The Lloyd Brothers

John Uri Lloyd
Nelson Ashley
Curtis Gates

John Uri Lloyd (April 19, 1849 - April 9, 1936) was born in upstate New York, Bloomfield, to be exact, the eldest son of Nelson Marvin and Sophia Webster Lloyd, both teachers. The family moved to northern Kentucky in 1853. As young John grew older, it must have been obvious to his parents, his mother in particular, that he had some interest in science, as he reminisced:

My apprenticeship in pharmacy may be said to have begun in my home years, for even when I was too young to be properly enrolled in the class in chemistry in the school, my interest in that subject was such that when the class was reciting I had thought for nothing else and at home I was guided into home experiments, in which such exhibition substances as oxygen, hydrogen, etc. were conspicuously entertaining. I had no apparatus such as glass tubes or retorts, but the very lack of such appliances led me to exercise ingenuity in finding something to take their place. I well remember how connected stems of the pumpkin vine were made to furnish a delivery tube for gases generated in an old conical ink bottle, to a pneumatic trough improvised from my mother's dishpan, a pumpkin stem that curved naturally forming the bend over its edge, my mother's quart camphor bottle being borrowed (surreptitiously) to collect the gases generated in my backyard laboratory.

John's homemade chemistry experiments revealed an inquisitive mind and suggested a druggist's career; late in the summer of 1863, the young boy and his father headed for nearby Cincinnati in search of an apprenticeship. By late fall a position was found with W. J. M. Gordon.

The Gordon establishment was in downtown Cincinnati, at the corner of 9th Street and Central Avenue (today the site of the current Cincinnati City Hall). It was the place where the Cincinnati College of Pharmacy got its start in 1850, when classes were first held there in the upper rooms. Fitting, then, that John Lloyd should get his start there in the world of professional pharmacy. And, despite his complaints years later of his humiliatingly "small pay," the terms of his apprenticeship to Gordon were typical of the time period: $2.00 per week for the first six months, with 50 cent increases for the following 12-month period, up to $4.00 per week for the last six months.

Gordon's was an interesting business. Gordon was a manufacturer of glycerin, making a great deal of profit from that, as it was the first operation of its kind west of the Alleghany Mountains. Lloyd saw this process first-hand and came to appreciate how cheap supply, rapid and simple processing, and good marketing could turn into profit. However, John learned more than business and marketing; most importantly, he learned pharmacy.

GordonGordon proved an excellent instructor, himself having taken formal course-work in chemistry at the University of Maryland before coming to Cincinnati in 1848. Under Gordon's tutelage, Lloyd received his introduction to the world of pharmacy. Dissatisfied, however, with just the standard two-year training, Lloyd engaged himself for a second two-year apprenticeship with George Eger, who he described as "an accomplished German pharmacist." Eger had trained both in Germany and Switzerland, and later at the University of Tuebingen. This was quite a bit more than the average pharmacist in the United States at the time. Eger encouraged John to enhance his education, advice which Lloyd heeded, taking the opportunity to study under the eminent physician, Roberts Bartholow, at the Medical College of Ohio.

George EgerAs Eger's apprentice, Lloyd's training was even more rigorous. Drilled in the materia medica of the United States Pharmacopeia and the United States Dispensatory, Lloyd learned the medicinal plants which formed every physicians armamentarium. He memorized the constituents and various preparations of commonly used botanicals, such as opium, valerian, mayapple, goldenseal, black hellebore, belledonna, and many others.

At the end of his second apprenticeship, Eger pronounced his pupil, "competent to engage anywhere as a prescription clerk." But, there was more in store for John Uri Lloyd than just serving as a mere trade clerk. In 1870 came a defining moment.

