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As the story goes sometime in the 1840s a French doctor gave a recipe of his Herb & Root medicine to Mrs. Gates. Together they brewed this medicine to treat Mrs. Gates's husband Oldham Gates. Eventully Oldham would recover from his illness. Mrs. Gates continued to make this medicine for her neigbours and demand grew so she decited to start selling this medicine.

Her son Caleb would join her to form the C. Gates & Co. located in Victoria Vale. Middleton, Annapolis County, Nova Scotia.

The firm started advertising around 1865 with the first ad appearing in the Western News. It was published by Bridgetown which was located in Nova Scotia. By 1877 they would copyright the brand.

Caleb's son Andreas would join his father in business and the companies name change to C. Gates, Son & Co. Caleb Gates would pass away in 1887. Andreas would stop managing the herb farms and devote more time in the medicine side of the business.

By 1900 Andreas and his family moved the business to a three story building at the head of Gates Avenue. The firm was at its peak in production producing large quantities of there medicines. The company had several saleman employed selling their product though out Nova Scotia. Distribution of the company was later continued by the National Drug Company warehouse in Saint John and Halifate.

By 1918 the firm would could not sell Man of Life Bitters due to the Canadian Goverment passing new Ferderal Health Laws. Soon after the formula was changed so the product could be sold legally.

Andreas Gates continued with running his business until his death in 1944. The family would sell the company to Mr. Fairfield Woodbury, along with Mr. George Vye and Art Steele.

Other products the company produced were Invigating Syrup, Certain Check, Acadian Linement, Little Gem Pills, Nerve Ointment, Eye Relief, Vegetable Plaster and Empire Linement. All these products come from the French Doctor back in the 1840s with the excemption of Empire Linement which they purchased the rights to at some point.

Below are photos of this C. GATES & COS // MAN OF LIFE // BITTERS.

c gates 1.c gates 2.c gates 3.c gates 4

c gates 5 label


History of C. Gates & co. LTD Collection.

Frank & Frank Jr. ( Wicker ) Collection.

Bitters Bottles by Carlyn Ring & W. C. Ham.

c gates 1a.c gates 2a

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