The true story of Dr Pepper by W.H. McCullough, Waco, texas

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Dr Pepper bottle man

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I have a copy of this letter from the Dr Pepper Museum in Waco, Texas. I was writing a book on The Old Corner Drug Store owned by W.B. Morrison in Waco, and did a lot of research with the Dr Pepper Museum in Waco, Texas.

THE TRUE STORY OF DR PEPPER by W.H. McCULLOUGH
AS TOLD IN A LETTER ON JANUARY 24, 1950 TO THE VICE-PRESIDENT OF SOUTHWESTERN DRUG CORPORATION OF WACO, TEXAS, IN HIS OWN WORDS.


About two years ago there appeared in one of the leading Texas daily papers an article pertaining to the origin and the originator of Dr. Pepper, a carbonated drink now widely sold at soda fountains and still more widely sold in carbonated bottled form over an expanding territory. A few months ago another more extended article appeared in a magazine with nationwide circulation about the origin of Dr. Pepper and its originator.

Believing the consumers of the drink and the bottlers and dispensers and the public generally would be interested in knowing more about this beverage and its TRUE history from its beginning and the name of the man who was the TRUE originator of the formula and the name of his employer, who first placed it on the market, this article is being written and the information given.

During the late eighteen eighties, W.B. Morrison owned and operated a drug store at the northeast intersection of Fourth Street and Austin Avenue in Waco, Texas, which he named and advertised as “The Old Corner Drug Store.†Mr. Morrison had in his employment a pharmacist or prescription clerk by the name of Chas. C. Alderton. He was not a soda fountain clerk but was a salesman besides his duties as a registered pharmacist. He was held in high regard locally for his ability and experience during quite a number of years at this location and for this store owner. He experimented with different flavors and ingredients at odd times and being pleased with the palatability of the mixture that later was to be named Dr. Pepper, he submitted it to Mr. Morrison.

After his years of service there, he was in charge in Waco of compounding certain articles and packaging into smaller containers other drugs for a leading wholesale drug company for sale to its retail stores and other jobbers. He continued in this work to the seeming satisfaction of his company well up into his eighty odd years, having been dead only a few years. The writer of this article frequently visited him in his laboratory and we were good friends.

The popularity of the new drink was such that soda fountain owners from the surrounding territory purchased the syrup that Mr. Morrison had already named Dr. Pepper. The demand became of such proportions that Mr. Morrison rented a building on Bridge Street in Waco, Texas for the manufacture of Dr. Pepper, as there was not sufficient room in the drug store for the supplies and containers necessary to conduct the business. It was at this place on Bridge Street that Mr. R.S. Lazenby first became associated with this beverage. He had been living in Ft. Worth, Texas and came to Waco and was employed by Mr. Morrison at the nominal salary, reported to the writer by Mr. Morrison’s brother and who also was an employee of this drug store, as seventy five dollars per month.

After the possibilities were proven there was organized and chartered under the laws of Texas a corporation for bottling Dr. Pepper. The right of sale of Dr. Pepper for fountain use was retained by Mr. Morrison.

At that period Waco was famous for its artesian wells and the bottling company was named Artesian Mfg. & Bottling Company, and the company was chartered for twenty-five hundred dollars and the date of the charter was April 15, 1891. There were eight subscribers for the stock in the application for the charter. The officers chosen were W.B. Morrison, President, F.W. Schumacher, Secretary, T.A. Crawford, Treasurer, and R.S. Lazenby, Superintendent of Bottling. Schumacher was Wholesale Druggist and Crawford was the Cashier of one of the local banks. In 1894 the capital stock was increased to twelve thousand five hundred dollars and remained at that figure during its entire existence.

In the early nineties, Mr. Morrison took into partnership W.J. and R.H. Hefley in the drug business. These three formed an association by the name Southwestern Soda Fountain Co. It had the agency for Lippincott Soda Fountains and was the exclusive owner of Dr. Pepper for fountain trade, the bottling privilege being owned by the above-mentioned bottling company.

In late 1895 this writer bought the stock of the Hefleys in the bottling company and was elected Secretary and Treasurer and continued so for about twenty-five years.

