Wednesday, February 17, 2021




He was the son of Nathaniel Hiram Stockton, born in Tennessee November 6, 1818, and Mary Lynn. N. H. Stockton married Mary on October 17, 1852, in Watsonville, California, and resided near Santa Cruz, California, where their six children were born. Their oldest son, William Walter Stockton, was born in Santa Cruz on June 30, 1857. He then moved with his family to San Jose in 1862, where N. H. Stockton engaged in viticulture. W.W. Stockton was to graduate from San Jose State Normal School, which was established as a teacher’s college and is known today as San Jose State University.

 By March 1882, W.W. Stockton entered into a partnership with fellow San Jose resident, Lewis B. Wilson. Stockton opened a wine store in San Jose and Wilson opened a branch store in Grass Valley.

 Stockton’s short lived partnership with Lewis B. Wilson ended when Wilson was declared insolvent in Grass Valley. Wilson then returned to San Jose where he immersed himself in education, receiving his certificate to teach school. He eventually became vice-president of San Jose State College. Wilson married Alice Blythe in San Jose on January 10, 1883.  Wilson died in San Jose on 16 May 1924. Meanwhile W. W. Stockton married Sacramento native, Mary A. Gay in San Jose on August 12, 1882.

 W.W. Stockton wasted no time in creating a new business under the name of W.W. Stockton & Co. This was most certainly a business formed for the purpose of selling wines, etc., from his father’s own extensive vineyards, and soon included his Port Wine Bitters.



Stockton's Port Wine Bitters bottle.


The original label for Stockton's Port Wine Bitters, included with his trade mark registration for the brand, deposited with the California Secretary of State as trade mark Number 971 on April 9, 1883.

 As would be expected in the relatively small town of San Jose, the local newspaper gave notice to a promising new business by a well respected resident. (San Jose Mercury-news, 28 April 1883 )



A newspaper ad for his bitters, it originally incorporated the word “MALVOISIE” which represented the initial grape variety used to compound the product. (San Jose Mercury-News, April 17, 1883) 



An interesting news byte noting the original art work for Stockton’s Malvoise Bitters was being displayed in the window of Rhode’s drug store in San Jose.  (San Jose Mercury-News, April 7, 1883) 


By June 1883 the word MALVOISE was no longer used in his ads. This action, which is not completely explained, may be because of the varietal grape choices his father had made in his vineyards, which is where the juice was derived for Stockton’s Port Wine Bitters.


Stockton’s advertisements for his bitters soon dropped the reference to the Malvoisie grape probably represented a switch to the use of the more abundant Zinfandel grape from the much larger vineyards of his father’s Madera properties. (San Jose Mercury-News, June 17, 1883)  


The malvoisie grape, or malvasia in Italian, is a European species of the Vitus vinifera family, (aka Vitus vinifera “Cinsaut”) It has been commonly used in the production of port wines for many generations, and was a freely planted grape in the early orchards of California, especially Napa and San Jose. As different grape varieties became better tested in the new California geography, it was noted that the Malvoisie grape was not as hardy as first expected and fell out of favor by the early 1880’s.


All documentation located indicated a successful business venture that was to be an excellent financial success to both Stockton and the city of San Jose. (San Jose Herald, March 19, 1884) 


Much of Stockton’s success should be put squarely on the shoulders of his father, N. H.  Stockton, who was producing huge amounts of grapes.


Nathaniel Stockton’s Live Oak Vineyard became a model for the newly emerging viticulture that once rivaled its counterpart in Napa County. While Stockton was a successful grape grower he looked enviously toward the area of Fresno County where the climate was much more to his liking. 


Retaining his successful Live Oak Vineyard, N. H. Stockton later purchased as much as 640 acres in the warmer San Joaquin Valley and planted a large portion of it in grapes as well. He had been particularly critical of the milder, and wetter, climate of the San Jose ValleyStockton also established a house and winery at his Madera property.


A letterhead from N.H. Stockton, documenting his vineyards in Madera, Fresno County, California, In 1893 Madera became the county seat of the newly formed Madera County, reducing the size of Fresno County



It is clear from this newspaper advertisement that N.H. Stockton, and his son, W.W. Stockton, had a close relationship in the spirits and bitters business.   (San Jose Mercury-News, December 18, 1883) 




This somewhat close father / son relationship between W.W. Stockton and his father becomes even clearer with this IOU, on W.W. Stockton’s letterhead, with both father and son’s signature.    


The successful business of N. H. Stockton, and the newly emerging business of his son, W.W. Stockton, and his Port Wine Bitters, all came to an abrupt end when the senior Stockton died at his ranch in Madera on June 30, 1884.


W. W. Stockton, was the only surviving male sibling, along with his four sisters, when their father died. W.W. Stockton became the executor of his father’s rather large estate after N.H. Stockton’s wife, Mary Stockton, gave up her first right as executor. It took six years to finally complete the probate process which consumed much of his time. It is apparent that Stockton ceased producing his Port Wine Bitters and closed the wine and liquor store in San Jose which was considered part of his father’s estate.


