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Vol. I 

No. I 

Maudies, Remedies and Physicians 

Of Colonial Days in Burlington County 
and other kindred topics 



Read before the Hisforical Society of Burlington County, December Utii, 1908. 





Founded, February 28, 1908. 

President, George Cuthbert Gillespie. 
Vice President, William R. Lippincott. 
Curator, Dr. A. M. Stackhouse. 
Recording Secretary, William D. Lippincott. 
Corresponding Secretary, George Abbott, Jr. , 

Riverton, N. J. 
Treasurer, William H. Roberts. 

Vol. I " No. I 

Maladies, Remedies and Physicians 

Of Colonial Days in Burlington County 

AND other kindred TOPICS 



Read before ihe historical Society of Burlington County, December iUh, i908. 



Co'.'.ficted set. 




5 IH;. '09 



OR several years past I have taken deep interest in 
everything relating to the early history of West New 
Jersey and especially of Burlington County, for 
among those who helped to make that history were several of 
my ancestors bearing the names of Budd, Kendall, Elton, 
Coles, Scattergood, Antrim, Stockton, Butcher, Brian, Powell, 
Matlack, Eldridge, Parker and Engle, and because their blood 
courses through my veins I have wanted to know more about 
them and their neighbors and to make their acquaintance. 
But they died and I presume went to heaven long before I 
had a chance to interview them and learn more about their 
social customs, habits of life, trials, sufferings, joys, failures 
and successes of which we know so little. When in the 
course of my researches I have come across anything out 
of the beaten track of the historian I have followed Captain 
Cuttle's advice, — "When found make a note of . " Another 
matter that possesses considerable interest to me is the question 
of health among those early settlers ; the maladies that afflict- 
ed them, the herbs, simples and medicines they used and 
the doctors that killed or cured them. And so when request- 
ed by the Council of our Historical Society to prepare a pa- 
per for this occasion, it occurred to me that this might be a 


good subject to talk about inasmuch as so little attention has 
been paid to it. It is one of the objects of an Historical 
Society, I apprehend, to gather up the fragments that nothing 
be lost, but when I came to gather them I found I had so 
little to tell that I was compelled to enlarge the scope of my 
paper to take in kindred topics and I am ruefully compelled 
to confess that the tail "kindred topics" comes dangerously 
near wagging the dog. Perhaps you will agree with me be- 
fore I am through. Right here I want to acknowledge the 
obligations I am under to that excellent work, Wickes' 
"History of Medicine and Medical Men in New Jersey", for 
some things that I have to say relative to some of our earlier 

I do not want to go back to the garden of Eden to begin 
my [story but for purposes of contrast I begin at the planting 
of the first permanent English Colony in America at James- 
town in 1606. This is what Capt. John Smith says about 
those Colonists : — "All this time we had but one Carpenter 
in the country and three others that could doe little but desir- 
ed to be learners ; two Blacksmiths ; two Saylors and those 
we write Laborers were for the most part Footmen and such 
as they that were Adventurers brought to attend them or such 
as they could persuade to go with them, that never did know 
what a day's work was : except the Dutch men and Poles 
and some dozen others. For all the rest were poore Gentle- 
men, Tradesmen, Serving men. Libertines and such like, ten 
times more fit to spoil a Commonwealth than either begin one 

or but help to maintain one. For when neither the fear of 
God, nor the law, nor shame nor displeasure of their friends 
could rule them here (in England) there is small hope ever 
to bring one in twenty of them ever to be good there." (in 
Virginia. ) 

I suppose all those "Poore Gentlemen" had Coat Armor, 
something of much more use now to decorate our writing pa- 
per than it could possibly be to them. They came to pick 
up gold and silver and go back rich with the hope of being 
raised to the peerage, for that canny Scotchman King Jamie 
was always ready to grant a title — for a consideration. But 
being gentlemen they would not I work and when time hung 
heavy on their hands they managed to pick quarrels with the 
Indians. The food supply was cut off and in consequence 
the early history of the Colony is one of famine, pestilence 
and Indian massacre. 

In 1620 the Mayflower "steered boldly through the des- 
perate winter sea" to the shores of Massachusetts. These 
colonists were of a totally different stamp, men not ashamed 
to work, but they came in the dead of winter to a sterile coun- 
try and inhospitable climate and they made the fatal mistake 
of loading down the little Mayflower with crockery ware, old 
furniture and grandfather's clocks to such an extent that too 
little room was left for provisions. The Old Testament part 
of their Bibles was well thumbed. The Indians were as the 
children of Amalek and they smote them hip and thigh. The 
story of the Virginia Colony was repeated — famine, pestilence 
and Indian massacre. 

A little over half a century elapsed and West New Jersey 
was open to colonization and the Quakers, perhaps through 
the foresight of William Penn, profited by the example of 
Virginia and Massachusetts and the story reads quite differ- 
ently. There were no gentlemen among them. They were 
almost all, artisans or tradesmen but all willing to work to 
possess the soil and subdue it. These modern Argonauts 
sought the Golden Fleece and found it too later, in the golden 
harvests that covered the swelling uplands of our State. Pre- 
caution was taken to cultivate the friendship and good will of 
the Indians. The land was purchased from them and there 
was no famine, no pestilence and no Indian massacre. Until 
the colonists succeeded in raising crops they received much 
of their food supply from the Indians but from letters written 
home by some of the colonists, during the first three years at 
Burlington we learn that fruit was abundant here, as were also 
fish and flesh. There were plenty of deer and also swine 
and oxen. Even as early as April 1680, less than two and a 
half years after the settlement of Burlington, Mahlon Stacy 
writes that he has seen eight or nine fat oxen and cows killed 
on a market day and all very fat. Query ? Where did the u 
come from ? Perhaps those Swedes had more to do with the 
settlement of our country than any of our historians have 
given them credit for. While there were times when the food 
supply was limited, especially in 1682 when Smith our histor- 
ian says "several got the chief of what they ate by the gun", 
there appears to have been no failure of crops until 1687 when 


several families were reduced to dependence on their more 
fortunate neighbors. The timely arrival of a vessel load of 
corn from New Englandihowever relieved the situation. 

