Saturday, January 14, 2017

Lovisa McCullough, for Women’s Rights — and Liquor

           
The photo above from the New York Times in 1888 shows attendees to the first International Conference of Women in Washington, D.C., a meeting devoted to political rights for women.  Among them could well be a delegate named Lovisa Candace McCullough whose occupation might have startled her sister attendees.  She was Pittsburgh’s only female running a wholesale liquor business.

Lovisa (often mistakenly given as “Louisa”) was a true blue American, a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), as the grand-daughter of William Munks (1762-1841) a Irish-born immigrant who saw service in the Revolutionary War as a private in the Pennsylvania militia.  Born Lovisa C. Meredith, she married an immigrant from Northern Ireland whose name was John McCullough.

McCullough had his own pedigree. He was a relative of John Edward McCullough, a well-known Shakespearean actor, and his uncle had been an invitee to the 1840 wedding of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.  Why McCullough chose Pittsburgh and the liquor trade is not recorded but he claimed to have established his business well in advance of the Civil War. He was recorded in the 1860 Census as “merchant.”

Although I have been unable to pinpoint the date and place of their wedding, it appears that John and Lovisa married after he was well established in the liquor trade. The couple would go on to have five children, including a son, J. W. McCullough, who upon attaining maturity went to work in the liquor house.  Although busy as a housewife and mother, Lovisa seems early have shown some aptitude for business and was kept abreast of her husband’s enterprise.

John McCullough wisely chose a busy thoroughfare, Liberty Avenue, shown here, to locate his liquor house.  The street was the center for Pittsburgh’s wholesale produce market, often a scene of chaotic traffic as numerous horse-drawn vehicles carrying people and produce moved haphazardly and vied for parking space.  Union and West End street cars passed McCullough’s doors. Over its reputed half-century in operation, the John McCullough Company, “Dealer in Old Monongahela and Pure Rye Whiskies, Foreign and Domestic Wines and Liquors,”  never moved from Liberty Avenue, although it changed addresses from 165 Liberty (up to 1873), to 127 Liberty (1876-1877), and ultimately to 139 Liberty (1879-1883).  When Pittsburgh renumbered its streets about 1883, the last became the “new” 523 Liberty Avenue, the address on the jug shown here.  
The McCullough building at 523 Liberty was a four story structure 20 by 150 feet.  According an 1889 volume on the history of the the region,  the liquor house was on “…Historic ground, being near Cecil Alley, a point occupied by one of the earliest settlers of the city, a prominent old French family, who lived here before the Revolutionary War, and the building utilized by this business was formerly his residence.”

The building also allowed McCullough not only to stock an extensive lines of whiskeys and wines but also to rectify, that is, blend and bottle his own proprietary brands.  Widely known as a “Anglophile,”  John named two of his brands “Prince Regent” and “Windsor Castle” in honor of Queen Victoria.  In time the company established a large wholesale business throughout Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio, maintaining a sizable staff of salesmen and clerks.

In 1886, John McCullough, about the age of 56 and enjoying considerable business success, died and was buried in Pittsburgh’s Allegheny Cemetery, Section 10, Lot 175, Grave 1.  His will named Lovisa as the administrator of his estate and left the liquor house to her.  He had made a wise decision.  One Pittsburgh historian said of her:  “She is an exceedingly intelligent and well-informed woman, and efficiently manages the affairs of the house in a manner which testifies to her superior business qualifications…”  A 1888 Pittsburgh directory under the heading “Liquors, Wholesale,” lists forty-nine such establishments in the city.  All of them save one are readily identifiable as male-run companies.  The exception is “McCullough, Louisa C.,523 Liberty Av.”  

That same year Lovisa became a delegate from Pittsburgh to the historic founding meeting of the International Council of Women (ICW).  The idea for such an organization grew from earlier meetings of U.S. suffrage leaders Elizabeth Cady Stanton, right, and Susan B. Anthony, left, with women activists in Europe.  Upon their return the two planned a large meeting to be held in Washington, D.C.  They reached out to a broad constituency, one that included: “…All women of light and learning, to all associations of women in trades, professions and reforms, as well as to those advocating political rights.” 

