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THE MEDICAL PROFESSION.
HE settlement at Chillicothe, the first in the county, suffered little from sickness during the first five or six years,
but in 1801 a violent epidemic arose, after which the city
suffered more or less in the summer and autumn of every year, Such was the statement of Dr. Peachy Harrison, the early medical historian of the county, in the proceedings of the Medical Convention of Ohio, in 1842. After that, for many years, the settlers of the county, and in particular those that made their homes in the rich river bottoms, were terribly afflicted with fevers and racked with chills. John McLandburgh, a pioneer merchant, wrote from Chillicothe to his wife in Philadelphia, in December, 1802: “The people in the country are not as sickly as last year, but in the town it is as bad as ever. Finley and wife have been very ill. Joseph Tiflin has lost his wife and has been sick himself. Dr. Scott has been lying apparently at the point of death all the fall. Mrs. Kirkpatrick has lost two children. Mrs. Patton died a few weeks after her son.” In a later communication: “Joseph Tiffin is still sick and is thought dangerous. This is a very sickly country, and will continue so, let them say what they will. . . TlIlS\l12lS been as hard a. winter as I have ever seen. Last Thursday the frost was so intense as to congeal wine. I saw it in Mr. McFarland’s store.” In 1821 McLandbui'gh himself died of the fevers, which at times were so malignant as to resemble yellow fever in their symptoms and fatality. Indeed, it is claimed that yellow fever, with the accompaniment of black vomit, afliicted the French settlement of Gallipolis soon after its establishment. Though this is denied by some investigators, the disease was sufficiently like yellow fever for the unfortunate people who died.
The fever was so continuous, so frightful in its effects, that it is remarkable that the settlers were heroic enough to remain in Ohio. They stayed partly through grim determination, partly through the natural indisposition to move backward, partly through love of the beautiful country, and largely through hope that is said to spring eternal, doubtless with accuracy, for it was necessary for it to spring eternally in the breasts of the pioneers, to cheer them in their toil and suffering. _
A realistic picture of the situation is given by Isaac J. Finley and Rufus Putnam in their “Pioneer Record” of Ross county: “Rich and productive as these lands were, there was a terrible drawback to their attraction in the shape of chills and fevers. So prevalent was this disease that not a cabin or a family escaped for a single year; and it often happened that there would not be a single Well member to furnish drink to the others. In such cases buckets would be filled in the morning by those inost- able and placed in some accessible place so that when the shakes came on each could help himself or herself. Had there been any seemingly possible way of getting back to the old settlements froiu which these adventurers had come, most, if not- all, would have left the rich Scioto bottoms with their shakes and fevers, but so it was, th(-Te were no railroads or canals, or even wagon roads, on \vhich they could convey their disheartened skeletons back to their old homesteads with their pure springs and healtli-restoring associations. At the time of the year when a tediQ115 land or water trip could be made, there were enough of each family sick to prevent any preparatory arrangements for such a return; while in winter there were even more obstacles in the way than the sickness of summer. Thus held not only by the charms of the scenery and the productiveness of the soil, but by the sterner realities of shakes and burning fever, few came that ever returned, and every year brought new neighbors.”
These fevers are described at some length by Dr. Daniel Drake, of Cincinnati, in his great work on the Principal Diseases of the Interior Valley of North America, published in 1850. They WBYB called by various names, autumnal, bilious, intermittent, remit-tflnta congestive, miasmatic, malarial, marsh, malignant, chill fever, aguei fever’n’ague, dumb ague—and Dr. Drake himself preferred to 0811 them autumnal fevers. He was disposed to ascribe their origin t°
- what he called a “vegcto—animalcular cause,” meaning that the p80
ple were infected by organisms that were bred in decaying vegetation, and he pointed out that the disease could not be caused by g8895, which should have an immediate effect, but- must be due to some organism that had a regular period of incubation, because p@0P19 were not taken with the fevers until some time after the date of slipposed infection. This he stated, not in this language, which is in01‘B in the line of modern expression, but to the same effect-, demonstrating a remarkable insight. into the operations of nature. It is believed now that the malarial infection, whatever its original source, 15 spread by_mosquitoes, but this the doctors and sufferers did not susP60-t, and If they had, it would have done them little good, so numel" ous were the insect pests, and so expensive would have been WY
adequate attempt to suppress them. At a time when people were exterminating bears, panthers, and vast forests, there was no time to make war on such small and ubiquitous things as mosquitoes.