The ships in which the early immigrants came hither, — 
the barks, snows and flieboats were all tiny crafts compared 
with the vessels of to-day. Even the Mayflower was of only 
180 tons burden. They were all devoid of sanitary arrange- 
ments and in matters of appointment were not to be compared 
with the cattle transports of to-day. In the graphic pages of 
Mittelberger we learn of the frightful mortality on board the 
vessels that brought the Palatines to Pennsylvania and it is not 
likely that any of those that brought our early settlers to Bur- 
lington were any better fitted to carry their human cargos. 
The Kent's voyage seems to have been particularly fortunate 
as there is no record of any serious mortality on board of her. 
Only two passengers, John Wilkinson and William Perkins 
are reported to have died. The smallpox frequently broke 
out on the vessels that came hither and raged with violence. 
It did so on the "Welcome" in which William Penn came 
and several died from it. This disease was then very pre- 
valent and when the settlers had any to spare it was gener- 
ously handed over to the Indians and was as fatal as whisky 
in their case. It was suspected that attempts were made to 
foment a hostile feeling among the Indians against the 
Kent's passengers by insinuating that the English sold them 
the small-pox in their match-coats. Smith says "This dis- 
temper was among them and a company getting together to 

consult about it, one of their chiefs said — 'In my grand- 
father's time the small-pox came, in my father's time the 
small-pox came and now in my time the small-pox is come. 
'Then stretching his hands towards the skies said 'It came 
from thence' To this the rest assented." This disease ap- 
pears to have been generally present to a greater or less 
degree. In 1716 it raged in Burlington and the Assembly 
met at Crosswicks to avoid it. Again in the Spring of 1731 
it prevailed to an alarming extent in Salem and Philadelphia 
and in consequence the Fair usually held in the spring at Bur- 
lington was prohibited at a "Petty Session of the Peace" on 
April 16th of that year. 

There seems however to have been a sort of fatalism 
connected with this disease and in general it was accepted as 
a matter of course, I fancy very much as Macpherson did the 
National disease of Scotland when he prayed 

"But save us frae those maladies 
Thou sendest on the rich, 

Sic heathen ills as grip and gout ; 
We dinna mind the itch." 
There was plenty of nerve in the Colony but no nerves. 
We never hear of neuritis, neurasthenia, neuralgia or any nui- 
sances of that ilk. People were to busy in leading the stren- 
uous life, and besides that, they were too poor to afford it. 
They were satisfied with just plain "rheumatiz". Some years 
ago there appeared in the Scientific American some remedies 
and hints in regard to the treatment of this complaint. I will 


mention a few of them— "Kill a big dog and after taking out 
his intestines put your feet where they came from; wear sul- 
phur in your shoes; hard rubbing; wear silk; wear flannel; 
wear buckskin; gin and hemlock; exercise and keep it off; 
keep as quiet as possible; pray fervently; do not eat meat: 
do not eat potatoes or eggs; eat anything you please; do not 
smoke; smoke all you like; drink nothing but beer; drink 
nothing but whiskey; do not drink anything at all; bathe in 
cold water frequently; do not bathe at all until you are nearly 
well; catnip tea; wrap fresh lambs entrails around your neck; 
drink brandy; brandy is the worst thing for rheumatism; wear 
a horse chestnut in your left hand breeches pocket; wear a 
potatoe in the other; read Job; do not swear." They are all 
valuable. I have tried most all of them but the first. If Dr. 
Thorne would loan me his big dog I might be induced to try 
that. I mention these incidentally because they are hoary with 
age. They must have been brought here on the Kent, the 
Willing Mind or the flie boat Martha. 

In a letter writen by John Talbot, Rector of St. Mary's 
Church, Burlington to the Secretary of the S. P. G. dated 
October 28, 1714. he says— "I have been sick a longtime this 
fall with a burning fever which made me so weak I could 
scarcely speak. * * * * * We have had a sickly time 
this year; I have buried more than in ten years before; and 
many Church people died that had nobody to visit 
them when sick nor bury them when dead. ' ' Fever and ague 
it is presumed must necessarily have been common but I find 


little mention made of it in our county. It prevailed however 
generally all over South Jersey especially in Gloucester 
County among the Swedes. In 1728, a malady that Kalm 
called Pleurisy appeared at Raccoon Creek and was very fatal. 
In the winter of 1735-6 an epidemic of throat disease evident- 
ly of diphtheritic nature swept off many at Crosswicks. In 
the newspapers of the day various remedies v/ere suggested. 

Under the date of February 20, 1777, John Hunt, a 
Quaker preacher who lived in Chester Township tells us in 
his diary — "There was a distemper seemed to be going about- 
about this time something like a Pleuracy, mostly beginning 
in the Head and so working down to the Stomach, of which 
many were suddenly taken away," and again in March he 
says "my oldest son lay very ill of a fever then very pre- 
valent. We hear of burials almost every day. They call it 
the camp disorder." This fever raged during most of the 
year as did the small-pox and measles. 

But perhaps of all the diseases that prevailed in our 
county, and I presume elsewhere in New Jersey from its 
earliest settlement until well along in to more recent times: 
none appear to have been so virulent and so difficult to con- 
trol as the dysentery, or bloody flux as it was called, espec- 
ially among children. In the old genealogies and diaries that 
I have seen it is more often mentioned as the cause of death 
than all other maladies combined. In an address delivered 
by Col. Timothy Matlack before the American Philosophical 
Society in 1780, he says: "Pennsylvanians and Jersey men 


eat more meat than any other nation. Hence many fatal dis- 
eases take their rise, especially dysenteries and putrid fevers" 
and he recommends full ripe fruit as the best preventative and 
remedy. "The effect produced" says he " by the best kind 
of free-stone peaches in dysenteries render it probable that 
general cultivation of that fruit alone would within twenty 
years save more lives than we have lost in the present cruel 
and bloody war." The doughty Colonel can hardly be con- 
sidered competent medical Authority but his statement shows 
how serious were the ravages of this fatal disease. While 
mentioning his address I want to make one more quotation 
"But thanks to that kind Providence which governs all with 
equal Wisdom and Benevolence, we have no need of foreign 
wines. Our Orchards yield us a juice which well improved 
may justly vie with the best the world affords. The art of 
fermenting will bring this delicious drink to perfection. And 
our fields produce Hops and Barley in Abundance. These 
afford a Liquor which when the sons of Britain were brave 
and virtuous was their boast. It is a fact that those who 
drink Beer well tinctured with the Hop are not afflicted with 
the Agues while those who drink Spirits of any kind are 
doubly afflicted with them. The Colonel, were he living 
here to-day would certninly join our Local Option League. 
Many years ago a family from Holland came to this 
country and settled in Chester Township not far from Coles- 
town, and among the treasures the thrifty row brought with 
her, was a little package of the seeds of purslane or "pusley" 


