C1930s Chief Two Moon Glass Paperweight Herbal Medicine Waterbury
Directory: Vintage Arts: Instruments and Implements: Medical: Apothecary: Pre 1940: Item # 1458052
Please refer to our stock # M698 when inquiring.
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PO Box 1896
Murrells Inlet, SC 29576
This handsome paperweight measures about 4.25 inches long x 2.75 inches wide x .75 inches thick. The black and white paper image is affixed to the underside of the glass. Overall, the condition is very good with some minor fading to the image front. The print on the back side of the image is quite faded and the written portion is barely discernible. No damage to the glass is noted.
SOME HISTORY: Chief Two Moon Meridas (Ca1888–1933) was an American seller of herbal medicine who claimed that he was of Sioux ancestry. Meridas was born Chico Colon Meridan, son of Chico Meridan and Mary Tumoon; his exact place and date of birth are unclear. Later, his marriage certificate recorded his date of birth as August 29, 1888, but this information in unconfirmed.
By 1914, Meridas was selling herbal medicines in the streets of Philadelphia and New York City. In New York he met Helen Gertrude Nugent, married her, and shortly afterwards they moved to Waterbury, Connecticut, where he began to sell his herbal medicines from his house. Contemporary newspaper accounts state that during the Great 1918 Influenza Pandemic, none of his patients died! This increased his prestige and clientele. His most famous product was "Bitter Oil", a laxative that was widely marketed as a cure-all.
In 1921, Meridas moved to a larger house in Waterbury and established an extensive and prosperous herb business in a storefront at 1898 East Main Street. He built his own laboratory at 1864 East Main Street in 1925. His business increased to such an extent that he had a fleet of buses for his salesmen as well as an airplane. He took money only for his products, not his advice. He spent lavishly but also surreptitiously donated to charities and to the poor.
In 1928, The Chief was awarded the keys to Atlantic City, where he founded his Indian Temple there. Although The Chief always claimed Native American ancestry in the advertising of his products and in his personal life, the United States Department of Interior refused to certify that he was an American Indian. However, on August 6, 1930, the Oglala Lakota Sioux of the Pine Ridge Reservation awarded him the honorary title of Chief, because of the significant financial help he provided them and others during the Great Depression.
The Chief died in Waterbury at the age of 43.