Many years ago I had the good fortune to meet and talk with
one, Dewey Whited. Dewey was once a collector of local bottles and jugs, until a house fire destroyed everything he owned.
Nowadays, Dewey runs a small Trading Post out on Bristol Caverns Highway, selling Indian relics, fishing collectibles, woven
baskets, coins, and other "smalls", or he did last time I was out that way. It was Dewey who first told me about the
cobalt blue King's Liquor, that was very similar to a better known bottle: Casper's Whiskey of Roanoke
and North Carolina. ( Up to then I had never heard of one and he offered the information out of the blue as we were
discussing Bristol's whiskeys.) His was lost in the house fire, but he knew of another, although he wouldn't reveal to me
the owner. I took it some relative of King's owned the bottle and didn't want to be bothered and would most likely not part
with it anyway.
So there you have what I have been told.
Here are some reasons one could exist:
The King Family has long been an important and prominent
influence in Bristol's entire history. In 1784, Col. James King established an Ironworks at the mouth of Steeles Creek near
Bristol. He transported the iron to a small village on the Holston River below Long Island, from there it
was shipped downriver. The village soon became known as King's Port (Kingsport).
William King, his brother, established the saltworks
near Abingdon, VA., that became known as Saltville. Col. King was known as the "Iron King", and William was known as the "Salt
James King, son of Col. King, in 1814
purchased the land that would one day bear the name of Bristol, moving into Isaac Shelby's old home near Fort Shelby. In 1816
, he had a home built on Solar Hill , named Mountain View. Here was also Bristol's first post office. James King also gave
land for the newly arriving railroad right-of-way, in 1848, and laid off for a Depot on the Tennessee side. His son-in -law,
Joseph R. Anderson is credited with the actual founding of Bristol. James King , in 1866, donated the land and building for
a new school that bore his name, King College. His son , John R.King was also one of the founders.
Additionally, Bristol has E.W. King and H.P. King - both local merchants
and successful businessmen. E.W. arriving here in the 1870's and H.P. in 1889. Bristol was also formerly known as Kings Meadows
and many other sites have been named in honor of the King family: King Street, Kings Mill, King Mill Pike, Kingtown, King's
Springs, and King's Chapel.
|King's Liquor/ Bristol,Tenn. ???
Now - the connection between the Kings, Bristol, and The Casper Whiskey Co. of Roanoke
A circa 1909 letterhead from the aforementioned Casper Co. has upon it three names:
J.BUNTING, President - C.F. HAGAN -T.J.KAIN, Receiver . The addressee is in Bristol, ie...C.F. Hagan. Who
were these three men?
JEREMIAH BUNTING - arrived in Bristol in 1869 and owned and operated a local drug store until
1909. Additionally, Bunting owned and operated a malt liquor agency. In 1910, he is listed as Secretary of the Bristol
Distributing Co. of which his son, Lindsay, is Manager.
C.F. HAGAN - in Bristol by the mid-1880s. Associated with the Cin-Co-Lery Co and Hagan-Wood
Manufacturing Co. , both of which were Patent Medicine manufacturing firms. In 1911, Hagan is listed as the Treasurer of The
Bristol Distributing Co., a wholesale whiskey and beer establishment. And, as per one source, Hagan's beginnings
with the Bristol Distributing Company ,( servicing area saloons), dates back to at least 1905 and continued to 1916.
T.J. KAIN - former Saloon owner since 1898. Last listed in this capacity in 1907.
Additionally, I have documented the following:
W.O.TRENOR - Bristol saloon owner in 1905. In 1907, he re-located to Roanoke and organised the Casper-Trenor
J.C. BRADY & SON - Bristol saloon owner since 1905, relocated to Roanoke in 1909, where C.H.
Brady already owns a large liquor house.
M.I. HESSBERG SON & CO. - Located in Bristol in 1909, were already established whiskey merchants
in Roanoke, Danville and Richmond.
LINDSAY BUNTING - son of Jeremiah Bunting, in 1909 was the manager of the Bristol Distributing Co.,
distributors of wine, whiskey, liquors, beers, etc.
Looking at all the facts: I offer up this:
With all these current and
former Bristolians in the whiskey business, wouldn't it stand to reason they would come up with a product to honor the Kings,
who had so much to do with Bristol's establishment, growth, and success? Perhaps, a commemorative type bottle based
upon the Casper Whiskey bottle. Relatively simple undertaking, just cut a slug plate mold and have it inserted for a gross
(or more) of bottles. A "proper" event would be Bristol's 50th Birthday in 1906. Seems logical to me....
And now - decide for yourself...does it or doesn' it?
|Click to enlarge
The above pictured bottle, although a miniature,
is nearly identical in design to the cobalt Casper Whiskey bottle...just lacks the slug plate seam. What inspired A.B.
McClelland to choose this "sample's " design for a give-away?"
NEXT PAGE >>>>