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A.G. HOWARD - AN EARLY DRUGGIST IN HAMILTON, MISSOURI

Narrator: Alma Howard of Hamilton, Missouri

Why the Howards Came

Early Drug Store Ways

Men's Stylish Clothes

Mr. Howard came to Caldwell County 1868 from Wisconsin. He served in the Union Army. While there he caught pneumonia and had an abscess on the lung. He always declared that he owned his life to a nurse who applied a boiled onion poultice to his chest. That bad lung gave him his pension. At the close of the War, he got a bounty of $1000 and wanted to invest it in land. He lived in Wisconsin and heard of the good land bargains in north west Missouri, following the opening of the Hannibal and St. Joseph railroad. So he and his fellow townsmen C.C. Greene (brother-in-law) Jackson Edminister and Wm. Everts all came down to look the country over. They went in together and bought a big tract south of Hamilton, Mr. Howard's being the Gillett farm. Mr. Howard stayed on his land a year and then sold it out at a good profit. Then he bought a house and lot in Hamilton of S.H. Swartz who owned two lots extending from Broadway to Kingston street. While Swartz was building a new house on the south end which he kept, he and his family lived on the second floor of the house they had sold to Howards who lived on the first floor. Houses were scarce here because Hamilton was having a boom. There was much doubling up in houses. Howard bought a half interest in the drug store of Dr. Ressigeau on Broadway, west side, south of the tracks, which was quite a business section then. Opposite was the Broadway Hotel - afterwards the Harvey House and O.O. Brown (always called Double O. Brown) the Dry Goods Merchant.

In a year Mr. Howard bought out the whole Drug Store. He had previously gained from Dr. Ressigeau sufficient knowledge to fill prescriptions. John Harrah worked for Howard, practically for nothing to learn the trade and prescription work, doing the sweeping etc. in return. At that time there was no law requiring an examination in pharmacy. When that law came on Mr. Howard was almost ready to retire. He sold much patent medicine; and later sold jewelry and musical instruments. (He himself was a fiddler.) He carried cigars, paints and oils. In fact at first he sold about all the paints and oils used here. In his windows stood two very large red and green bottles which were typical signs for a Drug Store. In 1882 he moved to Main Street and these big bottles were carefully carried there.

Mr. Howard was a dressy man. He wore white "boiled" shirts with stiff cuffs and bosoms that took much skill and time to iron. They were polished with the heel of an iron to shine like glass. No town then ever wore limp colored shirts or soft collars. They were for farmers who fed hogs. He had a high silk hat for every day wear and he kept handy a fine brush to make the nap flat and shiny. Up town he would flick his silk handkerchief over it every time he took it off.

The old Howard house was replaced some years ago with a modern one. The old store building he once owned on Broadway and his second on Main have both burnt down.

Interviewed February 6, 1934.

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All photos are copyright KingsCross Farm, 1997 & 1998
All written material other than reference material copyright KingsCross Farm 1998