as it is called in the vernacular. The good woman did 
not know that she could gather enough " pusley " in the 
sweet potatoe patches of New Jersey to feed all Hol- 
land. But she loved boiled "greens" and she provided her- 
self with wise forethought for the new life in the new land. 
"One touch of nature makes the whole world kin," and this 
incident suggests what our good old Quaker ancestors did in 
the colonial dav/n. Anxious hours were no doubt spent 
during those last months in their quiet English homes as the 
time approached when they were to cut loose from old ties 
and old associations to cross the broad Atlantic, to find a new 
home under other skies and other conditions that were matters 
of conjecture only. What ought we to take with us to our 
new home where contingencies may arise that we know not 
of? What shall we need when we get there? Many a pray- 
er for guidance I question not, went up to Him who had so 
far led them through trials and difficulties, and who would 
still be with them. One thing surely was needed and that 
was the preservation of health and the means to recover it 
when impaired; and so along the lanes and hedge rows of 
Merrie England and in those old gardens, I fancy they col- 
lected — reverently it may be —the seeds of such herbs and 
simples as from time immemorial they and their fathers had 
been accustomed to use to combat the ills that flesh is heir 
to. So the seed of the burdock, hoarhound, chamomile, 
peppermint, spearmint, St. John's-wort and many others were 
collected and in little packages carefully preserved, came 

across the sea with them. Perhaps I am drawing on my im- 
agination you will say, but these plants are here now and bot- 
anists agree that they are not indiginous. Somebody must 
have brought them here and who so likely as those good old 
Quaker matrons. Here in the little gardens among the stumps 
they round a new home — and how humanly they behaved. 
Some shrunk undv'^r our fierce summer sun and longed for 
the cool moisture of England. Others again caught the in- 
fection of the spirit of liberty and silently and stealthily es- 
caped through the garden fence and wandered away. What 
cared they for the House of Stuart and the divine right of 
Kings? What cared they for parson Talbot with the whole 
power of the Church of England behind him. What cared 
they whether Burlington Monthly Meeting disowned them or 
not? Long, long before July 4th, 1776, they declared their 
independence and what is more, maintained it is spite of hoe 
and plow and they are our neighbors to-day. They are freer 
than we are for they pay no taxes. Far afield wandered the 
St. John's-wort in search of dry places. To the fence cor- 
ners and road sides went the great celandine and tansy. 
Here perhaps they found American cousins, married and 
settled down. The spearmint sought out moist places, be- 
came aggressive, drivmg out the aboriginal plants wherever it 
chose to stake out its claim, lost caste and became a weed. 
The peppermint, of less aggressive nature sought the mead- 
ows. The hop staid in the garden or at least lingered lov- 
ingly around it. The chickweed started in to monopolize all 


the richest spots in the garden, resented interference and be- 
came a general nuisance. The burdock and hcr^rhound, of a 
more sociable nature located around the barn and out build- 
ings where the soil was rich and deep. Like Israel they saw 
the land was good and went up and possessed it. Here too the 
catnip strayed and settled, finding perhaps aboriginal rela- 
tives with which it intermarried. It always staid near the 
farm garden so as to be within easy call when the naughty 
wind ran riot in baby's 'ittle tummick mindful of the fact that 
there was not a single bottle of Mrs. Winslow's Soothing 
Syrup to be had for love or money from one end of the col- 
onies to the other. The smartweed probably came over as a 
stowaway uninvited, and when here, finding lots of cousins as 
disreputable as itself at once exercised the right of squatter sov- 
ereignty. The chamomile was little inclined to wander from 
the garden but like the good child staid where it was put. 
Years ago it was no uncommon thing to see in cool moist 
places in the garden, beds of chamomile with the soil be- 
tween the stems closely covered with clam shells with their 
convex sides uppermost — as a protection from weeds, to keep 
it clean or for ornamental effect. I suspect that this mode 
of planting it was handed down from colonial times. Several 
old friends greeted the settlers when they came. The penny- 
royal grew wherever the soil was thin and poor. The dan- 
delion turned up its smiling face to bid them welcome and the 
blackberry seemed very unwilling to let them go when it 
caught them in its affectionate embrace. They all furnished 


their quota cheerfully when a draft was made on them in time 
of sickness.— Of one thing I can acquit our forefathers. They 
brought many plants hither, some good ones and some not 
so, but they never brought over that pestiferous little imp of 
a weed that in these last few years has infested the gardens 
of Moorestown and elsewhere— I mean the Galinsoga. It 
never came over in the Kent. 

For some time after the first settlement of cur county 
there were Indians living here and no doubt our old Quaker 
mothers in times of dire necessity when all other means failed 
had recourse to them to learn whatever they had to teach 
concerning the healing art. Heckewelder tells us much about 
the diseases of the Indians, their remedies and mode of prac- 
tice. Rheumatism, pulmonary consumption, dysentery and 
intermittent fevers were very common among them. Their 
Materia Medica was composed almost entirely of roots, barks 
and herbs. Bleeding and sweating were practiced; in fact 
they had recourse to the sweating process at any time they 
felt slightly indisposed. The healing art was practiced among 
them by men and women. It was founded entirely upon 
observation and experience. Only one superstitious notion was 
recognized and practiced by them which was certainly harm- 
less enough. In administering an emetic, the water in which 
the potion was mixed was drawn up stream— in case of a 
cathartic it was drawn down stream. They were very suc- 
cessful in their practice, especially in the treatment of gun- 
shot and other wounds. He tells us that on one occasion he 


suffered excruciating pain for two days and nights from a 
felon or whitlow when he applied to a squaw who relieved 
him in less than half an hour by means of a poultice made of 
the roots of the common blue violet. 

He tells us their method of compounding their medicines 
was kept a profound secret and they disliked to make their 
remedies known to strangers. He mentions whiteoak, black 
oak, white walnut, cherry, dogwood, birch, and maple among 
their remedial agents. 

John Dunn Hunter, whose early life was spent among 
the Indians, if his account is given credence, tells us in his 
'Narrative" of medicinal agents made use of by them and 
makes mention of the black walnut, horse chestnut, dewberry 
Indian turnip, may apple, pipsissewa, sassafras, sumac, 
(Rhus Glabra) tulip tree and slippery elm which latter among 
the Western Indians bore the suggestive name meaning "It 
won't go down". Not all of these are I believe indigenous 
to Burlington County but many of them are, and while the 
merits of some were recognized in England before the times 
of our Colony these Indian remedies no doubt helped to en- 
rich the domestic Materia Medica of our settlers. Pipsissewa 
and Indian turniplwere used for coughs and colds. The tulip 
tree and dogwood furnished remedies for the intermittent 
fever and Kalm tells us that down in Gloucester County, 
branches of the dogwood were tied around the necks of the 
cows in the spring when they were weak from semi-starvation 
during the winter. He does not tell us however what benefit 


