River Road Driving Tour

News Ferry Once Booming
Exporter of Lithia Water

From the News & Record

Nearly a century ago, lithia water was a widely respected treatment and sometimes cure for a host of physical maladies, and one of the booming companies serving this tonic to the nation was the News Ferry Lithia Water Company of Halifax County.

Physicians as well as laymen swore by the benefits of the water. People in all walks of life used it. The News Ferry company shipped the water everywhere.

In a special booklet expounding the merits of its product, the News Ferry Lithia Water Company included an acknowledgment of no less an authority than the President of the United States, Benjamin Harrison. Said Mr. Harrison: "Gents — allow me to thank you kindly for the last shipment of News Ferry Lithia Water."

There were dozens of endorsements of the product, many by prominent physicians of the day who used the water in their practices. Typical of the people who were restored to health by the News Ferry water was A. L. Welch, who journeyed from his home in Anderson, S. C., to partake of the water at its source. Later, Mr. Welch wrote to the company:

"I guess you think I am a long time writing you, hope you will excuse delay, as I wanted to give the News Ferry Lithia Water a fair trial. Last June I reached your place one of the greatest sufferers that ever lived with kidney and bladder trouble. You remember my health was so impaired that a spoonful of rice would sour on my stomach and I could not sleep two hours at a time, my suffering was so excruciating I had but little idea of returning home, and that little was based on God's remedy, pure Lithia Water. My weight was one hundred and forty-nine pounds when I began drinking the water, I gained six pounds in two months. By September I was home attending to business. I now weigh 175 pounds, which is my usual weight. I have drank about a half gallon of lithia a day since June, and will continue to use it longer, because it is the only remedy for kidney and bladder trouble."

The ad used by the News Ferry Lithia Water Company made startling claims of its benefits. It read like this:

Do you sleep? Are your nerves troublesome? Does insomnia make your life a burden? Why don't you try News Ferry Lithia Water, the greatest discovery of the age. A pure bright and soothing natural water, bottled as it comes from the earth, and guaranteed to relieve all nervous troubles, loss of sleep and depression of spirits, without using drugs or medicines. Your physician says that there is nothing so good as News Ferry Lithia Water, for insomnia, nervous depression, nervous prostration, loss of rest, loss of appetite, kidney troubles, eczema, stone in bladder, inflammation of bladder, Brights disease, dyspepsia and nervousness. Insist upon having only News Ferry Lithia Water—take no other. See that the name is blown in the glass — none other genuine.

Expanding upon the claims made in the advertisement, a page in the company's booklet included this "indicated use of the water:"

"This water is indicated in all disorders dependent upon Uric acid Diathesis, Gout, Rheumatic Gout, Rheumatism, Gravel and Stone in the bladder, in Chronic Brights Disease and in all affections of the Kidneys, Bladder and Urethra requiring Alkaline treatment. In the various diseases of the Digestive Organs, including Dyspepsia, Liver Diseases, Jaundice, etc., it had proved highly efficacious.

In Habitual Constipation and in hemorrhoids dependent upon a torpid condition of the liver, it is a remedy of great excellence. The relief afforded by it in Constipation is not due to any decided laxative property, but to its alterative power over the sections, and while in some of these cases its effects are prompt, in others the continuous use of the water for weeks or possibly for months may be required to accomplish the desired result.

In some of the Affections peculiar to women, and especially in Suppressed and Painful Menstruation it is an efficient remedy.

In Chronic Malarious Fevers of every variety it is confidently claimed to be a specific. In Blood Poisoning it will be found a potent agent.

Remarkable results from its use in the Albuminuria, Nausea and Uraemic Poisoning of Pregnancy, and in the Al buminuria and poisoned Effections of Scarlatina! patients are reported.

Distinguished mediall authority also ascribes to it a peculiar power as a Nerve 'Tonic. The best evidence that it possesses to its peculiar power as a Nervous Tonic, is the remarkable relief afforded in some cases in which its good effects can be ascribed only to its action upon the Nervous System."

The water sold for $5 a case, the case contains a dozen half-gallon bottles. The company's booklet also contained a glowing description of News Ferry and environs and extolled the place's virtue as a "resort for the invalid and pleasure seeker."

"News Ferry, went the description, "is a quiet country village in Halifax County, Va., situated immediately upon the line of the Richmond & Danville Railroad, one hundred and eighteen miles from the city of Richmond and eighteen miles from Danville. There are four trains daily, North and South, thus making close connection with routes leading East and West, with ample telegraph and mail facilities in every direction. It is 1400 feet above the sealevel and sufficiently removed from the coast 250 miles to escape the heavy salt air, with its depressing influence upon the delicate invalid. These wells have attained a natural reputation of the curative powers of its waters in a broader range of human diseases than any other known mineral water, in this or any other country, surpassing in efficacy the famous waters of Europe. The beauty of its location, its refined and cultured society, its quiet rural scenery and surroundings, render it particularly attractive as a resort for, the invalid and pleasure seeker. The Dan River, bordered with luxuriant willows and ivy, sparkling in the sunshine and reflecting upon its placid bosom the beauties of the sky at twilight, meanders peacefully at the town's base, on its way to the sea. Beyond and around are verdant hills, native forests and fertile valleys, forming a picture of rare beauty and grandeur. Fishing, bathing and boating will afford pleasure to those who delight in such sport; and the 'drives' around the village and far out into the county are all that could be desired. Baptist, Presbyterian, and Christian churches in easy distance and an Episcopal church in the village."

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