In Pittsburgh, Lovisa McCullough, already having achieved recognition in the utterly male-dominated liquor trade, answered Stanton and Anthony’s call.  Although she is not recorded as having spoken to the gathering, Lovisa appeared three times in the minutes of the meeting representing Pittsburgh and  contributing cash to the women’s cause.  It is a safe bet that she was the only liquor dealer at the convention.  How she may have interacted with women attending from prohibitionist organizations goes unrecorded.
Obviously a woman of great energy, Lovisa McCullough threw herself into other causes.  A lover of animals, she was a longtime member of the Humane Society and for a time on the board of the Pittsburgh chapter.  She also was among women who worked toward buying up and preserving the grounds and structures at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, where Gen. George Washington and his troops passed the winter.  Lovisa’s grandfather may have been among those soldiers.

Other evidence of Lovisa’s participation in the causes of her day was her involvement with the Chautauqua Movement, an adult education organization that specialized in speeches and seminars on topics and issues of current interest.  Headquartered on the shores of Chautauqua Lake in New York State, the outfit leased land for 100 years to adherents to build cottages on the lake.  Among them was Lovisa McCullough in 1901.  Her cottage is shown here.  

Meanwhile the McCulloughs' liquor business was flourishing.  Although Lovisa was given much of the credit, her son, J. W. McCullough also received favorable mention as “a young man of excellent business ability,”  who was taking “an active part in the management of the business, giving special attention to the wholesale trade and finance.”   Shown here is an 1891 ad extolling McCullough’s as “an old reliable house” with a reputation for filling orders promptly and with care.  The ad extolled a McCullough whiskey that was sent to Berlin in the early 1870s (often done as a dodge to escape taxes), had been stored there for years, and recently returned to Pittsburgh to be bottled.  “It is rich and mellow and very fine, and is being disposed of at a reasonable price.”

Two years later, after more than a half century of operation, the McCullough liquor dealership disappeared from Pittsburgh business directories.  Its demise cannot be explained by National Prohibition that still was years away and Pennsylvania was “wet” until the end.  Lovisa may have found her passion for feminist and other causes eclipsed her keeping alive her husband’s enterprise.  Or it may have been her advancing age.  Lovisa died in 1917, about 82 years old, and was buried beside her late husband, John, in Allegheny Cemetery.  Their gravestones are shown below.


Lovisa McCullough did not live quite long enough to see the cause in which she fervently believed — women’s suffrage — become a reality.  That would occur three years later.   Passed by Congress June 4, 1919, and ratified on August 18, 1920, the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution granted American women the right to vote.  Earlier, however, the 18th Amendment had abolished the liquor business that Lovisa had sustained so admirably and for so long.

Note:  Much of the biographical information on both Lovisa and John McCullough has been gleaned from the “Pittsburgh and Allegheny Illustrated Review:  Historical, Biographical and Commercial,” published in 1889 by J. M. Elstner & Co., Pittsburgh.





























Tuesday, January 10, 2017

John Duffy’s Little Piggies Have a Market

The anatomically correct male hog shown left is one of a group of avidly collected swine mini-bottles that come in clear, aquamarine, cobalt and light and dark amber.  Shown scattered throughout this post, all were issued by John Duffy, a Louisville, Kentucky, saloonkeeper.   Lots of attention have been paid to the pigs by collectors, very little to the identity of Duffy.  This post is aimed at correcting that imbalance.  

John Duffy was born in Ireland, the exact location unknown, about 1838, according to census records.  The date of his birth would put him as a small child trying to survive in the midst of Ireland’s 1845 Great Potato Blight and devastating famine.  Starvation killed one million Irish over the next five years and half a million left the island for the United States, many on so-called “famine ships.”
Duffy’s immigration date is recorded in one census document as 1854 which indicates that he was 16 at the time of his passage.  He might have come alone since he would have been considered “of age” in that time.  Although his whereabouts immediately upon arrival go unrecorded, he surfaced in 1857 in Temple Hill, an unincorporated community in Jones County, Iowa, married to Margaret O’Connor (aka “O’Connors) , a girl still in her teens who also had emigrated from Ireland.  A daughter, Margaret Ida, would be born to the couple the same year at Temple Hill.  A son, William J., would be born in 1875.
In 1856 a John Duffy was listed in a Louisville directory working as a bartender at the Theatre Inn, a downtown saloon, and living at 972 Goss Avenue.  It is likely that while pursuing this occupation, he met William Kagle, a fellow barkeep, who worked at Delmonico’s Restaurant and boarded there.  About 1867 they determined to throw in their lot together and opened a saloon.

The partners called their establishment “The Asteroid Saloon,” located at 108 Fifth Street at the corner of Court Place, a center of city government activities.  They advertised vigorously in Louisville daily papers.  On October 21, 1867, for example, they announced that oysters could be had in their saloon, any style, for forty cents a dozen.  An ad a week later declared that “fine Fiddle Rock Oysters” could be had at the Asteriod;  fifty cents bought twelve.

