The Howes of Oxford, Ohio and how they came to TUMS

In 1860 Milton Howe, 42, sometime postmaster of Oxford, was living with his wife Matilda in the town.  He writes a chatty letter to his cousin Cornelia: "Perhaps you would like to know what I am doing this summer. I am chopping wood, picking brush, burning trash, making fences helping plant corn, ---- my "tater" patch, Clerking in the store, trying to collect money and other occupations too -------- to mention. We have about 20 acres of corn on our land and it looks pretty well I think we will raise enough corn to have plenty of -- next winter. Can't you come and help? All your old friends here are in good healthy none of them married and no prospects. We are all in usual health and send our best love to you all and a good portion to your own dear self. O I wish you were here so I could pinch you a little, my fingers ache to get a hold of you, but I will have to wait. Excuse haste, you know the male starts early and I am not an early riser. Respectfully Your Affec. Coz, Milt Howe"

In 1860, the youngest daughters of Richard & Elizabeth Dunkerton, farmers from England, were all living in and around their family home at Bloomfield where they were born, the opposite side of the state to the Howes.  A sister, a good twenty years older, lived at Oxford in Butler County, and Libbie paid her a visit.

While there, she found the town's postmaster, Mr Milton Howe, had lost his wife.  So in February 1865, the postmaster took a new wife, Elizabeth "Libbie" Dunkerton.

Polk County, Missouri

Augustus Lewis, a chemist and pharmacist, owned the A. H. Lewis Medicine Company, makers of Nature's Remedy. Lewis - a pharmacist who used the title Doctor, was affectionately known as "Papa" Lewis. He lived in his later years with the Taylors on Forsyth.  His second wife, Carrie died in late July 1905 after 15 years' marriage.

The Taylors lived at 6352 Forsyth in Clayton, Missouri, built 1910. Mrs Taylor created a home filled with warmth and treasures. With the help of a domestic staff, she made sure the house and grounds were kept in impeccable condition. Ida presided at dinners with great relish: "at Christmas the house was filled with music from the grand piano in the stairway hall. The acoustics were incredible". In 1920 the Taylors already had a chauffeur. The couple feature in Men of Affairs in Saint Louis: A Newspaper Reference Book (1915).


Mr and Mrs JMC Howe died leaving 3 or 4 small children. 

After his parents died, James H. Howe was raised by an uncle, A. H. Lewis, in Bolivar, Mo.  Howe came to work for Lewis at his drug store aged 14. Five years later, he was certified as a pharmacist in Missouri and joined his uncle in business. Lewis and Howe moved the business to St. Louis in 1901. A neighbour, Frank Below, remembered terrible smells emanating from the medicines that James Howe concocted in his St Louis basement.  In 1928 he took an old mason jar on an overseas trip.  It contained some of the tablets he had developed in his basement.


The Howe Home, 8270 Big Bend Boulevard, 1908, is an outstanding example of Craftsman architecture following the 1904 St Louis World Fair. Art nouveau details include stylised wrought iron vines. A first-floor ballroom was added in 1916. Webster University purchased the Howe house in 1989 at the death of James H. Howe, Jr. William T. Dooley, Sr. was the Secretary of the Lewis-Howe Company. In 1933 he and Mrs Dooley moved into a new house on the site of Below's property at 8260. This is now Pearson House, also part of Webster University.

TUMS was the brainchild of pharmacist Jim Howe, who embarked on an ocean voyage in 1928 with his wife, Nelle.

When Mrs Howe experienced indigestion he offered her his mint-flavored remedy with calcium carbonate. It worked - not only for her, but for other passengers on the ship.

The product was launched by the Lewis-Howe Company in 1930. (Lewis had died in 1928, and Howe was added to the company name.)

A nurse at Jefferson Barracks in south St Louis County came up with the winning name in a radio contest. The company was acquired by the GlaxoSmithKline group in the 1980s.

TUMS is still going strong over seventy years after its conception.

* born in Trumbull County in Ohio