The above association continued for a few years until dissension arose between Morrison and the two Hefleys and as an agreement could not be reached on the division of their assets, a suit in court resulted. The court ordered a sale to the highest bidder, and Mr. Morrison bought in the drug store and the Dr. Pepper for fountain distribution was bought by W.S. Kirby, a Dallas druggist. The new owner moved the manufacture to Dallas and continued for a time with apparent satisfactory results.

Mr. Kirby later sold the Dr. Pepper fountain privilege to G.W. Baker, who had previously been a salesman for an advertising concern in Coshocton, Ohio. It was Mr. Baker who adopted the script type for Dr. Pepper which is now in use.

During this time, the Artesian Mfg. & Bottling Co. continued to bottle Dr. Pepper. Its trade was largely local, being unable to reach very far with it on account of freight rates. This brought about the making of contracts with bottlers for Dr. Pepper for certain defined territory adjacent to their plants. These contracts were made in quite a number of Texas towns and in 15 or 20 other states.

The stockholders of the bottling company having been reduced to three, one inactive, and a very large majority of the shares being held by the writer and R.S. Lazenby, we decided to establish a bottling plant in St. Louis for St. Louis trade and for furnishing Dr. Pepper syrup to the bottlers in several states nearby St. Louis where contracts had already been made and had been supplied from Waco. This bottling plant was established in St. Louis and was to be in operation for the St. Louis World’s Fair trade and for personal contract with the bottlers who were already bottling Dr. Pepper and for other bottlers who might visit the fair. Mr. Lazenby and his family took up residence in St. Louis and he continued to operate the plant for a few years. This venture proved unprofitable and the St. Louis plant was sold with quite a loss financially, as well as the contracts in the states to be supplied from St. Louis. The Lazenby family returned to Waco, the plant at Waco having continued uninterruptedly while the St. Louis plant was in operation.

About this time complaints were being heard through our bottlers of harm being done Dr. Pepper by the flavor and spoilage of the fountain Dr. Pepper. The public not knowing there were two separate owners of Dr. Pepper rights it became necessary to investigate the complaints and discussed the damage to the bottled beverage by reason of the fermented Dr. Pepper due to cheap materials. This led to the sale of the Dr. Pepper Company with all its physical assets, and the trade mark to R.S. Lazenby and the writer. The entire assets of the Dr. Pepper Company were moved to Waco. After about all the reclamation, had been made no further complaints arose.

During the writer’s early association with Mr. Morrison, who had remained president of the bottling company for several years, I told him since my association with the bottling company I had frequently been asked how the name came about or if there had been a Dr. Pepper connected with the business. This question was in the presence of stockholders. He smilingly remarked that when he was a young man and was living at Wytheville, Virginia, he was very much in love with a Miss Pepper whose father was a physician there and he gave the beverage the name because of his admiration for the young lady.
But while he did the naming, the formula was originated by Charley Alderton. Both Mr. Alderton and Mr. Morrison were well known in Waco and are still remembered by a number of the older citizens and any claim by anyone else as its originator is fraudulent. The formula in Mr. Morrison’s own hand writing is now and has been since Mr. Morrison’s death in the possession of his brother, who is entirely familiar with all these facts.

In its early history the syrup was drawn from an earthen urn that sat on the counter. On this was the picture of a druggist’s mortar and pestle, and an anvil and three or four stalks of wheat with the words “Wheat, Iron and Pepsinâ€. Later advertising used the words “Vim, Vigor and Vitalityâ€.

In checking over the extracts and other ingredients in the supplies bought from Dr. Pepper Co. at Dallas and moved to Waco, there was found about 25 pounds of Caffeine. To the new owners of Dr. Pepper, this was like waving a red flat at a bull. It had long been the policy of the bottlers of Dr. Pepper at Waco to announce from the housetops and include in all advertising mater furnished and in all printed matter that Dr. Pepper was “free from caffeine and other habit forming stimulants†and its merit was in its flavor and palatability and not as a stimulant. Extra effort was made to overcome the damage done from inferior syrup from Dallas and again restore the bottling contracts lost by the St. Louis plant.