The partnership appears to have been short-lived.  Kagle &     Duffy disappeared from Louisville directories after 1868.  William Kagle is recorded as having gone back to bartending, this time at the H. S. McNutt Saloon, and he later became proprietor of the Delmonico Hotel.  Meanwhile Duffy continued to run a saloon at 108 Fifth Street.  He may have renamed it “Duffy’s Saloon,” the designation to be found on an Albany Slip stoneware jug with a “scratch” label shown here. Duffy remained at that location until about 1873 when he moved to 214 Jefferson Street, a major Louisville commercial thoroughfare. shown below.  He called this new watering hole, the “Crescent Saloon.”
It was from this location that Duffy issued his miniature glass pigs.  He is believed to have handed them out full of whiskey at Christmas to favored customers.  Thereby is rendered a puzzle.  While some of them have the address as 214 Jefferson, others, like the one shown right seem to be designated “204 Jefferson.”  Yet there is no evidence that Duffy ever operated at that address.  My own conclusion is that what looks like a “zero” was actually meant to be a “one,” either a mistake by the glassworks or an attempt to be fancy by Duffy.  
Whether the problem originated with Duffy or in the manufacture is unclear.  Two glass factories have been identified as the likely source.  The pigs do not carry a mark to identify where they were produced but according to the experts the approximate years — mid-1870s to early 1880s — point to either the Kentucky Glass Works of Louisville, one of whose marks is shown here, or the Southern Glass Works.

Another mystery is why Duffy included the embossing of a rooster on the back of his pigs.  The chanticleer appears to be crowing from the curve of a moon with the word “Crescent” inside.  One answer that occurs to me is that at the time the rooster, not the donkey, was the symbol of the Democratic Party and that Duffy may have been making a political statement.
In 1882, without moving, Duffy’s address changed.  As a result of a wholesale renumbering of Louisville streets that year, the address of the Crescent Saloon became 544 West Jefferson Street.  Because none of the pig bottles bear that address it can assumed that they were distributed at the holidays sometime between 1873 and 1881.

Given what must have been his expense for both bottle and contents, what occasioned Duffy to provide these giveaway items?  Louisville was full of saloons in that era and the competition for customer loyalty was fierce.  The custom among their proprietors was to reward frequent faces along the bar with some token of appreciation.  Duffy chose this fairly unusual method of expressing his gratitude. 

Collectors today are glad he did.  Despite the idea of having to drink liquor from their butt ends, these porkers have become a favorite of collectors throughout the country.  Given their excellent shapes, the rich hues of the colored ones, and their scarcity, these bottles command several hundred dollars on the market.  The cobalt bottle, being particularly rare, fetches considerably more.
Although John Duffy can be tracked through Louisville directories doing business for more than two decades, listings for him and the Crescent Saloon cease after 1890.  By that time he would have been only 52 years old, too young to retire under normal circumstances.  National Prohibition eventually shut Louisville’ saloons but that still was thirty years in the future. 

The 1900 census recorded a John Duffy, a widower, boarding in a Louisville hotel and working as a laborer.  Although the dates of birth and immigration are similar, I have been unable to confirm that identity, nor have I been unable to find any further record, including his burial place.  John Duffy seems to have disappeared into the mists of time, leaving only an array of small glass pig bottles by which to be remembered.



















Saturday, January 7, 2017

Philip Engs: Whiskey Man and NYC “First Responder”

Philip Wanton Engs, whose liquor business survived more than 100 years, recognized the requirements of a burgeoning, pre-industrial New York City and answered with his time and money to fight fires, provide public health care, educate poor children, and house the destitute.  The picture right is based on a portrait given posthumously by his family to the City of New York to honor Engs,  truly a “first responder” to the needs of his fellow New Yorkers.

Born in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1789, the son of William, a sea captain, and Abigail Lawton Engs, Philip came to New York City as a youth and apparently went to work in the mercantile trades.   His passion, however, was fighting fires, a lifelong preoccupation.  While still in his teens he joined Fulton Engine Co. No. 21,  a volunteer fire company organized in 1795 that originally met in Crooks Tavern until it acquired a fire house, shown here.  Engs rose rapidly in the ranks of his fellow firefighters, after three years chosen secretary of the company and by 1815, age 26, elected foreman (commander), a position he held until 1820.