While training with both Gordon and Eger, Lloyd came into close contact with the then bustling river city's medical profession. One of the most significant contacts he made was with John King, a well-known eclectic physician. After witnessing the young man's attention to detail and single-minded devotion to his preparations, King offered Lloyd an unusual opportunity. "Dr. Scudder [King's eclectic colleague] and I have been discussing the necessity of the systematic study of our materia medica," Lloyd recalled, "as well as the re-study of our pharmaceutical preparations, both of which are now of vital importance. We have decided that you are the man to accept this responsibility, and for this purpose I am empowered to offer you the position of chemist with Mr. H. M. Merrell, with whom we have discussed the matter." Such an offer clearly astonished Lloyd. An established and respected physician was asking a young clerk, only just 21 years old, to make a decision that could and would effect his entire career. He would be tied to the eclectics, a group which sought to challenge regular medicine by developing its own botanical materia medica. But, he did choose this path and he left his mark on it, embracing the eclectics and becoming one of the most well known pharmacists of his time.

So enmeshed was he with the Eclectics that Lloyd taught at the Eclectic Medical Institute from 1878 to 1895 and at the Cincinnati College of Pharmacy from 1883 to 1887. He would have been, by today's standards, considered more than a bit odd in the classroom. He did not permit note-taking during his lectures, students instead being expected to commit his lectures to memory. One of Lloyd's students reminisced:

John Uri Lloyd: Small of stature and spare of form; neat as a new pin; unostentatious to an extreme; dressed very plainly but faultlessly, and always with a small nosegay preferably a delicate little rose in the button hole of the left lapel of his coat, noiselessly he entered and with a quick, quiet, elastic step reached the platform...; then he scanned the black board for the outline of the day's lesson (performed by his assistant, Prof. Felter). Now turning to the table near the edge of the platform, on which had been placed the paraphernalia necessary for demonstration, he would first examine the display, closely inspecting everything, to make sure that all needed material for the lesson was on hand, and arranged just so. Then, and not before, with an air of readiness, his left arm akimbo the thumb pointing forward and the index finger downward, he very lightly rapped on the table for attention, not with his delicate knuckles, however, but with the back of his hand turned downward he would make the little gold ring, worn on the right ring finger, do the duty. With head inclined at one angle of about 45', his mild eyes sweeping over the assembly from right to left, or vice versa, the stereotyped "Ladies and Gentlemen," quickly uttered, meant, "Now listen to me." And they had to for his was not a stentorian voice.

With Prof. Lloyd there was absolutely nothing fearful, neither in his entrance, his manners or his exit; but as nearly all of his students realized that they were sitting at the feet of a master, one towering head and shoulders above his fellows in the realms of Chemistry and Pharmacy, they paid profound and respectful attention to his utterances. Kind and considerate, and gentle as a maiden, he used no force, except the force of reason, in dealing with students; but they invariably yielded to his wish, if even expressed in a whisper. It happened once, and once only, that his patience gave way. For some reason, just at the beginning of a lecture, a ripple of merriment passed over the class, resulting in inattention. Prof. Lloyd told the students he could not, and if he could, he would not, match his voice nor pit himself against their combined efforts. And this was his punishment: "Prof. Felter will now take you in hand and quiz you during the whole hour." Then without showing any anger, whatever, expressing the hope that at the next lecture there would be no disturbance of any sort, he took his hat, bowed and left.

This was Lloyd the teacher. He was, however, also an inventor. Presented with a long-standing problem in the manufacture of botanical preparations, namely the effects of heat during the percolation process, which was believed to lessen or destroy a plant's active constituents and thus, the potency and efficacy of the product, John Lloyd developed the "Cold Still." As early as 1888 and 1889, Lloyd penned several articles about this problem and presented possible solutions in some of the leading journals, including American Druggist, The Eclectic Medical Journal, and The Proceeding of the APhA. His solution was the "Cold Still" extractor, which he submitted to the U.S. Patent Office in December of 1904. The Cold Still became an important apparatus in the manufacturing industry as early as 1909 and continued to appear in Remington's Practice of Pharmacy through 1975. In addition to the Cold Still, Lloyd also invented something known as Alcresta, a tablet used to treat amoebic dysentery and pyorrhea. Alcresta was a byproduct of Lloyd's work in developing hydrous aluminum silicate. It was sold to Eli Lilly in 1913, and by 1916, Lilly was actively promoting "Alcresta Tablets of Ipecac." It was prescribed by both Eclectic and regular physicians and was available for a very long time, last appearing in the Physician's Desk Reference (PDR) through 1956.

