In 1847, James Smith moved to Poughkeepsie, New York from Quebec, Canada to establish a
restaurant. He had been born in Scotland and emigrated to Canada in 1831. He and his wife
had sons William and Andrew.
In Poughkeepsie James Smith opened an ice cream shop called James Smith and Son. The
restaurant, later known as Smith Brothers, became a Poughkeepsie institution on Market Street.
It was to become as revered by locals as the noted Nelson House. James purchased a cough
drop recipe from a peddler named Sly Hawkins and in 1852 the first batch was produced.
In 1852 James Smith took his first advertisement in the local paper inviting all “afflicted with
hoarseness, coughs or colds” to test his “cough candy” which he began selling on a small scale
circa 1850. ln 1866, following their father’s death, they inherited their father’s business and
the company officially became known as Smith Brothers.
ln 1872 the brothers developed the famed packaging which shows their likenesses. lt was one
of the first “factory filled” packages ever developed in this country. In the Smith Brothers
packaging the word Trade was found under William’s picture and the word Mark was found
under Andrew’s picture. This is how to millions of Americans they became known as Trade and
Mark and not as William and Andrew.
William was the philanthropist and community leader acting on behalf of the brothers. He
donated $140,000.00 to expand the Vassar Warner Home on South Hamilton Street and land in
Southfield, Massachusetts for Camp Wa Wa Segowea.
Andrew, born in 1836, never married and died in 1895. However, his brother William, who was
born in St. Armand, Quebec, Canada had offspring and continued as President of Smith
Brothers almost to his death in 1913. This was the end of the second generation of family
After his death, son Arthur G. Smith took over and the business continued to succeed. Menthol
cough drops were added in 1922, a cough syrup in 1926 and the noted wild cherry flavor in
1948. The fourth generation was Arthur’s sons William Wallace Smith and Robert Lansing
Smith. lt was continued as a family business until 1964 when it was purchased by Warner-
Lambert. ln 1977 manufacturing was moved to Chicago, Illinois.
The Smith Brothers are buried in the Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery.
Information used in the preparation of this article was gleaned from several sources including recent articles in the
POUGHKEEPSIE JOURNAL and from the official Smith Brothers web site