Stockton sold his liquor business in May 1885, which by that time was only advertising Thistle Dew Whiskey. From that date he no longer was involved in liquor sales.


Not staying idle, Stockton soon exposed his inquisitive side. He had a great fascination for the properties of electro-magnetic energy and spent some time with the development of a telephone. He was noted as being the co-developer of a new type of highly efficient telephone transmission. (San Jose Herald, March 2, 1885) After an extensive interview with Stockton about his new invention, the local newspaper illuminated predictions about this new modern field.  “Mr. Stockton has given several years of careful study and systematic experiments to electrical science, studying the best textbooks obtainable and keeping informed on the progress made in the world through valuable sources as the Electrical World, Scientific American, Electrical Review and similar papers.  “And yet,” he remarked, “although what the world knows to-day about electricity would fill many books, what the world does not know to-day about it would fill a vastly greater number; and we are now on the threshold of a century in which there will be such discoveries and applications of known principles made as are too wonderful to contemplate.  One hundred years or so hence people will navigate the air by electrical force, will see a friend a hundred or a thousand miles away.  The refrangibility of light, refractive power of lenses, etc., will be so affected by electro-magnetic action that telescopes will be made powerful enough to show every pebble in the planets, and so will other wonderful results, ad infinitum, be obtained through the agency of this wonderful form of energy, electricity.”


Not overlooking more traditional innovations, in December 1885 Stockton and G. Phelps patented a yoke for double team draft animals. (draft yoke or bar for double teams,  Patent Number 332,366, filed July 29, 1885) Later that year he went to Mexico to superintend the installation of an electric light plant. (San Jose Mercury News, December 17, 1885)  By 1887 he was noted as a “constructing electrician” for the Risdon Iron Works of San Francisco (San Jose Mercury News, August 19, 1887). He remained in San Francisco for the next several years where the city directory lists him as an electrician.


The remaining stock of Port Wine Bitters was being sold by secondary parties as late as 1890 at THE FAMILY WINE AND LIQUOR STORE, in San Jose – at a reduced price of 35 cents per bottle, and noted as 11 years old. (San Jose Herald, February 28, 1890) By 1892 it was being sold at $1.00 for 5 bottles.


Stockton briefly moved to Niles, Alameda County, about 1890, where the voting register notes his occupation as an accountant. From that date he is no longer documented in California but probably stayed there until about 1894.


By 1891 Stockton left Niles and became somewhat aloof in his whereabouts, even though Mary Stockton, his wife, born as Mary Albertine Gay, remained in San Francisco and engaged in a variety of odd jobs to support herself. She even bore a child, Mary Arlene Stockton on August 22, 1893. It is assumed that her father was W.W. Stockton, even though Arlene’s death certificate notes her father was “Frank Stockton”. This is likely an error.  By 1895 the San Francisco city directories simply listed Stockton’s wife as a widow, which was a common descriptor for a woman who had no husband, for reasons including death, divorce and abandonment. She had relocated to Chicago, Illinois, by 1900 and eventually moved to Michigan, where she married John Herman Hensen in Grand Rapids, on April 11, 1938, at the age of 74 years. She died in Kalamazoo on January 24, 1946.


W. W. Stockton clearly determined to make another life changing move and was found next in Maricopa County, Arizona, in the voting register, when he signed up to vote on September 29, 1894, in Gila Bend, Arizona. He apparently had decided to stay in the area for awhile. Local newspapers periodically made note of his prospecting and mining activities in Arizona Territory.

William Walker Stockton died on December 24, 1901, at Castle Creek Hot Springs, Yavapai, Arizona. The only signed affidavit from the inquest of his death, except for the Coroners Jury final determination, was from William “Billy” Walker, a well known chef who went to work at the Castle Creek Hotel about 1899, according to a newspaper article. (Prescott Arizona Weekly Journal Miner, October 4, 1899) As an aside, in 1909 Walker, was arrested for an assault with a deadly weapon – a heavy beer glass, that he threw at Joe Bush in McDonough’s Saloon in Globe, Arizona. (The Daily Silver Belt, Globe, Arizona, July 21, 1909.

The Arizona probate court determined that although Stockton had an undivided interest in the Prosperity, Oro Grande, and Rich Rock mining claims in the Castle Creek Mining District of Yavapai County, Arizona, they were not sufficiently developed to have any true value, and probate was closed on February 2, 1903. 

In cases where deaths were either suspicious or unknown, Arizona law required that the coroner name a panel of six jurors that would look into, and attempt to determine, the cause of death. The Billy Walker inquest deposition for Stockton notes he had been drinking heavily, went to bed and died in his sleep.


The final result as determined by the Coroners’ jury was that Stockton had died from apoplexy (stroke). To say the least, it was a bit of a shock to note the signature of Maxfield Parrish as a member of the Coroner’s jury, as noted in this document.


