J. W. COLTONS : NERVINE STRENGTHENING BITTERS
[from Encyclopedia of Massachusetts]
John W. Colton, son of Ebenezer and Cynthia (Whitman) Colton, was born in West Springfield, in the part now known as Agawam, in 1832. He attended the public schools of West Springfield Center, and a private school in Springfield, completing his education with a course of study in the Sheffield Scientific School of Yale University.
The drug business early interested him, and for six years he was with the firm of H. and J. Brewer, of Springfield, the firms first salaried clerk. After leaving this firm he was for sometime employed by W. H. SchiefFelin & Company, of New York City, but, his health becoming impaired, he left New York and located in Westfield, purchasing the store at the corner of Elm and School streets. His operations were con- ducted in his own name for a time, but later he admitted a partner, and continued under the name of Colton & Stratton, the business being sold in 1888 to Dewey & Parsons. In 1860 Mr. Colton established the flavoring extract business in which his after life was spent, and his first product was placed upon the market the following year.
In 1873 he built a business block on School street, and a portion of it had housed his flavoring extract business until his death. He had developed this line to a point of great prosperity and wide reputation, and made it his principal business interest always.
Public affairs of local and state importance claimed a share of his time and attention, and his work along these lines was performed public-spiritedly and faithfully. He was a Democrat in political belief, and in 1881 and 1882 represented his district in the State Legislature. During this period he was a member of several important committees, and led in the movement for the repeal of the war tax on savings banks. Mr. Colton was also active in securing for the town of Westfield five thousand dollars a year from the Legislature for a period of five years, this sum to be used in relief work made necessary by the flood of 1878. In purely local affairs he was equally prominent and useful, was a member of the School Board from 1896 to 1899, a director of the Westfield Athenaeum, one of the incorporators of the Woronoco Savings Bank, and vice-president of the Westfield Savings Bank. From 1859 ne was a member of the First Congregational Church, a stalwart supporter of all of its work. In fraternal relations he affiliated with the Masonic order and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, in the former order belonging to Mt. Moriah Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, which he joined in 1861, Evening Star Chapter, Royal Arch Masons, and Springfield Commandery, Knights Templar. He was also a charter member of Hampden Council, Royal Arcanum.
John W. Colton was of an admirable type of citizenship, a man who gave liberally of his time and talents for the common good, and who sought no return from the labors thus expended than the consciousness of duty well and thoroughly performed.
John W. Colton married, in 1862, Albina S. Ball, of Chicopee, Massachusetts, who died July 21, 1916. Mr. Colton died January 10, 1907. John W. and Albina S. (Ball) Colton were the parents of: Gertrude Whitman, who married William Irving Barton ; Helen, died aged six months; William B., died aged twenty-four years.
The Springfield Union Almanac 1876:
J. W. Colton & Stratton, Wholesale & Retail Druggists & Apothecaries Family Medicine & Prescription Store Corner Elm & School Sts.,Westfield, Mass
Westfield Souvenir 1906:
J. W. Colton made pure extracts and all kinds of flavors in Westfield for 45 years; and was at the same address doing business for 25 years. All drug preparations were made by Mr. Colton himself and have been very successful. In 1906, the New York office was 6 Harrison Street. Mr. J. W. Colton was president, and Mr. William Barton was treasurer and manager. In 1903 the company was reorganized and incorporated.
Dewey & Parsons, druggists were Coltons successors in 1888. Dewey & Parsons became T. J. Dewey, Jr. & Co. in 1910.
Below is a embossed and labeled amber in color and 8 3/8 in height bottle. It is embossed J. W. COLTONS NERVINE / STRENGTHENING BITTERS.
This bottle is the unlisted smooth base. The listed bottle has a ebossed base WT & CO.
The label reads "Coltons Nervine Strengthening Bitters or Tonic Elixir carefully prepared from calisays and Peruvian barks, golden seal, wormwood, valerias and others of the best vegetable medicines. A pure vegetation tonic. A great appetizer, strengthener and regulator of the bilious nervous, dyspeptic & weak".
Encyclopedia of Massachusetts.
The Springfield Union Almanac 1876.
Westfield Souvenir 1906.
Bitters Bottles by Carlyn Ring & W. C. Ham
Frank & Frank Jr. (Wicker) Bottle Collection.