George D. Anson, Essex Merchant

ACME, Marseilles White Spray Soaps, sold by Essex merchant Geo D. Anson.
ACME, Marseilles White Spray Soaps, sold by Essex merchant Geo D. Anson.

Ever scouring the midden heaps—real and virtual—for Essex artifacts, I came across these curiosities. These ACME “picture cards” were offered as incentives to soap customers. Save ACME brand Marseilles White Spray Soap wrappers, mail them to Lautz Bros & Co. (located in Buffalo, New York), and receive these odd collectibles. Think of them as the colorful baubles of an early brand loyalty scheme.

Why am I sharing these?

Flip the cards and you find this.

George D. Anson, Essex Merchant

It turns out that Essex merchant Geo. D. Anson (aka George D. Anson) was offering these to patrons of his general store in the late nineteenth century, yet another reminder of our industrious forebears in this once bustling community.

We learn a bit more about George D. Anson here:

George D. Anson established a store in the building now occupied by him in 188o. It is the same building which H. D. Edwards had used as a store years ago, but it had been vacant for some time when Mr. Anson came into it. (Source: “History of Essex, New York”, Chapter XXXIV (pp. 540-559) of History of Essex County with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of its Prominent Men and Pioneers, edited by H. P. Smith, published by D. Mason & Co., Publishers and Printers, 63 West Water St., Syracuse, NY 1885.)

And, if the data logged at Find A Grave Memorial is correct, then we know the following about George D. Anson:

Birth: 1839
Death: 1902
Parent: Serena Spear Anson (1800-1887)
Spouse: Caroline Stower Anson (1847-1877)
Children: Edward S Anson (1875-1946), Laura S Anson (1877-1954)
Burial: Essex Cemetery, Essex, New York
Source: Heidi McColgan (

I can’t personally vouch for the family tree since it leapfrogs my research, but it seems plausible. (Special thanks to Heidi McColgan and Karen Kelly for the information and photos.)

Anson’s Store and Anson’s Dairy

This is my first discovery that George D. Anson ran a store in Essex circa 1880. I hope to learn more about him/it in part because I’d like to know if this is the same Anson family that ran a dairy in Wadhams when I grew up. (See “Homeport in Wadhams, NY“, “Hickory Hill and Homeport“,  etc.)

Vintage milk top from Anson's Dairy in Wadhams, NY
Vintage milk top from Anson’s Dairy in Wadhams, NY

I grew up in Wadhams when there was still a post office, a general store, and an Agway farm supply store. Does that sound like a Norman Rockwell calendar illustration? It certainly does when you add a milkman into the mix.

Rain snow or shine Mr. Anson delivered the brunt of our breakfast ingredients. Each week he drove or walked (if too snowy or icy to drive) up our steep driveway lugging his fresh provisions. He let himself in, dropped off the goods, picked up a check that my mother left for him once a month, and continued on his way.

The good old days… (Source: Essex on Lake Champlain)

Off to poke around some more! (Please let me know if you can help fill in the gaps.)

About virtualDavis

A writer, storyteller and unabashed flâneur, George Davis (aka virtualDavis or G.G. Davis, Jr.) is the author of Rosslyn Redux: Reawakening a home, a dream and ourselves, a transmedia chronicle about rehabilitating an historic property in the Adirondacks with his bride. He blogs about storytelling, poetry, doodling, marginalia, flânerie, publishing, and other creativity-inspired esoterica at; posts sometimes exhilarating, often unnerving, occasionally euphoric, and always pollyanna "midlife mashups" at; chronicles his sailing adventures (and misadventures) at Sailing Errant; and delves into matters of parenting, babylandia, and childfreedom at Why No Kids? George formerly taught and coached at Santa Fe Preparatory School and The American School of Paris, and he co-founded and launched Maison Margaux: "Paris à la parisienne" in Faubourg Saint-Germain. He currently owns and operates Adobe Oasis in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his bride. George meanders on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube and Flickr.
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