Names of the Coroner’s jury:

Oren A. Ensign: jury foreman and miner in Castle Creek District

Charles M. Calhoun: Manager of Hot Springs, beginning in 1898

Maxfield Parrish: Artist – see below.

John Deck: Miner: Killed in a mining accident at Tip Top, Yavapai County, in 1905.

Charles E. Stuart: A pioneer painting contractor of Phoenix.

Thomas M. Kerr: He was a successful freighter operating in Yavapai County.


Maxfield Parrish, and his new bride, Lydia, visited Hot Springs in the winter of 1901-1902. He had been suffering from the effects of tuberculosis and jumped at the chance to accept an offer by The Century Magazine to visit the Southwest, and create pictures for a series of articles. He created a total of 19 paintings while staying at Castle Creek Hot Springs, considered Arizona’s first springs resort. It was here that Parrish first employed the intense blue that he experienced in the Western skies, which became a hallmark of many of his paintings. Little else need be stated about Parrish, as he is so well known, except this hidden fact about his Coroner’s jury obligation which has not previously been documented to my knowledge. The story how he was selected for the jury is a story that will probably never be discovered.



The Maxfield Parrish print, Daybreak, first produced in 1922, was the most popular, and recognizable print of the twentieth century. The original painting was sold in 2006, for $7.6 million, to the wife of actor, Mel Gibson. It was again sold in 2010, at a loss – for $5.2 million.


Eric McGuire 

Monday, January 18, 2021




At times certain individuals are encountered who determined to market a bottled product but have little known history for such a venture. Eberhard William Park was just such an individual. When he arrived in California is somewhat of a mystery, however, he is likely the same Park noted in the 1858 San Francisco Directory as Edward W. Park, a newspaper carrier. A native of Mecklenburg, Prussia, he was born December 3, 1828. The 1860 U.S. census for San Francisco, also lists him as a newspaper carrier but notes his real estate holdings are worth $15,000, and a personal estate valued at $3000. This is a significant amount for a newspaper carrier.  The 1863 and1864 IRS tax list notes his yearly income was $1867, which was also considerable for a newspaper carrier.

 Park’s occupation, as noted in the city directories was a newspaper carrier until 1872 and 1873, when none was given. In the 1874 directory he is noted as president of the California Hyde (sic) and Leather Co., but in 1875 no occupation is given. This business was incorporated in 1872 with Park being one of three trustees. (Daily Alta California, November 5, 1872).  The company can no longer be documented after 1875.

 In 1876, what was likely the source of his primary income all along, his occupation is noted as “real estate” in the San Francisco directory. By 1879 his real estate earnings were significant enough for him to be listed as a “capitalist”, which is an apex for a directory listing.  Again, it is not clear how Park acquired his property, however, he owned a total of four blocks in the Mission District. ( Real Estate Reporter of the Pacific Coast, San Francisco, Calif., April 25, 1874)

 His directory listing for 1880 probably reflects the occupation he chose to fill his time, which was the proprietor of the Park House at the Northeast corner of 24th and Mission Streets in San Francisco. This would be essentially across the street from his residence.


A necessary feature of the Park House was a good cook, especially one who could bake bread.  This ad exemplifies one of the issues of running a hostelry. (Daily Alta California, June 25, 1882)

Parks demise was noted in newspapers just a year later. “E. W. Park, aged 55, died suddenly last night from the effects of excitement produced by a quarrel with a customer at his bar.  He had been suffering from paralysis of the heart.” (Morning Tribune, San Luis Obispo, July 13, 1883)  He died July 12, 1883.  Another version noted, . . . “His place was visited about nine o’clock by a drunken man, who created a disturbance, and in the process of ejecting him, Park became unnerved.  He lay down in bed and died within a few moments.” (San Francisco Bulletin, July 13, 1883)

 Park’s wife, Mary Doherty Park, died December 15, 1888. There were four surviving children remaining to deal with the estate, and with their daughter, Hildegard Park, being the administrix. The estate was estimated at $100,000, a fairly hefty sum at the time. However, the real estate, which was the majority of the value, was heavily mortgaged.




The Park House property was sold by Eberhard’s widow, Mary Park.  This description gives an idea of its extent. (Daily Alta California, November 5, 1883)


What motivated Park to develop and produce a medicinal product that he claimed, “will make you young again”, is a mystery. Perhaps it was just wishful thinking on his part, however, one can only assume that his goal was to make at least some profit gain on his medicine. No newspaper advertisements were located even though they should have been an essential business practice for medicinal sales at that time. He registered the name of his medicine, ESSENTIA NOBILIS, with the California Secretary of State, under the trade mark laws of California, on January 15, 1879, as Trademark No. 471. Its meaning from the Latin would be “noble essence”. Park also ordered bottles for his medicine from the San Francisco and Pacific Glass Works, with the name embossed in the glass. Examples are extremely rare with perhaps only three or four known to collectors.


