Quest for Great-Grandparents: Fizzy Edition

+11 votes

For this week's great-grandparent challenge, I have chosen people who were involved in the development of soft drinks, pops, or sodas. Most of these people are not connected to the main tree, and none of them have a full set of great-grandparents listed on WikiTree. In order for us to add a list to the Relationship Finder Quick Links page, each person on it needs to have at least one line going back as far as their great-grandparents (and preferably all eight great-grandparents).

The task is to seek out, source, and add profiles for as many missing great-grandparents as you can find. As you take on a soft drink pioneer, and add a new great-grandparent, please post a message here, so we can keep track of how we're doing.

If you manage to connect one of the soft drink pioneers who are not already connected to the main tree, you can count that connection towards the Connectors Challenge, if you're taking part in that. (And, if you happen to find an additional connection path for a soft drink pioneer whose family you're working on, that makes them all the better as a relationship finder!)

If you run across an unsourced profile which is already on WikiTree and add one or more sources to it, you can count that source towards the Sourcerers Challenge, if you're taking part in that. If you can add sources, photos, or biographies, add siblings, children, aunts, uncles, etc., or improve the profiles of these people or their family members in other ways, so much the better!

Name Connected? Great-grandparents Working on
Roy W. Allen (A&W Root Beer) Yes! 2
Edward Barq (Barq's Root Beer) No 0
John J. McLaughlin (Canada Dry Ginger Ale) Yes! 2
Joseph Priestley (Club Soda) Yes 0
John Pemberton (Coca-Cola) Yes 4
Charles Alderton (Dr. Pepper) Yes! 2
Charles E. Hires (Hires Root Beer) Yes! 4
Jeseph Peto (Mission Beverages, Old Dutch Beverages, Mason's Root Beer) No 0
Augustín Trigo Mezquita (Orangina/TriNa) No 0
Caleb Bradham (Pepsi Cola) Yes 4
Claud A. Hatcher (Royal Crown, Nehi) No 0
Charles L. Grigg (Seven Up) No 0
James Vernor (Vernor's Ginger Ale) Yes! 4
in Requests for Project Volunteers by Greg Slade G2G6 Pilot (432k points)
edited by Greg Slade

P.S. I'm not a WikiTree Leader, and have no authority to assign points, credit, or anything like that. My intent with these challenges is for them to be a fun little break from whatever you're doing regularly. (Well, that, and preparing lists of different kinds of notables for the Relationship Finder Quick Links page.) There's no time limit, there are no prizes, and if you have fun finding and adding relatives, then you win. (And WikiTree wins in any case, because the more connected profiles we have, the better the tree is for everybody.)

P.P.S. If this challenge intrigues you, and you think you might like to try finding great-grandparents for other notable people so they can be added to the Relationship Finder Quick Links page, you can find other threads in this series on the How to increase a country's presence on WikiTree page.

After only one day, soft drink pioneers have blown past rocket scientists, and are breathing down the necks of hymn writers in terms of percent complete (12.5%) in finding great-grandparents. (And those poor archivists are sitting there in last place, like they've done pretty much since I launched that challenge.)

And, on the second day, soft drink pioneers have passed hymn writers in terms of percent complete (16.7%) in finding great-grandparents. I thought that possibly appealing to people's taste buds might help attract some attention, and now it turns out that the next challenge to pass is goodie makers, who currently have  24.3% of their potential great-grandparents, although that challenge has been up for three weeks now. I could say that it's going to be a grudge match of food vs. drinks, but with summer coming on (at least in the Northern Hemisphere), somehow, I think that more people are going to be paying attention to drinks. (Besides which, with a longer list, people need to find more goodie makers to move the percentage complete the same amount.)

My wife's family are the descendants of Joseph B. Peto, who started his own bottling company in Chicago some time between 1910 and 1920. He operated his bottling company until about 1946, when he sold it to Triangle Bottling Company in Chicago. His soda brands were Mission Beverage, Old Dutch, and Mason's Root Beer.

Thank you, David. I have added Joseph to the challenge. And he will be challenging. I couldn't find any trace of him, his brands, or Triangle Bottling Company. The closest thing I could find was an article on Mason's Root Beer, and the story there only starts in 1947. Searching for the brand names yielded some vintage bottles up for auction, but not much information. This one is a real puzzle!

Greg, yes, I had difficulty tracing evidence of Joseph's startup company, too. If I didn't know his grandson, personally, who spent hours telling me his family's story, I wouldn't have known about it. He remembered his grandfather's bottling plant and hanging around the plant when he was a little boy.

