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24 Nov 2021, last revised 21 May 2022

The N. & J. initials on the bottles provided a starting point, although not much of one, in trying to identify the people involved in this bottling works. Given that the bottling works was located in Red Jacket, Joseph James was a likely suspect for J., and Matthew Northey was a possibility for N., although his bottling works during a later time period was located in Houghton. Confirmation came with the 1881 and 1883 Polk directories, which listed Northey Bros. & James as pop manufacturers in Calumet, with the firm consisting of William Northey, Matthew Northey, and Joseph James (2,3).

William Northey was born in 1853 in Cornwall, England (4). It is unknown when he immigrated to the U.S., but the 1870 U.S. Federal Census placed him as a copper miner in Copper Falls (6). The 1877 and 1879 directories listed William and Matthew as the Northey Bros. for a saloon in Calumet (8,1).

Matthew Northey was born on 08 Nov 1846 (5) in Cornwall, England (4). His obituary stated that he immigrated to the U.S. in 1867, moved to the Copper Country in 1870 and stayed for three years, lived in California for about three years, moved to Red Jacket, and then moved to Houghton in 1877 (15). If this was an accurate account of his travels, it would mean Matthew lived in Houghton during the operation of the saloon and the bottling works. In fact, the 1880 U.S. Federal Census placed Matthew in Houghton, where he worked in the sheriff department with his older brother, Henry, who was the jailer and sheriff (7).

Joseph James was born in Mar 1842 in England (9), married Salome Northey in 1863 (10), the older sister of Matthew and William (11), and immigrated to the U.S. in 1864 (9). He was an engine driver at Copper Falls on the 1870 U.S. Federal Census (6). It seems James was able to form a partnership with the Northey brothers given that he was their brother-in-law.

It is unknown if the bottling works of Northey Bros. & James was a continuation of the bottling works of Northey & Benny. The 1875 directory listed Northey & Benny as soda water manufacturers in Red Jacket (12). They were not listed in the 1877 directory (8), but they still existed then since their partnership did not dissolve until 04 Mar 1878 (16). The firm consisted of "Henry Northy" and "Peter Benney", and Henry was to continue the business (16). It is unknown if this Henry was Matthew and William's older brother. No bottling works was listed in Red Jacket in the 1879 directory (1).

We could not find a newspaper notice documenting when the N & J bottling works started. The first indications come from James being a "pop merchant" in Feb 1880 (17), and both William and James being "pop manufacturer" when surveyed in July for the 1880 census (7). If N & J were in fact a continuation of B & N, they could have started as early as 1878. Otherwise, they certainly existed by 1880. We do not have access to the 1885 directory, and Joseph James was listed as a bottler in the 1887 directory (18). Thus, N & J probably ended sometime in 1883-1886.

Since the Michigan State Polk directory did not list addresses, it is unclear where the bottling works was located. One thought is that it became Jos. James's bottling works on Pine St., however, the lot Jos. James later occupied was vacant on the 1884 Sanborn map. Alternatively, the 1884 and 1888 Sanborn maps show a building in the rear of 553 5th St. that was labeled a bottling works. This might have been the location, especially given that no other bottling works is known to have been operating in Calumet during this time period.

The bottles indicate the early nature of the bottling works. Three bottles are squat sodas with blob tops. The two later bottles are quarts with unusual shapes. One (#88) has a squatty shape, Hutchinson top, and C V G Co MILW. as a marker's mark for Chase Valley Glass Co. The other (#s45) has a taller shape, Hutchinson top, and WIS. G. Co as a maker's mark for Wisconsin Glass Co.

William Northey died on 12 Aug 1883 in Calumet at the age of about 30 and was buried in Forest Hill Cemetery, Houghton (14). While in Bastian's saloon, he complained of not feeling well, slipped into unconsciousness, and died before medical help arrived (15). The coroner determined that he died of excessive alcohol use (15). With William dead and Matthew in Houghton, the bottling works may have ended at that point; otherwise, James might have operated it on his own. Joseph James and Matthew Northey each went on to start their own soda/mineral water operations, with Northey in Houghton and James in Red Jacket.

References

  1. R. L. Polk & Co. 1879. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory 1879. The Detroit Free Press Company. Detroit, MI.
  2. R. L. Polk & Co. 1881. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory 1881. R. L. Polk & Co. Detroit, MI.
  3. R. L. Polk & Co. 1883. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory 1883. R. L. Polk & Co. Detroit, MI.
  4. Census Returns of England and Wales, 1851. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), 1851. (accessed on ancestry.com)
  5. Find a Grave. accessed Nov 2021. Matthew Northey. findagrave.com/memorial/58758954/matthew-northey
  6. U.S. Census Bureau. 1870 United States Federal Census. accessed on ancestry.com.
  7. U.S. Census Bureau. 1880 United States Federal Census. accessed on ancestry.com.
  8. R. L. Polk & Co. 1877. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory 1877. R. L. Polk & Co. Detroit, MI.
  9. U.S. Census Bureau. 1900 United States Federal Census. accessed on ancestry.com.
  10. England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915. (accessed on ancestry.com)
  11. Census Returns of England and Wales, 1861. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), 1861. (accessed on ancestry.com)
  12. R. L. Polk & Co. 1875. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory 1875. The Tribune Printing Company. Detroit, MI.
  13. Find a Grave. accessed Nov 2021. William Northey. findagrave.com/memorial/36766500/william-northey
  14. anonymous. (1883, Aug 16). Range Items. Portage Lake Mining Gazette (Houghton, MI). p. 3.
  15. anonymous. (1905, Aug 24). Death of Matthew Northey. The Daily Mining Gazette (Houghton, MI). p. 7.
  16. anonymous. (1878, Mar 07). Dissolution of Copartnership. Portage Lake Mining Gazette (Houghton, MI). p. 3.
  17. anonymous. (1880, Feb 05). Out on the Range. Portage Lake Mining Gazette (Houghton, MI). p. 3.
  18. R. L. Polk & Co. 1887. Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory 1887-88. R. L. Polk & Co. Detroit, MI.

7
N. & J. bottle
capacity: half-pint
color: aqua
top: blob top - applied
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: (none)
date: c.1880
rarity: extremely rare
  • tombstone-shaped plate
7a
N. & J. bottle
top: blob top - applied or tooled
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: (none)
date: c.1880
rarity: extremely rare

8
N. & J. bottle image
capacity: half-pint
color: aqua
top: blob top - applied
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: (none)
date: c.1880
rarity: extremely rare
  • plate inverted

9
N. & J. bottle
capacity: half-pint
color: aqua
top: blob top - applied
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: (none)
date: c.1880
rarity: extremely rare
  • different plate design
  • town name changed

88
N. & J. Bottling Works bottle
capacity: quart
color: aqua
top: Hutchinson top - applied
maker's mark: C V G Co MILW. (base)
other marks: (none)
date: 1880
rarity: extremely rare
  • different plate design

s45
N. & J.'s Bottling Works bottle
capacity: quart
color: amber
top: Hutchinson top - applied
maker's mark: WIS. G. Co (base)
other marks: (none)
date: 1881-1883
rarity: extremely rare
  • different plate design