An example of E.W. PARK’S ESSENTIA NOBILIS bottle. It is large, being about 9.75 inches in height, and holding approximately one quart. One can’t help but wonder if he also served his medicine in the bar at his Park House.




The label for PARK’S ESSENTIA NOBILIS was deposited with his trademark registration, and shown here. It may be the only extant copy of this rare piece of San Francisco history.


Also note that a carte de visite photograph of E.W. Park is currently located at as part of his gravesite memorial.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021


There is a story behind every bottle, which even includes the rather large classification of what is commonly called prescription, or drug store, bottles. It seems that just like the local saloon, many corner drug stores also created identifiable bottles associated with their business. The pictured item is just one example. I chose to put it on this blog because of where the story led me, which is somewhat unusual.

 Documenting the history of the people who had certain bottles created is the essence of discovering the meaning of the objects within the greater web of history. But it is not unusual to find little or nothing on the lives of some individuals. Such is the case with William Mansfield, the originator of the pictured drug store bottle. His bottle was made to compound, bottle, and sell at least some of his liquid prescriptions to the public.



The Mansfield bottle is round, 6.5 inches in height, with a tooled flared out lip, and composed of clear glass, with smooth base. All embossing is located within what appears to be a circular slug plate on the side of the bottle, embossed, M. MANSFIELD / CHEMIST & DRUGGIST / 320 SANTA CLARA ST / SAN JOSE CAL.

 Based on newspaper ads, it is well established that Mansfield had previously been living in Petaluma, California, and it is highly likely that he was plying the trade of a pharmacist in that town. Unfortunately, he could not be located in the 1870 decennial  U.S. census, which could have given us significant clues about his age, location of birth and possible family connections. It appears, therefore, that he was not living in Petaluma in 1870.

 John R.Williams and Henry H. Moore formed a partnership in the pharmacy trade at Stockton, CA, in May1865, purchasing the existing drug store of Robert Porterfield, who died just a month later on June 28, 1865, in Sonora, CA. Williams & Moore also traded heavily in the patent medicine business, which appeared to be quite lucrative for them. In 1872 they struck a deal with David Dodge Tomlinson, of San Jose, whereby they purchased the rights to manufacture and sell Tomlinson’s HHH Horse Medicine in the Western states, which soon became highly successful.  At the same time Williams & Moore had established a branch drug store in San Jose by at least April 1872, at 320 Santa Clara St.

 Williams & Moore decided to focus more of their time on the sale of the highly successful HHH Horse Medicine and put their San Jose store up for sale. William Mansfield purchased the drug store of Williams & Moore, in San Jose, in December 1872. He likely had his bottles blown shortly thereafter. His business appears to have been run successfully during 1873, and he even purchased a coveted, and expensive, front cover advertising spot for the upcoming 1874 San Jose business directory.

 William Mansfield's residence in Petaluma has yet to be documented, however, it does appear that he worked there before coming to San Jose. (San Jose Mercury-News, 21 December 1872)

 Then something bizarre occurred when Mansfield disappeared about the first week of April 1874, failing to return from a trip to San Francisco. To this day, no further information has been uncovered that would explain his absence.

Mansfield's disappearance was noted in newspapers only once, then the story went cold. 
San Jose Mercury-News, 11 April 1874)


As is the case for many businesses, Mansfield carried at least some debt, especially to the wholesale San Francisco drug firm of Abrams & Carroll – for the amount of  $4,000. They immediately filed foreclosure on Mansfield’s store and hired the well known San Jose druggist John B. Hewson to temporarily manage the store, which was also renamed the Garden City Drug Store. By September of that year the store was purchased by Henry Piessnecker, who had moved his drug business from Inyo County. Piessnecker operated the store until he died on 24 April 1880.

 Because of the unusual disappearance of Wm. Mansfield, it is possible to very tightly establish the manufacturing date of his drugstore bottle from about December 1872 to April 1874, a period of about 16 months. While it is an accomplishment to document the age of a bottle there is a lingering sense of angst in not being able to uncover more about the man who created it.


Wednesday, December 16, 2020



The year of 1860 was a truly historical milestone for the early manufacture of glass in San Francisco, including the entire West Coast. The partnership of Francis Cutting and Augustus Baker had already produced a small amount of pickle bottles by late in 1859 but, with no experience in glass making, this attempt was extremely challenging for them. The reject rate for passable bottles must have been quite high but it appears that Baker was still optimistic about success. Judging from Baker leaving their partnership in the pickle business, and forming a separate partnership in the California Glass Works, with Cutting, it would appear that both were still hoping the venture would work but Cutting was not willing to impact the assets of the pickle business if the glass works venture failed.


Daily Alta California, January 3, 1860

The only known intact specimen of the Baker and Cutting pickle jar, blown in 1859.

