"Let me see generation times, will we hear children singing rhymes? Sweet memories gone by..."

13 October 2015

Baker's Premium Bitters

I bought her a bottle, well, just for to try
And the way that she drank it, ya think she might die
I bought her another, it vanished the same
And then she got cod liver oil on the brain

Oh doctor, oh doctor, oh dear doctor John
Your cod liver oil is so pure and so strong
I'm afraid of my life I'll go down in the soil
If me wife don't stop drinkin' your cod liver oil
--"Cod Liver Oil" (Traditional)

Recently putting in random ancestors' names into Google to see what might pop up, I came across more newspaper ads for my 4th-great-grandfather Elijah Baker's Premium Bitters, among the earliest I've found yet.  In 1853 through at least mid-1854, they appeared in the Richmond Mail almost daily, changing themes with each passing month.  In spite of their wild claims, some of them are quite poetic, if overly dramatic.  Read on for a good laugh, and then place your own order - for just fifty cents a bottle, it's quite the bargain!

This first ad was printed in the paper 162 years ago today:

CHILLS AND FEVERS. --- No disease known to the medical profession is half so annoying as Ague and Fever, owing principally to the fact that the strongest medicines must be used to uproot and drive it from the system.  – One of these is quinine, the deleterious effects of which are known to all who have heretofore had to take it.  But since the discovery of BAKER’S PREMIUM BITTERS, which have never yet failed to prevent the disease, when taken in time, or to cure it in its worst form, most other remedies have been abandoned and they declared the only panacea for that disgusting malady.  As a proof of this, the Proprietor invites attention to certificates in his possession from those who have been cured, after the failure of all other remedies.  For all diseases of the stomach these bitters stand unparalleled, while in ordinary colds and coughs they invariably effect a speedy cure.  As a family medicine – and especially as a tonic, they have no equal.  Every house keeper should keep them on hand – and persons living in Ague and Fever districts should take them freely in the fall months.

January 1854:

In January – The first and usually the coldest month of the year – when the ground is covered with snow and frost, when the human system is more sensitive and susceptible of cold than at any other time, there is no other medicine yet discovered, to compare with BAKER’S PREMIUM BITTERS, as a preventive or cure of diseases incident to the season. For colds and coughs they are a never failing panacea when taken according to directions. And why? Because they give tone to the nerves and muscles, add life and vigor to the frame, expel impurities, sharpen the appetite, improve digestion, and prevent improper secretions. By these Bitters the liver is made to perform its proper functions; and as they contain no mineral or other poisonous substances, they may be taken by all sexes, ages and conditions, without fear of injury. The proprietor has thoroughly tested his discovery in very many cases of bad colds and coughs, and has the satisfaction of saying, that in no single instance, where they have been fairly tried, they have ever failed to produce the desired effect. All we ask the public to do, is to test them fairly, and decide upon their merits.

February 1854:

FEBRUARY is a trying month upon the human frame, and not unfrequently lays the seed of Consumption and disease, which often end in death. How often have we witnessed the gradual decline of some fair damsel, or sprightly boy, whose constitution had been attacked by an ordinary cold, and which permitted to go unchecked, preyed night and day upon the life-blood of its victim, till its fatal pangs had fastened upon the lungs too strongly to be removed, save by Him who holds man’s destiny in the hollow of his hands. Had the friends and parents of the sufferer but known the efficacy of Baker’s Premium Bitters, and administered them, as directed in in the incipient stages of the disease, how different might have been the result. But alas! the golden moment was permitted to escape, the PANACEA was not applied, and death was the result. If the Proprietor had not the certificate of hundreds of persons who had been relieved and cured by his Bitters, when other remedies had failed, he would not recommend them so confidently; but having these, he feels it to be a duty he owes to his fellow men, to press upon them the urgent necessity of trying their medicinal qualities and learning their virtues. They are perfectly harmless, and may be taken at all times by adults or children.

March 1854:

MARCH -- Fickle, blustering, ever changing March – brings in her train, nervous affections of every variety, some of which were declared incurable for many years, even by the most skilful physicians. Among these, we notice NERVOUS HEADACHE, producing sick and nauseating stomachs, and incapacitating the sufferer for all profitable employments. An elderly lady in this city, whose respectability and veracity cannot be questioned, has given a certificate over her own signature, declaring that after suffering for ten years with violent nervous headaches, notwithstanding she had been treated by eminent physicians all the time, she never found any permanent relief, until she was induced to use Baker’s Premium Bitters, two bottles of which completed a cure of the disease. Other persons have used the BITTERS for the same disease, and with similar success. Does this not show, that the Bitters are all they are represented to be, and that the Proprietor has not attempted to humbug the people in his medicine. Where a remedy is offered for a disease, and the discoverer is known to be a responsible man, the public do themselves and him injustice, not to give it a fair and impartial trial. – These Bitter are purely vegetable, and may be taken without the fear of danger.