Meanwhile in 1808 Engs had established his own business, selling whiskey and wine but also molasses, groceries and ships stores.  A descendant explaining how the youthful Engs came by his entrepreneurial talent, cited a grandfather who had been a successful merchant and added:  “You will see…from his antecedents that Mr. Engs was a trained businessman and thoroughly commercial in his instincts and aspirations.”  Those instincts ultimately caused him to jettison selling other goods to concentrate on wholesale spirits and wine.

Engs' headquarters was at 131 Front Street in Manhattan, described later as a “quaint old building.”  From there he not only carried on a vigorous wholesale trade, he also was operating as a “rectifier,” that is, blending raw whiskeys to achieve a particular taste and color.  For one blend he adopted the brand name of “Engs Baltimore Rye,” despite being a considerable distance from the Maryland city.   He sold it in an elegantly glazed ewer-like jug.

In 1812 Philip married Anna T. Franklin, a native New Yorker, whose father was a prominent local merchant.  The couple would go on to have a family of ten children, among them two sons who eventually would be taken into the liquor business, Samuel F. and George.  According to city directories, the burgeoning Engs family were living at 162 Grand Street in lower Manhattan.

As he rose in wealth and influence, Engs increasingly was becoming involved in the civic affairs of a rapidly expanding metropolis where the unmet needs of the populace, particularly the poor, were a growing concern.  In December 1817 Engs was among what he called “a number of philanthropic gentlemen” who met at a New York hospital to consider the causes of poverty and adopt efforts to remedy them.  Out of these discussions came a number of initiatives including creation of an alms house to provide shelter for the indigent, a medical dispensary, and free public schools.  Philip Engs would play a pivotal role in each of those efforts.  
In 1934, after serving at two terms as an elected “assistant alderman” in New York’s 14th Ward, Engs was named one of five Commissioners of the Alms House.  Their job was to supervise those sanctuaries and provide general relief to poor people living outside them.  Shown above is a drawing of the largest of the facilities, located on Blackwell’s Island, now Roosevelt Island, in the East River.  The commissioners also had responsibilities for medical care and those duties may have propelled Engs into still another philanthropic effort.

The Northern Dispensary, shown here still standing, was erected in Greenwich Village just off Christopher Street in 1831 for the purpose of providing medical and hospital care for the indigent.  The dispensary was designed to serve 40,000 people living between Spring and 21st Streets and from Broadway to the Hudson River.  A dispensary annual report of 1832 listed 3,296 patients treated. Edgar Allan Poe is recorded as having obtained medicine there for a winter cold in 1837, but many patients were treated right in their own homes.  In 1834, Engs was named Commissioner of Supplies for the dispensary, responsible for seeing that it had necessary medicines and other supplies.

That same year Engs was named one of the Commissioners for Common Schools.  These were neighborhood schools for the children of families not able to pay for a private eduction.  Laws passed after 1812 authorized New York State to create such institutions of learning.  Soon the state had 10,000 public school districts.  The typical district had a one- or two-room schoolhouse where children learned reading, writing, spelling, arithmetic, and geography.  In the Big Apple, however, schools, as shown here, often were larger and offered better educational opportunity.  Their success also became Engs’ responsibility.
In addition to these civic duties,  Engs never forgot his first love — fighting fires.  At the time he had joined the Fulton firefighters, the scene of a blaze often was chaotic.  Volunteers companies often fought among themselves  for prominence while the flames raged on.  

As he gained experience Engs recognized the need for professionalized fire services in New York.  Accordingly, he became a driving force behind a paid fire department, as one observer ironically put it, “sweeping away the romantic past.”  It was established by the New York Legislature in 1865.  More than 3,800 volunteers were expunged from the rolls and a professional New York Fire Department was born.  Among five fire commissioners appointed by the governor was Philip W. Engs.

He amply had earned the post.  Earlier, with other investors he had incorporated “The Fireman’s Insurance Fund” to insure against loss or damage by fire and to afford charitable funds for firefighters and their families.  He also served as president of the Association of Exempt Firemen.  Those and other Engs' initiatives figured prominently in an 1887 history of Big Apple firefighting called “Our Firemen.”  The book contained a portrait of the 76-year-old Commissioner Engs, shown here.  The liquor dealer also was an historian of New York’s fire service.  Although he never published it, another author credited an Engs' manuscript for “most of the facts”  about the early days of firefighting.