A surprisingly large number of the Baker & Cutting pickle bottles have been excavated over the years, except all but one have been found in pieces.

The partners earnestly continued their quest for a successful glass works in an environment that was new to such a venture. Expertise was not easy to find in California and their search for competent glass blowers was extended as far away as Wheeling, Virginia.


After a month of trials Baker and Cutting placed this advertisement in The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer of Wheeling, Virginia. The ad ran for most of February and March 1860.

It is not known if the plea for experienced bottle blowers was successful, but it is evident that Francis Cutting became weary of the mounting expenses involved in getting the glass works to a point of success. He apparently decided to cut his losses and ended his partnership with Baker in the San Francisco Glass Works at the end of February 1860.


                                                 Daily Alta California, March 5, 1860

To say that A.D. Baker is not well documented in the record while he was operating the San Francisco Glass Works is an understatement, as newspaper information about this new and important California venture is quite scarce. The attempt to produce good glass for the bottling of their food products finally caused Francis Cutting to abandon the project as noted by the dissolution of their partnership in the glass works on February 29, 1860. Baker continued on his own, and whether he was ready to operate a fully functioning glass works as a profitable venture is a cause for speculation – but he decided to open for business anyway in early March 1860. This was most likely a move of desperation, for surely, he was heavily in debt at this point. Regardless, in the next few weeks Baker produced a number of historically significant bottles, most of which were not lettered, which does make it difficult to identify them. Just three embossed medicine bottles were found in the wastage area of the works in such a quantity as to assume that they had to have been blown at this factory.


Photos of some of the bottle types found in the 'wastage area' of the San Francisco Glass Works, including liquor, insulators, soda and wine bottles. The last two pictures includes a batch of glass sand ready for the furnace. It includes selected frit, mostly lighter colored broken bottles, which act as a flux in the melting process. The last photo shows the side wall of a furnace pot along with a batch just beginning to melt.

A.D. Baker’s opening of his San Francisco Glass Works occurred on March 6, 1860. He advertised the sale of “WINE, SODA, PICKLE, And most kinds of BOTTLES, TELEGRAPH INSULATORS, etc.” (Daily Alta California, March 11, 1860) 

 Probably in a move of desperation to garner some operating capital, Baker advertised for sale three tons of fire clay. This would have been product to be used in the construction of pots for melting glass. (Daily Alta California, April 6, 1860)


The terminal date of the San Francisco Glass Works under the direction of Augustus Baker was almost certainly near the end of April 1860, with a total run of almost two months.

 The exit from San Francisco by A.D. Baker was unceremonious to say the least. Based solely on a small newspaper article containing a confusing error, it is clear that Baker skipped town due to mounting debts that he could not pay. The noted error, shown in the actual article below, states Baker as the proprietor of the San Francisco Iron Works, instead of the San Francisco Glass Works. This can be well documented as an error since no person by the name of Baker was ever noted as the proprietor of the San Francisco Iron Works. And, further, the San Francisco Iron Works was not even established until 1865.


There is some indication that Baker may have left for Australia for several years but it has not been proven to be the same A.D. Baker.  (Sacramento Daily Union, April 26, 1860)


The article notes that the buyer of the San Francisco Glass Works was Lucien Bell, who was obviously a victim of fraud, and who apparently was a novice at making such a purchase. Lucien Bell is non-existent in San Francisco in 1860, or any other time,  but there was a tea broker listed in the SF directory for that year named Lucius Bell. First noted in San Francisco as early as 1852, he initially worked for his brothers-in-law, the Goodman Brothers, who were general commission merchants. Bell later partnered with Washington Elliot as grocers in San Francisco in 1858 and 1859. He was apparently not a good money manager and had to file for insolvency in both previous businesses. Then, in 1860, he was a tea broker, which was his last business listing in San Francisco. If the article shown above is correct, and Baker did sell his heavily indebted business to Bell, this event must have been a heavy financial burden on Bell, and Baker likely wasted no time in removing himself from San Francisco.  In fact, to further document Baker’s removal from San Francisco, 12 cases of pipe clay in the name of A.D. Baker were auctioned off to pay for unclaimed freight in July 1860. (Daily Alta California, July 11, 1860)

 Bell was discharged from his debts in April 1860, probably due to the unusual circumstances of being duped by Baker. (San Joaquin Republican, April 20, 1860). Unfortunately,  Lucius Bell found himself in the same predicament about a year later when he filed for bankruptcy and his assets were ordered to be sold. (Daily Alta California, April 14, 1861) Bell then moved to Napa for a few years and then, about 1865, moved back East to Brooklyn, New York, where he died on November 18, 1906. He was buried in Rochester, New York.

 As fate would have it the brother of Sarah L. Bell, the wife of Lucius Bell, was a wealthy banker named James Harvey Goodman. He left a trust fund to Bell’s wife in the amount of $136, 800, which passed to her upon Goodman’s death in 1891. (Napa Register, April 24, 1891) After a long history of business failures in both California and New York, his wife finally brought some financial stabilization to the family, and Bell retired from business.