April 1854:

APRIL. – The month of buds and blossoms – the hay-day of Spring – the regeneration of nature is on us, with its pleasant breezes, genial sun and invigorating showers. At this particular season, the human system is re-organizing itself for a general change, and now it is that the impurities of the blood are easiest discovered, and its general effects most severe. The liver, the pendulum to the motive power of the body, has become deranged, and for want of proper action, and undue quantity of bile has been secreted, the effect of which is to produce that loathsome and annoying disease, Dyspepsia, for which there is no cure so certain as BAKER’S PREMIUM BITTERS. – However severe the case, if the Bitters are taken according to directions, they will arouse and quicken the liver, produce steady and proper digestion, improve the appetite, re-animate the spirits, give confidence to the mind, and eradicate every thing that tends to the production of Dyspepsia. Reader, are you a Dyspeptic? And if so, do you wish to be cured? Then procure these Bitters without delay. They have been fairly tried in more than five thousand cases, and in no single instance have they failed to effect a cure or give relief, when taken as directed. A single bottle may do you more good than all the Calomel that was ever manufactured, while its very composition forbids the idea of injury from it.

May 1854:

MAY -- dearest May, how we welcome thee, with thy rich perfumes, thy warbling songsters, green fields, luxuriant vegetation, early fruits, and beautiful flowers. Queen as thou art of the season, we would fain pay thee all the adoration due thy royal birth, but then thou art a seductive tempter, leading us into an extravagant consumption of thy early productions from which spring forth disorders of the bowels and dangerous fevers. But then we can forgive these little foibles, since by the medicinal qualities of thy plants and herbs the great antidote has been furnished us in BAKER’S PREMIUM BITTERS, which never fail to remove the languor incidents to thy visits, and heal the disorders of the stomach which grow out of the excessive use of thy tender delicacies. – Welcome, thrice welcome, then, gentle, charming May, since to thy kindness are we indebted for the component parts of those BITTERS, that stand preeminently above all other discoveries for the cure of colds, coughs, nervous headaches, and disordered stomachs. Could all the afflicted be induced to believe in these BITTERS and become whole, thy praises would be sounded on land and sea, from pole to pole – for from the discovery of America to the present hour, the ingenuity of man has never succeeded in compounding a remedy so universal, and yet so free from danger, as BAKER’S PREMIUM BITTERS. Come then all ye who are afflicted, and be cured of your ills. The remedy is a simple and sure one, and the price only fifty cents per bottle.

June 1854:

June – The first of Summer months is here, attended by sultry hours, and scorching suns. Fruits are ripening, and vegetables have assumed perfection’s garb. How voraciously is every cherry – a most unwholesome berry when not maturely ripened – seized upon and swallowed down by young and old, and how soon are the sad effects of such rashness made manifest, in the hundreds of cases of violent dysentery, among all classes, conditions and sexes. In rural districts, where fruits are more plentiful, and doctors harder to be found than in the city, every family should keep a supply on hand of BAKER’S PREMIUM BITTERS, for they are beyond question the very best and most effectual remedy that we have ever seen used, to check and conquer this dangerous complaint, which, if permitted to run too long, often becomes incurable. From the venerable patriarch of ninety to the wattling babe of one year old, these BITTERS may have been given with great benefit, in all case of disordered stomach and bowels, while for dyspepsia, nervous headache, and bad colds, they claim to be superior to every thing else yet offered to the public. We detest empyricism as any man can, and would no sooner offer an impure or dangerous medicine to the public than we would offer a dose of arsenic to our child; but knowing as we do, that these Bitters are invaluable to persons living in the country as well as in town, we insist on their trying a few bottles, that we may have the benefit of their experience.

25 July 2015

Campens in Baltimore

A' mhuir tha i ciùin The sea is calm
Tha i fiadhaich, tha i farsuing It is wild, it is vast
Tha i àlainn, tha i diamhair It is beautiful, it is mysterious
Tha i gamhlasach is domhainn         It is vengeful and deep
O ach sinn, tha sinn dall Oh but we, we are blind
'S chan eil againn ach beatha And all we have is life
Tog an seòl, tog an ràmh Raise the sail, lift the oars
'Gus am faigh sinn astar ann 'Til we get up speed

"Cearcall A' Chuain" by Calum MacDonald & Rory MacDonald

On July 25, 1853 - 162 years ago today - my 4th-great-grandparents Heinrich "Henry" and Sophia Campen arrived in Baltimore City, Maryland on the Neptune.  According to the ship's passenger list, Henry was a 60-year-old merchant, and his wife Sophia was 58 years old - certainly past middle age for their day.  Traveling with them were two of their adult children, Catharine and Eduard.  The Neptune had departed from Bremen, but the Campens reported their last legal residence as Emden.

