Jacob S. Merrell Drug Co.

Digger Odell Publications 2007

Jacob S. Merrell Drug Co.

Col. Cyrus Packard Walbridge. president of the J. S Merrell Drug Co.. St. Louis, is a prominent figure ii the drug world because he sees things in a large way and then acts upon his convictions. When a customer feels himself in deep water and goes to Col. Walbridge for advice, he is not answered with advice on drugs, with talks oh the market or professional ethics, but the reply that he receives is that of the farm boy, the youth who worked his way through the University of Michigan Law School as a carpenter, of the lawyer who, through his excellent handling of a drug company's legal business, paved the way to become its head, of the municipal officer who accounted well for his stewardship, and of the head of one of the greatest public service corporations. This sort of an education has given Col. Walbridge exceptional ability to see beyond the figures on the paper and he has neglected none of his advantages.

Recently a St. Louis paper ran a series of mutilated pictures of famous men and offered awards to those who identified and wrote the best account of each. Col. Wallbridge was one of them. Here is the estimate of him that the editor thought worthy of the prize: "The missing face in today's paper is that of C. P. Walbridge. He is one of the most prominent business men of our city, being president of the Bell Telephone Co., and the J. S. Merrell Drug Co.. and was formerly president of the Business Men's League. He was formerly Mayor of our city and filled said office to the honor of himself and satisfaction of our citizens. At one time he was very prominently mentioned for Governor of Missouri. He is a great church worker and philanthropist."

It is only fair to say that Col. Walbridge was more than prominently mentioned for governor. He was the Republican candidate. He. made a good race, but Joseph W. Folk, who has gained national fame as a prosecutor of " grafters," was elected on the Democratic ticket. Col. Walbridge had been chosen mayor of St. Louis because of his record in the Municipal Council, and his election to that body was on account of his record in the lower house of the same assembly. - A few days after the election, Col. Walbridge was the guest of honor at the monthly dinner of the Retail Druggists' Association. When called upon to speak, he looked about him and remarked: "Friends. I am glad to get back."

As a member and a worker in many public spirited societies. and a supporter of all movements for municipal and state progress Col. Walbridge is in much demand at banquets. As an after-dinner speaker he has few peers. There is a personal charm about the man that is like his words. His manner is always suited to the occasion. He does not forget personal obligations and is inclined to overlook offenses. He is a popular host and an entertaining campaigner. He speaks convincingly and is accounted one of the foremost workers in the deep waterways movement, in which the Mississippi Valley is now engaged. His frequent pilgrimages to Washington in behalf of this and similar movements have made him a national figure.

Col. Walbridge owes his connection with the drug world to the fact that as a young attorney, recently from Minneapolis, he attracted the attention of Jacob S. Merrell, then head of the drug firm which bears his name. Mr. Merrell gave the legal business of the firm into his care and the interest and intelligence he displayed made him the logical head of the company when Mr, Merrell died, in 1885. When Col, Walbridge took up the work he did so with his customary thorough ness and became a student in the St. Louis College of Pharmacy, to acquaint himself with his new sur roundings. Loyalty is perhaps the keynote of Col. Walbridge's success. "Team work is our method here," he said recently in speaking of the drug house. "and it takes a big proposi tion to discourage us." His coun cil and diplomacy have always been at the command of the retail and wholesale business 'organiza tions. He is regarded as a friend by all who are working for the good of the trade. As to the man: He was born in Madrid, N. Y.. July 20, 1849. His father was a Methodist minister and the family was of Revolution ary stock. He lived as a youth in northern Illinois and Minnesota and in the latter state became a school teacher. As. a carpenter he aided himself through law school. In 1876 he went to St. Louis. His title of colonel conies from his connection with the National Guard of Missouri, which he joined as a private and quit as lieutenant-colonel. Mrs. Walbridge was Miss Lizzie Merrell, daughter of Jacob S. Merrell. and their son, Merrell Walbridge. has recently been made secretary of the. company, being the third generation to be identified with the business.