 In some way, whether through a court ordered sale, or some other unknown conveyance, the San Francisco Glass Works that had become virtually abandoned by its owners, must have passed to someone. The next name in the written historical record that is associated with its name, is J. Lambert. The most likely candidate would be Joseph Lambert, who was also experiencing some difficult employment issues in 1860.

 A newspaper article fairly secures his full name: “ OFFICERS OF THE ALTA CALIFORNIA TELEGRAPH COMPANY.- An annual meeting of the Alta California Telegraph Company was held at their office in this city last evening, and the following elected officers: W. W. Welty, President; J.M. McDonald, Superintendent; J.W. Coleman, Secretary; R.H. McDonald, C.H. Swift, John Pattison and Joseph Lambert, Directors”.(Sacramento Daily Union, September 7, 1858)

 Likely the same Joseph Lambert is listed in the 1859 SF directory as “Lambert, Joseph, telegraph, bds, Hotel International.” 

 The telegraph company was hit with what was likely its death blow in mid-1860. “Morse et al. vs The Alta Telegraph Co. et al  - A suit has been commenced in the U.S. Circuit Court by S.F.B. Morse, F. O. J. Smith, Theodore Little, and George T. Cobb, residents of various Eastern States, against the Alta Telegraph Company, Jas. M. McDonald and Joseph Lambert, of this State, to restrain them from using Morse’s telegraphic patent, to compel them to account for profits which they have made by its use, and to require them to pay damages done to plaintiffs by its use. The argument in the case is to be heard on the 19th inst.” (Daily Alta California, June 12, 1860)

 J. Lambert was the operating agent of the Alta Telegraph Company for San Francisco in 1860, and as a member of the reporter’s union, was one of those who welcomed the first Pony Express rider of the Overland Pony Express. (Daily Alta California, April 13, 1860). A week later a newspaper advertisement documented that Lambert had been selected as the San Francisco agent for the new Pony Express service. (Daily Alta California, April 20, 1860, p. 4)

 August of 1860 is the earliest that the glass works of Lambert & Co. had successfully produced glass, with the silica component coming primarily from the extensive quartz deposits near Folsom. The absence of the darker elements, as found in most sand grains, would, theoretically produce a very light colored batch. Perhaps the most difficult part of using quartz rock would be grinding it finely enough to easily melt and thoroughly mix with the other ingredients of soda and lime, as well as the frit.


News article explaining Lambert’s testing and using quartz for use in glass making. (Sacramento Daily Union, August 16, 1860)


But, how do we know that the J. Lambert noted above, is the same person who operated the San Francisco Glass Works, after the exit of A.D. Baker? One small news article mentioning a display of bottles at the Mechanic’s Institute Fair by the San Francisco Glass Works, includes its business address as 153 Montgomery Street. This address is the same as that of Joseph Lambert for his business office.


 (San Francisco Daily Herald, September 10, 1860)


Note the same address for both the California Glass Works and Lambert’s Pony Express Office is 153 Montgomery St. Also of interest – this ad is the last for Lambert as agent for the Pony Express. (Daily Alta California, August 24, 1860) J.W. Brown became the second San Francisco agent and the office was moved to Olney’s Washoe Exchange at the corner of Montgomery and Merchants Streets in September 1860.

 Aside from a few additional news reports about the glass works display, virtually no information has been located, and it must be concluded that the works were not successful and closed its doors shortly after the fair. Only one small note has been located to date. (For additional contemporary news reports see EARLY GLASSWORKS OF CALIFORNIA, by Warren B. Friedrich. N.D.)


Essentially, this article is championing a glass factory in the town of Folsom since that is where the raw material – Folsom quartz – was mined to make soda bottles for a Folsom proprietor. The article is obviously referencing the California Glass Works of Lambert & Co. To my knowledge no soda bottles have been found in or around Folsom that may fit the description of those noted. (Marysville Daily Appeal, September 21, 1860)


Certainly, there are soda bottles whose origins are in question and may actually be attributed to Lambert’s factory, even though they are extremely rare.



This rare partial bottle of Napa Soda is a fine candidate for being made at one of the iterations of the  California Glass Works. It is market P & W  SF, near the base. The crudity of the mold is nearly childish in nature and surely could not have come from any glass factory with experience. I have seen two other specimens of Napa Soda bottles, almost clear in color but also lacking in execution of the mold. The glass color could certainly fit that expected if Lambert was using pure quartz rock.



