James Vernor
Privacy Level: Open (White)

James Vernor (1843 - 1927)

James Vernor
Born in Albany, Albany County, New York, United States of Americamap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 1 Oct 1873 in Detroit, Wayne, Michigan, United Statesmap
Died in Grosse Ile, Wayne County, Michigan, United States of Americamap
Profile last modified | Created 19 Nov 2016
This page has been accessed 181 times.


Notables Project
James Vernor is Notable.

James Vernor was born in Albany, New York, United States. While employed at Higby and Sterns' Drug Store in Detroit, Vernor began experimenting with ginger ale. After the start of the American Civil War, he enlisted and served with the 4th Michigan Cavalry from 1862-1865, becoming a Second Lieutenant before being discharged.[1]

When he returned from the war, Vernor opened a drug store and sold his Vernor's Ginger Ale at its soda fountain.

According to company legend, when Vernor left to serve in the war he had stored his experimental ginger ale syrup base in an oak cask. After returning four years later, he opened the keg and found the drink had changed through the aging process. He declared it "Deliciously different," which became the drink's motto. However, in a 1936 interview, son James Vernor, Jr. suggested that his father did not develop the formula until after the war, a theory confirmed by former company president James Vernor Davis in a 1962 interview. According to the 1911 trademark application on "Vernor's" as a name for ginger ale and extract, Vernors did not enter commerce until 1880, years after returning from the war.

In 1896, Vernor and his son James Vernor, II. closed the drugstore and together opened a new soda fountain and organized a manufacturing plant. By 1915, they expanded operations to include a bottling company, which widely manufactured Vernor's Ginger Ale.

Vernor was one of the original members of the Michigan Board of Pharmacy, formed in 1887, and held License No. 1 throughout his career. Vernor also served on the Detroit City Council for 25 years.

James died in Grosse Ile, Michigan on October 29, 1927 from pneumonia and influenza[2]. He is buried at Woodmere Cemetery in the southwest section of Detroit.


  1. Carroon, Robert Girard. "Commanders-in-Chief Biographies: Mr. James Vernor Jr". Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States. Retrieved 2014-08-22.
  2. "Michigan Death Certificates, 1921-1952," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KF7R-TR5 : 12 December 2014), John T Vernor in entry for James Vernor, 29 Oct 1927; citing Grosse Ile, Wayne, Michigan, United States, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics, Lansing; FHL microfilm 1,973,140.
  • "United States Census, 1860", database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MW6W-VPF : 30 December 2015), James Vernor in entry for J T Vernor, 1860.
  • "Michigan, County Marriages, 1820-1940", database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FCHX-122 : 25 April 2016), James Vernor and Emily W. Smith, 1873.
  • "Michigan Births and Christenings, 1775-1995," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:F4KQ-NKQ : 9 December 2014), James Vernor in entry for James Vernor Jr., 25 Mar 1877; citing Detroit, Wayne, Michigan, reference v 9 p 56; FHL microfilm 1,377,658.
  • "United States Census, 1880," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MW3P-CF3 : 10 August 2016), James Vernor, Detroit, Wayne, Michigan, United States; citing enumeration district ED 279, sheet 203A, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 0612; FHL microfilm 1,254,612.
  • "United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MLT6-4LC : accessed 19 November 2016), James Vernor, Detroit Ward 2, Wayne, Michigan, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 31, sheet 4B, family 74, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 680; FHL microfilm 1,374,693.

See also:

More Genealogy Tools

Sponsored Search

Is James your ancestor? Please don't go away!
 star icon Login to collaborate or comment, or
 star icon contact private message the profile manager, or
 star icon ask our community of genealogists a question.
Sponsored Search by Ancestry.com

No known carriers of James's DNA have taken a DNA test.

Have you taken a DNA test? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.

Sponsored by Ancestry ®

Family History Search.


Enter a grandparent's name. Just one grandparent can lead you to many discoveries.


Leave a message for others who see this profile.
There are no comments yet.
Login to post a comment.

V  >  Vernor  >  James Vernor

Categories: Soda Dispensers | Food History | Michigan, Entrepreneurs | Notables