24 March 2011

The Tobacconist

John Wetherall, father of Mrs. Lillian Wetherall Bowie written about yesterday, was born in Georgetown, District of Columbia in 1839. His mother might have been named Rebecca, but I am not sure.

Every mention of occupation I could find in connection to Mr. Wetherall was the same, but the first time I saw it stated this way was in the 1880 Washington, DC federal census. There, John W. Wetherall was a Tobacconist.


A tobacconist is an expert dealer in tobacco in various forms and the related accessories such as pipes, lighters, matches, ashtrays, humidors, cigar cutters, and more. It seems this is the vocation John chose at an early age according to a notice placed in the January 1864 Daily National Intelligencer:
FROM THIS DATE MR. JOHN W. WETHERALL, for the past seven years in my employ, will have an interest in my business, which will be conducted under the name of GEO. W. COCHRAN & CO.

Returning thanks to my friends and the public generally for the patronage heretofore extended, I respectfully inform them that we will have, as heretofore, all the facilities necessary to conduct the

CIGAR & TOBACCO BUSINESS,

in the most satisfactory manner to our customers.
Given the length of John's employment with Mr. Cochran, he would have likely started in the business about the age of eighteen. A city directory for Washington, DC shows John continued in this business until his death around 1900.

An interesting note is that after his death, John's wife Ella was listed as a "Capitalist" in a subsequent census. That might mean she maintained a piece of Mr. Cochran's company.

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