the cows derived from it. The poke grew quite sociable and 
crept up in the fence corners and waste places and fairly rev- 
elled in the newly cleared soil. Kalm says it was a worth- 
less weed, nevertheless it is an old simple. The yarrow 
growing by the road side and the boneset in the meadows 
were gathered and a tea made of them when the "shakes" 
came on. In fact every plant possessing bitter or astringent 
principles was laid under contribution to combat the ague as 
were many nauseous compounds. Every family had a sover- 
eign remedy for the chills but none proved reliable and their 
use has been discarded. Life everlasting was used as a reme- 
dy for the gout. Sassafras was supposed to possess wonder- 
ful properties It was used for dropsy and other ailments. 
The young mucilaginous shoots were chewed and applied to 
cuts and sores. The wood was used to make bed steads and 
was exported in large quantities to Europe. It was supposed 
not to harbor the bug that stalketh by night and biteth uncere- 
moniously. Kalm says of the Magnolia Glauca or beaver tree 
as it was called , "Coughs and pectoral diseases are cured by 
putting the berries into rum or brandy of which a draught 
every morning may be taken. The virtues of this remedy 
''says he "were universally extolled and even praised for their 
salutory effects in consumption." Sometimes they forgot to 
put the "berries" in the rum or brandy — but it helped all the 

But interesting as this part of my subject may be, to me 
at least, I must pass on. But should any be desirous to pur- 


sue the matter farther, I would recommend you to obtain the 
three volume edition of Kalm's "Travels In North America" — 
if you are lucky enough to do so as it is not to be picked up 
at any old book stand. No more charming work on our local 
flora and fauna was ever written. 

But I almost forgot to say that ours settlers did not rely 
entirely on the vegetable kingdom for their medicinal agents. 
Calomel played an important part in the treatment of most all 
diseases, not only by the profession but in domestic practice. 
Tradition tells us of one family that v/as accustomed to buy 
it by the pound. 

I am inclined to believe that a good many of our early 
Quaker settlers brought no bibles with them especially during 
the first twenty-five years cr so from the arrival of the Kent. 
I have never seen one that could be traced to Quaker owner- 
ship during that period although they are occasionally men- 
tioned in wills; while the so called "Old Quaker books" are 
more numerous and in them are frequently found famiily rec- 
ords of births, deaths and marriages that are usually recorded 
in bibles. During this period the charge was persistently 
made by Churchmen that the Quakers were heathens arid 
worse than the Indians. This may however be ascribed to 
sectarian rancor. While the Quaker books were of use for 
edification.they were the text books of the doctrine of the In- 
ner Light. It was a controversial age and they were needed 
in the defense of their tenets against the assaults of the Church- 
men. Many doubtless were the discussions between Parson 

Talbot and the Quakers. They would produce the works of 
Penn, Fox and Barclay and he would go into the rectory and 
bring out Bugg's" Pilgrim's Progress from Quakerism to Christ- 
ianity" and Leslie's "Snake in the Grass" and they hammered 
away at each other and made things lively. The Friends felt sore 
over the defection from their ranks to the Church, of the Leeds, 
Budds, Heulings and other families of wealth and influence. 
But I find I am wandering again. We have nothing to do with 
the spiritual health or disease of those colonists, although the 
acrimonious religious disputes tended to keep them from dying 
of stagnation. What I wanted to say is, that in those days 
writing paper was scarce and costly. In the inventory of the 
estate of John Mann of Cohansey, Salem County in 1727,there 
is mention of one "reame" of fine paper valued £1.5 s,and 12 
quires of course, at 12s. Now in these old books, especially 
the folios, there were several blank pages and they were made 
available to jot down memoranda of things considered worthy 
of record. For instance, on the inside cover of a copy of 
' 'Truth Exalted in the Writings of that Eminent and Truthf ull 
Servant of Christ — John Burnyeat, London, 1691", appears the 

following — "Benjamin, Joseph, Susannah, Elizabeth, Ann and 
Samuel Furnis all hady^ Smallpox in y^ 2 and 3 months 1702." 
This book belonged to Samuel Furnace, one of the early settlers 
mentioned by Smith in his History of New Jersey as coming 
tothis country in 1678. But I am wandering again. Among these 
old books will frequently be found recipes of various ailments. 
There was extant some years ago a volume entitled "Balm 


From Gilead, A Collection of the Living Divinei Testimonies, 
Written by the faithful Servant of the Lord, Willam Smith, 
London 1675." This belonged to John and Esther (Borton) 
Haines. John Haines, son of the first of the name in this 
county came from Northamptonshire, England in 1680 and 
lived for a time in a cave on the banks of the Rancocas Creek 
near Lumberton. In this old book in the hand-writing of 
John Haines, appears the following: — 

"Griffith Owen's*Poultice for a sore leg that is cut:- 
Take wheat meal mix it with milk in a small skil- 
let full: put in the yolk of one egg and a little honey 
and a very little Rosin, warm it and lay it on once a 
day. Let a plaster of salve cover the sore. 
To stop bleeding of a Cut: — 

Take Burdock Leaves and pound them and lay to 
the cut; if the Leg swell it must be swathed as 
hard as thou canst bear. 
For Pain and Heat at the Heart: — 

Take the paunch of a Sheep just killed, fasten the 
oozing and little gut and lay the paunch to the side 
all night." 
In a folio copy of a work entitled ' 'The Memorable Works of 
a Son of Thunder and Consolation. Edward Burrough, 1672" — 
in the penmanship of two centuries ago is the following:- 
"for a burn or scald take the White of Egg and bet 
them very well, then put by the froth and anoint 
the sore, then take fine wheat meal and salitoyle and 
some of the Egg for plasters." 

* Grifith Owen was one of the early settlers of Pennsylyania. He was a physician 
and also a member of the Society of Friends. 



"for a bruise and spreane take plantain, thorn apple 
* * * * smart v/eed" [I use a somewhat more ref- 
ined name for this weed than appears in the text.] 
leaves and sheep's dung, boyle all these in fresh butter 
or hog's fat over a small fire." 

It does not state whether this is to be taken internally or 
externally! This book has the following printed name plate 
on the inside of the cover: — 

7th Moneth 
Elias ) Farr ( 

[ ] Their Book 

Sarah ) 1672 ( 

They probably came to Burlington in 1681. Elias Farr 
was one of the West Jersey Proprietors, a member of the As- 
sembly and Governor's Council. 