About 1919 some friction arose between this writer of this article and R.S. Lazenby (each owning half the stock of the Dr. Pepper Co. but this writer owning more of the bottling company stock). The writer being Sec.-Treas. Of the company had from his first connection with the company in January 1896 been in charge of the office of the company and handled all correspondence and office work and routed the traveling men in their work and had full oversight over the Waco plant while the plant in St. Louis was under the direction of Lazenby. This arrangement continued for a few years and in 1910 the writer of this history with other Waco citizens organized a bank and this writer was its president. This was done with agreement with Lazenby and the handling of the office affairs was continued as formerly with the office work and correspondence being arranged before and after banking hours each day.

The friction referred to above brought about the sale of this writer’s interest or stock in the company to R.S. Lazenby on annual payments over a period of several years. The first payment was only partially paid.

Then some promoters undertook to organize a much larger company under the name Circle A Corporation of America. A deal was made with Lazenby whereby he received a substantial cash payment and a contract for the balance to be paid at stated intervals with Lazenby to continue to operate the plant and manage its affairs as he had been doing. In this contract this writer surrendered to Lazenby the unpaid notes and accepted stock in the new corporation with the agreement this stock would be first sold after organization expenses had been met. There seemed little likelihood of the notes being paid otherwise. This promoting proposition failed and all the properties remained in the hands of Lazenby with the option closed. The proposed name Circle A was adopted for the proposed company on account of the popularity of Circle A Ginger Ale, a worthy product put out by the Artesian Mfg. & Bottling Co. This ginger ale formula had been bought by agreement of Lazenby and this writer from a man named John Proctor, who claimed he had worked for Cantrell & Coorane in their famous ginger ale plant in Dublin, Ireland. He agreed to stay two weeks and instruct Mr. Lazenby how to make this ginger ale. He did this and we paid him $150.00. He instructed Mr. Lazenby thoroughly and to our entire satisfaction in this meritorious product. This man soon spent his money and every few days came around for a little something to eat and said if we would help him get to San Antonio he would leave town. I gave him 30.00 of the company money. This is the correct story of Circle A Ginger Ale and why the name Circle A Corporation was chosen as the name of the new company to market Dr. Pepper on a nation-wide basis. This promotion period extended over a period of about two years, but Mr. Lazenby had been operating the business without molestation from anyone.

About two years after the termination of this option the Lazenby family moved to Dallas and a plant begun there. The home office remained at Waco, but management was from Dallas. After a short period, the company was in financial difficulties and its credit being exhausted, bankruptcy resulted. The directors, if not entirely of the Lazenby family, were most all from this family. The sale in bankruptcy of the company with all physical assets and formula and trademark was made to one S.W. Sibley of Dallas. He was associated with Lazenby apparently only a short time. The sale price as I recall was $135,000.00 with practically no dividends to outside creditors, the Lazenby family holding claim secured by lien on formula and trademark for a large amount. The bank above referred to had a claim of 7,500.00 and received no dividend whatever.

This writer was associated with Mr. Lazenby about a quarter of a century and knows these facts first hand.

This is a true story of Dr. Pepper with a few sidelights connected therewith.
Its sole originator was Chas. G. Alderton.
Its first owner and distributor was W.B. Morrison.
Its first home was Waco, Texas.
Other claims can be dismissed as unworthy of belief.


Signed (W.H. McCullough)
 

RICKJJ59W

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Cool story Texas man.I always liked Dr Pepper. I have read some where before that the flavor for DR P was made with prunes. I forgot where I saw that. I didn't see it mentioned in your story unless i missed it.

come to think about it,the taste does kind of remind me of prunes,not prune juice just a slight hit of it.
That is a good one for snoops. Is Dr pepper prune flavored?
 

Steve/sewell

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Neat story,Dr Pepper is by itself as far as taste. Mr Morrison did not copy from anyone. The Vice President Joe Biden would also like to thank Dr Pepper.................. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoJhdOMyT_I
 

Dr Pepper bottle man

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More to the story of Dr Pepper.

MYTHS, FALSE RUMORS, RUMORS, AND TRUTHS
ABOUT “THE OLD CORNER†AND DR. PEPPER.

