Saturday, August 21, 2010


Here are some tidbits from the Walker Bros...  

The four boys migrated to Utah with their mother in 1852.   Their father had converted to the Mormon Church in England and decided to come to Utah.   The typical immigrant route for the European converts was through New Orleans and upriver to St. Louis,  then by wagon train or hand cart to Utah.  The Walker family landed in St. Louis in 1850, at the height of the Great Cholera Epidemic of 1849/50.  Father and two sisters died in St. Louis, and it took the young boys 2 years of working odd jobs to earn enough to continue the trip.
Their mother remained a member of the Mormon Church,  but in the early 1860's the bros. argued with Brigham Young over several issues and left the Church.  Their continued prosperity no doubt rankled B. Young,  and they had very tumultuous relationship with the Church leader until his death in 1877.

1872 photo of the Walker Bros. dry goods store and Walker Bros. bank building downtown Salt Lake City. 
Inset photo shows store front from a different angle.  
The Walkers had dry goods stores in both Fairfield, Utah and S.L.C.   The town of Fairfield sprang into prominence in 1858 with the arrival of Federal troops (Johnston's Army) and the creation of Camp Floyd.   Located approx. 40 miles southwest of S.L.C.,  Fairfield was a lively place catering to the soldier's "needs".  As the Civil War approached, Camp Floyd was abandoned with the enlisted and officers returning east to fight on both sides.. Union/Confed.  The "Johnson" of Johnston's Army was Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston,  famous Southern commander who died in the Battle of Shiloh in April of 1862.

Walker Bros. bank got it's start when the brothers purchased a safe from a western bound wagon train.  They began by storing valuables and buying and selling gold dust.  Things grew from that meager beginning.
They survived, even prospered, during the financial panics of 1873,1893,1907 and by the 1920's had become the largest bank in Utah 
The bank merged into the First Interstate Banking group in 1981.

The 'new' Walker Bank Building  opened Dec. of 1912.   From an early post card.

The famous Walker House Hotel was built in 1872 and boasted 200 first class rooms.   (copy of steroview sent to me by A.P.  many thanks)

Tag or check from Walker's store... rumored to be from the Fairfield Store.. metal detector find. 

Rob Walker was a mining baron!  The brothers made several million dollars in the hills of Utah.   Emma mine,  Price of Wales group,  silver chloride deposits in the Ophir, Utah area.  The big one, however, was the Alice Mine near Butte, Montana.  Actually had a town there named Walkerville.  

What junk do we bring home!!!! 
Hobnail mining boots of the 1870's had numerous insignia on the sole.
O.K.  , U Bet,  WBro..  I've seen several others including an ANo1.

Stamped pick heads are collectible I guess..   This Walker Bros pick came from a small workings in the Dry Canyon District.

Color comparisons... 
Now my Clubhouse is not as green as the two "pure green" examples known.   Mine is more of a yellow green... everything is looking more amber in this photo!   as a point of reference...  my Club is the one on the fencepost in Thomas's earlier book.  some of you may remember that photo.
Anyway,  compare the Club with the two different shades of Suits fifths.  
The Hotaling shard is probably close to the green Clubhouses in color, so the Suits are not quite that green... not many fifths are!

The S.T. Suits is known in three color shades.  

A) Yellow green amber - 3 mint ones known,  2 known with small issues,  1 known with repaired neck.
B) A click more yellow amber - 1 mint known, 1 with potstone issue
C) Amber  -  1 known with small annealing flash

There hasn't been that many broken ones found over the years.   Probably less than 20.

First ad that I have seen advertising S.T. Suits.   Aug of 1872. 

The Walker Bros. became agents for J.H. Cutter Old Bourbon Aug of 1872.

The Bros. were also agents in Utah  for Jessie Moore Whiskies.    J. Moore shards are scattered all across the state.

Very interesting document.    Walker's buying out or "joining forces" with Cunnington & Co.   Aug. of 1872.    Cunnington were the first agents for J.H. Cutter - Hotaling in Utah.
-see earlier post on Cunnington's Elephant Store

Even before the merger or the official start of the liquor house... the Bros. were selling  popular products out of their dry goods store.   Miner's outfitters.


  1. Fantastic info Roger! Confirmation of the historical importance of this company, and of course the bourbon bottle! Have they been dug anywhere but Utah? I seem to recall one being found in California, but cannot confirm this.
    Dale M.

  2. M.E. I heard the rumor of a Suits fifth being found in Calif. a few years ago, but I believe it was just a rumor. Maybe confused with the Suits "sixth" or the aqua Suits bottle that is found in Calif. on occasion. A Utah digger found a shard of one in the Nevada town of Toano, just across the border.
    All other examples have been found in either Salt Lake-2 whole, one with neck gone... later repaired or the Oquirrh Mtns. Jacob City/Ophir area- 6 intact examples.
    The 'big fifth producing' area of Alta, Utah has not yielded a Walker Bro. fifth. Just a couple of broken ones that I know of. They hated the Walker's up in Alta. The brothers got just a bit too greedy and tried to extort some money from townfolk through an old mining claim. J.H. Cutter(after 1873) and Suits did not sell in Alta.

  3. Thanks for the wealth of great information on the Walker Bros, Roger. They certainly were outstanding merchants, as well as offering S.T. Suit's Bourbon.

