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07 Oct 2021, last revised 15 Jul 2022

Only one bottle in just one size is known for Ed. C. Des Rochers, but yet his drug store in Houghton lasted for 23 or 24 years. He clearly used mostly unembossed bottles, which was typical of pharmacies. His business was a continuation of John P. Mason's drug store.

Edward C. Des Rochers was born in Houghton on 31 Dec 1866 (12). His father was born in Canada of French descent and his mother was born in Detroit, which is where they started their large family before moving to Houghton in 1862 (1). Edward completed his studies at the National Pharmacy Institute at Chicago in 1886 (1). He started in the druggist business by working for Dr. John P. Mason from about the start of Mason's drug store (1,2,3). The 1887 Holland directory listed Des Rochers as a pharmacist with Mason (2). He then resigned and had plans to work for A. J. Scott in Hancock from about 01 May 1890 (15), although it is unknown how long he worked for Scott or if he even moved since the 1895 and 1897 Polk directories listed him as a clerk for Mason (4,5).

Newspaper ad - The Daily Mining Gazette, 23 Dec 1899
Newspaper ad - Dec 1899

After managing Mason's drug store for a number of years, Edward purchased the store in Apr 1899 (16), which marked the start of his own business. The 1899 directory described the location as being on the north side of Shelden Ave., five units east of Isle Royale St. (5). From the 1905 directory, the address is listed as 60 Shelden Ave. (13). The 1908 Sanborn map shows that this is the same location but the street addresses were re-numbered. The 1912 directory specified a new location, 85 Shelden Ave. (14), which was on the south side of the street, west of Isle Royale St. The 1917 Sanborn map labeled this building as a drug store, when previously, in 1908, it was labeled "Express" for a delivery service.

Sanborn map, Shelden Ave., Houghton - Jun 1900
Sanborn map - Jun 1900
Sanborn map, Shelden Ave., Houghton - Feb 1908
Sanborn map - Feb 1908
Sanborn map, Shelden Ave., Houghton - Nov 1917
Sanborn map - Nov 1917

Polk directories listed his business up until 1912 (6). The 1916 directory placed Houghton Pharmacy with L. A. Lundahl as proprietor at the 85 Shelden St. location, but it still listed Edward Des Rochers as a druggist (6). The U.S. Federal Census of 1920 listed his occupation as "druggist bookkeeper" and industry as "candy factory" (9), so it seems he was still working in a drug store. He was then listed as a salesman for a paint company in 1930 (10) and "retired "in 1940 (11). Edward died on 13 Nov 1941 in Houghton at the age of 74 and was buried in Forest Hill Cemetery, Houghton (12).

Given the long history of Des Rochers' drug store, a collector may wonder, how old is his one bottle? Luckly, it bears the mark of SHELDON on its base, which signifies a proprietary bottle shape produced by Sheldon-Foster Glass Co. (8). Lockhart et al. (8) dates this mark to c.1900-c.1907.

References

  1. anonymous. 1903. Biographical Record: Houghton, Baraga and Marquette Counties, Michigan. Biographical Publishing Company. Chicago, IL.
  2. Holland, A. H. 1887. Hand-book and Guide to Houghton, Mich. Mining Journal Book and Job Print. Marquette, MI.
  3. anonymous. (1910, July 05). Deaths and funerals. Star-Gazette (Elmira, NY). p. 16.
  4. R. L. Polk & Co. 1895. Houghton County Directory 1895-96. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  5. R. L. Polk & Co. 1897. Houghton County Directory 1897-98. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  6. R. L. Polk & Co. 1916. Houghton County Directory 1916-17. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  7. R. L. Polk & Co. 1921. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory for 1921-1922. R. L. Polk & Co. Detroit, MI.
  8. Lockhart, B., B. Schriever, B. Lindsey, and C. Serr. 2019. The Sheldon-Foster Glass Co. and related companies. In: Encyclopedia of Manufacturer's Marks on Historic Bottles. posted on Historic Glass Bottle Identification & Information Website. https://sha.org/bottle/pdffiles/Sheldon-FosterGlass.pdf
  9. U.S. Census Bureau. 1920 United States Federal Census. accessed on ancestry.com.
  10. U.S. Census Bureau. 1930 United States Federal Census. accessed on ancestry.com.
  11. U.S. Census Bureau. 1940 United States Federal Census. accessed on ancestry.com.
  12. Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics; Lansing, Michigan; Death Records (accessed on ancestry.com)
  13. R. L. Polk & Co. 1905. Houghton County Directory 1905-06. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  14. R. L. Polk & Co. 1912. 1912 Calumet, Hancock, Houghton and Laurium Directory. R. L. Polk & Co., Publishers. Detroit, MI.
  15. anonymous. (1890, Apr 24). About Portage Lake). Portage Lake Mining Gazette (Houghton, MI). p. 3.
  16. anonymous. (1899, Apr 07). Portage Lake News. The Copper Country Evening News (Calumet, MI). p. 3.

2
Ed. C. Des Rochers bottle
2 oz
color: colorless
top: cork top - tooled
base outline: base shape F
date: c.1900-c.1907
capacity - base mark - rarity:
2 oz. - SHELDON - extremely rare
4 oz. - SHELDON - extremely rare
8 oz. - SHELDON - extremely rare
  • capacity marked above the plate