kissler, J.H., Portland, OR, “Oregon & California Indian Kidney & Liver Tea” (label included)              15 Dec 1884

179      C.B. & I. Extract Co., S.F., CA, “Prune Laxative” (labels included)     2 May 1885 

182      Berry, Thomas, Portland, OR, “Berry’s Nourishing Stout” (label included)   2 Oct 1885

183      Hall, Luhrs & Co., Sacramento, CA, “Snowflake Whiskey” (labels included)  6 Oct 1885

191      Griswold, N.W., S.F., CA, “Celery Cough Wafers”. (label included)     7 Jan 1886

195      Irvin, D. B., Corvallis, OR, “Pearl of Beauty”, for freckles, sunburn, etc. (label included)                        7 Apr 1886

216      Jack, James M., Portland, OR, (The letters “CCC” above the letter “M”, all accompanying a                    bust of a man. To be used in connection with proprietary medicine and  particularly a Catarrh                  Cure)  24 Jan 1887 

218      Moore, Case & Co., Corvallis, OR, “Moore’s Hair Invigorator” (top half of label Included)                      12 Apr 1887 

227      Wisdom, W. M., Portland, OR, “Wisdom’s Robertine” (label & letterhead included)                                14 Jan 1888           

238      Venner, J.F., Portland, OR, “Oregon Electric Relief” (no printed matter included)                                      17 Sep 1888

270      Aphro Medicine Co., Portland, OR, “Aphroditine” (label included)     8 Oct 1889

272      Smith, E.W., Portland, OR, (Densodyne” (type of product is not mentioned and no printed                       matter included) 16 Oct 1888 

282       Halleck, W. C., Portland, OR, “Skookum Root Hair Grower”, (label included) 14 Mar 1890 

283        Aphro Medicine Co., Portland, OR, “Faber’s Golden Female Pills” (label included)                                 25 Mar 1890

???        Shasta Mineral Water Co., Sacramento, CA, (labels for mineral water) 16 Oct 1890 

???         Withercombe, Thomas, Farmington, OR, “King of the Valley Liniment” (label included)                          26 Jun 1890

303         Love & Watkins, Portland, OR, “Klink’s Ague Pills” (box label included) 19 Nov 1890 

371        Scott & Gilbert, S.F., CA, “Sassafras Sour” (label included)  8 Feb 1893

 419        Loewe Bros,, S.F., CA, “C.W Stuart’s Extra Kentucky Whiskey” (with O & K                                         Monogram, including a label for “SHM Superior Old Bourbon, Wilmerding & Co.,                                 and a label for “Kellog’s Old Bourbon Whiskey, Wilmerding & Co.) 4 Feb 1895 

???       Blumauer, Phil, Portland, OR, “Barker’s Boro Thymol,” Barker’s Cod Liver Oil” “Barker’s                    Sarsaparilla”, “Barker’s Kola”, and the word “Alpine”            ??????  

478      Coblentz & Levy, Portland, OR, “North Star Old Kentucky Bourbon” (label included                              24 Jul 1897 

???       Coblentz & Levy, Portland, OR, “Black Diamond Whiskey” (label included 24 Aug 1897 

489      Star Medicine Co. (S. Hogeboom, Mrs. M. Hogeboom & E. Weaver, PortlandOR),                              “German Dandelion Bitters” (partially printed label) 4 Nov 1897

490       Star Medicine Co., Portland, OR, “German Dandelion Bitters” (full label                                                 included) 4 Nov 1897

491      Star Medicine Co., Portland, OR, “Dr. Hogeboom’s German Dandelion Bitters”, (appears to be               a back label for the same product) 4 Nov 1897

496      Wyatt & Labbe, Portland, OR, “Kuick Kough Kure” (stencil label included) 26 Nov 1897

546      Blumauer-Frank Drug Co., Portland, OR, “Hood’s Pepsin & Celery Bitters (label included)                    27 Oct 1898 

 594      Viavi Co., The, S.F., CA, “Viavi – Way to Health”, (in a black diamond) 28 Nov 1899 

610      Heath, Mrs. S. Moore, Portland, OR, “Heath’s Magic Enamel Cream” (no label  included)          8 May 1900

620      Fargo Co., E.A., S.F., CA, “Honey Rye Whiskey” (label included)  10 Jul 1900

680      Dolphine Chemical Co., Portland, OR, “Dolphine Dandruff Destroyer” (label included)              25 Mar 1902

688      Cottel Drug Co., Portland, OR, “Kitsap” (for Hair Tonic, Condition Powder,                        Cough Cure, Liniment and Corn Cure. Labels included) 18 Apr 1902

707      Caufield, Dan, Oregon City, OR, “The Woman’s Friend – A Monthly Regulator”                     (no label included) 9 Jul 1902 

764      Yaquis Medicine Co., S.F., CA & Portland, OR, “The Great Yaquis Cough Cure”               (labels, wrapper, and circular included)  7 May 1903

765      Yaquis Medicine Co., Portland, OR, “Snake Oil Liniment” (circular & wrapper) 7 May 1903

766      Yaquis Medicine Co., Portland, OR, “La-Cas-Ka” (for medicine. Label, circular & wrapper                    included) 7 May 1903

779      Hermetic Fruit Jar Co., Portland, OR,. (advertisement only)  21 Jul 1903