Oldmixon tells us in his "British Empire" that in Car- 
teret's time, New Jersey was singularly blest. In natural ad- 
vantages there was every thing that could be desired and there 
were no lawyers, no parsons, no physicians! Of course New 
Jersey has fallen from her high estate. The lawyer, appear 
not to have been cordially welcome in the Colonies especial 
where the Quakers predominated. The parson was still less 
so in all the colonies where the dissenting element was in the 
majority. He was apt to be arrogant and dissenters lived in 
constant fear of the establishment of a Colonial Episcopate 
which meant as they believed, the importation to this side of 


the Atlantic of the pomp, officiousness and tyranny of the 
ecclesiastical hierarchy. The parson was tolerated because there 
was no help for it. He had the pov/er of the Colonial Govern- 
ment behind him. We learn that a strange fatality attended 
those who went from the Colonies to take holy orders in Eng- 
land. One out of every four perished by smallpox or ship- 
wreck or were taken prisoners and never returned and there is 
no record of any extravagant manifestations of grief by the 
Quakers at their loss nor would there have been if the 
mortality had been even greater. The colonies fairly swarm- 
ed with quacks, empirics, charlatans and the like, and a few 
regular physicians. Which of them did the most harm it 
would be difficult to say. I am inclined to believe it was the 
regulars. Anyhow, they seemed to be a necessary evil. 
Their system of practice — bleeding, sweating, purging, 
salivating &c. would not be tolerated to-day, That system 
has fallen into "innocuous desuetude". Wickes says that the 
practice of the healing art was chiefly in the care of the clergy. 
"Many of them were men of profound minds and highly 
educated. For several years previous to their leaving Eng- 
land, anticipating the loss of their situations as clergymen, many 
of them turned their attention to the study of medicine and 
for upwards of a century after the settlement of New England, 
numbers of the native clergy were continually educated to both 
professions." This does not appear to have been the case in 
Burlington County. There were very few resident clergymen 
here before the Revolution, John Talbot the first Rector of 


St. Mary's Church, Burlington did not practice medicine, at 
least there is no record of it. A list of his books is extant 
and there are no medical works among them. Robert Talbot 
who is said to have been his son was an apothecary in Burling- 
ton as we learn from his Will dated Jan. 8, 1725-6. He was the 
only apothecary in the county at that time as far as I have 
been able to learn. I can find no record of Talbot's success- 
ors Rev. Robert Wyman and Rev. Colin Campbell ever 
practicing medicine. Their successor the Rev. Jonathan 
Odell who became Rector in 1767 was however also a physi- 
cian. His income as parson proved insufficient for his sup- 
port and he began to practice the healing art about 1769. 
But our interest centres rather in the doctors of the early 
colonial period. 

One of the most noted physicians in our colony in those 
early days who was also the first in Burlington County was 
Daniel Wills. He was a native of Northampton, England 
and was bom about 1630. He cast in his lot with the Qua- 
kers and what we know of him as regards his life previous to 
his coming to this country is entirely owing to that fact. In 
December 1660 a meeting of the Quakers was held at Middle- 
town and he was among those who were arrested. The oath 
was tendered him but he declined to take it and was in con- 
sequence committed to jail where he spent several months. 
In the following year a meeting was held in his house at 
Northampton and a raid was made by the authorities on those 
who attended it and several were sent to jail, but his name 


does not appear among them. Besse relates the fcllcwing in- 
cident as occuring in 1661. "Daniel V/ills of Northampton 
being concerned to testify against the Vanity of acting a Play 
in the Free-School there, got up with much Difficulty to the 
Peace where the Scholars were, and said thus. Hear the 
word of the Lord God that made Heaven and Earth, who 
sai'th, Bring up your children in the fear of the Lord God in the Days 
of their Youth before the evil Days come upon them, for the Spirit 
of the Lord God is grieved with your unrighteous Actions. Pie had 
no sooner said thus, but a Priest present pluckt him down and 
another of the same Function pulled him by the hair, and 
beat him very much. And another Person there present 
struck him several Blowslon the bare Head with an iron Chain." 
Again in 1662 he was sent to jail for attending a meeting 
in Northampton. In 1663 while attending a meeting at Mus- 
kett the v/as once more arrested and sent to jail. In 1666 he with 
several others was brought before the court at Northampton 
to be tried on "the Act for Banishment for the third offence." 
Owing to some doubt arising, the case was postponed and 
he was finally released, thus narrowly escaping transportation 
to Jamaica, at that time the Quaker Botany Bay. Whether 
the fires of persecution had slackened in his case or the mo- 
notony of jail life palled upon him, we do not know but he 
seems to have been undisturbed during his subsequent stay in 
England. When it was decided to colonize West New Jersey 
he became interested in the venture and in connection with 
Thomas Olive became the owner of one share of the Pro- 


prietary holdings. He v/as appointed one of the commission- 
ers to establish the colony. He came hither in the Kent, laid 
out the town of Burlington and located 600 acres in what is 
now the extreme western side of Westampton Township 
boardering along the east side of the road leading from Cen- 
treton to Rancocas. In the marsh along this road between 
the Friends' Graveyard and the lane leading up to the site of 
his house may still be seen an old mill stone with a birch sap- 
ling growing up through the hole in the middle of it, which 
tradition says belonged to a corn mill built by him in that vi- 
cinity. He seems to have been a man of means and brought 
with him several servants who became the progenitors of in- 
fluential families in our county, among whom were George 
Elkinton, William Matlack, Thomas Kendall, Thomas Brian 
and John Stokes son of Thomas. Daniel Wills possessed abil- 
ity as a manager and organizer and much of the success of 
the colony is due to him, He was the author of two books 
— one, a small quarto entitled "A Few Quaeries to Simon 
Ford, Priest at the Town of Northampton" published in 1682. 
The other, "An Exhortation to all Friends to Dwell in the 
Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" appears as an appendix to 
"A Relation in Part of what passed through a true and faith- 
ful Servant and Handmaid of the Lord, Mary Page, when she 
lay upon her Bed of Sickness, — by Bridget Nichols and 
others." This was published about 1665. The title of this 
last is vague and ambiguous, I have never seen a copy but 
I suspect it refers to Mary Page's spiritual experience and 
not to impaired digestion. 


Daniel's brother WUliam lived in Barbadoes and also ap- 
pears to have been a man of wealth. In his will dated Octo- 
ober 2, 1671 he devised his estate to his two sons but in the 
event of their death without issue the major part of the estate 
devolved upon Daniel Wills and his children. It is presumed 
that this so happened for Daniel went to Barbadoes on bus- 
iness connected with his brother's estate and there died in 
1698. Daniel Wills is mentioned in the old records as "Doc- 
tor of Physsick," '-Surgeon" or as he styles himself "Pract- 
icioner in Chymistry." It is not known whether he was a reg- 
ular physician or not, nor where he received his medical ed- 
ucation. In fact little is known of him as a physician. In 
his will is mentioned "a negro boy, a book of Chirurgery 
called. Ambrose Parry, other books and a watch." The 
' 'book called Ambrose Parry" is no doubt the folio edition, 
London, 1634, of Johnson's edition of the works of Ambroise 
Pare\ the famous French surgeon who flourished in the 16th 
century, who first instituted the method of ligating arteries to 
prevent hemorrhage. Wills also owned a copy of Gerard's 
Herbal, the greatest publication of the kind in the English 
language. Some of his surgical instruments are still in exist- 
ance I believe. 