Little to no information was gleaned about Lambert until a possible mention in September of 1861, when a news article noted a meeting of the Silver City Quartz Mill Company was to take place. Lambert was noted as a president of the company (Daily Alta California, September 28, 1861, p. 2)  Another news article a month later excoriated Lambert for acting without authority of the Board of Trustees of the Milling Company. (Sacramento Daily Union, October 12, 1861, p. 2)  At a meeting of the stockholders, he was absolved of any wrongdoing, with the members noting, “By virtue of the By-Laws, as amended, he is General Superintendent and Manager of the Company’s mill and property, and not subject to suspension or removal by the Board of Trustees. (Daily Alta California, October 16, 1861, p. 2)  Keep in mind, however, that it is not possible to determine if this is the same Lambert. In later news articles there are too many John Lamberts to determine if it is the same person, so he becomes effectively lost.


To summarize the timeline of this early San Francisco glass works, that began simply as a side business of the Baker & Cutting pickle trade in 1859, and by the beginning of 1860, was to be an entity in its own right, but quickly failed. It is highly unlikely that it was ‘in blast’ during much of its short lifespan. The following timeline is noted:


The California Glass Works

December 31, 1859 to February 29, 1860. Baker & Cutting, proprietors.

February 29, 1860 to about April 22, 1860. Augustus D. Baker, proprietor.

About April 22, 1860 to about May 1, 1860. Lucius Bell, owner. (Was probably never in blast under his ownership.)

About May 1, 1860 to about October 1, 1860. Joseph Lambert, proprietor. (It was probably idle for at least the first three months of his ownership.)


Sunday, November 22, 2020






Mendocino City, a coastal California town in Mendocino County, California, was established as a logging community that served the rapidly growing West beginning in the 1850’s. Its picturesque setting assures its long term survival as a tourist destination. For a short time in its history Mendocino was the primary site for the distribution of G. M. Henderson’s Bonanza Mineral Water.



Embossed G. M. HENDERSON’S / BONANZA / MINERAL WATER / MENDOCINO / CAL. , its history has remained somewhat of a mystery.


George Marshall Henderson was the fourth of 12 children born to Irish immigrants, Robert J. Henderson and Eliza Ewing, in New Brunswick, Canada. He was born about 1836, spending his early years in Canada and marrying Elizabeth Stockford there in 1861. They had one child, born there in 1865 – James Albert Henderson.  Apparently Elizabeth died early leaving George a widower, along with their young son. George then married his second wife, Ann, early in 1872.  George and Ann then moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he was first noted running a boarding house.


By 1874 Henderson had become a Chicago policeman in the 10th Precinct, a job that he maintained until he left Chicago about 1887. His marriage with Ann appears to have been quite acrimonious. George’s son, James Albert Henderson, was sent to Mendocino County, California, to live with relatives about 1876. George M. Henderson’s sister, Anna Jane Henderson Mann, had moved to Mendocino County by 1875 where she joined her husband, John Mann, who had already established himself at Albion as a lumberman. It is likely James lived with them for awhile; however, the 1880 U.S. census schedules James A. Henderson living with another Canadian, James S. Corrigan, at Big River in Mendocino County.


In January 1880 George Henderson applied for homestead land in Mendocino County, at the head of the North Fork of the Albion River, ultimately comprising about 360 acres. He was still living in Chicago at that time and it is surmised that the required occupation and improvement of the homestead was actually conducted by his sister and brother-in-law, who were living in the same general area at this time. To be sure, his young son, James Albert Henderson, was living in this same area, as he was noted several times in the local Mendocino City newspaper. One of the most notable references was in the Mendocino Coast Beacon, October 2, 1880.

Albert Henderson, the boy mentioned in the BEACON last week as having killed two bears near Robert Dart’s place, the 13th ultimo, on the Albion Ridge, comes to the front again this week by killing three more, near the same place, making six in all this Summer.  Evidently he is a boy of nerve, being only sixteen years old, as he goes alone into the forest and faces these savage denizens of the woods single handed, trusting alone to his faithful Winchester rifle.  The lot of bears, which the boy has killed, have been known to exist in the Albion Ridge woods for several years, and have often been hunted by experienced hunters, but without success, and now comes a boy, a swaddling nearly, and carries off the palm.

George and Ann’s marriage conflicts became particularly pronounced in 1885 when he left his wife without any financial support. She was forced to pursue legal avenues against her husband.


Legal action to gain financial support was effected by Ann Henderson in 1885. (The Inter Ocean, Chicago, Illinois, September 19, 1885)  


The couple soon resolved their immediate issues regarding their relationship, as noted in another newspaper.


Apparent reconciliation was noted in the Chicago Tribune. (Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Illinois, September 19, 1885) 


With continuing matrimonial issues, by 1887 the marriage was effectively over when George Henderson left Chicago and abandoned his wife, moving to his homestead property near Comptche, just east of the town of Mendocino City, California. Anna stayed in Chicago at least until 1895, with directory listings noting she was widowed. George became a naturalized citizen of the U.S. on August 10, 1887, in Ukiah, California.


