John Uri Lloyd

Stringtown on the Pike/John Uri Lloyd

Historical Marker #2540 in Florence commemorates pharmacist and novelist John Uri Lloyd. Born in New York in 1849, his family moved to Florence, Kentucky in 1853.

John Uri Lloyd was the first of three sons to Nelson and Sofia Lloyd. His two younger brothers were Nelson Lloyd and Curtis Lloyd. The Lloyd brothers’ parents were teachers and, although their children did not have much formal education, taught their children. Not only did they teach them, the brothers were told to learn through their life experiences and what they enjoyed. For John Uri Lloyd, his interests were in nature, such as plants, or flora, and animals, or fauna. Once discovered that he was in love with nature, Lloyd’s parents encouraged him to dig deeper by conducting experiments involving nature. As he grew up, Lloyd began doing chemistry experiments which led him into the world of pharmaceuticals.

At the age of 14, Lloyd’s parents were able to get him a job as a druggist apprentice, or a pharmacist. It was during this time period of his life that Lloyd got into Eclecticism, which relied on medical plant-based treatments. Lloyd apprenticed at W.J.M Gordon and Brother in Cincinnati for two years. He then went to George Eger and apprenticed there for two years to further his knowledge before he went back to Gordon and Brother. While he apprenticed under these fine pharmacists, he caught the eye of Dr. John King, who was known for his eclectic practices, because Lloyd could compound prescriptions and make his own changes and innovations. Dr. King was able to arrange for Lloyd to get a job as a chemist at H.M. Merrell, a pharmacist whose specialization was eclectic preparation of medicine, in 1870.

While working at Merrell’s pharmacy, Lloyd was able to learn the trade much more sufficiently. Since eclectic pharmacists used substances that were more concentrated and fresher, as opposed to traditional pharmacists who relied on more dry ingredients. Eclectic pharmacists also preferred using native American plants rather than foreign. Lloyd spent seven years working as a chemist at Merrell’s firm and while there he was able to research the pharmaceutical advancement and learned the role of an eclectic pharmacist. By 1877 he was able to become a partner with Merrell and T.C. Thorp and their pharmacy became Merrell, Thorp, and Lloyd.

While a part of that firm, Lloyd tried to go into business with his brothers, Nelson and Curtis, who were also pharmacist to open their very own pharmacy. After several attempts, the brothers finally opened Lloyd Brothers Pharmacists Inc. in 1885. It was extremely successful and was operated by the Lloyd’s until 1938, when it was sold to S.B. Pennick Company.

Despite being highly skilled in the pharmaceutical ways, Lloyd was much more than that. While working as a pharmacist, he was able to conduct a lot of research which led him publish several books and other entries on the eclectic subject in pharmacy. His first was a publication in the Eclectic Medical Journal in 1870. He continued publishing articles on the subject, which gained him more recognition in the field. Lloyd was also a college professor at the Cincinnati Eclectic Medical institute from 1878 to 1895 and at the Cincinnati College of Pharmacy from 1883 to 1887. He taught chemistry and pharmacy at both. With his accomplishments, Lloyd won three Ebert prizes, for outstanding research in the pharmacy field, in 1882, 1891, and 1916. Lloyd also became the president of the American Pharmaceutical Association in 1887. In 1920 he received the Remington Medal, which is the pharmacy field’s highest honor, for distinguished service in the industry.

Later in his life, Lloyd also invented several apparatuses for the medical field and received patents for those items. He invented or improved the cold still extractor, an atropine sulfate that was used on eye wounds during WWI, and a medicine dropper and syringe. Lloyd also started the Lloyd Library in downtown Cincinnati with an extensive collection of medical books. While partnered with his brothers, his book collection grew extensively, and the library was incorporated in 1898. Later, in 1917, Curtis Lloyd ensured its survival by opening a trust fund for it.

Along with his book collection and scholar writings, John Uri Lloyd also wrote several novels. His first novel, Etidorhpa; or The End of the Earth, was published in 1895. But, his most well-known is the Stringtown series beginning with Stringtown on the Pike, published in 1900. The string town series was set in Florence, Ky and reflected stories of his youth while living there. The next two, Warwick of the Knobs: A Story of Stringtown County, Kentucky and Felix Moses: The Beloved Jew of Stringtown, were published in 1901 and 1930, respectively.

Lloyd was married twice, once in 1876 to Adeline Meader, unfortunately she passed away 11 days after they were married of acute peritonitis. He married again in 1880 to Emma Rouse and together they raised three children: John Thomas, Dorothy, and Anna. While visiting his daughter in California John Uri Lloyd died of pneumonia in 1936. After being cremated, his remains were brought back to Hopeful Lutheran Church where he was buried in his beloved Florence, Kentucky.

The marker reads:

Stringtown on the Pike -

Nickname given to Florence's historic Main Street area by J.U. Lloyd in 1900 with publication of his local color novel set in his boyhood hometown. Area included homes, churches, shops, hotels, & post office. Old Town Hall, razed in 1971, was used for school, Masons, polling, police court & local Historical Society. Sponsored by City of Florence.

John Uri Lloyd (1849-1936) -

Born in NY, came to Boone Co. KY in 1853. Pharmacist, chemist, inventor & eclectic herbal medicine pioneer. Wrote series of novels based on local folklore including Stringtown on the Pike in 1900. Founded Lloyd Library & Museum in Cincinnati. Legacy includes local street names & Lloyd Memorial High School. Sponsored by Boone Co. Historical Society.

This marker was dedicated May 7, 2019.