John Stith Pemberton
Some background information on the gentleman featured in this year's Confederate History & Heritage Poster.
John Stith Pemberton was a druggist in Columbus, GA, a colonel in the Confederate Army and part of the Confederate forces that defended Columbus from Gen. James Wilson's raiders in April 1865.
Wilson's raiders had come through Mississippi, Alabama (where it went through Selma, Montgomery & Tallassee) and on into Georgia. Columbus claims this was the last battle of the war but that is doubtful. What did happen is that the Federals were too strong for the Confederate defenders and Columbus was captured. For those who have been to the Confederate Naval Museum and seen the gunboat, Jackson, it was scuttled to prevent its capture by the Yankees.
Pemberton received a wound from a saber during the battle. He was treated with laudanum (tincture of opium) for his pain and became addicted to opium. Seeking a cure for his addiction he developed a concoction containing extract of coca (cocaine), which did cure his addiction. He began to sell it as Pemberton's French Wine Cola.
He moved to Atlanta, where he sold the formula to Asa Candler who marketed it as a beverage. In my young days, some of the older folks used to call a Coke 'a dope' even thought the extract of coca was replaced by caffeine around 1905.
John Stith Pemberton is buried in the Linwood Cemetery in Columbus, GA. His grave is not far from the grave of Anna Gertrude Hood, youngest child of Gen. John Bell Hood. Asa Candler's son-in-law, Robert Woodruff, took over the company upon Candler's death and during WWII made Coke a world wide drink, shipping it to the soldiers overseas.
John H Land, Semple Camp SCV #2002
12 Feb 2018