William Wellington Gavitt
In 1867, W. W. Gavitt came to Topeka and organized a real estate and coal business. In 1869 he commenced his banking and loan
career. He would become one of Topeka's wealthiest citizens. Although reputedly organized in 1869, the company's rise to
prominence dates from its reorganization in 1889 by Harry E. Gavitt, William's son.
In the formative years of his company, Gavitt was the general agent for the Dr. Perkins Medical Company of Washington, D.C. Perkin's
major product, hence Gavitt's, was Our Native Herbs, a combination of 21 roots and herbs, such as sassafras, liverwort, balmony,
magnolia, rhubarb, prickly ash, poplar, spearmint, elecampane, sarsaparilla, mandrake, juniper, burdock, Canada balsam, boneset,
wormwood, and yellow dock. It was guaranteed to cure: "Rheumatism, Dyspepsia, Sick and Nervous Headache, Nervousness,
Constipation, Piles, Irregularity of the Bowels, Diarrhea, Catarrh, Fevers, General Debility, Sickness of the Stomach, Pain in the Side,
Numbness of the Limbs, Cold Feet and Hands, Bad Taste in Mouth, Yellow Skin, Loss of Appetite, Worms, Stagnation of the Blood,
Failure to Perspire Freely, Bad Circulation, Scrofula, Tetter, Erysipelas, Old Sores, Dropsy, Liver and Kidney Troubles, Heart Disease,
Fits, all Female Complaints, Dark Circles Under the Eyes, Bearing Down Sensation, Pimples, Rough Skin, and Poison in the Blood."
By 1895, there were more than 5,000 users of the preparation in Topeka alone. Testimonials were printed from such people as a
Topeka health officer, a fire department chief, judges, and the whole police department.
The company conducted major drives to acquire agents as the preparation was only sold door to door. Particular attention was paid to
enlisting the support of G.A.R. leaders and ministers.
Gavitt later manufactured his own preparation called the System Regulator, with basically the same ingredients as the Native Herbs
as well as Cough Balsam, Herbal Ointment, Lightning Pain Extractor, and Pile Driver for Piles.
Gavitt boasted testimonials from everyone--Arthur Capper to middleweight boxing champ Bob Fitsimmons--as well as most of the
Ringling Brothers Circus.
The company eventually marketed more than 200 different types of flavorings, household articles, spices, soaps, toilet articles,
perfumes, baking products, and even a parlor game "stockmarket," which is currently marketed by a major firm as "Pit." Carrington
Gavitt, the youngest son sold the business in 1967.

Preparations such as Hostetter's Stomach Bitters were 44 percent alcohol, extremely popular in Prohibition Era Kansas.

Kansas had her own manufactures. Many were small time such as Dr. C. L. Stocks of Bushong with his "One Day Cold Cure," and A.
E. Kraum of Emporia with his "New Blood and True Dutch Cough and Cold Cure." New Blood was specially compounded to cure
constipation, liver complaints, stomach trouble, indigestion, kidney diseases, pains in the back, rheumatism, catarrh of the stomach,
swelling of the limbs, headache, heart disease, impure blood, and yellow jaundice. One Emporian testified that after a few doses she
was able to rise from her sick bed of 11 and lead a normal life. Others manufactured and sold door to door on a large scale. One was
A. B. Seelye of Abilene.
Kansas, Topeka     
W. W. Gavitt's Medical Co. Topeka
Kans. USA
{large} C C1931L1-11  C9441L1-15
C1001L4-23 C105L7-3 C1001-S13-11
"Pocket Mirror"