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pinkerton sign

Jacob Pinkerton was born in 1829.The first announcement of his Pinkerton’s Wahoo & Calisaya Bitters was in Syracuse, New York in 1864. Prior to this date he was running an ale depot, bowling saloon and liquor establishment. His business was called Jacob Pinkerton & Company. He was selling just about everything with alcohol along with cigars. There is no more mentioned about Wahoo & Calisaya Bitters after 1867.

Below is a ad from the Syrause Daily Courier Union Saturday Aug. 13, 1864.

pinkerton ad 1 1864

Most of these bottle have a aplied top. These are the early examples. Below are photos of a rarer later variant with a tooled top. This top is the same as the H. P. Herb Bitters.

pinkerton 1.pinkerton 2

pinkerton 4

pinkerton 3

Here is a little more about Jacob Pinkerton. Pinkerton would then take some years off, visit South America and then work as a soap manufacturer. He was also an alderman, worked for a brass foundry, a railroad company, ran a billiard parlor and then reappear again as a liquor merchant in the late 1880s. This may be when the tooled variant was made but this is still uncertain.

pinkerton ad 2 1864.From the Syracuse, NY. Directory.

Below is from the Bitters Bottle book by Carlyn Ring & Bill Ham.

W 3 WAHOO & CALISAYA BITTERS WAHOO / & / CALISAYA / BITTERS // JACOB PINKERTON // f // JACOB PINKERTON // // s // s // Y!! / O.K. // I.M. // Y!!! // 14 & 16 James Street, Syracuse, New York 9 5/8 x 3 x 1 5/8 (6 7/8) Square, Amber and Yellow, ARM and LTC, Applied mouth, 2 sp, Columned edges, Very Scarce

Label: I.M. O.K. 1864 Y!! Y!!! Try me and I’ll do you good. They contain the active principles of both the Wahoo and Calisaya besides some 20 different barks and roots in pure old bourbon whiskey distilled in Bourbon Creek, Kentucky in 1852.

pinkerton ringham

Below are some listing for Jacob Pinkerton.

1857: The Pinkerton Saloon and Brewster’s Ale Depot advertisement (see above) – Syracuse Daily Courier And Union, December 25, 1857 (also 1858)

1859: Jacob Pinkerton, John Pinkerton (Syracuse) – New York City Directory

1859: Passage: Towards the close of the year the community was congratulated on the excellent business outlook, the building of the First Baptist church, a new block on the site of the old Yellow Buildings, and a new building on the site of the old “Conical Mills” by ex-Mayor Stevens, all of which sites had been recently burned over; a new brewery by Jacob Pinkerton on Fayette street; the engine hook and ladder house rear the City Hall. Preparations were made for the erection of the Kirk block, which was soon finished, and for other structures. – Memorial History of Syracuse New York

1860: Jacob Pinkerton, Age: 31, Birth Year: abt 1829, Birth Place: New York, Home in 1860: Syracuse Ward 5, Onondaga, New York, Post Office: Syracuse, Household Members: Jacob Pinkerton, 31, Caroline Pinkerton, 30, Caroline Pinkerton, 10, Mary Pinkerton, 5, Mary Ryan 20 – United States Federal Census

1862: Pinkerton & Lacy (see below) (Jacob Pinkerton & Martin Lacy), Liquor Dealers, 40 E. Water, Syracuse, New York, City Directory

pinkerton lacy ad 1862

1862: Jacob Pinkerton, Saloon, E. Geneese corner Warren, and Pinkerton & Lacy, h 134 S. West – Syracuse, New York, City Directory

1863: Jacob Pinkerton, Liquor Dealer, New York, Age 43 – U.S., Civil War Draft Registration Records

1864: Advertisement: Pinkerton & Reynolds’ Saloon (Jacob Pinkerton & Simeon Reynolds) – Oswego, New York, City Directory

pinkerton reynolds saloon 1864

1865: Wahoo and Calisaya bitters, Jacob Pinkerton, Syracuse S. S. Med. – Proceedings of the Annual Meeting – New York State Agricultural Society

1865: J Pinkerton, Arrival Date: 11 Dec 1865, Birth Date: abt 1828, Age: 37, Port of Departure: Greytown, Nicaragua, Destination: United States of America, Port of Arrival: New York, New York, Ship Name: Santiago de Cuba – New York Passenger List

1865: Advertisement (see below): Have you ever used the celebrated Wahoo and Calisaya Bitters better known by the cabalistic letters “I.M. O. K. — 1864– Y! Y!” – The Vermont Transcript, Friday, February 3, 1865.

