Thursday, April 27, 2023

Sherbrook Distillery Co. — A Cincinnati Saga

At the end of the 19th Century Century, Cincinnati, Ohio, was the center of the Nation’s whiskey trade. In 1881 the ten leading Cincinnati liquor producers announced that their output for the prior year was 1.8 million gallons on which $103 million in taxes had been paid. Boasting the most wholesale liquor houses in America, Cincinnati presented a scene of intense competition to sell liquor.   Late onto this stage arrived two men intent on success.   One was a German immigrant named Max Halle; the other, Richard Kuhn, the Cincinnati-born son of a wealthy banker.  Together they wrote the saga of the Sherbrook Distillery Company.

Born in Germany in March 1863, Max M. Halle at the age of 22 left his native land and immigrated to the United States, settling in Cincinnati, a town with a strong German population, many involved in the whiskey trade.  Halle soon found employment, at one point working for the Turner-Looker Company, a local liquor house known for its hyper-aggressive marketing and advertising practices.  As recorded in the 1900 federal census, Halle at 37 was a bachelor, living in a Ward 9 Cincinnati boarding house.

During the late 1890s, as Turner-Looker was undergoing corporate change, Halle decided to strike out on his own and in 1898 opened a liquor business at 104 West Second Street.  Initially he called the enterprise Halle & Company but soon changed the name to Sherbrook Distillery Company.  in 1905 he also trademarked his flagship brand, Murray Hill, along with the puzzling image for the company that opens this post.  Halle’s formal description of his logo reads:  “The representation of a still in action, on which is the word ‘Sherbrook’ and a man in a colonial costume smoking a large pipe working the same.  A cloud effect with a face surrounded by a sunrise, all enclosed in a band-shaped border, in the upper part of which are the words ‘Sherbrook Distilling Co.”   Whew!

An early sign that the proprietor was having a difficult time getting established in the overcrowded world of Cincinnati booze was a story in Newspaperdom, an organ of advertising sales.  It reported that Halle was “posing as an advertising agent” for Sherbrook in order to obtain the agent’s commission on his own business.  That was a “no no.”  Halle also seems to have been designing his own advertising materials as exemplified by the envelope above.  It features a photo of a distillery (not Halle’s), a strange laughing face and a distinctly unusual slogan:  “Drink Sherwood…Laugh and Grow Fat.”

Halle’s major stray from the norm was his 1902 open letter addressed to “Whiskey Buyers of America,” shown right.  In it he broke a cardinal rule of the liquor trade:  Do not denigrate your competition in print.  Instead, under his own signature and with underlining, Halle wrote:  “So many Saloonkeepers have been imprudent enough to allow themselves to be carried by Wholesale houses, others have been prejudiced by unscrupulous and untruthful salesmen, others again have had undesirable experiences with mail order houses of little or no standing and less principle….”

Certainly Halle’s competition must have gotten wind of his attacks and made known their displeasure.  He likely found himself a pariah in the trade, further affecting business prospects.  Fortunately, he had befriended a young protege with deep pockets named Robert Kuhn, shown here.  Born in Cincinnati in 1868 Kuhn was the son of a wealthy Polish immigrant and Cincinnati banker, Samuel Kuhn. Drawn to the liquor business, Kuhn learned the trade initially at the Fleischmann distillery and later at Turner-Looker where he met and befriended Halle.  In 1906 the Wine & Spirits Bulletin reported that Kuhn had bought Sherwood Distilling and added cryptically that Halle “will soon go to Europe for a long rest.”  I have found no evidence that Halle ever came back.

Meanwhile Kuhn was proving to be a savvy liquor wholesaler. Like other Cincinnati dealers, he hatched a veritable “blizzard” of labels, adding to Halle’s “Murray Hill” and “Sherbrook” at least 45 other brands of whiskey for sale.  With the success of Canadian Club on the U.S. market, labels with “Club” in the title were appearing everywhere.  Kuhn caught the tide with "Acme Club,” "Bachelor Club,” "Berkshire Club Rye,” “Campbell Club,” and "College Club.”   He also christened whiskeys after well-recognized names:  “Cracker Jack,” “Mail Pouch,” “Red Cross,” and “West Point.”  Eight of Kuhn’s brands contained “Old” in the title.

Was each of these whiskeys made from an individualized recipe?  That would have been virtually impossible.  The differences likely were just in the labels.  Kuhn published them lavishly in a catalogue for both his local and mail order customers.  Catalogue pages shown here above and below illustrate the art work that distinguished the brands from one another, even if the flavor of the whiskeys likely was much the same.

