(1769 - 1831)Edward Stabler, who founded the Apothecary Shop, was born in Petersburg, Virginia on September 29, 1769. He was the youngest child of Quakers Edward and Mary Robinson Stabler. Orphaned when he was only 11 years old, Edward lived for a time with each of his sisters. He learned the tanning trade from his brother-in-law, and in 1786 he went to work for a tanner in York, Pennsylvania. Stabler was 17 years old.
In 1789 Stabler moved to Leesburg, Virginia where he worked with his brother William in the drug business. Three years later, in 1792, Stabler moved to Alexandria.
With a loan from his uncle in Philadelphia, Stabler started his own drug business in Alexandria. He boarded with a Quaker family for two years, and in 1794 he married Mary Pleasants. Mary died in 1806, leaving Edward with five children. Two years after her death, Stabler married Mary Hartshorne, and together they had ten more children.
Stabler's first Apothecary Shop was located at the corner of King and Fairfax Streets. He rented the site you see today, 107 S. Fairfax Street, in 1796. He bought the property in 1805. By 1819, his oldest son William was working at the Apothecary Shop, and he eventually took over the business. Because William had no children, his brother-in-law, John Leadbeater, succeeded him in the business.
In Alexandria, Stabler became a prominent member of the Quaker community, and an avid abolitionist. In 1798, Stabler was appointed an Elder in the Fairfax Monthly Meeting of the Society of Friends, or Quakers. In 1802, he helped establish the Alexandria Monthly Meeting. He was active as a preacher and minister from 1806 until his death in 1831. Stabler traveled extensively to church meetings, leaving William to run the business in his absence.
In 1796, Stabler advertised a meeting of the Society for the Relief of People Illegally Held in Bondage. Printed in the local newspaper, the announcement read in part:
"It sickens my heart to reflect on it. And when all that the friends of humanity can do, shall be done, I fear that the avarice and obduracy of America will force this tremendous corrective upon them."
Stabler remained active in the antislavery movement. He used his own resources to purchase slaves in order to grant them freedom. After Edward's death in 1831, his son wrote, "a large number of citizens attended his remains to the grave. The people of colour, who had found him a kind friend and counselor, gave evidence of their respect by following in a large body."