As a teenager in Memphis, he watched salesmen passing through town and vowed to become one of them. He wangled $125 and the use of a horse on Saturdays from his father, then paid a chemist $50 to mix 50 gallons of a special "antiseptic healing oil." He touted the concoction as "the sure cure for any ill man or beast." But sales were so anemic that he traded the medicine for more popular pharmaceuticals. With the profits from his sales, he bought a liverpill company that later became St. Joseph Aspirin Co. It was one of the first to market through free samples. Abe Plough's buying spree eventually brought him about 30 companies -- and ended, finally, with the giant merger that created Schering-Plough Corp.