Dr. Pepper has an interesting history that includes many myths and rumors.

False Rumor:
One story has Robert Lazenby naming Dr. Pepper after a pharmacist named Dr. Pepper he studied with in Paris, Texas.

False Rumor:
In 1885, Charles Alderton, the inventor of Dr. Pepper soft drink, named the beverage after Dr. William R. Pepper of Virginia when the doctor refused to allow his daughter Minerva to marry Alderton, who was from Waco, Texas. The strategy didn’t work and Alderton married another woman, but the name stuck. And it’s a good thing…Alderton originally called the drink “Waco.â€





Truth:
What does 10-2-4 mean?
Those well-known Dr Pepper numbers of 10, 2 and 4 weren’t selected at random. They represent the times of day when the human body needs a little “pick-me-up†to avoid an energy slump.
It was in the 1920s that Dr. Walter Eddy at Columbia University studied the body’s metabolism. He discovered that a natural drop in energy occurs about 10:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. But he also discovered that if the people in his research study had something to eat or drink at 10, 2 and 4, the energy slump could be avoided.
After Dr. Eddy’s research findings were released, Dr Pepper challenged its advertising agency to come up with a theme, which would suggest that Dr. Pepper should be that 10, 2 and 4 drink which would keep the energy level up. The result was one of the most enduring of Dr Pepper’s advertising themes: “Drink a bite to eat at 10, 2 and 4â€.

False Rumor:
Dr. Pepper contains prune juice. This rumor is long-lived, since about 1920. No one really knows how this slanderous rumor came to be attached to this soft drink. Speculation runs rampant that a long-ago competitor’s delivery men (any guesses?) started the rumor to discourage those on their routes from stocking Dr. Pepper in their stores, cafes and soda fountains. Making the claim to undermine Dr. Pepper.

Truth:
It is time to get the truth out once and for all. NO, Dr. Pepper does not and never has contained any prune juice!


Truth:
Dr. Pepper does contains 23 different fruit juices, but not prune juice.

Truth
Dr. Pepper is not a cola.

Truth:
Dr. Pepper never has been a part of The Coca-Cola Company.

Truth:
Dr. Pepper never has been part of Pepsi.

Truth:
If you want to see the real live Ol’ Doc, visit the Dr Pepper Museum in Waco, Texas.

False Rumor:
Dr. Pepper was named after Morrison’s horse.

False Rumor:
Another story has it the drink was named after a freckle-faced boy who worked the soda fountain at Morrisons and had two nicknames, one “Pepper†and the other “Docâ€.

Truth:
Dr. Pepper was first called “Doc Alderton’s Drinkâ€.

Truth:
Dr. Pepper was also called “Waco†thus the slogan, “Shoot me A Waco†when patrons wanted a cold Dr. Pepper at the soda fountain, they would holler, “SHOOT ME A WACOâ€

Truth:
Dr. Pepper was first advertised as Dr. Pepper’s.

Truth:
A beverage or medicine was being sold to the public called Morrison’s Doctor Pepper’s Phos-Phates.

Truth:
Dr. Pepper was called Dr. Pepper’s Phos-Ferrates, but was shortened to Dr. Pepper around 1900.




Truth:
Dr. Pepper was first advertised as the â€ideal tonic for brain and brawnâ€, but this was later dropped.

Truth:
Dr. Pepper was also advertised as “The Ideal Beverage, Good for Brain and Brawnâ€.

Truth:
Dr. Pepper’s Phos-Ferrates was also advertised as a Tonic, Brain Food And Exhilarant, but this was later dropped.

Truth:
Dr. Pepper was the only beverage to be promoted as food, thus the slogan “Drink A Bite To Eatâ€

Truth:
Dr. Pepper is not a medicine, and there is no pepper in it.

Truth:
Robert Lazenbys Circle A Ginger Ale won a medal at the St. Louis Exposition in 1904

Truth:
Dr Peppers early ads promised that Dr. Pepper contained wheat and iron, and would “make old men youngâ€, restores “vim, vigor and vitality†and cure hangovers.