To be competitive in the Cincinnati environment required a wholesaler to provide advertising giveaways to his customers.  Those generally would be saloons, restaurants, and hotels, with good retail customers gifted from time to time. Kuhn’s principal give-aways were shot glasses emblazoned with the names of his major brands, as displayed below.

Active as both president and treasurer, Kuhn raised Sherbrook Distilling Co. into the upper ranks of Cincinnati wholesale liquor dealers.   His market skills were notable, from the large, colorful and informative catalogue he offered, to the well designed labels that graced his whiskey bottles and his attractive shot glasses.

At the same time, however, Kuhn was battling the forces of prohibition that gradually cut off markets in Ohio and elsewhere through the use of “local option” by counties and cities to go “dry.”  The final blow came in 1917 when Ohio voted a statewide ban on making or selling alcohol.  When the law took effect in 1918, Kuhn shut the doors on Sherbrook Distilling, never again to open them.  His brands were history.

Unlike many of his colleagues in the liquor trade, Kuhn did not undertake any new occupation but apparently enjoying ample financial resources, he simply retired at age fifty— or so he attested on a passport application.  Robert had a lot to go home to.  In November 1893, age 25, he had married Nellie Feiss, a local Cincinnati woman, 22.  They would have three children. Robert Jr., born in 1894, Edward L. 1896, and Harriet K., 1903.  To house his family, Kuhn purchased a large Cincinnati home at 507 Prospect Place, shown here as it looks today. 

Still vigorous in his early 50s, Kuhn also took the opportunity to travel.   His 1923 passport application outlined a highly ambitious travel schedule with Nellie to Europe, including the British Isles, Germany, France, Italy, Belgium and Austria, and to the Middle East including Egypt, Palestine and Algiers.  The couple embarked from New York City  to cross the Atlantic aboard the steamship Lapland, shown below.  This extensive holiday was indication of Kuhn’s wealth.  My surmise is that Robert and Nellie would have occupied a first class cabin on the top deck.

There, however, Robert Kuhn fades into the mists of history.  One source set his year of death as 1934, when he would have been 66 and witnessed the Repeal of National Prohibition.  But I have found nothing to substantiate that dating.  Nor have I found any information about his and Nellie’s place of burial.  My hope is that some alert descendant will see this post and  help fill in the blanks.

As a final observation about this “Cincinnati saga,” it occurs to me that it sets the usual whiskey man story upside down.  Usually it is the canny immigrant who triumphs in the American liquor trade by dint of his intelligence and hard work while the “rich kid” proprietor sometimes has been left in the dust.  In the saga of Sherbrook Distilling, the immigrant Max Halle never quite found his footing in the high-powered competition of Cincinnati whiskey.  By contrast, Robert Kuhn, the scion of a wealthy Cincinnati family, comfortably understood how success was achieved in that environment — and prospered.

Note:  This post was compiled from a wide number of sources, most importantly  Posts on Turner-Looker Company may be found on this website at December 4, 2017, and on Fleischmann Distillery at March 28, 2012. 


Sunday, April 23, 2023

Caught in “The Whiskey Ring” II

 Foreword:   When U.S. agents under the direction of Treasury Secretary  Benjamin Bristow in May 1875 swooped down on the giant multi-city racket to defraud the federal government of millions in liquor revenues, called “The Whiskey Ring,” they arrested 86 government officials and 152 distillers and whiskey dealers.  Among them were three whiskey men whose outcomes following their arrests differed significantly.

Caught cheating the government of revenues on his whiskey, St. Louis distiller Louis Teuscher in 1875 pleaded guilty and began assisting the prosecution.  Asked  under oath how he ran his distillery, Teuscher, a German immigrant, replied “Vell sometimes straight but most times crooked.”  His candid remark provided a brief moment of levity during the high-profile trials of the Whisky Ring.

Known for his “Good Times Bourbon,” Teuscher formally was accused of removing 10,000 gallons of whiskey from his distillery: “…On which said spirits the internal revenue tax of 70 cents…imposed by law upon each and every proof gallon…had not been first paid.”  By so doing he had defrauded the government to the tune of $7,000, equivalent to about $154,000 today.  His illegal whiskey was hidden in a building on the distillery premises, unknown to federal inspectors.  There fraudulent tax stamps were applied.

