Message In a Bottle
The pictured liquor bottle almost certainly was used by William Adams Hickman.
It was found by bottle hunter David Yarborough about 1996 in an old outhouse pit adjacent to Bill Hickman's two-story adobe brick home at Hoganville, west of Stockton, Utah, and given to Hope and Lynn Hilton. Stockton is 5 miles south of Tooele City. To locate Hoganville on a map, click here. It will be marked with a red "+".
Bill Hickman was the first permanent settler in Rush Valley. He built the home there in 1861. The home is still standing and occupied. Mr. Yarborough excavated 17 bottles from this particular outhouse pit, this bottle was stratigraphically the lowest, and probably dates to the early 1870s.
The bottle is very dark green in color; it appears black until held up to the sun. Bottles such as this were very crudely made, and in those early days of glassworking, no two bottles were alike. Before purchase it was corked and its neck was probably wrapped in foil; an adhesive of some kind (perhaps beeswax) can still be seen near the bottle's mouth. The bottom of the bottle is concave perhaps to make it easier to stack them for transport and also to make it appear to hold more liquid than it really does. The bottle is about 10 inches high and 2 7/8 inches in diameter.
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are discouraged from partaking of alcohol. Bill Hickman, a devout member of that church is known from many references to have freely used it. A possible reason why he may have done this without guilt can be explored by clicking here.
BILL HICKMAN WHISKEY BOTTLE
Years ago David Yarborough was digging out what remained of the hole under an outhouse (!) about 40 yards southeast of the Bill Hickman 2 story adobe house in Hogansville, Utah (This is adjacent to Stockton). He found MANY old bottles which date to the decade of the 1860's, (when Bill lived there.) He gave me this whiskey bottle. This could really belong to old Bill. This bottle is at least 130 years old. In my minds eye, I can visualize grandpa Bill sitting in the privy, drinking his alcohol out of sight of his wives and discarding the empty bottle in the hole beneath the outhouse.
Lynn M. Hilton,
Photos courtesy of
Lynn M. Hilton,
Salt Lake City, UT
To return to the Hickman Family Index page, click here.