What Do Asa Candler and John Pemberton Have In Common?

From an addict to a billionaire.

Photo by Fabrizio Chiagano on Unsplash

John Pemberton was a biochemist and suffered from a sabre wound to the chest from fighting in the Civil War in 1865 at the Battle of Columbus in Georgia. He therefore became addicted to morphine to quell his pain.

He wanted to devise a natural drink to help his pain and used many different ingredients. After much experimentation, he finally put together the ingredients from coca leaves and kola nuts along with sugar, carbonation and caffeine. This seemed to be a workable formula and started selling it. Adding carbonation was an accident, but it worked. He thought he should sell it as a fountain drink instead of a tonic or medicine.

Pemberton made many health claims for his product, touting it as a “valuable brain tonic” that would cure headaches, relieve exhaustion, and calm nerves, and marketed it as “delicious, refreshing, pure joy, exhilarating”, and “invigorating” drink.

Pemberton fell ill from his morphine addiction and still, constant pain, and started selling rights to his formula to business partners in Atlanta. Asa Candler was one of those partners and finally bought the rest of the rights to the formula after Pemberton died of stomach cancer in 1888 at the age of 57.

And the rest is history. Asa Candler and family turned this formula into the most recognized drink in the world. They made millions over and over again. They lived in Atlanta, Georgia and built and bought real estate. There are many mansions still left to this day from their legacy.

Back row L-R: Charles Howard, Asa Jr. Front row L-R: William, Asa Sr. (father), Walter, Lucy, and Lucy Elizabeth (mother). Source: US Library of Congress
Google Image

One of the properties they built was named Callan Castle and built in the Druid Hills-Inman park area of Atlanta.

Callan Castle ( completed 1904) as it stands today. Source: Wikipedia
Asa Candler Jr. and family. Source: Emory University Archives
Charles Howard Candler’s first home. Personal photo taken during the 2017 Inman Park Tour of Homes.

And there are so many more.

Asa Candler’s family shares were bought out by Ernest Woodruff In 1919. It seems money was more important to the children than anything else.

Asa Candler, Sr. is interred in Westview Cemetary, in Atlanta in 1929.

Asa Griggs Candler, Sr. 1851–1929 Google image
Family plot Google Image

You could go on and on about this family legacy which built Atlanta. We will end it here. If you are from the Atlanta area as I am and didn’t know the history, I have found myself very frustrated about it. I have seen some of the homes first-hand and they are all magnificent. My advice: know the history of your surroundings because it could be very upsetting in your old age. The frustration of being there but not knowing is perplexing to say the least.

Jo Ann Harris is an author, parent, book devotee, writer, copywriter, and film fanatic. She is an autodidact who learns about everything and rows her own boat. She grew up and worked in Atlanta, Georgia and lived there sixty years. She writes articles about love, hope, personal life stories, advice and poems. She is a published author with an article published in Woman’s World magazine in October, 2017.

Multiple genre writer. Writer for Crow’s Feet, Family and Children, Illumination. Honesty & integrity count. Editor for Wreader. A specialist in eclecticism.

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