Monadnock Moments No. 49: Dr. Jewett's Health Retoring Bitters
The Jewett family of Rindge, New Hampshire was an enterprising group with interests in several mills and factories in that town. The family was best known, however, for its involvement in the medical field.
Dr. Stephen Jewett was born in 1764, the son of Ezekiel and Martha Jewett who were among the first settlers of Rindge. Although Dr. Jewett did not pursue professional medical training, through his abilities he built a lucrative medical practice in the Rindge area. Dr. Jewett became well known in his field and was frequently called to Boston and other cities for professional consultation.
Today, however, Dr. Jewett is probably best remembered for his patent medicines. He developed the medicines, but it was his son, Stephen, Jr. who made Dr. Stephen Jewett medicines known far and wide. The younger Jewett continued the manufacture of the medicines after his father’s death and marketed them with great success.
Stephen, Jr. located the main office of the Jewett Company in Boston. He purchased bottles from the glass factories at Keene and Stoddard to package the Health Restoring Bitters. The labels on the bottles stated that the bitters would cure chronic diseases, cancer, all disorders of the blood, skin and digestive organs, liver and kidney complaints, and many other disabilities. In fact, the label indicated that “all can be cured if within the power of medicine.” These small bottles of bitters sold for 5O¢ each and were a huge success.
Mr. Jewett passed away in 1862 and his medicine company closed within ten years. Stephen Jewett, Jr. would undoubtedly be quite amazed if he could see today’s bottle collectors paying nearly $2,000 for empty medicine bottles embossed “Dr. Stephen Jewett’s Health Restoring Bitters, Rindge, N.H.”