Sequah Prairie Flower bottle

Sequah Prairie Flower bottle


The idea of selling a quack remedy based on a Native American cure was the brainchild of William Henry Hartley, the original ‘Sequah’. Hartley, who claimed to have come upon the cure in his travels in frontierland, marketed it as a healing tonic prepared from the concentrated and evaporated waters of the ‘Sequah Springs’. An accomplished travelling salesman, he toured the UK, dressed in Native American garb, giving ‘lectures’ and demonstrations. Gimmicks to attract large crowds included musical warm-ups and theatrical displays. Soon there were imitators, claiming to sell the same product. The Sequah quack doctors (or ‘lecturers’, as they were called) began to appear all over the country. Under increasing pressure from sceptical inquirers, the company went into liquidation in 1895; the product was exposed as a quack cure in 1897, but the company wasn’t dissolved until 1909. Prairie Flower was one of two main products sold. It was supposed to cure rheumatism and all chronic diseases. The chief ingredient was aloes. The discovery of this bottle indicates that a Sequah lecturer at some point visited Yarmouth to ply his quackery among summer visitors on the seafront.

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