Despite his manifold civic involvements, Engs continued to prosper in the liquor trade.  In 1848 his son, Samuel F., was taken as a partner and the firm became P.W. Engs & Son.  In 1855, George Engs was admitted to partnership and “Sons” added to the company name.  In time, E. L. Snyder,  his grandson through his daughter Vida, was brought into the hierarchy.  Philip Engs died in 1875, his final resting place was Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, below. 
With Samuel now the president of the firm, the liquor firm continued to thrive into the next century although facing problems.  The first occurred when George Engs died and his widow contested the value of his shares given to her.  A court agreed with the remaining two partners.  Subsequently Snyder took over as head of the company, moving the offices to 268 West Broadway.  On August  25, 1890, that building was engulfed in fire, likely started in a novelty company upstairs. When the smoke cleared, the building and liquor stocks were just smoldering ruins.  Everything was covered by insurance, however, and by the next morning P. W. Engs & Sons Company had opened in the adjoining Wool Exchange Building and said to be “ready to do business as usual.”

Within a few months, Snyder had rebuilt on West Broadway but later moved to 632 West 34th Street, where the company remained until shut down after 1915 because of National Prohibition.   P. W. Engs & Sons had survived for more than 107 years.   Snyder told a trade paper:  “We are the oldest house in New York, and with a single exception, the oldest in the United States in so far as the continuous use of one firm name is considered.”  Philip Engs had built a whiskey dynasty.

That said, my thoughts about Engs turn mostly to the major contributions he made to his city and particularly to its less fortunate residents.  Many “whiskey men” profiled in this blog have been positive forces in their communities but none played the pivotal role of Philip Engs in New York City at a critical point in its history.   A last word on this public spirited whiskey man is a quote from Thomas Carlyle that the Engs’ family attached to his portrait when they  presented it to city officials:  “Blessed be heaven there is, here and there, a man born who loves truth as truth should be loved and hates untruth with a corresponding hatred.”






























Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Richard Monarch Story


The Richard Monarch Story

This business-savvy Monarch brother went from a Kentucky log cabin to a mansion and then lost it all. Or so people think.

Note:  As described in the past when I find a story on a whiskey man that is as good or better than I could compose, it is my custom to ask the author for permission to reprint it, with full credit of their authorship, and always have been given permission.  This post about a Kentucky distiller named Richard Monarch is by Aileen Blomgren, a great-great grand daughter of P. Edwin Payne, another well known Kentucky whiskey man.  Ms. Blomgren first approached me several months ago about a factual error in one of my earlier posts and informed me about the research she had done on Monarch.  I suggested that rather than my doing his story, that she write it up.  She agreed and, presented here, hers is a highly informative article that corrects some of the earlier misinformation that had misled me and others.  I have added images at appropriate points in the narrative.

It was 1834. Richard Monarch’s parents, Thomas J. and Susan (Davis) Monarch, trudged towards Owensboro with everything they owned in an ox-cart. Although born in Maryland, Thomas had lived in Marion County, Kentucky, since he was a few weeks old. But now, at the age of 33, it was time to head out on his own with his wife and three small children. The family settled in a log cabin on a 150-acre farm Thomas had purchased about eight miles east of Owensboro (still called “Yellow Banks” back then). It was on Hardinsburg Road near Thruston. Sixty years later, along that same road but seven miles closer to Owensboro, three of his sons (Sylvester, Martin Van Buren, and Richard) would build their gorgeous mansions on land once owned by Jo Daviess himself—his farm called “Cornland.”  It was quite a step up from their father’s log cabin.
Thomas and Susan Monarch, who eventually had ten children, were some of the earliest pioneers in Daviess County. On June 2, 1838, four years after their arrival, their 7th child, Richard was born. Amazingly, six of Thomas’ sons ended up in the distilling business—and thus the Monarch family bourbon dynasty was born. And of those six sons, Richard became one of the wealthiest. But the bourbon business can be fickle. He was bankrupt by the age of 60.