Another physician in the early days of the Burlington 
Colony was John Gosling. It is not known where he came 
from originally. I find the name among the early Quakers in 
Suffolk, England. He may have came from thence. He 
was one of the signers of "The Concessions and Agreements 


of the Proprietors." He probably came to Burlington from 
New York in 1682 or 3, as in a memorandum of a conveyance 
in 1684, he is mentioned as "of Burlington merchant". He 
is also mentioned in some of the records as a physician. He 
married in 1685 Mary Budd, who is supposed to have been a 
sister of Thomas Budd. He was a large land owner and filled 
important positions in the colony, being a member of the Col- 
onial Assembly and also of the Governor's Council, and con- 
tinued to hold them during his stay in Burlington. In 1685 
he went to Barbadoes and there died. Before leaving Bur- 
lington he made his will. Sixty nine names are mentioned 
therein of those indebted to him and among them are many 
of the wealthiest and most influential colonist. It is possible 
that many of these may have been indebted to him for med- 
ical services rendered. If so, it would appear that he had a 
goodly clientele. All the certain knowledge we have of him 
as a physician is that he was called one. 

There came to America inl683 with William Pcnn, a 
friend who was called Doctor. His name was Robert Dims- 
dale. John Clement says he came from Chatteris Cambridge- 
shire, England. I find his name in Besse as suffering im- 
prisonment in the jail at Hertford along with Nicholas Lucas 
and others. He bought of Lucas a one third proprietary in- 
terest in West Jersey and located a large tract of land on both 
sides of the stream called after him and built a large brick 
house thereon near the present site of Lumberton. It is not 
known that he practiced medicine here. It has been suggest- 


ed that he was more interested in real estate speculations. 
His wealth and influence brought him into prominence and 
he at once became a member of the Assembly and the Gov- 
ernor's Council. He married the second time, Sarah, daugh- 
ter of Francis Collins. He returned to England in 1688 and 
settled near Epping in Essex and died in 1718. In 1684 he 
caused to be printed his "Advice — How to take his Medicines 
(in the several Distempers herein mentioned) as also, where 
they are to be had, with their Price." This shows him to 
have been an Empiric or Charlatan. His grandson was a 
physician of some note and became, "First Physician and 
Actual Counseller of State to her Imperial Majesty, Catherine 
II, Empress of All the Russias.'' 

In the records of St. Mary's Church, Burlington, we find 
the name of Dr. John Robards as one of the contributors to 
the Church on the day of its opening, August 22, 1702. He 
was in 1717 one of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace. He 
was the son-in-law of Nathaniel Westland, a generous contrib- 
utor to the church and one of its first Wardens. Robards 
died in 1724. In the inventory of his personal estate men- 
tion is made of a library of 91 titles some of which are those 
of medical works. 

Between 1722 and 1727, Dr. John Rodman came to Bur- 
lington, settled there and practiced medicine. In a letter da- 
ted. New York, June 20, 1731., written by Governor Montgom- 
ery to the Duke of Newcastle, he says: — "There is also a 
vacancy in His Majesty's Council in the Province of New 


Jersey, John Hugg being dead, I beg your Grace will recom- 
mend Doctor John Rodman to succeed him. He is well af- 
fected to the Government, a man of sense, very much esteem- 
ed and has a good estate in the Province." Montgomerie died 
soon after this and Governor Crosby also suggested the ap- 
pointment but nothing was done in the matter until 1738, 
when he was appointed to the office under the administration 
of Governor Lewis Morris and held the position until his 
death in 1756. In recommending the appointment, Morris 
says of him : — "John Rodman a Quaker, a man of good tem- 
per, of a good estate in Jersie and Pcnnsilvania and generally 
esteemed both by Quakers and others." His father John 
Rodman of Rhode Island and his uncle Thomas Rodman of 
Long Island both of whom were physicians, at one time own- 
ed nearly all the land on which Moorestown is now built. Its 
first name "Rodmantown" was derived from them. 

A Doctor Brown is mentioned in Dr. Franklin's "Auto- 
biography'' as living in Bordentown in 1723 and keeping an 
inn. Franklin staid with him all night and says :— "He had 
been I imagine an ambulatory quack doctor for there was no 
town in England nor any country in Europe of which he could 
not give a very particular account." In the records of Ches- 
terfield Township occur the following items : — "At a Town- 
ship Meeting in 1738., 4 shillings to Mr. Brown for ye cure of 
a poore woman ; £1. 1 s. 8 d. to Joseph Brown for ye trouble 
he had with a man who died in his house." It is supposed 
this Joseph Brown is the same as Franklin's innkeeper. The 


name of a Doctor Baillergeau is mentioned with Dr. Brown's 
in the settlement of the estate of Joseph Scott of Chesterfield 
in 1726; they having received £2. 4 s. 5 d. for "medicines 
and visits." In the settlement of the estate of Nathaniel Pope 
of Chesterfield a Dr. Julian is mentioned. Who Julian and 
Baillergeau were and whether they were Burlington County 
men I have been unable to learn. 

In the Town Meeting Records of Chester Township ap- 
pears the following: — "At a Town Meeting at Thomas Lip- 
pincott's, 15, January 1747-8 by Warrant from Jacob Heu- 
lings to consider on some measure for the relief of Susanna 
Leelock, ordered, (Thomas Lippincott consenting) yt ye Ov- 
erseers of ye Poor bring Her to His house ; get Dr. Overton 
to restore her Health and Lameness, — if Doctor Overton can- 
not attend, ye Overseers to apply to Doctor Hall and provide 
another place for Her to be at. Per Joshua Bispham, Clerk." 
It is probable that both Overton and Hall were residents of 
our county but we know nothing more of them than their 

In this connection I might say, there was born in 1764 
near Moorestown, John H. Stokes who practiced medicine 
here and was the progenitor of a family of physicians of the 
name that has continued to this day ; honored by the profes- 
sion, loved in the community, upright Christian gentlemen. 
May the tribe increase. 

In the columns of the newspapers of the period we learn 
something of the quacks and their nostrums. 


In the Pennsylvania Journal of March 13, 1766, we find 
a Doctor Thomas Ware or Wire of Burlington advertising for 
an Irish servant girl who had run away from him. In the 
following year we find him advertising the fact that he had 
removed from Burlington to Philadelphia. He undertakes 
particularly "to cure with small Expence and Pain to the 
Patient, Cancers and Wens without cutting them; the King's 
Evil without Sallivation, and as he has great Experience and 
Success in all the above Diseases, he hope by divine Bless- 
ing to be able to give Relief to any distressed Persons afflict- 
ed with them that shall apply to him." 