Teuscher pleaded guilty and turned state’s evidence.  The distiller testified for the prosecution in the trial of the kingpin of the Whiskey Ring, Orville P. Babcock, Civil War general and personal secretary and confidant of President Grant.  According to the memoirs of former Ring prosecutor David Patterson Dyer, the government treated cooperative distillers like Teuscher as “victims of rapacious officials, or at worst, as having the lesser guilt….”  

The German-born distiller did not go unpunished.  Federal agents confiscated his distillery and whiskey stocks and took all or part of a $50,000 surety bond held by the Internal Revenue Service that allowed him to make whiskey.   Originally indicted on felony charges, those were dropped for Teuscher when he agreed to cooperate.  He pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors and was sentenced to one day in jail and a $1,000 fine.  Although he spent the designated day in jail, Teuscher apparently balked at paying the $1,000 fine, likely on the grounds that he already had suffered sufficient financial losses for his folly in joining the Ring.  In the end the presiding judge blamed mistakes in sentencing Teuscher and discharged him without requiring he pay the fine.


William Bergenthal was well known for his ferocious temper.  The Milwaukee, Wisconsin, distiller and liquor dealer, it is said, once physically threw a deputy sheriff out of his office who had come to collect a bill because the lawman made a remark impugning his honesty.  Bergenthal would have been well advised to do the same when Federal revenue officers came looking for bribes.  He did not and thereby became implicated in the Whiskey Ring.

Apparently by pointing the finger at his brother August and another employee Bergenthal himself was spared prosecution.  The pair were held for four months in the Milwaukee County jail for ““misrepresenting the company’s alcohol tax records.”  So popular were these “fall guys” in captivity, however, that the sheriff  complained regular business was being affected by “the tramp, tramp, tramp of the friends of the prisoners.”

William Bergenthal was far from being off the hook.  In 1876 a U.S. District Attorney brought a case in Federal Circuit Court that implicated Bergenthal and two friends with conspiring with Chicago gang members to steal incriminating Whiskey Ring-related documents held by Federal authorities.  To carry out this heist the crooks allegedly had demanded $50,000 from the trio.  If the government had been able to make the case, it was only a matter of time until Bergenthal and his colleagues would be on trial.  A friendly judge, however, dismissed the indictment, ruling that the theft had never gotten beyond the discussion phase and that “some act must actually be done” to constitute a conspiracy.

Bergenthal subsequently was hauled into court by his jailed brother.  Whether August was angry at having to take the rap for the tax cheating or other reasons, the brothers had parted ways with August working elsewhere in the whiskey trade.  He still had a substantial financial interest in William Bergenthal Co., however, and sued for a right to examine the books.  When a lower court agreed that August must have access, Bergenthal appealed the decision to the Wisconsin Supreme Court and lost a second time.

Fans of the movie version of Anne Rice’s “Interview with the Vampire” will recognize at right the New Orleans above-ground tomb of her blood-sucking hero, Lestat.  When visiting Lafayette Cemetery #1, tourists often seek out the cast-iron crypt and wonder who actually is interred there.  It is Otto Henry Karstendieck, a liquor dealer whose life held its own vicissitudes.

After making large profits from his liquor trade during Union Army occupation  of New Orleans during the Civil War,  the customer base for Karstendiek & Company dwindled sharply in the post conflict period.  President Grant had appointed his wife’s brother-in -law, Col. James B. Case, as collector of customs for the New Orleans port.  Case was quick to see financial possibilities of skimming off illicit cash from liquor taxes.  He recruited a handful of New Orleans distillers and dealers to assist him in the scheme.  Otto Karstendiek joined the Whiskey Ring.

When the scheme came to abrupt halt,  Karstendiek was arrested.  Otto and his co-conspirators did not come to trial for almost a full year after the raid.  In the interim the German whiskey man had suffered a heartbreaking loss.  His wife died in September 1875, leaving him with six motherless children.  At his trial Otto and five of his co-conspirators were found guilty. The prisoners were fined from $1,000 to $6,000 and sentenced to prison variably from six to sixteen months.  Otto was assessed $1000 and given maximum prison time.

All six were sent to the State Penitentiary at Moundsville, West Virginia, shown here, more than 1,000 miles from Otto’s New Orleans home. He was anguished at serving time so far from his children, now being looked after by relatives. While at Moundsville he brought a case before the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that the decision to send him out of Louisiana was not authorized by law and should be voided.  The Supremes did not agree.  Otto spent a full sixteen months in prison a long way from his little ones.

