William Tubbs’ Indigestion

I love researching our family through historic newspapers!

In the past, a genealogist would have to travel to the library in the city where a paper was published and scroll through rolls of microfilm in order to locate an article or obituary related to an ancestor. It was tedious work and, out of necessity, was often overlooked. Today, this research has become much easier. Genealogy as a hobby has seen an explosion in popularity over the past 15 years. At the same time, technology has advanced, making it easy to scan these newspapers and documents and put the images online. In many cases, the images are made searchable. The combination of these two events has led to more and more historic newspapers being made available – even for a casual researcher.

A recent online search of the website Newspapers.com turned up this little gem from a 1928 Wilkes-Barre Evening News featuring my paternal great-great-grandfather, William Tubbs (1841-1931). I was thrilled that it had a picture of the old guy!


“Grand Army Man, 87, Feels Fine In Every Way, Since Using Ten Herbs”

“’Ten Herbs has not only entirely relieved me of indigestion, gas on the stomach and dizziness, but has made me feel fine in every way.’ Was the statement of Mr. William Tubbs, of Huntingdon Mills, Pa. (near Wilkes-Barre), to the Ten Herbs Man, who is at the W. D. White and Company, 35 South Main street, where he is daily demonstrating this great natural medicine.”

“’When I say that I suffered from stomach trouble for a long time, I do not mean a few years, as I am 87 years old, and spent four years in the Civil War, being in the Battle of Gettysburg’, continued Mr. Tubbs who is a member of the Odd Fellows and Knights of Pythias. ‘My stomach trouble started during the war. During those days one had to eat almost anything he could get. I tried all kinds of medicines that were recommended to me for indigestion, gas on the stomach and dizziness, but nothing benefitted me.’”

“’Then I heard of Ten Herbs and, having faith in herbs as a medicine, I started using your preparation. I found from the very beginning that it was helping me. After using two bottles, I can say that I believe Ten Herbs is the greatest medicine ever made. I am pleased to recommend Ten Herbs to other sufferers.’”

“Ten Herbs has helped so many men and women throughout this section, after many other medicines failed, that it has become the most widely used medicine that has ever been introduced in this locality. The surprising action of Ten Herbs on the entire system and its beneficial effect on stomach, liver, kidneys and bowels, make it unlike any other medicine. Get a bottle today and see how much better it makes you feel. Often the first few doses bring surprising relief.”

“The Ten Herbs Man is at the W. D. White & Company, 35 South Main street, Wilkes-Barre, where he is daily meeting the public and explaining the merits of this medicine.”

July 17, 1928 – Wilkes-Barre Evening News – Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania

Curious about this miracle cure, I did a search for the “Ten Herbs Man” in Newspapers.com. These are a few of the dozens of articles that popped up. It seems that the Ten Herbs Man was making the rounds of Pennsylvania towns in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Each of these “news” articles follow a similar pattern. A local resident has a digestive ailment, tries Ten Herbs, and is miraculously relieved of their woes. The last paragraph is always a plug for where one might visit with the Ten Herbs Man and try his amazing medicine.

It sure seems to me that William got himself involved with a snake-oil salesman. Perhaps the “medicine” did help relieve the symptoms he had suffered with for years, but these “news” articles are really advertisements for Ten Herbs. All the articles follow the same formula – regardless of the paper in which it was printed. I imagine this was more like a press release – provided to the newspaper by the Ten Herbs Man himself!

In any event, I love this little tidbit of our family’s story!

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