Bond Pharmacy

Dr. William Bond
  Dr. "Grandpa" William Bond

60 West Elm Street, Hillsboro, Texas

"Texas’ Oldest Pharmacy" was started in 1881 by Dr. William Bond, a former surgeon in the Confederate Army, on the south side of the courthouse square. Grandpa Bond, as he was affectionately known, never refused credit to anyone, believing that a person who needed medicine would keep his word. Even travelers heading west in search of a new life were provided with needed medicines, and once they got settled into their new lives, they would send money back to Dr. Bond.

In the early days the store also sold paint, wallpaper, jewelry, watches, china, and silverware, and was open from early morning until midnight.  Grandpa Bond knew that children liked chewing gum, so every child who came into the store got free gum, a tradition which continues today.

Bond Pharmacy Scale at Bond Pharmacy

The store was the official railroad time keeper.  Engineers, brakemen and railroad personnel set their time pieces by Bond Drug Store time.

A free scale was used by a steady stream of customers, and is still in use today.

Dr. Bond enticed customers with products for people and for livestock, such as Simmon’s Liver Regulator, Dr. Cox’s Barbed Wire Liniment, Baby Percy, Wine of Cardui, Hedford’s Black Draught for the Liver, and Sulphur Salve.  He had his own concoction called "Bond’s Pills" described as "the cure-all to end cure-alls… a potent and slightly mysterious medication [that] has been explained as the Victorian [equivalent] of an atom bomb."

Bond Pharmacy interior around 1924
  Bond Pharmacy interior around 1924

There was an old pot-bellied stove at the back of the store.  Old-timers used to hang around it, whittling, cussing, discussing politics and spitting tobacco juice on the heater’s sandy base.  Eventually, the old boys were asked to move outside to what became known as Bond’s Alley.

Offices in the second story were occupied by doctors and dentists.  Often the noise from the itinerant preachers in the alley would disturb their patients. On more than one occasion, Dr. Schacht would throw a bucket of water on the noisy crowd below who quickly got the message.

Bond Pharmacy Book Recipe from Bond Pharmacy book

The symbol "Rx" that is still seen today on prescriptions comes from the Latin word for recipe. Early druggists used recipe books to mix ingredients for custom medicines. A recipe that Bond used for sulfa antibiotics is as follows:

  • Start with 1 quart whiskey.  Mix in sulfur until it settles out.
  • Drink 1 tablespoon per day until a silver dime in your pocket turns black.
  • Reverse the dime and continue until the other side turns black.
Bond Pharmacy interior

In the 1920’s Hill County farmers were in need of a product to treat their cotton, and it was next to impossible for them to buy this as individuals.  Thomas Burke Bond  (thus the name T. B. Bond Pharmacy), who had taken over the store for his father, purchased it by the carload and sold it to the farmers at his cost.

Grandpa Bond passed away in 1928, and his son remained active in the store until 1937. Today the business continues as a downtown pharmacy, still compounding special-order pharmaceuticals and still handing out chewing gum to kids who stop by.

True Texas Tales of the People, Places, and Events of Hill County, Texas