The stories of these three culprits demonstrate the sweep of the conspiracy, from Milwaukee in the Upper Midwest to St. Louis in the Midlands and Deep South New Orleans.  It also exposes the wide variety of penalties inflicted on those whose folly was joining the Whiskey Ring.

Note:  More complete profiles of each of these men may be found elsewhere on this blog:   Louis Teuscher, April 15, 2019;  William Bergenthal, September 1, 2014, and Otto Karstendiek, August 25, 2021.  An earlier post on three others caught in the Whiskey Ring may be found here at October 29, 2019.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Liquor Dealer Carl Conrad —“This Bud’s for You!”

Now it can be told.   Budweiser, perhaps the most famous name in beer, was not first coined by the Anheuser-Busch Company of St. Louis, but by a liquor dealer in the same city.  His name was Carl Conrad.  Beginning in 1876, Conrad’s Budweiser story is one of rapid rise as he opened branch offices in a number of cities and towns, and just as rapid a fall as he became overextended financially. In the end Conrad, shown here, was forced to assign the brand to his good friend Adolphus Busch.  And the rest is beer history.

Born in 1843 in Hesse-Daemstadt, Germany,  Conrad emigrated to the United States as a youth and settled in St. Louis, Missouri, a city with a strong German presence.   After what appears to have been employment in one of the many St. Louis liquor houses, Conrad at about the age of 23, opened his own establishment in 1866 at 20 N. Fifth Street. He called it C. Conrad & Company.  Before long he found it necessary to expand and opened stores at 7 North Second and 205 Market Streets, and later, a building at 407-417 N. Sixth Street shown here on a trade card.

His proprietary brands were “Moss Rose Bourbon” and “Governor’s Choice Rye, both of which he trademarked in 1882.  His source for those whiskeys was the Silver Creek Distillery, a modest-sized facility (RD#531, 8th District) in Madison County, Kentucky. [See my post of July 27, 2022 on the distillery.]  Both whiskeys had a sizable customer base, as indicated by the jug shown left, from a Buffalo, New York liquor dealer.  Conrad advertised these labels through shot glasses, below, given to wholesale customers.  Note the CCC monograms — Carl C. Conrad.

But whiskey was not what made Conrad memorable but his role in the creation and 
early marketing of Budweiser beer.  One version of the story is that on a trip to Europe about ten years after opening his liquor house, he dined in a small brewery in Bohemia (now the Czech Republic) where he was served a beer that he decided immediately was the best he had ever tasted.  This brew used a different mashing method from the usual pilseners.  The result was in a lighter color and more effervescence.  Some said it “sparkled.”

Fired with the idea that such a beer would have a ready market in the United States, Conrad hurried back to Saint Louis to convince his good buddy Adolphus Busch about its potential.  Conrad was not a brewer but Busch was.  Conrad asked him to make a rice-based beer that would replicate the taste of the Bohemian brew.  Agreeing to a contract with the liquor dealer, Busch set out to create a “very pale, fine beer” like nothing else on the American market.  Conrad would bottle the brew and see to its marketing.  Recalling the Bohemian town of Budweis, known for beer quality, he decided to call his brainchild “Budweiser Lager Beer,” and designed the label shown above.  (Look familiar?)  Budweiser bottles were embossed with the Conrad company name.  

Believing that his beer would have wide appeal, he concentrated his energies on creating a national customer base. Beginning in 1876 Conrad continued the pattern of rapid expansion he had followed in growing his St. Louis liquor business.  His enthusiasm for Budweiser led him to open outlets in a host of distant towns.   As shown below, advertised on trade cards, Conrad boasted of “branch offices “ in Denver, Leadville, and Gunnison City, Colorado, and Dallas and Buena Vista, Texas. He claimed two more in Germany.  On a sales visit to California, he invested $3,000 (equivalent today to $85,000) outfitting a “fine place where people could find [his] beer.”  Later Conrad added Chicago, New York and New Orleans to outlet locations.

Conrad initially was successful in rapidly expanding his customer base to the point that Budweiser soon was available nationwide. He sold a quarter of a million bottles in twelve months, and by late 1878 had sold six thousand barrels of the beer.   By the early 1880s, however, this business plan had run into trouble.  Railroads had raised freight costs from eastern parts of the United States to the West by so much that it was cheaper to send barrels by sea “around the Horn” to California than across country by train.  Certain thirsty western mining towns were getting their beer delivered by mule train, as depicted in this Budweiser ad. 

