Written by Edna Liggin – August 1, 1974
A newsletter from the Northeast Louisiana Bottle and Insulator Club reminds us the bottle show of this organization is just around the corner, Labor Day weekend. We are pleased to learn that Mr. Charles Smith, president of this club, is from Union Parish and a 1961 graduate of Downsville High School.
Bottle collectors, have you seen what your WATKINS agent has currently? It is a 11 ounce vanilla extract bottle reproduction of the original TRAIL MARK WATKINS! This is an exciting deal complete with a picture and brief history of Mr. Watkins.
It was only last year in a dig in East Texas, we found our one and only old TRAIL MARK WATKINS. Mr. John Rushing is the agent for East Union Parish, so why not get a reproduction as next to the real thing?
About the time Grandma used vanilla from her TRAIL MARK bottle, she might have smoked the little clay pipe, bottle collector Ruth Thompson dug up recently under a tree in her own yard. Many people remember Grandma smoking a pipe but the moral of this little tale is not to question Grandma’s habits, but that you never know what is under the ground right at home.
Mr. and Mrs. Frank Bollier, who love bottles and glassware, have found a clear corker, about 11″ high, with inscribed up-side-down ROCHESTER GERMICIDE COMPANY, ROCHESTER, N.Y, and down below, PAT Jan 25, 1888. We surmise this bottle was hung up side-down when being in use and the manufacturer did not want the germicide user to forget his name, so it made it eye-catching with the script up-side-down, too.
While the WATKINS TRAIL MARK bottle frankly states it is a reproduction, many other bottles are on the market, attempting to be passed off as genuine. One such is a green HOSTETTERS STOMACH BITTERS with ground lip being sold at fleas markets for $5 to $8.
Another is a cobalt half-gallon jar, Pat Nov 30, 1858, unlettered Hero cross on back. The Mold number is 1171. The jar appeared at a California Bottle Show and came out of Kansas. It is claimed the oversized Hero cross is one of the dead giveaways that it is not genuinely old.
One way to tell the fakes is that although expensive to make only a few are made as with too many they would lose their claim to rarity. When reproductions are made in large quantities by the manufacturer, they are usually publicized as such.
The 1931 reproduction of Log Cabin Booze so resembled the original that only the omission of a period after the word “Whiskey” was the only distinguishing mark.
Good Diggin From Liggin’
Edna Matthews Liggin will always be remembered as the official historian of Union Parish and the Book Mobile Lady. She began writing the Uncle Lige column in The Gazette in 1939. Over the years she wrote many articles about the Union Parish history, the people there and her bottle collection. In her retired years she enjoyed visiting the older people in the Union Parish community.