Taking up residence on his property, Henderson finalized his homestead rights to his ranch near Comptche, upon which his soda spring was located. (Mendocino Coast Beacon, Mendocino, California, March 24, 1888)  


It is not known if George Henderson was initially aware that his homestead property contained a mineral water spring, but soon after he took up residence he embarked on the challenge of selling his own soda water in the bottle shown above, probably by 1889 and certainly by 1890. He called the product BONANZA MINERAL WATER, which was embossed on his bottles. This name has caused some confusion over the source of the water due to another soda spring also called Bonanza Springs, about 100 miles to the east in Lake County.


Contrary to some sources, the Bonanza Springs in Lake County, California, located between Seigler Springs and Howard Springs, some 100 miles east of Mendocino, was not the source of Henderson’s Bonanza Mineral Water. (Sacramento Daily Union, June 21, 1882) 


George M. Henderson’s dream of becoming a successful mineral water bottler came to an abrupt end early in 1892 when he died of what was diagnosed as stomach cancer on January 29th. He was obviously aware of serious health issues for some time previously as he created a will on January 6, 1892. In his will Henderson left $1,000 to his sister, Anna Jane Mann, with the remainder of his estate to his son, James Albert Henderson. His wife that he left in Chicago was specifically excluded from any inheritance. She was probably the same Anna Henderson who died in Chicago on February 7, 1896, and is buried at Oak Woods Cemetery.

His son was obliged to sell a majority of the property in order to pay off debts. The Albion Lumber Company purchased 280 acres Henderson's timber land and James kept the remainder which included the house, some bottom land and the soda spring. The will also left his son certain named equipment including two horses and a buckboard. Also scheduled in his estate inventory were, “20 cases of soda water bottles”, valued at $25.00. One of which is undoubtedly pictured above.

It is not known if he later sold the bottles or recycled them, but it is highly unlikely he continued to bottle the mineral water as there is no record of any further sale of the water. James A. Henderson worked in the lumber business and was a butcher for most of his life.  He died in Mendocino on February 13, 1938.


George M. Henderson's obituary. (Mendocino Coast Beacon, Mendocino, California, February 6, 1892)








Monday, November 16, 2020



Not an extremely rare bottle but it exhibits all the qualities of a fairly early product of the San Francisco glass factories. Which factory is difficult to determine. The proprietor, Joseph Lipman, was born in what is now Krakow, Poland, in February 1832. He immigrated to the United States in 1853, and his name first appears in San Francisco in 1858 as a barber in partnership with Nathan Clark. By 1861 Joseph Lipman opened his What Cheer Hair Dressing Saloon in the What Cheer House of San Francisco. This unique hotel catered only to men, for which it was famous. He became a well known fixture there, also employing various other members of the Lipman family.


A photograph of the What Cheer House of San Francisco taken about the time that Joseph Lipman would have operated his What Cheer House Hair Dressing Saloon.


Joseph Lipman continued working at the What Cheer House until 1875. He then joined in partnership with Jacob Hyman as hair dressers, and established their shop at 403 Pine Street in San Francisco. He continued at this location until the end of his working career and was last listed as a barber in the San Francisco business directories in 1885.

 Lipman is interred in the Salem Memorial Park and Garden at Colma, San Mateo County, California, with his wife. (see FindaGrave Memorial No. 150934993) He died November 8, 1907 in San Francisco.

 During the time Lipman was working at the What Cheer House he developed and sold his own hair restorer.


Simply embossed on the side panels, J. LIPMAN / SAN FRANCISCO, this information gives no clue about the contents of the bottles.




A copy of  the bottle label  was registered by Joseph Lipman in 1868 for his hair restorative. ( Copyright registration for the Northern District Court of California, June 22, 1868)


Joseph Lipman’s newspaper advertisement that he used throughout the West from April 1871 to December 1873.

  Even though Lipman’s hair restorative was first developed in 1868 the first newspaper advertisements that were located began April 1871. The text of this ad was used in newspapers throughout the western slope over 700 times until December 1873. The only difference in the text being that the general agents were changed from R.H. McDonald & Co. to Charles Langley & Co. in November 1872. After the end of 1873 the advertisements stopped except for a few ads by local druggists trying to reduce their stock. It appears that manufacturing of the product ended by 1873.

The mystery with Lipman’s Hair Restorative is the time between the label copyright and the first newspaper advertisement. This ‘quiet time’ is not the general rule for a product but might represent Lipman’s sales technique. He may have initially sold the restorative only from his store for a few years prior to ‘going big”. He then may have lined up R.H. McDonald & Co. to handle both manufacturing and sales. Purely speculative on my part, but it does present some questions. Regardless, it appears the outside time line for production would be 1868 to 1873. The vast majority of the bottles have characteristics of being blown in one of the two glass factories in San Francisco. Keeping in mind that the San Francisco Glass Works burned in July 1868, and didn’t open for business again until September 1870, I would lean heavily toward the Pacific Glass Works being the company of their origin. However, there would still be time for the San Francisco Glass Works to have produced some as well, in 1871 and 1872. The jury is still out on that question.