Whiskey for sale in the late 1800's

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Whiskey for sale in the late 1800's

Unread postby Mike » Sun Jun 14, 2009 4:57 pm

With the recent death of my uncle, who was 91 years old, I came into a nice collection of Bowers family history. My great, great grandfather, William Franklin Bowers (born 1825, died 1905), was a most interesting charcter having been one of only two Georgians who voted for Abraham Lincoln in 1860. He also founded two towns (Bowersville and West Bowersville, neither of which ever had more than a thousand souls...........W Bowersville is now called Canon and the original Bowersville, still in existence, has fewer than 500 folks living in it). Uncle Billy, as he was known was very much against slavery and freed a small number of slaves that his wife brought to their marriage. He was hanged in effigy a time or two and might have come to worse treatment had he not be judicious in choosing where he would go.

Uncle Billy wore many hats in his lifetime. He was a Baptist preacher until he was expelled by that church for being a Republican (and having the gall to vote for Lincoln) , whereupon he founded a Universalist church (if I have my facts straight), still holding services to this day. He was a state legislator during reconstruction. He began construction of a narrow gauge railroad, bought an engine (called Tom Peter), but was halted 4 miles from his intended destination of Carnesville, GA, almost certainly because of his Repulican sympathies. He also ran a general store in W Bowersville for a number of years, and was known far and wide as man of great strength of character.

It was in looking through a small cache of receipts and advertising mailings from his general store, that I came across several concerning whiskey. Since he died at age 80 in 1905, I speculate that these must have come to him in the late 1800's . There are no records (that I have yet found) that indicate whether he bought any of the whiskey offered or whether he actually sold whiskey at his store. The fact that he saw fit to keep these 'fliers' leads to believe that maybe he did...........but then his stern character argues against it. I have read something of his philosophy from interviews he gave with newspapers and he does not mention alcohol at all.

Two these advertising 'fliers' came from a Cherryville, N.C. company called J.H. Woolley. This company offers a variety of North Carolina Whiskeys and Brandies, which, they say '......are noted for their purity'. Mr Woolley reports that he has twelve years experience in distilling and shipping direct to consumers (via Southern Express Co). He offers four full quart bottles for $3 or eight quart bottles for $5.75. He also offers Corn Whiskey at $1.50 $1.75, $2.00, and $3.00 per gallon without saying why there is a cost difference. However, he does say, 'My $1.50 and $1.75 per gallon Corn is the best New Whisky for the price that can be bought anywhere'. So I guess the others were aged to some degree??

Another 'flier' came from Falcon Distilling Co., Lock Box 455, Louisville, KY. This company apparently also sent direct to the customer via railway prepaid by the distiller. They offer 5 grades of bourbon and rye whiskies (5 YO, 6 YO, 7 YO, 8 YO, and 10 YO) in quantities from half pint flasks, pints, quarts, to gallons, to 12 quart cases, to two gallons. even to four gallons. The gallon quantities come in jugs.

Here is a sample of the pricing;

Whiskey price/quantity

Falcon 5 YO bourbon .65 per quart $2,50 per gallon $7.50 per case $4.90 per two gallons $9.50 per four gallons
Falcon 5 YO rye .70 $2.75 $8.25 $5.35 $10.40
Falcon XX 7 YO bourbon .75 $3.00 $9.00 $5.75 $11.25
Falcon xX 7 YO rye same as bourbon
Falcom XXXX10 YO bourbon 1.00 $4.00 $12.00 $7.75 $15.25

They also sold 7 YO Rock and Rye for the same prices as the rye whiskey. If I am not mistaken R and R is rye with some rock candy in it.
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. - Dylan Thomas
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Re: Whiskey for sale in the late 1800's

Unread postby cowdery » Mon Jun 15, 2009 10:03 pm

Mail order was a way around state prohibition, as the states had no control over the mails. Congress quickly plugged the loophole, but for a short time a lot of whiskey was sold by mail.
- Chuck Cowdery

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