In combating the fever and chills t-he doctors depended on Peruvian bark, quinine and calomel in heroic doses. Generally the unfortunate victim was first bled, then large doses of calomel were given, and the patient was cautioned to abstain from any acid food. or he might lose his teeth, and the calomel was followed by quinine. Dr. Drake reported a case in Southern practice where a patient was given calomel for malarial fever in increasing doses until he took several ounces a day, and in a short time an entire pound of the drug was put in him. The fate of the unfortunate creature is not mentioned. Another patient was given six hundred grains of compound of aloes, rhubarb and calomel in equal quantities for six days consecutively. There were other remedies. Dr. Joshua Martin, of Xenia, knew of a case where the chills were permanently cured in a
‘small boy by standing him on his head at the access of the fit. “In
many cases,” said Drake, “the recurrence has been arrested by means which acted entirely on the imagination and feelings. Of this kind are very loathsome pot-ions, which the patients have swallowed with disgust, and different charms or incantations, which rouse powerful emotions that change the innervation and destroy the habit of recurrence.” There were some very remarkable cases of recurrence of the disease in various forms. A man on Deer creek was subject to monthly attacks of vertigo and loss of consciousness. When medicine had checked this, the trouble soon returned with intervals of twenty-one days, and afterward for five years with periods of sixteen days.
The chills and fever, while not so immediately fatal in ordinary years as yellow fever, from which Ohio was fortunately spared, was worse in its effects. If a man recovered from yellow fever, he was none the worse for it, sometimes better; but the victim of fever and chills often suffered all the rest of his life with neuralgia, liver or spleen disease, dyspepsia or diarrhoea. At _ times, however, the malarial fever assumed a malignant form, and it was certain death unless the doctor was near at hand, and happened to be able to check the paroxysms.
It was this disease, common in every part of Ohio, that the pioneer doctors had to contend with. They battled nobly, some of them falling victi_ms to their antagonist, and it cannot be doubted that they performed a great work in alleviating the suffcrings of humanity, and encouraging the pioneers in the work of overcoming the evils of a new country. In time, with drainage and extensive cultivation of the soil, the dangerous conditions passed away, and Chillicothe and Ross county are now as healthy as any of those older regions to which
the settlers longed to return in the days when they were shaking with ague.
There were some deaths in Ross county during the great cholera epidemic of 1832-33. Again in the summers of 1847, 1848 and 1849 there were a number of cases and some deaths. In August, 1849, on the estate of Mr. Renick, in Pickaway county, seventy-two men on a Saturday night indulged freely in watermelons and whiskey, and by Tuesday night thirty-three of them had died, but there seems to have been no similar instance in Ross county.
The list of pioneer doctors of Chillieothe, as given by Dr. Samuel McAdow to the authors of the “Pioneer Record,” in 1871, is as follows: Samuel McAdow, Edward Tifiin, Joseph Scott, John Edminston. 1803, Samuel Monctt, Crocker & Kennedy, Bucl, Pinkerton, Adam Hays, Atkinson, Wills. To these might be added Doctors John Dunn, Alexander Brown, John McClernand, Dr. Forsythe and Patterson, all practicing in Ross county in 1804, along the northern part and over in Pickaway county. They were country doctors.
Dr. Adam Hays, named above, was the first health officer of Chillieothe, being appointed by Mayor Levin Belt in 1821. His duties were to collect and publish every week all deaths, with age, color, and complaint. All doctors were required to make reports to himDr. Crane, in July, 1802, specially advertised his ability to cure fever and ague.