Interruptions in supply lines were compounded by what a New York Times report suggested in January 1883:  Noting that Conrad’s beer empire had grown very fast:  “Their branch offices were so scattered they found it impossible to get in collections as rapidly as needed.”  The Times likely was referring to the lack of beer to sell and the paucity of revenues to justify the heavy advertising and cost of operating so many outlets.


Compounding Conrad’s problems may have been the bottle shortage in the West.  Beer and other bottled products were shipped long distances by wagon under difficult conditions. Because of this, empty glass bottles became an important commodity.  

One historian has observed:  “Teamsters could purchase a dozen bottles of liquor in Missouri for four dollars each, drink the contents along the way, and trade the empty bottles each for six dollars worth of produce in New Mexico.”  From a financial standpoint it was important that most bottles be returned to the originator for refilling. Unfortunately for Conrad,  Budweiser bottles were often not returned but continued to be refilled elsewhere, even by competitors, or put to other uses like this house constructed in Rhyolite, Nevada, by a local saloonkeeper.  It largely was made of Budweiser bottles.

Conrad did his best to prop up the merchandising structure he so lovingly had constructed for his beloved brew by subsidizing branch offices from profits of his St. Louis liquor stores.  Adolphus Busch informed the New York Times that Conrad’s assets were expected to be sufficient to cover his debts. A meeting of the creditors on January 22, 1883, however, revealed that Conrad’s assets would actually be about $140,000 short of paying his outstanding bills.

Acknowledging that he had run out of resources, Conrad declared bankruptcy.  The Lindell Glass Co. of St. Louis, above, a firm that made beer bottles, was one of the largest creditors, owed between $32,000 and $33,000.  Although the loss hit Lindell hard and it teetered close to closing, the company, shown here, ultimately survived.  Conrad’s largest creditor was Anheuser-Busch, owed $94,000.  With his good friend Adolphus assisting, Conrad was able to cancel that debt by turning over the Budweiser trademark and the rights to Anheuser-Busch “to bottle and sell” the beer.  He also was forced to shutter his liquor stores in St. Louis.

The process was made as painless as possible. Conrad did not formally assign the Budweiser trademark to Anheuser-Busch until 1891 and his CCC insignia and name remained on Budweiser paper labels until almost 1920.  Provided a lifetime position at the brewery, Conrad was present to see the imposition of National Prohibition require the shutting of the facility and the end (temporary as it turned out) of Budweiser sales.  Carl Conrad died in 1922 and was buried in Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis, the monument shown here.  His wife of many years. Franciska, joined him there a year later.

Note:  It was seeing the Moss Rose whiskey jug above that led me to the story of Carl C.Conrad, one that turned out to be primarily about beer, not liquor. The amount of information about the origins of Budweiser proved sufficient to compose a post.  A key resource was an article by Jay Brooks on April 1, 2022, written to commemorate the anniversary of Conrad’s 1843 birth.


Saturday, April 15, 2023

Samuel and Mary Haller: Mt. Lebanon PA’s Dynamic Duo


When Samuel and Mary Haller in 1906 moved to a Pennsylvania township south of Pittsburgh, the landscape largely was rolling farmland. By joining the revenues from Samuel’s successful Pittsburgh liquor business with Mary’s civic activism, the couple, shown below, are credited with playing an essential role in creating the vibrant community of Mt. Lebanon, today boasting a population of more than 34,000. 

According to the 1900 federal census, each partner was born in 1864.  In 1891, when they both would have been about 27, Samuel Peter Haller and Mary Anna Stumbililg were married in a Roman Catholic ceremony in Pittsburgh.   At the time the groom likely was employed in one of the city’s many wholesale liquor houses.  Marriage may have impelled Samuel to move out on his own.  With a Pittsburgh local named T. J. Blackmore he added a new enterprise to the city’s liquor trade, “Haller and Blackmore,” located at 172-174 First Avenue.

The partnership was not destined to be a lengthy one and in 1896 Samuel, likely with Mary’s encouragement, is recorded having moved out as a solo operator, opening a new enterprise on First Street at numbers 416-418.  He called it “Sam’l P. Haller, Wholesale Dealer in Pure Rye Whiskies.”  With a year, for reasons unknown, Samuel moved to 111 Smithfield Street, stayed four years, and in 1902 apparently requiring larger quarters moved to Liberty Street.  At two addresses there this major Pittsburgh commercial thoroughfare would be home to the Haller liquor house for the next 18 years.

