Mrs. Person, Medicine Maker, Recalled Here
By N. G. Terry Jr.
As a small boy I lived on a farm in Mount Carmel District near Banks Wilkins' General Store at Mount Carmel. I can remember my father taking me along with him to the store to buy kerosene oil for the lamps.
I can also remember that on one occasion when I was at the store Mrs. Joe Person drove up in her rig laden with her famous "Mrs. Joe Person's Remedy."
Mrs. R. E. Clark who resides on Halifax Road, South Boston, is a granddaughter of Mrs. Person. Mrs. Clark relates that her grandmother was a woman of wealth, although her life was not very easy. Mrs. Person provided for and cared for a paralyzed husband and nine children.
"Mrs. Joe Person's Remedy" was known by many as "The great spring tonic." This tonic was an old Indian remedy, containing all organic materials of many kinds of roots and wild plants, bark and herbs, with a small amount of grain alcohol added as a preservative.
Credit is given to Mrs. Clark, who furnished much of the material and the photograph of Mrs. Joe Person used in this story.
The following are taken from newspaper clippings, one telling of Mrs. Person recording for Victor records, and the other, from the Charlotte, N. C., "Evening Chronicle," of Friday, June 13, 1913, reporting Mrs. Person's death:
FOR VICTOR COMPANY
Mrs. Joe Person Plays,
For Big Talking
Mrs. Joe Person, known personally all over the State, and by reputation over a greater part of the entire country, has added another laurel to her already notable collection by making several records for the Victor Talking Machine Company at the factory in Camden, N. J. Mrs. Person was in Pennsylvania on a visit to a son and while there completed arrangements with the factory to make a number of records of the old time Southern songs, such as "Dixie." "Swanee River" and others of her repertoire.
Mrs. Person is one of the most accomplished pianists in the country and although she has passed 65 years, she is as bright and active as a woman many years her junior.
When the coming issues of the Victor catalogue are issued, Mrs. Person's picture will rank with the most famous artists that are employed by this company to make records. It is a difficult proposition for any company to get a clear and satisfactory record of a piano, and it was sometime before Mrs. Person knew whether or not her records had been taken clearly or not. When the discs were finished, it was found that they were among the best and clearest piano records that had been made. Playing for records pays well for Mrs. Person received $5 a minute for the time-consumed in playing.
MRS. JOE PERSON DIES SUDDENLY WHILE ON HER WAY TO CALIFORNIA
WELL KNOWN CHARLOTTE WOMAN IS VICTIM OF APOPLEXY
A sudden stroke of apoplexy brought death to Mrs. Joe Person yesterday at Santa Fe, New Mexico, as she was on her
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way to faraway California and Alaska in company with her sister, Mrs. J. B. Beard, of Hickory. Mrs. Person left Charlotte last Saturday being joined at Hickory by her sister and it was their plan to make an extensive trip during the Summer. A telegram announcing her sudden death came here yesterday afternoon at 4 o'clock to Mr. Rufus M. Person, her son.
Mrs. Person was nearly 73 years of age and one of the most remarkable women in North Carolina. She was remarkably robust and vigorous and even in her old age she kept up her travels that gave her distinction in the interest of "Mrs. Joe Person's Remedy." For the past three or four months, Mrs. Person gave evidence of yielding to the infirmities of old age and it was her hope and this hope was shared by members of the family that a trip to California might prove helpful to her.
While her condition was not precarious, there were abundant indications that Mrs. Person was losing by degrees some of the vigor and physical strength that had contributed to her remarkable life. Mrs. Person had made two previous tours of the West and was delighted with the romantic beauty of that great country. She was always enthusiastic over the diversities of that part of the United States and was greatly interested in its affairs. She told the glories of the West with such animation that she was distinctly charming in her conversation and narrations of its wonders.
For 42 years Mrs. Person had represented the remedy which took her name on the market. Her medicine had a greater reputation, perhaps, than any other proprietary preparation that has been marketed in North Carolina. The business was done under the astute personal supervision of Mrs. Person. She represented the Remedy on the road and managed the marketing of the medicine herself. Twenty years ago the plant was established in this city and the late Col. Charles R. Jones was a partner in the business. It was then taken to Tarboro and later on to Kittrell. About ten years ago Mrs. Person returned to Charlotte to make her residence and three years ago she sold the business to outsiders who continued to manufacture and market the product under the same name as it had previously carried. Mrs Person amassed considerable wealth from this business.
Mrs. Person was a woman of marked talent. She was a pianist of some note and at one time had the honor of playing Southern airs for a New York phonograph company. She was a woman of strong convictions. By adherency she was an Episcopalian, but never identified herself actively with any Church. She was remarkable in robustness of physique, in keenness of mind, in hopefulness of spirit and her executive ability had been estimated as altogether unusual for a woman of her age and her opportunities.
Mrs. Person was native of Petetsburg, Va. Her maiden name was Miss Alice Morgan, daughter of Samuel and Esther Morgan. She was married at the early age of 17 in 1857 to Joseph Arrington Person of Franklinton, Franklin County, this State. They went at once to Franklinton where they lived until the death of Mr. Person in 1883.
Mrs. Person is survived by her sister, Mrs. Beard, a brother, Mr. Albert Morgan of Murphy, and by the following children: Mrs. W. H. Harris of Wake Forest, Mr. Wiley M. Person of Louisburg, Miss Josie Person of Hickory, Mr. R. M. Person of Cory, Ala. All of these are expected to attend the funeral which will be held in this city. Several days will be required for the trip from New Mexico.
Charlotte, N. C.
Friday, June 13, 1913
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