We do not feel any particular interest in his medical 
practice, but I have considerable curiosity which I fear will 
never be gratified to know whether he ever recovered his 
Irish servant girl. Her name was "Joanna Dunagan, aged 
about 20 years, middle stature, brown complection, grey eyes 
and a down look, short black curled hair, much like that of 
a mulatto, pretty much pock-marked, has a very short walk 
and is given to liquor; had on and took with her an old cam- 
blet and two callico gcwns, one marked with spade and club, 
a quilt petticoat one side callimancoe the other linsey-wolsey, 
a pair of shoes that has been cap'd and soaled, white wor- 
sted and other stockings, a white straw bonnet with a green 
ribbon round the edge and crown, a short red cloth cardinal 
much worn, also a black silk short cloak, two coarse and and 
one fine shifts, and a black silk handkerchief. She has sev- 
eral other things out of the house. It is suspected she is 


gone off with some soldiers. Whoever takes up said servant 
and secures her so she may be had again shall have five 
pounds reward and reasonable charges." 

In 1770 a Dr. George Weed advertises in the Pennsyl- 
vania Chronicle. He claims to have practiced physic and 
surgery for 13 years in West Jersey and calls the attention of 
the public to his Royal Balsam and Pulius Polychrestum. A 
John Griffith, who may have been a Burlington man attests 
the merits of the Pulius. 

In 1778, Mary Middleton of Crosswicks advertises in the 
New Jersey Gazette that she has for sale "Dr. Ryan's Incom- 
parable Worm Destroying Sugar Plumbs, necessary to be 
kept in all families". She says "they are exceedingly valued 
by all people who have had of them in Great Britain and 
Ireland for their transcendent excellency. * * * * These 
plumbs enrich and sweeten the whole mass of blood, carry 
off all gross, corrupt and putrid humors and create a fresh 
and healthy complection in such as as are affected by any 
putrid matter." 

What an irreparable loss to mankind ! Dr. Ryan has 
departed this life and all of the "sugar plumbs" have been 

I have mentioned the fact that a Robert Talbot of Bur- 
lington kept a drug store there. It is probable that in col- 
onial days there were few if any drug stores or apothecary 
shops outside of the largest towns but from the advertise- 
ments in the newspapers of the time it would appear that the 


general stores carried a line of the more common drugs and 
medicines. Isaac Collins, the New Jersey printer, combined 
the sale of drugs and medicines with his publishing and book 
selling business. The following advertisement appeared in 
the Pennsylvania Gazette of March 21, 1771. 

"To be sold on reasonable Terms at the Printing 
Office at Burlington, 

The following Patent Medicines 
Godfrey's Cordial, Say's Balsam, Turlington's Bal- 
sam, Bateman's Pectoral Drops, Daffy's Elixir, 
British Oil, Anderson's Scot's Pills, Hooper's Fe- 
male Pills, Lockyer's Pills, Camphire, Cream of 
Tartar, Lavender Compound, Salvolatile, Court- 
Plaister, Flour of Brimstone, Quicksilver Ointment, 
Glauber Salts, Epsom Salts, etc." 
The business was doubtless lucrative as we find him 
continuing it after removing to Trenton. The mention of 
Collins, the printer, reminds us of the fact that in 1770 he 
published the Burlington Almanac for 1771, the first almanac 
published in New Jersey. He continued to publish them 
during his stay in Burlington and after removing to Trenton 
he began the publication of the New Jersey Almanac. A 
very prominent feature of the Collin's Almanacs and in fact 
of all the Almanacs published in Pennsylvania and New Jer- 
sey during the latter half of the eighteenth century is the 
number of recipes and prescriptions for rheumatism, bloody 
flux and other ailments. In some instances they occupy 
more space than any other variety of reading matter. 


In Poor Richard's Almanac for 1761 published in Phila- 
delphia by Franklin & Hall, a curious account is given of a 
child aged seven years, afflicted with convulsions, and some- 
what idiotic, who ate nearly a pound of white lead, lamp black 
and linseed oil. It acted as a vermifuge and the child entire- 
ly recovered. The moral of this affecting little story is that 
linseed oil is an excellent vermifuge — to say nothing of the 
white lead. Some of these Almanac receipts possess merit; — 
some are at least harmless, but most all of them like the 
"barty" Hans Breitmann gave, have gone 
"Afayin de Ewigkeit." 
Of the system of practice in vogue in our county in those 
days, the medical education of the physicians and the medi- 
cines they used, but little has come down to us, but they were 
doubtless the same that prevailed in England before and dur- 
ing that period. A few remarks concerning them may not be 
amiss as it illustrates our subject. The student then received 
his medical education as an apprentice under some physician 
and it was supplemented usually by attending some lectures 
at the medical schools or hospitals. Smollett, in his "Rod- 
erick Random" gives what we may suppose a fairly truthful 
picture of it. Alchemy was intimately associated with chem- 
istry and not until the discovery of Oxygen by Scheele in Swe- 
den and Priestly in England in 1774 were they finally divorced. 
We can consequently imagine that Dr. Wills," Practicioner 
in chymistry' ' was not a very profound scientist. 


The history of medicine is one of which the profession 
has little to be proud. It is the story of ignorance.superstition, 
credulity and blind adherence to the dogmas of the ancients. 
To question them was rank heresy. Besides this, astrology 
was closely interwoven with it. One of the features of the 
olden times that has not yet entirely disappeared is a picture 
of a nude man surrounded by the signs of the zodiac with lines 
connecting them with various parts of his anatomy. The 
human body was supposed to be under the influence of the 
sun, moon, planets, and zodiacal signs. So also the various 
plants and herbs. Thus the dandelion belonged to Jupiter; 
daisies were herbs of Venus; the peony was an herb of the 
sun and underthe Lion; hops belonged to Mars and so on. Only 
since medicine has been emancipated from this superstition 
has it been entitled to the name of science. Even yet how- 
ever a vestige of Astrology remains. The letter R with a 
line across the tail that heads the doctor's prescription is a 
variant form of the old astrological sign for Jupiter. 