Like many of his brothers, Richard did not start out as a distiller. In his twenties, he worked on farms in Owensboro and Paducah, and then turned his hand to tobacco production. But by the age of 31, he felt it was time to turn to the family’s “newer” venture—distilling. His older brother, Thomas J., had already opened the Eagle Distillery at Grissom’s Landing in 1860. During the summer of 1869, with limited funds and the enthusiasm of youth, Richard partnered with his oldest brother, Daniel, to build a distillery in a ravine about a mile west of Owensboro, on W. Fifth Street (near Crabtree today). They named it the D. Monarch & Brother Distillery
Production started on a small scale, but it was not long before all the Monarch brands became well known. As demand increased, so did production. Profits were quickly invested in bigger facilities. Within ten years of his marriage to Mary Elizabeth “Bettie” England on December 3, 1873, the whiskey business would be booming and distillers would be making more money than they ever dreamed of. Since Richard and Bettie had no children, he was free to spend his increasing wealth on his businesses and on each other. It seemed like that would never end.
When his brother, Daniel, died in June of 1875. Richard (known as “Dick” to his friends) continued to operate the distillery alone for the next three years, but changed the name to the R. Monarch Distillery.  Then in 1878 he invited a good customer of his, J. F. Magle of Texas, as well as another gentleman, R. F. Burnham, to enter into a partnership for this distillery for five years. Unfortunately, Mr. Magle died in June of 1880, dissolving that partnership. One month later, Monarch convinced Magle’s wife, Virginia, to join with him and Burnham for another five years under “R. Monarch & Co., Kentucky Standard Distilling Company” name. Burnham eventually backed out. It all was not a match made in heaven, anyway, and trouble brewed just a few years later.
In November of 1885, Magle’s widow made national headlines when she filed a sensational lawsuit listing detailed claims that Richard Monarch had committed fraud by hiding profits in various ways (including purchasing a steamboat) so he wouldn’t have to pay her what she and her husband had been owed. Headlines across the country screamed, “Widow Defrauded by Distiller!” She asked for a receiver to be appointed to take charge of the dissolution of distillery partnership. 
Unfortunately, history often only remembers the headlines and not the final decision. What people should know is that at the conclusion of the trial in January of 1886, the judge actually read a lengthy statement specifically detailing why he was clearing Mr. Monarch of all charges and accusations to his character. The judge then unexpectedly appointed Richard Monarch as the receiver of the distillery, putting him in charge of dissolution.  The Galveston, Texas, Daily News (25 January 1886, p. 4) declared this to be “a very unusual procedure and a high compliment to Mr. Monarch.”  Oh…and what happened to his steamboat? Yes, he owned one. Called the “Edna Adams” (formerly named “Two States”), it burned to the ground in September of 1889 while undergoing repairs. 
That particular lawsuit with all its specifics, however, certainly hinted at Richard’s complicated business personality. It was well known that he had no problem firmly expressing his opinion when he believed he was in the right.  He also had a knack for quickly understanding what it took to get things accomplished. Cautious in business dealings, he therefore had no problem managing multiple distilleries and businesses. 
He often had to juggle other lawsuits, too, not unlike many other distillers. The Owensboro Tri-Weekly Messenger (December 21, 1886) even wrote a front-page story on the history of the Monarch brothers’ suits! That was all part of the process since they had trademarks, recipes, and their good names to protect.  To add to his responsibilities, by 1890 he was also working as President of the National Bank of Owensboro. But in general, notwithstanding his large personality and sometimes colorful language, he was considered to be courteous, kind, upright and faithful, “with a heart as big as all outdoors. 
In September of 1890, he purchased his deceased brother’s distillery, the Eagle Distillery (formerly the T.J. Monarch Distillery at Grissom’s Landing). Since the plant was on the Ohio River and a short distance from the railroad it was considered perfect for transportation of the whiskey.  Richard actually outbid his brother, M.V. Monarch, at the auction! After some very competitive bidding, they pushed the price up to $110,000 before M.V. Monarch dropped out. 
Thus, by 1892--only six short years after that sensational trial--he now owned the Glenmore Distilling Company (RD #24); the Daviess County Distilling Company (RD #2) purchased in 1888; and the Eagle Distilling Company (RD #8) purchased in 1890. His companies produced such brands as the “R. Monarch”, “Kentucky Club,” and “Kentucky Tavern” as well as “Doherty Short Horn” and “Glenmore.” 
Hmmm…that Glenmore name. There are so many explanations of where it came from! However, Richard wrote an interesting article in the Pacific Wine and Review (August 21, 1895, p. 26) where he jocularly said that the Kentucky Standard Distilling Company had been named Glenmore after “that noted race-horse.” It turns out that there actually was an 1875 thoroughbred named “Glenmore” who raced for several years. The American Thoroughbred (p. 15) described him as “one of the best cup-horses of his day and a winner of the fastest second heat of four miles ever run.” Bourbon and racing have a long history together, so maybe that is where the name Glenmore actually came from!
Around this same time, the 1892-1893 crop of whiskey was overproduced. By the time it would mature and be sold several years later, it would be worth less than it cost to make. This overproduction trend continued in the mid-1890s and--although the distillers didn’t know it-- the boom was ending and the bust was on the horizon. 
But to Richard Monarch, things looked so good in 1893 that he began construction on a palatial mansion on the banks of the Ohio River, within sight of his Glenmore Distillery. From there he could already see the grand homes of his brothers, Sylvester and M.V. Monarch, and his friend, P. Edwin Payne who was vice-president of M.V.’s Sour Mash Distilling Company. But Richard’s home was to be bigger, grander, and more spectacular than them all.  He insisted on sparing no expense. The home cost around $100,000 (over $2.5 million today). 