1866: PINKERTON & CO., (Jacob Pinkerton, J. B. Tucker, W. H. Warner), wines, liquors & cigars, 14 & 16 James – Syracuse, New York, City Directory

1866: Notice: Wahoo & Calisaya Bitters Prices – The New Berne Times (North Carolina), Monday, February 5, 1866 (see below)

1868: S1,748.- ALONZO B. CALDWELL, Syracuse, N. Y., assignor to himself and JACOB PINKERTON, same place. – Journal Box – September 1, 1868. – Hooks and shoulders, constituting part of the bronze metal frame, hold the cast-iron shell which is cast around the frame; the latter is provided with arms which have flanges across their ends which ‘port the soft metal and prevent it from being crushed. etc… – Annual Report of the Commissioner of Patents, 1870

1868: Jacob Pinkerton, soaps, 14 N. Washington, h 134 S. West – Syracuse, New York, City Directory

1869: Jacob Pinkerton, soap manufacturer, W. Washington also billiard room, 10 S. Salina, h 134 S. West – Syracuse, New York City City Directory

1870: Jacob Pinkerton, brass foundry, W. Fayette, h 134 S. West – Syracuse, New York City City Directory

1871: Jacob Pinkerton, Brower Metal Co., h 134 S. West – Syracuse, New York, City Directory

1874: Jacob Pinkerton, alderman 5th Ward, also treasurer, Brower Metal Co., h 134 S. West – Syracuse, New York, City Directory 1871 – 1878: Example Listing: Fifth Ward Railroad Company: Names And Residences of Officers of The Company. Director P. B. BRAYTON Syracuse, JOHN P. GRAY Syracuse, O. C. POTTER Syracuse, T. B. FITCH Syracuse, Le ROY MORTON Syracuse, D.P. PHELPS Syracuse, JACOB PINKERTON Syracuse – Annual Report on the Railroads of the State of New York 1874: Jacob Pinkerton, treasurer, Brower Metal Co., h 134 S. West – Syracuse, New York, City Directory

1884: Pinkerton & Sloan (Jacob Pinkerton 7 Elmendorf Sloan), brass foundry, 210 w. Fayette – Syracuse, New York, City Directory

1890: Jacob Pinkerton, liquor dealer, 210 E. Water, h 165 Holland – Syracuse, New York, City Directory

1898 – 1904: Jacob Pinkerton, h 165 Holland – Syracuse, New York, City Directory

1900: Jacob Pinkerton, Retired, Age: 70, Birth Date: Aug 1829, Birthplace: New York, Home in 1900: Syracuse Ward 12, Onondaga, New York, Marital Status: Widowed, Father’s Birthplace: New York, Mother’s Birthplace: New York, Household Members: Jacob Pinkerton, 70, Carrie E Pinkerton, 48, Mary E Phelphs, 43, George L Phelphs, 21 – United States Federal Census

1904: Jacob Pinkerton death on January 23, 1904, Cause of death: paralysis, Spouse:, Caroline E. Wilcox Pinkerton (1831 – 1899) Children: Carrie E. Pinkerton (1850 – 1909)*, Mary E. Pinkerton Phelps (1855 – 1915)* *Calculated relationship, Burial: Oakwood Cemetery Syracuse Onondaga County, New York, USA, Plot: Sect 25 plot 45 – Find A Grave

pinkerton grave stone


Bitters Bottles by carlyn Ring & Bill Ham.

Syracuse, New York Cty Directories.

Other sources that are mentioned.

Frank & Frank Jr. Bottle Collection.

pinkerton 1a

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