Haller was not a distiller but rather a “rectifier,” someone blending whiskies received from other sources and sold under proprietary labels.  Among Haller’s brands were "Belle of Morgantown,” "Cobweb Mills,” "County Fair,” "Gold Nugget Pure Rye,” ”Haller's Eighty - Nine,” "Haller's Rye Nugget,” “Haller’s Private Stock,” “Haller’s Crystallized Rock and Rye,” ”Keystone Medallion,” and “Trotter Whiskey.” Trotter, openly advertised as a blend, was the only label Sam’l trademarked, registering the name in 1907. 

Given the highly competitive Pittsburgh whiskey trade, Haller also had a line of giveaway items that advertised his business.  Among them was a ceramic give-away mini-jug, likely presented to retail customers at Christmas. While such mini-jugs were common in the trade, Haller’s offering was distinctive by its shape and gold Japanese-like decoration. He also offered a line of advertising shot glasses.  Those would have been presented to the saloons, restaurants and hotels carrying his lines of alcohol. 


Grown prosperous, Samuel and Mary in 1906 looked for a salutary environment to raise their six children, sons Joseph, Fred, Gus, John and Leo, and daughter, Leona.  They settled on a farming community in an Allegheny County township south of the city. With the arrival of a streetcar line and the development of the first real estate subdivision, both in 1901, Mt. Lebanon was on the way to becoming a suburb, allowing residents an easy commute to downtown Pittsburgh.  The Hallers bought a spacious house on a large plot of land on Washington Road, shown here.  It would be only the first of many purchases of Mt. Lebanon properties over ensuing years — financed by the flow of revenues from Samuel’s lucrative liquor business.

Mary Haller appears to have spearheaded this effort.  Shown here with a no nonsense look on her face,  Mary was hailed as “The First Lady” of Mt. Lebanon.  While her husband attended to the liquor trade, Mary was busy spearheading the effort to turn the rural environment into a vibrant community, all the while mothering a household of six children.  She invested extensively in Mt. Lebanon real estate. The local press reported:  “In the 1820’s, she laid out the Hoodridge Plan of homes and was active in developing the Washington Park Plan in the Vernon Drive area…She built one of the first apartments,  the nine-family Haller Apartments at 28 Academy Ave.”  Mary’s energies extended to public benefits.  She donated land to allow widening of streets and was a strong advocate for other Mt. Lebanon civic improvements.

Mary may best be remembered for her church-related efforts.  An active Roman Catholic, she was concerned about the lack of a place of worship for the faithful in Mt. Lebanon.  Working with a local priest, she opened a barn on the Haller homestead for services, as shown above.  Mass was held there for two years while the impressive St. Bernard’s Church was built on land donated by the Hallers.

Meanwhile Samuel was experiencing some setbacks in his liquor business.  Not only
 were prohibitionary pressures increasing in Pennsylvania, cutting off sales, but in 1914 he also faced Federal action under the Food and Drug Act.  The government target was a proprietary nostrum called “Dr. Johnson’s Wild Cherry Pepsin.”  Labeled as the “Greatest Tonic in the World,”  Samuel P. Haller Co. sold it as a “positive cure for dyspepsia, indigestion, colic, colds, diarrhea, and all other diseases.”

Hauling Haller into court for violations of the food and drug laws, officials charged that the nostrum held virtually no pepsin and little, if any, wild cherry.  Instead it contained benzaldehyde, a food and flavoring additive, and artificial coloring.  Unlike many other nostrums, it did not contain alcohol, but advertised that it could be mixed with “good” port or sherry wine. Five cases of Dr. Johnson’s tonic had been confiscated, to be returned to Haller upon payment of a $500 fine  (equivalent to about $11,000 in today’s dollar).  Samuel paid up.

As her husband aged, Mary increasingly took over the family business interests.Upon Samuel’s death in 1920, she became head of the liquor house, shifting quickly into selling other merchandise when National Prohibition was imposed. Seeing the multiple opportunities opened by the automobile, with a son she organized the Mt. Lebanon Garage Company.  Honored in 1948 by friends and relatives on her 83rd birthday, Mary was still serving as company president.

Not long after the celebration, this remarkable woman died and was buried next to her husband in Pittsburgh’s St. Martin’s Cemetery.  Their plot is marked by a monument bearing a large cross.   Samuel’s stone bears a simple inscription  “Not Forgotten.”  That same sentiment would also apply to Mary, whose contribution to Mt. Lebanon’s development has made her an enduring local legend.

Note:  This post was derived from a number of Internet sources.  Notable among them were photos assembled on the Internet with comments and entitled “People — Haller Family”  by Joe Polk, dated July 24, 2014.