The first physician at. Chillieothe, and consequently in Ross county, as a settler, it appears, was Dr. Samuel McAdow, a native of Maryland, September 23, 1772, and the ninth child of a Scotch d&a00I1 who came to America before the Revolution. Samuel received all excellent classical education at Cokesburg college in Maryland, studied medicine under Dr. Archer of Maryland and Dr. Rush of Philadelphia, and came west in 1793 to practice upon the people Of Bourbon county, Ky. There he married within a year a sister of the Howes, noted pioneer preachers, and became interested in tho Finley project of building up Massie’s new town on the Scioto. He came with a part.y of Bourbon county people to view the plflw selected by Massie, in the fall of 1796, and liking the place, he moved into the wilderness with his wife and babies in the following springHe soon had plenty to do, and if he had not been a man of remarkable strength and powers of endurance he must have yielded to The
fatigues of ministering to the sick if not to the attacks of disease
upon himself. In 1802 he and George Renick and Nathan Gregg rode horseback to Baltimore to purchase a stock of drugs for the equipment of a drugstore, accompanving George Renick and Nathan Gregg. whose mission was to buy a drygoods stock. Their purchases We/1_'9 Shipped Over the motmtainh by wagon or pack horse to the upper Ohio or Monongahela, and thence down the Ohio river and up the scloto by boats propelled with oars or poles. The doctor’s brief change of climate developed a severe case of the fever while he wafl
in Baltimore, but he was soon able to start back, carrying with him the indispensable traveler’ s supply of Peruvian bark, to keep off the chills and fever. Dr. McAd0w did his duty in every relation of life. Like Dr. Tiflin and Dr. McDowell and Dr. Carey Trimble, he was a devout Methodist, and was one of the founders of the church society at Chillicothe. When war came in 1812 he offered his service to his country with patriotic devotion, and served in the Detroit and Malden campaign with General McArthur’s regiment, having much ghastly work to do with the wounded, who were many, and becoming‘ a prisoner of war at the surrender of Detroit. When this worthy pioneer died in 184-9, he left a son, Dr. Samuel McAdow, Jr., to take his place in the profession. The junior McAdow was born at Chillicothe, August 4, 1806, a day famous for an eclipse of the sun. He married a daughter of John Kirkpatrick, one of the Finley party of pioneers, and practiced medicine for many years from 1827. Like his father he was a Methodist, and was a licensed preacher in the church.
Dr. Edward Tifiin, of whom much is said in other connections, for he was the most eminent of the early physicians of Ohio who made their mark in other fields of endeavor, came with Thomas \Vorthington early in 1798. He had studied'me(licine in his native land of England, and at Philadelphia, and was experienced in ministering to ailing humanity in the lower Shenandoah valley when he came into the forests with his gentle wife, “the conscientious and heavenlyminded” Mary \Vorthington. He practiced medicine for many years, and filled with honor all sorts of ofiices, from clerk for a justice to governor of the State, working wisely at all times for the good of his community and the State. After the death of his first wife he married Mary Porter, by whom he had several children, the descendants of whom are respected citizens of Ohio. His only son, Edward Parker Titfin, was educated for the medical profession, but his career was sadly cut short by death f1'om a railroad accident as he was returning from a tour of Europe in 1853.
Dr. William McDowell was another of the earliest settlers, but he did not begin the practice until about 1816, devoting himself at first to business as a merchant. \Vhile trading he gave his leisure moments to the reading of medicine, and when he went to Philadelphia to buy goods he also sat under the droppings of that sanctuary of Esculapius, the Jefferson medical college. He was regarded as an excellent physician, and prospered.
Dr. William Fullerton was one of a family quite prominent in Chillicothe affairs in their day, the descendants of a Humphrey Fullerton who fought in the battle of the Boyne with Orange colors. A Humphrey Fullerton came to Pennsylvania and was the first judge at Chambersburg. His son, Humphrey, moved with his family to Chillicothe in 1804, and became a‘ considerable land owner and the