|sketch of Dr. J.A. Dickey made about 1885
One thing that always bothered me
when I began researching Bristol's history: why was it most Bristolians knew about John R.Dickey, yet had never
heard of his older brother , James A. Dickey ,(who had preceded John R. to Bristol) ??
This page will
hopefully shed some much required light on Dr. James Alexander Dickey and his many contributions to a young Bristol...as
a Doctor, Mayor, Alderman, Druggist and Businessman. His partnership with I. Campbell (Cam), Anderson ,and Anderson's
Drug Store , will additionally be touched upon.
I will make
available what I have learned about John R. Dickey and his varied contributions to Bristol - on another page.
DR. JAMES A. DICKEY...was born in Grayson County, VA., Sept. 13, 1849. He was a certified Physician having attained his
education at Emory & Henry College and at the Washington University in Baltimore. He established a practice in Grayson
County in 1869. He was elected Treasurer of that County in 1873, and continued in that office until March of 1875, when
he resigned and moved to Bristol,Tenn. By October of 1875 he had purchased the drug stock of the recently deceased *J.G.Pepper,
formed a partnership with a druggist named Wright ,and opened a drug store on Main Street in Bristol.
|DR. DICKEY'S EYE WATER - Bristol,Tenn. & Eufala,Ala.
By 1879, the James A. Dickey & Wright partnership had been dissolved, and his business was
known as J.A.Dickey & Co. City Drug Store, at the sign of the Mortar & Eagle.
Advertisements during 1880 included
the names of two Salesmen for the Company: I.C. (Cam) Anderson from Scott County, VA. and T.M. Crandall in West Tennessee.
Also during this period, John R. Dickey ,(James' younger brother), was briefly associated with the Company. As early
as May of 1883, J.A. Dickey was advertising his Painess Eye Water Cure, of which he was the
By 1885, Cam Anderson had become a full
partner in the Company.
According to a Bristol Herald
newspaper Industrial Supplement published in 1904, J.A.Dickey
"rapidly gained the confidence and esteem of the people". and he played an important role in local politics. During the years
1877-1885, J.A.Dickey served as Mayor of Bristol,Tenn., and served 5 terms as an Alderman. Then he served as Mayor
once again from 1902-1905, combining for terms of 7 years.
He had sold his interests in the drug store
to Cam Anderson in 1888, with Anderson renaming it the Cam Anderson Drug Company.
In 1882 James erected a house at 421 5th St., where he and his wife Kate W. Dickey, lived out their
In 1889 - 90 Dr. J.A. Dickey
& Dr. Jere Bunting , established the Bristol Telephone Company, in response to the East Tenn. Telephone Company's
policy of charging Physicians the same fee for a home phone as for an office phone. Dickey & Bunting sold the Company
Not many bottles or other types of memorabilia survive from J.A.Dickey & Co...
There's two examples, embossed with:
Eagle/City Drug Store/ Bristol,Tenn. (with
Dr.Dickey's Eye Water/ Bristol,Tenn.
Dr.Dickey's Eye Water/ Eufaula,Ala.
Dickey & Anderson Druggists/ Bristol,Tenn...
and ...a Trade Card for ,"Painless Eye Water."
|young Dr.J.A. Dickey
In 1891 Dr. J.A. Dickey and partner were awarded a
Patent for a railroad signal device:
||Click here to view full-text of patent via USPTO|
||Electric Signal for Railroads|
||James A. Dickey, Napoleon B. Ainsworth|
||Wiley, Edgar C., Bristol, TN (assignee from Indian Territory)|
James A. Dickey of Bristol, TN assigned 2/3 and Napoleon B. Ainsworth
of McAlester, Indian Territory assigned 2/3
DICKEY & ANDERSON - DRUGGISTS
Main Street, Bristol,Tenn.
Among the leading mercantile industries of this thriving
city none occupy a more prominent position than that of which the above named gentlemen are the proprietors. The firm is composed
of Dr. J.A. Dickey and I.C. Anderson, who are the successors to Dr.J.A. Dickey.
These gentlemen are the proprietors of the celebrated "Painless Eye Water", which
for the benefit of the eyes, has no superior, as those who have tested it are ready to testify...@ 1885.
|cr. Rob Kesner
CAM ANDERSON Drug Company
The Cam Anderson Drug Company survived but two years:... as in 1890,
Anderson sold the business to Messrs. Stark & Cochran and returned home to ' Block House' in Scott County,VA. Seems Anderson
had always yearned to become a licensed Physician. Shortly thereafter, he entered Medical School and upon
completion ,he opened a practice in Gate City,VA, where he also operated a drug store.
In 1906, he was callously murdered by his wife, sister-in-law, mother-in-law,
& brother-in-law, who had attempted to make his death appear as accidental. But Anderson survived just long enough
to tell what really happened, and implicated the four as his murderers.
It was learned that either Anderson's wife,( or her sister), and her mother, held Anderson
while his brother-in-law slashed the brachial artery in his arm with a knife.
Newspaper reports of the time indicated however that only the brother-in-law was charged with the crime.
*(Special to The Bristol Herald Dec.5, 1906 )
Very few items remain to make us aware of Cam Anderson's business ventures in
Cam Anderson/ Druggist/ Bristol,Tenn.
Anderson's Golden Eye Water/ Bristol,Tenn.
Cam Anderson Druggist/ Bristol,Tenn. rect.
** In Feb. 2008, Eleanor Heacock, GrandDaughter of John R. Dickey, and I, entered a crawl space of an old
building formerly owned by the Dickeys. Stored in this area were old boxes of assorted papers, bottles, and other paraphenalia
from the J.R. Dickey Drug Company. While rummaging through one old box, we came upon the below J.A. Dickey Painless
Eye Water, Eufaula, Ala. bottle, still totally wrapped in its original paper label. Being as this was the first
J.A. Dickey bottle I had seen with a label I was enthused. But, upon examination of the label another unknown fact caused
us even more interest and some consternation.
Imprinted upon one end of the label was Copyright Oct.27,1905. As
J.A. Dickey was known to have sold out his drugstore business to Cam Anderson in 1888 , why then did this bottle have
a 1905 copyright date? Eleanor & I conjectured that it was likely J.A. Dickey had retained ownership to the Eye
Water Company in Eufaula, AL. as a means of additional income and , halted such production of his eye water in Bristol so
as to not directly compete with his younger brother's, (J.R. Dickey's Eye Water), business.
Makes for a nice story and may be true. More research is needed.
**Perhaps the main reason so few Bristolians are acquainted with
J.A.Dickey is because so few of his products remain and his drug store was extant but a little over 12 years. Whereas,
his younger brother, John R., continued in the eye water business until his death in 1923, at which time his sons, ( Ernest
& Herman - who had worked in the business for years), assumed control and kept operating it until the late-1950s.)...
*Note: J.G.Pepper was the brother of Dr. C.T.Pepper who had recently closed
down his practice-drug store in Bristol and retired to Rural Retreat,VA., where he opened another drug store with a soda fountain.
(Short retirement). C.T.Pepper is the Pepper for whom the Dr.Pepper soft drink is named and MAY have been the creator
of the original formual taken, (some say stolen), to Texas by a former employee who was supposedly enamored of C.T.'s