Thursday, July 16, 2015

A Better Tasting Medicine...

By Woody Savage, 1-12-15

A few facts you might not know about the Great American Civil War. During the Civil War, the most prescribed medication on both sides was alcohol!  It seemed to cure about everything.  It was easier to get and tasted better than quinine.  But quinine was one of the most valuable medicines during the war.  It was in every doctor’s medicine chest.  It was used for everything from malaria to dentifrice.

Born in Whiteville, Tennessee, in the 1860 U. S. Census, Edwin Wiley Grove, age 9, was listed in the household of his father, J. H. Grove of Bolivar.  When the war broke out his father fought for the South with Company E, 7th Tennessee Cavalry, CSA.  At age 19, Edwin was a working as a drugstore clerk in Bolivar, but the family soon moved to Paris, Tennessee.

Edwin Grove once said, “I had a little drug business in Paris, Tennessee, just barely making a living, when I got up a real invention, tasteless quinine.  As a poor man and a poor boy, I conceived the idea that whoever could produce a tasteless chill tonic, his fortune was made.”  He soon became a self-made multi-millionaire, most famous for his “Grove’s Tasteless Chill Tonic.”  The tasteless chill tonic, which some claimed was not all that tasteless, was an improvement over taking straight quinine for fevers and chills caused by malaria.  A sweet syrup and lemon flavor was added to Quinine, cinchonine and cinchonidine, which were the main ingredients in crystal form in the tonic.
Some sources claim that by 1890 more bottles of Grove’s Tasteless Chill Tonic were sold than bottles of Coca-Cola.

Edwin Grove bought land in Asheville, North Carolina and developed the famous Grove Park Inn and the Grove Arcade.  In Atlanta, he developed the streetcar suburb Atkins Park and later Grove Park neighborhoods.



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