I have the basic subscription to, but cannot afford the "super deluxe" subscription that lets me read the Chicago Tribune. There may be a few articles in there that may shed some light on the topic.  The Triangle Bottling Company is mentioned at Bizpedia. Here are a few peripheral references, but none that directly mention's Joseph:,4709

Fortunately, the 1920 and 1930 censuses for Joseph list his occupation, which agrees with the family stories. I ended up receiving several early formularies that Joseph had owned, and which give recipes for root beer and sodas (amongst many other things). I also received some of his old tools, gauges, and other neat things, but nothing that is clearly marked by him. 

I've found an article on the company and the Petos in a 1940 edition of the Southtown Economist. I'll try and private message you a copy, David.
The article that Laurie found and shared with me is now transcribed to Joseph Peto's (Peto-58) profile. Thank you very much, Laurie.
You're welcome. I love a good mystery! I thought it was interesting that Joseph tried to make his soft drinks healthy as well as tasty.
Laurie, thank you also for discovering that he worked as a salesman for the Coca Cola Co. in Chicago. I didn't know that. He must have been moonlighting for his own startup while working for Coca Cola.

7 Answers

+8 votes
I clicked a bit through some documents. The paternal grandfather of Joseph Priestley is listed on FamilySearch with two different birthyears (1699 (twice) and 1698) and his daughter Mary is here listed with years 1730 until 1733. I found a Mary Priestley as daughter of Jonas Priestley with the years 1737 until 1741.

I'm not too sure about all this, so I didn't add any documents.
by Jelena Eckstädt G2G6 Pilot (689k points)
Thank you for your caution, Jelena! People like you who do not make unsubstantiated connections help make WikiTree a trustworthy family tree.
Thanks Star, but when I absolutely don't know a family I'm always mistrusting (is that the word) when the data on WT don't fit to the data on the documents I find.
There are a few of them with bad trees elsewhere. Roy Allen has a bad tree at Ancestry (with two clear errors) and John Pemberton also has questions in trees elsewhere (there is already a comment on his father's WikiTree questioning the common connection at other sites).  This challenge might be harder than the others.
+10 votes
Well, who could not participate in a "Fizzy Edition?" What a great idea. I'll see what I can do regarding Mr. McLaughlin.
by Laurie Cruthers G2G6 Pilot (141k points)
He is now connected through his brother's wife.
Great job, Laurie!

Wow! That was quick! yes

Thanks you two, but alas, the maternal g-gs are proving troublesome. Makes me realize how lucky I am not to have Smiths in my family. Think I might drown my sorrows with a gingerale!
+5 votes
I was just looking at Edward Barq.  In his bio, his parents, siblings, and spouse are listed but aren't listed in the profile.
by Rhonda Zimmerman G2G6 Pilot (197k points)
They are on the census and other records.  I know I added the documentary evidence to provide details for finding records for the others.  The whole idea was to provide enough "hints" for someone else to create profiles for parents and siblings (the idea of this challenge).  

I just created base profiles for his parents, but they need more research.  I'm moving back to the work I do best--writing biographies.
+6 votes
James Vernor will show as connected tomorrow
by S Stevenson G2G6 Pilot (104k points)
I added/connected some of his father line but I did not have much luck on his mother's side.

Wow! Connected, and with four great-grandparents, and so fast! I'm so impressed! yes

+6 votes
DR. PEPPER? On it!
by Rebecca Peterson G2G6 Mach 1 (16.4k points)
I see that Charles Alderton now has a great-grandfather!
And a 2nd wife, a whole bunch of cousins and extended family too but still not connected. Im still working it!
+4 votes
Hires should show as connected tomorrow, has 4 greats.  again did not have much luck on his mother's side.
by S Stevenson G2G6 Pilot (104k points)

And he does! Thank you! yes

+2 votes

Somebody connected Roy Allen, and added two great-grandparents, so this challenge is now 18.3% complete. Unfortunately, in terms of percent complete, that still leaves it in last place, just 0.1% behind Hymn Writers. In terms of great-grandparents still to find, it's in tenth place.

by Greg Slade G2G6 Pilot (432k points)

I spoke too soon! Alderton is now connected and has another great-grandparent, and Pemberton has two more great-grandparents, so this challenge is now in 11th place in terms of percent complete at 21.2%, and in ninth place in terms of great-grandparents to find at 82.

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