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JIM: My-Cola or My Coca? wherein orther unmuddies the waters

Herewith, with no credit to his esteemed cousin, the Venerable Watson, "Jim" once again discovers the answer to the question of the day: My Cola or My Coca? And employs the standard deflectory device, answer a question with a question, wondering, In awed accusitiveness, why no one has entered the prime Adair County heritage word "dope," in the Great Wooded South Lexicon. He's also challenging inquisititor Marlton Loy or some other one to bring forth photographic proof of a "My Coca" bottle

By "Jim"

Many thanks to Mr. Loy for bringing this up. His question concerning My-Coca / My-Cola sent this humble scryer scurrying back fivescore and one years to clearify the mystery. (Said scryer will leave it to the gentle readers of CM to determine his measure of success, if any.)


The front page article in the March 15, 1910 News (or to be more precise, a digital scan of the original newspaper) clearly refers to My-Cola. However, this chrono-traveler's eyes misread--and his recalcitrant fingersmistyped--one of the words in the transcription done last year. The corrected page eight 8 advertisement referred to in the "100 years ago" column in question reads thus (and quite muddies the water!):

Columbia Bottling Company
Columbia, KentuckyContract bottlers of

"My-Coca"

My-Cola is made from the Original
Coca-Cola formula. We also make
full line of Pops and drinks including

Grape - Cascade
Ginger Ale

And the Leading Soda Pops


This ad, with references both to My-Coca and My-Cola, appeared in the News for several weeks in March, April and May, 1911.

In late 1911,Tanner W. Ottley (almost certainly, My-Coca / My-Cola bottler W.T. Ottley) penned a letter to the News from Clarksville, Tenn., apparently while on trip drumming up orders for his product. Mr. Ottley wrote, in part,

I wish to say here that Columbia stands head and shoulders above any thing double its population...In my work Columbia is being well advertised. I talk Columbia, and inject it into every conversation possible, as being the home of Jim Garnett; the best citizenship; the best water; [and] last but not least, "My Coca'" and many other good things too numerous to calculate here.

A few years later (February 20, 1918) an ad for G.H. Nell & Son, bottlers, informed readers that "We make and sell My-Coca for all seasons."

Earlier that year, a notice from the Nells, who also ran an "Up-To-Date Sanitary Grocery House," among other enterprises, announced that "All bottles from our plant will be charged to our customers at 4c apiece, and no credit given until same are returned. These bottles cost us at the factory 6c. We are charging them to you at 4c."

The Nells' product apparently was quite popular, as the August 14, 1918 edition reported that "At the old soldier's picnic at Weed, last week, Nell & Son, sold 195 cases of dope..."

(As an aside, it's nigh onto impossible to believe no one has added "dope"--as used above--to Mr. Fudge's GWS lexicon.)

If any one has a My Coca bottle, perhaps he or she will be kind enough to submit a photo of it CM.

s/ "Jim"


This story was posted on 2011-05-08 09:37:29
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