Archive for Thursday, November 22, 2012

100 years ago: Lawrence druggist goes to trial for selling ‘intoxicating’ patent medicine

November 22, 2012


From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for Nov. 22, 1912:

  • “Lawrence is preparing for a great occasion tomorrow, the greatest that the town has ever seen and one that will bring to Lawrence the largest crowd that has ever visited here. On tomorrow Lawrence will be host to 1000 students from Columbia, Missouri, and another thousand or more of alumni from Missouri will come in to see the game. There will be a great crowd of Kansas alumni and a crowd of simply football enthusiasts. Anyway they will pour into Lawrence from every direction and the town will be filled with visitors. Lawrence has prepared a reception for the guests that they should long remember, the old town is putting on its glad clothes as she has never wore them before. Already the town is a veritable sea of color and more is being put up all the time…. Mayor Bishop has issued a proclamation in which he asks that all business houses be closed from 2 o’clock to 4:30 where it can be done without any serious inconvenience.”
  • “At 3:35 this afternoon the jury trying the case of the City of Lawrence versus O. P. Barber returned a verdict finding the defendant not guilty. The case was one that had been appealed from the police court where Barber had been convicted on a charge of violating the prohibitory law. The Druggist was charged with selling a patent medicine known as ‘Dandelion Bitters.’ It was the charge made by the city that this medicine was sold as a beverage, that it produced intoxication and that its sale was a violation of the prohibitory laws of the state…. In his instructions to the jury Judge Smart construed the Kansas law to include ‘patent medicines’ if these were capable of producing intoxication and it was reasonably plausible that it had been bought and used for the purpose of producing intoxication…. The principal witness for the prosecution was Frank Anderson who testified that he had bought Dandelion Bitters of the store for the purpose of using it as a beverage. He stated that it was intoxicating and had the same effect upon him as whiskey. Sixty bottles introduced as evidence were claimed to have been bought by Anderson within a period of three months…. Mr. Barber was called to the stand and testified that he has sold dandelion bitters for over 25 years as a medicine. That he did not know these men were using it as a beverage, that he had never sold Anderson more than 5 or 6 bottles and that it covered a period of over two years. That he quit selling this bitters when he was arrested on this charge, and that he did not renew his license.”


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