Truth:
Dr. Pepper was referred to in advertisements as “Liquid Sunshine: as early as 1912.

Truth:
Robert Lazenby came from Forth Worth, Texas and was first employed by W.B. Morrison at his drug store in Waco.

Myth:
Robert Lazenby introduced Circle A Ginger Ale in 1884, a year before the discovery of Dr Pepper.

Truth: The logo of the “A†within a circle came from the mother of Robert Lazenby, one Lucy Goodwin, whose family received rights to use the Circle “A†brand on their Texas cattle from the Spanish.

Truth:
After his retirement, Robert Lazenby developed a drink in the late 20’s or early 30’s known as Texatoni, with the slogan being “A Liquid Foodâ€. One of the bottlers was Star Bottling Works in Houston, Texas, another was in Jasper, Texas and some of the bottles were produced at The Three Rivers* Glass Company at Three Rivers, Texas.

Truth:
Robert Lazenby developed another drink made from Texas Grapefruit known as Lazenby’s Liquid Sunshine in the middle to late 30’s, with bottling works in Austin, Houston and Waco, Texas.

Truth:
In 1885, Waco, Texas was a wild frontier town, nick-named “six-shooter depotâ€.

Truth:
Another nick-name for Waco was, “six-shooter junctionâ€.

Truth:
Waco was called “the Athens of Texasâ€.

Truth:
You can say a lot of things about Waco, Texas, and most all are good, but the
(“BEST-UV-ALL†is that it is the home of Dr. Pepper!)

Myth:
Back in 1885, a young pharmacist named Wade Morrison was working in a drug store in his home town of Rural Retreat, Virginia (the drug store closed in 1994). Like many pharmacists, the young Mr. Morrison gave his hand at formulating a new soda fountain syrup. He created a soft drink from a blend of 23 flavors that had an absolutely wonderful flavor whose individual components could not be determined by taste. Now, Mr. Morrison was quite happy in that this new syrup formula provided him with the solution to a problem. You see, the young Mr. Morrison was in love with the boss’s daughter and he was sure that his boss (DR. Charles Pepper) did not approve of the relationship. He decided to name his new soft drink after his boss in an attempt to gain favor. And Dr. Pepper was invented. It didn’t work. Dr. Pepper still would not approve of the relationship, and he even fired poor Morrison. Morrison eventually moved out West to Texas, and sold his soft drink in the town of Waco. Morrison would eventually meet another woman and get married, but Dr. Pepper’s daughter would always be his first true love. (Other versions say Morrison and Dr. Pepper’s daughter eloped to Texas). It ain’t true folks!!


Truth:
In 1898 Lazenby secured a contract with our government to supply Circle “A†Ginger Ale to our Army and Navy forces.


Truth:
The demand for Dr Pepper syrup from other soda fountain owners became so great that Morrison rented a building on Bridge Street in Waco for the manufacture of the syrup, as there was not room at the corner drug store for the supplies and containers necessary to conduct the business. It was at this on Bridge Street where Morrison met Robert Lazenby, and where he became assoiaciated with the beverage. He had been living in Fort Worth, Texas and came to Waco, and was employed by Morrison at a nominal salary of $75.00 per month.




Part Myth, Part Truth:
Here is the real story? Well, almost! (its almost as good as the folklore). In 1885, Charles Alderton was a pharmacist at Morrison’s Old Country Drug Store in Waco, Texas. Mr. Alderton was the person experimenting with different flavors, and he was the one who invented Dr. Pepper (not Morrison). However, Mr. Morrison (the owner of the drug store) was probably the one who named Alderton’s new soft drink. Morrison had worked for a Dr. Charles Pepper, but he was not in love with Dr. Pepper’s daughter as she was only about eight years old when he left Virginia, and he was ten years old when he and his family moved to Austin, Texas, not Waco. Morrison probably chose the name Dr. Pepper because it allowed him to pay tribute to the first person to give him a job? The name had a nice ring to it, and it was common practice to include “Dr.†in a drink’s title.