The mansion was three stories high, but if you included the “look-out” at the top of the house it was actually five stories, according to Elizabeth Evans Mattingly who lived there in the early 1900s. There were stunning balcony porches that ran around the outside of the home, on both the first and second floors. Beautiful buggies would pull up to the porte-cochere where the step was high enough that the ladies never had to worry about their gowns touching the dirt or mud. The large front entrance hall had two windows and a fireplace with a mantle.  Within the home there was a wide stairway with two landings, one of which had a balcony seat with velvet cushions.  The landings were large enough for an oriental rug and couches. There was a music room with rare curved glass at one end of the room.  


At the end of the second-floor hallway it was wide enough for a library table to be placed in front of three windows overlooking the porte-cochere. On the third floor, there was stage room for theatrical plays, and another room that was perfectly round. The house included a gorgeous library as well.  The lookout, accessed from the third floor, was glass-enclosed and had a fabulous view of the Ohio River. It was a great way to watch the riverboat traffic. All the hardwoods used downstairs were foreign woods (including white Australian mahogany in the music room), and upstairs native woods were used. Much of the furniture was French provincial. There were fabulous fireplaces and mantles; and even the bathrooms had mosaic tile floors, Italian marble walls, and gold fixtures.  
The Owensboro community was supremely excited in December of 1894 when they finally got their first look at the house when the Monarchs hosted the wedding of Bettie’s sister, Miss Bertye England and Mr. Henrie Symmes.  It was said that no one declined those invitations!  The Monarchs continued to be lavish entertainers over the next few years.  But everything was about to change. By December of 1897, just three years later, Richard Monarch had to declare bankruptcy when his liabilities of nearly a million dollars were more than his assets could cover. His brothers had already, or would also, declare bankruptcy. The whiskey in his warehouses had declined in price so much that it was essentially worthless, and buyers were scarce. This is why they all failed. It had nothing at all to do with Prohibition (which seems to be a rampant internet rumor). 
That same December, the Columbia Finance and Trust Company was assigned control of Richard’s companies. He signed a deed of assignment on January 28, 1898 for the Eagle Distillery Company, which (strangely) listed the brands of “Glenmore” and “Doherty Short Horn.” The inventory totaled just $40,000, which included an office safe worth $20. I’m not sure that was even worth mentioning but I guess they were looking for every penny they could get. 
The Glenmore and Eagle distilleries were sold on January 22, 1901 for $17,000 each, to E.G. Buckner on behalf of various creditors. That was immediately challenged in court because of the low price (and only bid), and the lack of an appraisement. The judge reversed the sale of the Glenmore and ordered the seller to re-advertise and resell it. The court, though, confirmed the sale of the Eagle Distillery, because no objections had been filed.  On May 6, 1901, the Glenmore was actually sold for $200,000 by the Columbia Finance and Trust. The buyer was James A. Thompson & Bro. of Louisville, with Mr. Harry Barton named as manager. They planned to put the Glenmore Distillery back into operation by May 15th.  Then on May 29, 1901, James A. Thompson & Co. transferred the Glenmore Distillery to the Glenmore Distilleries Company for $70,000.  As with so many distilleries, there is definitely a confusing paper trail of name changes and ownership of this company!  A side note: Richard Monarch had at one time turned down an offer of $225,000 for Glenmore by the Columbia Trust. Ah, hindsight makes us all wiser.
The Monarchs continued to live in their mansion they called “Monarchdale” until June 1902, when it was sold to Hiram E.  and Nellie B. Rose for just $20,500.  The home then became known as “Rosedale.” Columbia College bought the home from the Rose family in August of 1909, but it then sold the home to Mr. C. O. Evans around 1913. The Evans family, including Elizabeth Evans Mattingly, lived there for about ten years.  

