Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Dr. Peter Fahrney

Dr. Peter Fahrney made a fortune in proprietary medicines. He was a grandson of the famed "walking doctor" Peter Fahrney of Maryland (from whom he inherited his formulas). He moved from Pennsylvania to Illinois in 1865 and to Chicago in 1869. He developed there a business with an international clientele producing and distributing patent medicines, of which the best known was Dr. Peter's Blood Cleanser or Panacea.

He rebounded from the loss of his laboratory in the great Chicago fire of October 1871, shipping his product again within a few weeks. Fahrney advertised widely in Brethren periodicals, often printing testimonials from Brethren leaders.

He died in 1905 a multi-millionaire, reputedly the wealthiest member of the Brethren. Soon after arriving in Illinois, he had written an article for the Christian Family Companion entitled "Dying Rich"; it begins, "Of all the cases of human folly which men are addicted to, few are more common that the desire to hoard up wealth, that they may die rich." It continues, "Think of these selfish, narrow-minded, close-fisted souls at the bar of God, giving an account of their stewardship. They spent their life in hoarding up wealth, and had the honor of dying rich, and now the Master is auditing their accounts!"

Source: Fruit of the Vine, Durnbaugh