Ok, I know that is is probably some type of criminal offense to post a Western medicine on the whiskey blog... I do love those early meds though, and though this is not the forum to post an early S.F. med, this is a pretty interesting one!" Dr. AH Fung Great Chinese Remedy, J.S. Mc Cue , Agent S.F. " Huh? Mc Cue? Yes, there it is! Was Mr. McCue into the medicine game? Lots of questions but one thing is for sure, this medicine may not be quite as rare as an Old Signet, but close. He obviously embossed something with his name...here is the proof. Looks 1873 ish to me.
I was immediately thinking along the same lines when I saw the bottle a few wks ago. I couldnt find amongst my reference materials anything to confirm it is the same McCue associated with the Kirkpatrick and McCue partnership. Like you, I was hoping he is the "Signet" McCue ! Kirkpatrick and McCue were in business together 1873 & 1874, so the Chinese Remedy could fall on either side of those dates, probably on the 1875 side. Either way, still a KILLER BOTTLE !
Anyone out there have anything on McCue ??
Yes, this is one and same James S. McCue who partnered with Kirkpatrick for awhile. He was quite a character.ReplyDelete
Wow stealer bottle, this is only the second whole one I'm aware of to turn up, their mid 70s. I know someone who'd be seriously interested in it if available.ReplyDelete
Eric, Can you elaborate and tell us more about this character?? McCue, as well as Kirkpatrick, and of course "Signet" have always been quite a mystery!ReplyDelete
This bottle came out of an early to mid 1880s layer but I'm pretty sure it was a throwback. It would be interesting to find out what age the layer was that produced another example of this bottle in Oakland 30 years ago.ReplyDelete
At least we know that McCue had his name embossed on one bottle. The other "Old Figment", will likely never see the light of day, despite both the names and the trademark being well known and documented. Has anyone actually SEEN a piece of the alleged, and most sought after San Francisco whiskey fifth, the Old Signet? I don't want to hear about anyone's second cousin's best friend's uncle that saw one back in 1923. Let's see the "real deal". LOLReplyDelete
McCue came to California as a young 18-year old and his first successful venture was running a stage line. From that point he tried many jobs, including a short stint in the liquor business as well as selling Dr. Ah Fung's medicine.ReplyDelete
He was also a circus operator, a newspaper owner, a miner, rancher, politician, and a few other jobs that I don't recall. Oh yes, he developed the Town of San Rafael's first water supply also. McCue printed two autobiographies, one in 1878 and one in 1907. Needless to say, given his larger-than-life personality, both books are rather self aggrandizing.
He received considerable press when he sued the railroad, who owned two San Francisco Bay ferries that collided in 1901. McCue broke an arm and lost most of one ear when he went through a sheet of glass. Alas, his $300,000 suit was settled after many years for only $400.
McCue died in at his ranch in Corte Madera, CA, from complications caused by a buggy accident.
Thanks Eric. He sure was a character, and seemed to dabble in a variety of business ventures. No wonder his bottles are so rare. You never cease to amaze me with the vast archive of esoteric information you possess !ReplyDelete
Great info Eric ! I always thought W.T. Coleman and his venture with Lagunitas Dam was San Rafael's first large scale water supply ?ReplyDelete
Coleman was the man who really capitalized the San Rafael water system but ten years earlier, in the early sixties, McCue "improved" the Dixon Spring which was located at the base of San Rafael Hill, just above what is now the Elk's Club. He rerouted the spring into the town's water system, thus providing the first somewhat reliable water supply. At one point McCue had to redirect the spring water around a large gully, and he did so by spanning the gully with a large hollowed-out redwood log, over which he directed the water.ReplyDelete
Just like nearly everything else that McCue did, this venture ended up in the courts, out of which came a rather landmark case (Hanson vs. McCue).
Eric, how many examples do you know of besides ours ?ReplyDelete