Around 1927, the Daviess County Public Schools purchased the property to use for its high school, and added a classroom addition and gymnasium on either side of the home. The school was there until 1958. The home was torn down in 1960 to make room for a gym for the middle school.
In the meantime, in June of 1902 Richard and Bettie reportedly moved to Louisville because he was interested in the Pleasure Ridge Park Distillery located there. It is unknown if he actually bought any shares, but he is not listed in the Owensboro City Directory for 1903-1905 so perhaps he did move out of Owensboro then. However, in October of 1902 he also opened up a wholesale whiskey house on Frederica St. in Owensboro, so he did keep some business dealings there. 
By February of 1906 the Monarchs were definitely back in Owensboro, on the Bon Harbor farm west of town on River Road, on a 154-acre plot of land. This is the same amount of acreage that his wife, Bettie, left to Richard when she passed away so it may be the same property.  Richard Monarch actually operated the R. Monarch Distillery here, producing the “R. Monarch” brand he registered c1907.  It closed around 1913, about two years before he died, when the distillery’s production was essentially nothing.  His last few years were spent managing the farm.
Bettie England Monarch passed away on February 27, 1915, in a horrific accident at home. She was sitting in front of a fireplace when her nightgown caught fire. Richard, in another room, heard her scream and ran to help her but could do nothing but stay by her side all night. He couldn’t even leave her to telephone for help; she died at 7 am that morning. He was devastated.
Richard lived only a few months longer than his wife.  He died on July 9, 1915, of a stroke. On his death certificate, his occupation is notably listed as “Farmer.” And thus he came full circle, back to his childhood roots. After starting with almost nothing, then becoming one of the wealthiest and best-liked distillers in Kentucky, people often presume he lost everything after his bankruptcy and faded into obscurity. Although he did lose his large distilleries and never lived at the grand scale he once enjoyed, he lived another 17 years. He had at least some farm income left, and later a small distillery on Bon Hill farm. After the bankruptcy, he and his beloved wife spent all but a few years living in Owensboro among family and friends. They still continued to play a large part in local events, although it must have been hard to see others living in his grand mansion.  He was still highly respected in the community when he died. 
There is one postscript to his life, though. After his death, a lawsuit was filed by Bettie England Monarch’s family saying they should inherit her estate. Bettie died with a will, leaving property she had in her name (including a 154-acre farm and all its income) to her husband with the specific power to dispose of it by whatever instructions he wrote in his own will. Some called it a “life estate.” However, when he died four months later Richard did not leave a will and therefore left no legal document providing for the disposal of his wife’s property. She had also neglected to name an executor or trustee to carry out disposal of her property if he left no will. A judge ruled in favor of Bettie’s family, stating that they were entitled to all of her estate that had passed to Richard after she died. This included his wife’s farm worth $25,000, and a paid-up insurance policy for over $8,000. That is worth over $600,000 in today’s money. It was a complicated end to Richard’s story. Because even when you have it all and then lose most of it, nothing is ever simple again.

SOME SOURCES
Ashlee Chilton, “Cornland,” ExploreKYHistory, http://explorekyhistory.ky.gov/items/show/631.
Crittendon Press, Marion, Kentucky (September 25, 1890) – T.J. Monarch Distillery at Grissom’s Landing Sold to R. Monarch
Eagle Distillery Assignment Document, dated 28 January 1898.
Evansville, Indiana Courier and Press, November 21, 1894 (p. 4) – “A Big Society Event in December at Owensboro.”
History of Daviess County, Kentucky (Interstate Publishing, 1883, p.475) Biography of Edward P. Millett
History of Daviess County, Kentucky (Interstate Publishing, 1883, p.343-345) Description of Owensboro distilleries.
Mattingly, Elizabeth Evans (5 page document dated May 1, 1898) – Most of the descriptions of Richard Monarch’s home come from her recollections.
Pacific Wine and Spirit Review, Vol. XXVII, No. 1 (February 1892, p. 12) – “R. Monarch, a self-made man…”
Pacific Wine and Spirit Review (July 6, 1892, p. 29) – A King of Distillers, A Brief Sketch of R. Monarch and a Synopsis of His Many Interests
The American Thoroughbred by Thomas B. Merry (Published by Commercial Printing House, Los Angeles, CA in 1905), p. 115
The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Kentucky (February 23, 1902, p. 9) – (Jo Daviess at “Cornland”) The article says that Jo Daviess’ farm ‘Cornland’ is “where the handsome homes of Messrs. R and M.V. Monarch are now situated just east of the city and barely outside of its limits.”
The National Cyclopedia of American Biography, Volume XVII, page 108 published by the James T. White & Company (New York) 1920. – Biography of Richard Monarch.
The Southwestern Reporter Volume 189 (December 6, 1916 – January 10, 1917), p. 1126-1130 (includes O’Bryan vs. England court decisions, as well as Bettie England Monarch’s will).