They were joining my 3rd-great-grandfather, John Campen, who had arrived in the U.S. about five years prior.  Henry and Sophia arrived just in time for the birth of their grandson, John's first son, Henry Cornelius Campen, on September 25, 1853.

Unfortunately, Henry only got the chance to enjoy life in his new country for two years.  The exact date of his death is unknown, but the records of the Baltimore Cemetery indicate that he was interred there on Christmas Eve in 1855.  This time, Henry just missed the birth of a grandson:  John's second son, my 2nd-great-grandfather, Louis W. Campen, was born the following month, in January of 1856.

Sophia Campen survived her husband by 17 years, passing away at the age of 88 on January 28, 1873.

CAMPEN - On the 28th of January, at three o'clk P. M., SOPHIA CAMPEN, aged 88 years, wife of the late Henry Campen, born in Emden Ost Friesland, kingdom of Hanover, but for the last twenty years a resident of Baltimore. Mrs. Sophie Campen died yesterday, our good, elderly mother, grand- and great-grandmother, widow of the late Heinrich Campen, of old age in her 88th year of life. The grieving family asks for quiet sympathy.

15 May 2015

An Anniversary Story

I'll walk beside you through the world today
While dreams and songs and flowers bless your way
I'll look into your eyes and hold your hand
I'll walk beside you through the golden land
--"I'll Walk Beside You" (Traditional)

An Anniversary Story, told by my mom...

A native of New Jersey, I grew up in Lawrenceville, just south of Princeton.  I went to Trenton State College (now The College of New Jersey) to study nursing.  On graduating, four of my friends convinced me to move to Maryland with them to work for a year at Johns Hopkins Hospital.  It was to be a good line item on our new résumés.  Fran, Melany, Judy, Jackie and myself all started working at Johns Hopkins in July/August 1974.  I shared an apartment in northeast Baltimore with Judy in the same apartment building with Melany and Fran. Our friend Jackie moved to Glen Burnie.

After about a year, Fran met and started dating her future husband, Ray.  They introduced Will, a friend of Ray's, to his future wife and my roommate, Judy.  John and Will shared an apartment.  Judy and Will introduced John to me in May 1975.  Melany continued to date her New Jersey boyfriend Lenny.  They introduced Lenny's brother Richie to his future wife, Jackie.  It is all quite the tangled web of friends.

Angela & John
Fran & Ray
Jackie & Ritchie

Melanie & Lenny
Judy & Will
Melany moved back to New Jersey and married Lenny in October 1975.  They both retired in 2011 and now live in South Carolina.  Judy and Will married in February 1976 and lived in Harford County before moving to Virginia and eventually settled in Lima, Ohio.  John and I dated for several months.  One evening in October, 10/17/1975, John came over to our apartment and asked if I wanted to go shopping.  Then he surprised me by saying he was thinking of looking for something special, like an engagement ring!  It did not take long to say YES!  We planned for a Spring wedding, and were married the following year, May 15, 1976.  We moved to and still live in Reisterstown.

Fran and Ray married in June 1976 and moved to Severn, Maryland.  Sadly, Ray passed away from a heart problem in 1995. Jackie went to University of Delaware for grad school, and Jackie and Richie were married in September 1977. They now live in northeast Pennsylvania.   The five of us still see each other regularly and have always been close friends.  We were a bunch a friends who married friends.  Two of us, Fran and myself, who went to work at Hopkins for a "year" have now completed 40 years there.  I retired in October 2014.  Fran continues to work there.  You may say it's been a "long and wonderful year!"

John and I have two beautiful daughters.  The girls grew up with the sons of John's close friend Gerry and his wife Linda.  Lesley followed our history.  Gerry and Linda's sons introduced Lesley to their high school friend, Steve. Lesley and Steve were married in 2008 and live in Hanover, Pennsylvania.  They have a daughter, Avalyn, who will soon be three years old. They are expecting a son any day now!

John is one of seven children and I am one of five children.  We are blessed with a wonderful family and extended family, many nieces and nephews, and now many great-nieces and great-nephews.  We thank God every day for all our blessings.

Fran, Melany, Angela & Jackie