These inventions of Lloyd's required research. That research is represented in more than 5,000 published papers appearing in a wide array of journals, such as the Eclectic Medical Journal, the Eclectic Medical Gleaner, and leading pharmaceutical journals of the day, especially The Proceedings of the American Pharmaceutical Association. Lloyd's research won him three Ebert prizes (1882, 1891, and 1916) from the APhA for original research in pharmacy. He also won deserved recognition from his colleagues for his work in chemistry, making him one of the most noted pharmacists and chemists of his era.

Proving himself a genuine eclectic, Lloyd also was a writer of fiction, publishing his first volume, Etidorhpa, in 1895. This was a volume more fantastic than real. However, he went on to publish several more volumes of fiction which were based on his experiences and the people he knew growing up in northern Kentucky.

By the time of his death in 1936, just a few days shy of his 87th birthday, John Uri Lloyd left a legacy that touched the fields of literature, botany, chemistry, pharmacy, and pharmacognosy. He was the undisputed leader of the eclectic cause of medicine and in his own life, Lloyd earned a permanent place in the annals of science, a fact underscored by his inclusion in the Dictionary of Scientific Biography. A truly versatile figure, he was a sort of Renaissance man, tackling a variety of fields, and performing them all with distinction.

a young Ashley Lloyd Nelson Ashley Lloyd (November 17, 1851 - January 27, 1925), or Ashley, as he preferred, was also born in Bloomfield, New York, and was just two when the family moved to northern Kentucky. Though he desired initially to become a river pilot, he followed the advice of his parents and the footsteps of older brother John by apprenticing in W. J. M. Gordon's Pharmacy, becoming a trained pharmacist. He worked with John at the H. M. Merrell & Co. drug firm, and eventually became a partner in Lloyd Brothers Pharmacists when it was established in 1886. There Lloyd spent the greatest part of his life tending to the financial and business affairs of the company, serving as its treasurer until his death. He was not the flashy, adventurous man that his younger brother was. Nor was he the outspoken pharmaceutical genius that John was. There are few photographs of him, no Nelson Ashley Lloyd collection at the Library. But, Ashley Lloyd had his passions, his interests, places where he left his mark. And, he meant something to the lives he touched.

The Lloyd family, photo by CG Lloyd - Ashley is standingHe was kind, congenial, and generous to a fault. It is said that the Lloyd Brothers employees had a great affection for him, in part, because he helped establish a promotions and raises system that benefited the most hard-working employees. Corinne Simons, a long-time librarian of the Lloyd, recounts in an article about Ashley how when informed by an employee that the man had lost his week's salary that Ashley pulled money from his own pocket to give to the man so "that the employee's family would not suffer."

Among his many interests, Lloyd was a well-known collector of art, especially the works of renowned local artist Henry F. Farney. He was a trustee of the Cincinnati Children's Home where his role was far more personal than official. Lloyd was a frequent visitor to the orphanage, often paid bills so that important activities could be maintained, and insured that all drugs and medicines needed were supplied free of charge from Lloyd Brothers Pharmacists. Upon his death, the Board of Trustees of the Children's Home paid tribute to him, recounting his many kindnesses to the Home and the children therein. Near the end of the tribute, the trustees write, "To know him was indeed to love him, for verily he was one who loved his fellow men."

Palace of the Fans image courtesy of Kevin A. GraceHe is perhaps best known for his involvement with baseball, particularly the Cincinnati Reds, the first professional baseball team, founded in 1869. For many years, Lloyd and John T. Brush were co-owners of the team. Lloyd also served as its secretary and treasurer. During their tenure, Lloyd and Brush introduced the baseball world to the practicality of abandoning wooden stands in favor of concrete. Following a major fire in the Reds ballpark, the grandstand was rebuilt with concrete, featuring pillars and columns carved by hand. Referred to today as The Palace of the Fans by baseball historians, it was baseball's first concrete grandstand. When Lloyd and Brush sold the club to Cincinnatians August Hermann, Julius and Max C. Fleischmann, and George B. Cox, they purchased a controlling interest in the New York Nelson Ashley Lloyd at midlifeGiants. Lloyd was involved with that team for many years, serving as its treasurer.

