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RUM and Drinking  

John Nickinson's letters to EJ Phillips have several references to drinking

Toronto, Sept 16, 1859  "I have not & will not touch liquor, wine or even beer for I now have something to do & am freed from a very great trouble in getting [son] John [aged 15] provided for." 

Rochester NY, October 5, 1859 "I am a good boy & God willing will try to keep so for your sake.  I don't think there is much danger for happily the people here are not so fond of the Damned Liquor as in Canada."

Rochester,  Oct 7, 1859 "this is the first anniversary, but month anniversary of my teetotality, thank God -- and I pray it may not be the last.  I have altogether lost any desire or thought about it, except when I read your blessed admonitions, for which dearest, accept my thanks.  They do no harm and only serve to remind me that you have had sufficient reason to fear a relapse. May the good God forbid. ...Wallack, life myself, on the "sober tack -- all right "  

Did John Nickinson drink with Edgar Allen Poe?   "A little store in Nassau Street, between Ann and Beekman, where gathered a few elevated literary minds, reinforced by a sprinkling of actors like Peter Cunningham, John Brougham, Oliver Raymond, Tom Johnston and John Nickinson. It was not a dramshop, but it dispensed various kinds of nervine, and it had facilities for adding emphasis to what ‘the Governor of North Carolina once said to the Governor of South Carolina.’" *

In search of John Nickinsons "not a dramshop" 

Bob Osborne and Mary Glen on Nassau St. between Ann and Beekman, March 2005 

John Nickinson's New York

ad from Madison Square Theatre program March 26, 1888 

Recommended by eminent physicians

Salt Lake City, Sept. 15, 1886  EJ Phillips writes " [Walden] Ramsey is ill - and is going back to San F'co.  He is suffering from the effects of what I warned him against seven years ago.  RUM. "

EJ Phillips makes only a few other references to drinking.  After Christmas dinner at the Harrisons (New York, Dec 26, 1890) she states "I did not partake of the wine and cannot tell how good it was".  

New York, Dec. 3, 1891  Katie is a widow.  Obtained a divorce from Homer and a month after it was granted Homer died of pneumonia, superinduced by delirium tremens at a hospital in Flatbush.

Milwaukee  Feby 17th 1893  Yes, I am afraid Mr. [Edward M.] Bell has at last become weaker than Barley Corn, but like many thousands he would not believe anyone that the latter could ever overmaster him.  I am very sorry indeed, for he is a very gentlemanly fellow, only about 36 years of age.

Odell reported that "in the second week of the run of the Wilde play [Lady Windermere's Fan] I was shocked to learn from the Herald that Edward Bell had been discharged from the company for some-thing he had done (I know not what) during a performance.  Walden Ramsey took his role... Bell returned on Feb 21st."  (Though a biographical reference book cross references Maud Harrison as Mrs. Edward M Bell, her NY Times obituary (April 29, 1907) makes no reference to any husband). 

In a review of Aunt Jack (NY Times Oct 31 1889) Edward Bell is noted as a newcomer who "made a very pleasing impression, although he is not likely to be seen at his best in [something] farce to which his talents are at present confined, he is sure to become a popular member of Mr. Palmer's Company.    

New York, Sept. 11, 1895 I suppose by this time you have heard of the dreadful fate of Mr. Wm. Palmer.  I am very sorry.  He was always very kind to me!  Everybody liked "Willie", but they couldn't keep him from the cup and dissolute companions.  Too bad!  Too bad!  

Health -- tonics  Temperance songs, Library of Congress   http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/smhtml/smessay3.html

Older bars in New York
McSorley's Ale house 1854 15 East 7th Street, East Village between Bowery and Second Ave. http://www.newyorkled.com/index_union_square_walkingtour012.htm 
Pete's Tavern 1864 129 East 18th Street http://www.geocities.com/Eureka/Concourse/9261/petestavern.index.html 

*And what did the governors say?  Apparently "it's a long time between drinks."

'Last updated Apr. 1, 2005

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