* OFFICIAL *
- Mar 15, 2013
Patent medicine was a fairly new concept in the 1840's. This story is similar to the Hatfields and McCoys, except the men were brothers and both were named Farrell. Prior to 1840, Hiram G. Farrell apprenticed four years to become a druggist. He was launched into independent business by a relative, Jesse Lippincott. Mr. Lippincott provided financial backing for Hiram's partnership with his brother, William B. Farrell, in a wholesale/retail drug store in Peoria, Illinois. The firm advertised drugs, oils, paint, glassware, etc. -- for cash or on credit. The partnership floundered and, in the late summer of 1844, William withdrew from the association and it ended.
The Ottawa Free Trader. (Ottawa, IL), August 07, 1846, page 4.
This is where the story gets interesting. Beginning in August 1845, William B. Farrell took out an advertisement in the Peoria newspaper for "Farrell's Arabian Nerve and Bone Liniment." In 1846, Hiram started selling Arabian Liniment in the drugstore and in 1847, he attempted unsuccessfully to obtain a patent on the recipe. Both men advertised their version of Arabian Liniment, claiming the other was a fraud. The feud continued until at least 1858, when William became a practicing physician.
Evidently, in August of 1862, A. J. Pruett, farrier, and the officers of T. C. Barlow's Company of Cavalry (which became Company C, 15th Confederate Cavalry) were unaware that two kinds of 'Arabian Liniment' existed. They requisitioned 12 bottles of "Arabian Liniment" at Mobile, AL without specifying which one they wanted. Or perhaps they felt that either version would serve the intended purpose, which must have been sore-legged horses.
Either way, the requisition was filled and farrier, A J Pruett, signed in receipt of the items August 22, 1862 at Mobile, AL.
[National Archives, Civil War Service Records (CMSR) - Confederate, filed under Miscellaneous, Sibley.]
Hiram G. Farrell continued promoting his Arabian liniment until it became one of the most popular American patent medicines. In 1875, he was finally able to register the patent under the label "H G Farrell's Celebrated Arabian Liniment." Hiram died January 13, 1913, and, according to an article in the Illinois Medical Journal, his drug store in the 100 block of Main Street, Peoria, IL remained exactly as he had left it years before -- medicines still stocked on the shelves, covered with dust.