Additionally, Ashley was active in civic affairs, once serving on a commission to investigate the natural drainage of Norwood, Ohio, which resulted in building a modern sewage system. At one time, Lloyd was offered candidacy for mayor of Cincinnati, but declined. With his brothers, he not only ran the pharmacy business, but also contributed to the development of the Lloyd Library and Museum. Lloyd married Olive Augusta Gardner in Champaign, Illinois in 1877. They had one daughter, Marcia Olive Lloyd, who later became the wife of Judge George E. Mills. Lloyd died on January 17, 1925 after a brief bout with pneumonia.


Curtis Gates LloydCurtis Gates Lloyd (July 17, 1859 - November 11, 1926) was born in Florence, Kentucky in 1859, the youngest of three brothers. The Lloyd boys spent long hours exploring the woods of northern Kentucky, developing an interest in natural history, especially botany. This boyhood interest grew into a passion for Curtis, ultimately influencing the direction his life would take. He moved to Cincinnati in the late 1870s and, like his brothers, entered pharmacy practice. While working to earn his certificate, Lloyd continued his study of plants. In 1886, with his brothers John Uri and Nelson Ashley, Lloyd became a partner in Lloyd Brothers Pharmacists. He was to specialize in locating and describing plants with potential medicinal properties; however, a turning point came in 1887 when Lloyd met A. P. Morgan. Morgan, a local mycologist, introduced him to the scientific study of mushrooms, which was developing into a specialized branch of botany. Lloyd's scientific enthusiasm was ever after focused on mushrooms. He was excused from most duties with the family business and, having never married, Lloyd devoted his time and energies almost exclusively to mycology.

He kept offices in Cincinnati, Paris, and London and traveled extensively, examining and collecting specimens and studying existing works on mycology. Lloyd freely disseminated his own findings in the self-published serials Mycological Notes and Puff Ball Letters. He also published several monographs and in the Mycological Series of the Bulletin of the Lloyd Library and Museum of Botany, Pharmacy and Materia Medica. His entire body of writings were gathered together and bound into seven volumes titled Mycological Writings of C. G. Lloyd. Through his many contributions he achieved the role of a prominent authority, as well as being regarded by some as a leading architect of the study of mycology. Although he was opposed to using personal names for identification of mushrooms, several genuses do bear his name.

With his brothers, Lloyd was also instrumental in the development of the Lloyd Library and Museum in Cincinnati (it was often referred to in the press as the "mushroom museum"), especially regarding the well-thought out acquisition of its books. In 1917, he executed the trust that enabled the library to extend operations into the future. He also established the Lloyd Welfare House in Crittenden for the recreation of the city's various church and school groups. He was generous in so many ways to so many people. He gave away toys and books to children in the neighborhood of the library, and was especially generous in this practice at Christmas-time. If there was someone in need, Curtis could be counted on to provide assistance.

Curtis with some native peoples on one of his mycology tripsCurtis Lloyd was an avid and excellent photographer - photography was both a hobby and part of his botanical studies. He took hundreds of photographs of his trips for mycological and botanical investigation. But, while in places like Jamaica and Unidentified man with child at Eden ParkSamoa, he also captured the images of the people who lived there - men, women, and especially children. He took photos of his own family, of Cincinnati and northern Kentucky, and again, there are pictures of just average people living their lives as best they could - workers, children playing in the streets, and more.

Lloyd's only formal education was a few years at the schools in Florence and Crittenden where his parents taught; however, in June 1926 he was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Science by the University of Cincinnati. A few months later, Lloyd died of diabetes. According to his wishes, his body was cremated and the ashes spread on property in Crittenden, which he had inherited and established as the Lloyd Library Botanical Park and Arboretum, now Lloyd Wildlife Management Area. Already on the property was Curtis' tombstone (where it still resides today), through which one understands more fully his "take" on life. It is inscribed on both sides: "Curtis G. Lloyd: Born in 1859 - Died 60 or more years afterwards - - The exact number of years, months, and days that he lived nobody knows and nobody cares," and on the other side "Curtis G. Lloyd: Monument erected in 1922 by himself, for himself, during his life to gratify his own vanity - - What fools these mortals be."

To read more about the Crittenden property and Curtis Lloyd's involvement there, click here.

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