    No, to my knowledge none have been found in Cal. It is a possibility, though. The CP railroad could be the conduit by which the bottles might find their way to the Golden State. I have dug SLC and Ogden Sodas, and SLC pharmacy bottles in Sacramento, so why not a Suit's fifth? Wouldn't THAT be something?

  4. Hey M.E. I heard of an amber suits fifth found near Quincy, near the head of tthe feather river canyon at an old train maintenance camp. I believe it was found in the late sixties. the article was in an old bottle mag that was done in one of the gold rush cities in the foothills of california. amador city or some place like it.......Andy

  5. Whats the story on the Suit's 1/6th? Is it a Western Bottle or ? Whats the embossing like? The same or ? DB

  6. The railroad through the Feather River canyon was not constructed until after 1903, so it is highly doubtful that a Suit's fifth, or even sixth, was ever found in a WPRR camp.

    DB, are you speaking of the S.T.Suit's shoulder embossed sixth?

  7. The Wp was not done until 1909, but the oroville and virginia city railroad co started a grade through the canyon from both ends in 1869. but did not complete the route, it became a wagon road until the wp built tracks after 1903. they used both the middle fork and north fork canyons for the right of way, in the end maybe it was one of the rail building camps where the suits was found. I wish I could remember the name of the bottle mag, it was one of the early ones......Andy

  8. It was the little mag published by John Fountain, I believe, after he moved from his " 'Ol Empty Bottle House" at 20th and O St place in Sacramento. I spent much time in that shop in my early Sac City diggin' days. Sorry, but time has dimmed my memory of the really old bottle mags, but I do remember John's section in the old "Western Collector". That was in the mid '60s, but there wasn't anything much before that.

  9. I got it! John Fountain wrote "Down The Bottle Trail" in Western Collector Magazine beginning April of 1966. I'll go down to the library and see if anything regarding a Suit's bottle can be found.

  10. Doc B you old rascal, I believe the sixth is eastern blown. There have been a few of these for sale at western bottle shows over the years.. I think I have heard of one being dug in the west?? Type SUITS into the "search this blog" feature... I think there is a post in there from last year with photos of each.

    Doc, I've got a E.G. Lyons jake to show you, are you coming to Auburn this year?

  11. Hey Soleagent, I am coming to Auburn, I have a table in the middle of the Upper building, they usually have me next to Richard S. I am drooling already, Bring it. DB

  12. I guess Mike, I have never seen the Suits 6th, I wasn't sure how it was embossed or where was from, Shoulder embossed, that would look kinda neat. I will follow the sugguestion and do the search. DB

  13. OK, Scratch that, I thought it was something else, nice 6th but pretty plain, I wouldn't throw it out though. DB

  14. Hi Mike, would the Old Bottle Gazette be the mag by John Fountain, cause he moved up to Amador city after the shop in Sacto, at least i think that was where he went.....Andy

  15. Yep, you are spot on, Andy. How long have you lived in Court-ville? We farm pears on both sides of the river, with one ranch right across, at the mouth of Sutter Slough and others to the south and west.

  16. Hi Mike. I have been in Courtland for five years, moved from Stockton when I retired, have been all over central cal since the 1950s and always liked the delta area. I know a guy who lives on Sutter Island road back from the river aways, he collects all kindsa stuff, and used to run a junk shop called the courtland yard a few years ago.. Is that near one of your orchards. Hes the one told me about the house that i bought when I retired. Only bad thing is water level is pretty high around here, so I think old privies would be hard to dig. Am going to try to get permission from and old time landowner near here and try it........Andy

  17. I have dug many delta privies. The last pit was on Randall Island Rd, a short distance from Dave Elliot's home. It's big Victorian that is now restored and was empty at the time. There were a lot of beer and whiskey bottles from the late 1890s, the best of which was a Buffalo Bourbon. The vast majority of homes along the river were set back when the levees were rebuilt at the turn of the 20th C.

    Joe Wiedmann lives on the back side of Sutter Isl. His father, Charlie, was an early bottle digger and collector in the area. I used to visit him a few times a year and check out all his glass. Most was typical Delta TC stuff, but there were some better bottles in the mix. I dug the old home on the property, but there wasn't much there.

    Our ranch, Sunnyside, is on the Sacramento River, in the corner where the Slough enters. There is an 1850s house next to the river near the bridge that had 2 pits. Not many bottles, most were simply tossed in the river. Lots'a Indian artifacts in the mound that the orchard was built on.

  18. Hi Mike. How deep were the privies that you dug in the delta. That way I will have an idea of what I am up against. the water level here in courtland is about six to eight feet and someplaces a bit deeper.thanks......Andy

  19. Andy, most pits in the delta are shallow, with 5' being about maximum. Proximity to the river is a factor in bottle discarding, too. Many bottles, and associated trash, were simply thrown into the Sacramento. Diving for glass can be very lucrative, especially if you can handle the low viz, braille method. A super mint Chalmer's fifth came from the river bed in front of our house on Sutter Island. Back in the day, we dug lots of bottles from the levee at Courtland, opposite Morgan's to the docks. I will be in the river, again, soon.

  20. Great write-up Sole Agent. Keep'em coming !


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