Myth:
From Wythe County in Virginia comes this story. There are varying stories, but most accounts have that the name was given to honor Dr. Charles T. Pepper who was said to have concocted the drink. His clerk at the store, Wade Morrison later went to Waco, Texas where he reproduced the drink naming it Dr. Pepper. Some say Morrison created the drink in Texas.

Myth:
Dr. Charles T. Pepper also had a son, Louis or Louie, an optometrist who was also known as Dr. Pepper. He worked part time in his father’s drug store and also claimed to have developed the formula for the drink.

Myth:
Another story is that Morrison had romantic aspirations on Dr. Pepper’s daughter. Dr. Pepper was not in favor with the match and that is why Morrison left for Texas. This story is probably not true because within the time frame, Dr. Pepper’s daughter would only have been around five years old and he would have been around ten years old at the time he left.

Myth:
There was, apparently, an actual human Dr. Pepper who became the namesake for the drink. But the doctor in question wasn’t the same one traditionally credited. There are numerous historical records of a Dr. Charles T. Pepper in Rural Retreat, Virginia. A Dr. Pepper in Virginia, presumably the well-documented Charles Pepper, had formerly employed Wade Morrison, owner of the pharmacy where Alderton worked. Supposedly, Morrison was in love with Pepper’s daughter and named the drink after his employer so he would let him marry her. The trouble is that this doctor’s daughter was only eight at the time, which is more than a bit young even by the standards of rural Virginia. And there is no evidence that Charles Pepper ever employed Morrison. But census records indicate that Morrison had worked as a pharmacy clerk in another Virginia town named Christiansburg. His neighbor was another Dr. Pepper who had a sixteen year old daughter. So the gist of the story appears to be true, but the details weren’t.

Myth and Truth:
The drink was first sold in Waco, Texas in 1885, and was introduced nationally in the United States at the 1904 Worlds Fair. The exact date of Dr. Pepper’s conception is unknown, but the US Patent Office recognized December 1, 1885, as the first time Dr. Pepper was served. It is the oldest major soft drink still in heavy production today, although Hires Root Beer and Moxie are actually older. Pharmacist Charles Alderton in Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store in Waco, Texas formulated it after extensive and hours of testing. Apparently uninterested in soft drinks, Alderton gave or sold (not known) the formula to Dr. Wade (W.B.) Morrison, his employer and the owner of the drug store. A popular belief is that the drink was named after Morrison’s former employer, Dr. Charles Pepper, but the factual accuracy of this has been disputed by some Dr. Pepper historians, citing that before moving to Texas, Morrison lived in Christiansburg, Virginia near a somewhat lesser known Dr. Pepper, and may have been close to Dr. Pepper’s daughter at the time. He was only ten years old when he and his family moved to Austin.

Truth:
Unlike Coca-Cola and Pepsi, Dr. Pepper is not a cola.

Truth:
Dr. Pepper’s flavor is derived from a mixture of soda fountain flavors popular when the drink was first devised. A partial list of these flavors can be seen at the Dr. Pepper Museum in Waco, although the formula itself (with its twenty-three ingredients) is a closely guarded secret. Also, contrary to a popular urban legend, Dr. Pepper does not and never has contained prune juice!

Truth:
Need a sugar high? Still today, the only Dr Pepper bottler that still uses only sugar cane sugar is the Dublin Dr Pepper Bottling Plant in Dublin, Texas, where you can get the “Old Fashioned Flavor†at their “Ol’ Docs†soda fountain, or in bottles or cans. They have been using sugar cane sugar since 1891.

Truth & Myth:
The first to drink what is now known as Dr. Pepper were the customers of a Waco, Texas, drugstore, where in 1885 a young man named Bob Lazenby had perfected a fountain drink made from cane sugar and fruit essences. The origin of its misnomer is clouded by the several conflicting versions of the company’s “romantic legend,†but it would appear most likely that either Lazenby hopefully named it after a doctor whose daughter he was unsuccessfully courting, or that local wags so named it to twit Lazanby about his love affair.



Truth:
Dr. Pepper is distinctively different in flavor and has remained so for over a hundred and twenty years. Many attempts have been made to duplicate the Dr. Pepper taste but none have been successful.
 

ncbred

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What about Dr. Pepper from Winchestertonfieldville?
 

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