The entire kingdom of nature was ransacked for remedial 
agents, many of which are entirely inert and some could only 
have been selected for there superlative nastiness. Sir Theo- 
dore Mayerne who died in 1655, was an eminent physician. 
For hypochondriacal affections he recommended as an ungu- 
ent, his "Balsam of Bats" composed of snakes, bats, sucking 
whelps, earth worms, hog's grease and the thigh bone of an 
ox. "Raspings of a human scull unburied" was his favorite 
remedy for gout, Dr. Bulleyn prescribed a "smal yong 


mouse rested" as a remedy for a nervous malady, perhaps 
on homoeopathic principles, as a live mouse has been known 
to make a whole room full of women nervous. In 1685, was 
published in London "The London Practice of Physic", em- 
boding the system of practice of Dr. Thomas Willis a Profes- 
sor in the University of Oxford and Physician in Ordinary to 
Charles the Second. Anthony Wood says he was the most 
famous physician of his time. Among the remedies he re- 
commends for various diseases are powder of toads, frogs, 
crows, cuckoos and viper's flesh : — oyl of Frogs and Earth 
worms ; —livers of the pup, frog and wolf .-^water of snails ; 
— snails boiled in milk ; — "gelly" from the skins of vipers ; — 
tinctures of bees, millipedes and grass-hoppers and many 
other things I dare not mention. But all these are nectar and 
ambrosia compared to the remedies mentioned on page 40, 
Bohn's edition of the "Table Talk of Martin Luther," the cor- 
pulent gentlemen who it will be remembered threw his ink- 
stand at the devil and missed him. The following is one of 
Dr. Willis' prescriptions for asthma : — 

* 'Take roots of Elecampane, and of Floren- 
tine Orris of each half an Ounce, Leaves of 
Hyssop, and of Horehound dry'd, of each 
six Drams, Carthamus Seeds one Ounce, 
Anniseeds and Dillseeds, of each two 
Drams, Licorice slic'd and Raisins cleans'd 
of cath three Drams ; let them be prepar- 
ed and sewed up in the Belly of an old 


Cock which must be boiled in fifteen 
pounds of fountain water till the flesh falls 
from the Bones ; strain it and let it settle. 
The Dose of the Clear Liquor is six Oun- 
ces with an Ounce of Oxymel simple ; Let 
it be taken for many days together, some- 
times for a whole Month." 
The old rooster I fancy would be somewhat stale by the 
end of the month. From all this we may judge what must 
have been the practice of the early physicians in our county. 
Some vipers may have been brought over in the Kent, or per- 
haps they substituted black snakes. 

Let us turn and notice two of the famous English empir- 
ics of the time. I have a reason for mentioning both. Nich- 
olas Culpeper bom 1616, died 1654, was the son of a clergy- 
man in Surrey. He went to Cambridge, and acquired a good 
knowledge of Greek and Latin. He studied the old medical 
works, apprenticed himself to an apothecary and finally set 
up near London as as astrologer and physician. In 1649, he 
published an English translation of the Pharmacopoeia of the 
College of Physicians and Surgeons and thus won their un- 
dying hatred for giving away their secrets. He had served in 
the Parliamentary army however and being a good fighter 
struck back at them by publishing in 1653, "The English 
Physician Enlarged, with 369 Medicines made from English 
Herbs," in which he retaliates with caustic wit. This work 
was reprinted many times and had an enormous sale. In fact 


outside of the standard religious publications of the time few 
books had a greater circulation. Justice has never been done 
to Culpepper. I am satisfied that the book apart from its as- 
trological nonsense, had much to do in reforming medical 
practice. No doubt many copies found their way to this 
country ; — the copy I hold in my hand among the number — 
and furnished a text book for the empiric and charlatan to 
begin business with. The following is his description of the 
Woodbine or HoneySuckle: — 

"It is a Plant so common that every one that hath 
Eyes knows it and he that hath none, cannot read a 
Description if I should write it. 
Doctor Tradition, that grand Introducer of Errors, 
that Hater of Truth, that Lover of Folly and that 
Mortal Foe to Dr. Reason, hath taught the common 
People to use the Leaves or Flowers of this plant in 
Mouth waters, and by long Continuance of Time, 
hath so grounded it in the Brains of theVulgar, that 
you cannot beat it out with a Beetle. All Mouth 
waters ought to be cooling and drying, but Honey- 
Suckles are cleansing, consuming and digesting 
and therefor no way fit for Inflammations thus Dr. 
Reason, Again, if you please we will leave Dr. 
Reason and come to Dr. Experience, a learned Gent- 
leman and his Brother. Take a Leaf and chew it in 
your Mouth and you will quickly find it likelier to 
cause a sore Mouth and Throat than to cure it. Well 


then, if it be not for this, what is it jjood for? 'Tis 
good for something.f or God and Nature made Nothing 
in vain; it is an Herb of Mercury and approp- 
riated to the Lungs; and the Celestial Crab 
claims Dominion over it; neither is it a Foe to 
the Lion; if the Lungs, be afflicted by Jupiter this is 
your Cure: It is fitting a Conserve made of the 
Flowers of it were kept in every Gentlewoman's 
house. I know no better cure for an Asthma than 
this, besides it take away the Evil of the Spleen, 
helps Cramp, Convulsions and Palsies, and whatever 
Griefs come from Cold or Stopping; if you please to 
make use of it in an Ointment it will clear your Skin 
of Morphew, Frecklesiand Sunburnings, or whatever 
else discolors it and then the Maids will love it. 
I have done when I have told you what Authors 
says, and cavilled a little with them; they say, 
The Flowers are of more Effect than the leaves and 
thats true but they say the Seeds are least effectual 
of all. But Dr. Reason told me, That there was a 
vital Spirit in every Seed to beget its like; and Dr. 
Experience told me. That there was a greater heat 
in the Seed than there was in any other part of the 
Plant: and that withal. That Heat was the Mother of 
Action; and then judge if old Dr. Tradition (who 
may well be honored for his Age, but not for his 
Goodness) hath not so poison'd the World with 


Errors before I was born that it v/as never well in its Wits 
since, and there is great Fear it will die mad." 

The other empiric, William Salmon, born 1644, died 
1713, was a man of considerable learning. He established 
himself near the gate of St. Batholomew's Hospital in London 
to catch such patients as that institution would not or could 
not receive. Here he practiced medicine; sold nostrums 
and cast horoscopes. He published several v/orks on various 
subjects. In 1710-1, he published his Botanalogia or the 
English Herbal which he dedicated to Queen Anne. 
Wickes says of this book: — 

"We have seen a copy of Salmon's Herbal which 
was the text book of a New Jersey physician of 
large practice, and in his day of much reputation. 
Being a man of property he paid the expenses of a 
messenger to England to obtain the volume. It is 
a folio of 1300 pages; cost £50. It was the text 
book of our New Jersey doctor between 1758 and 


Throughout all the colonies in the early days the practice 
of midwifery was entirely in the hands of midwives and this 
condition of things continued to nearly the middle of the 
eighteenth century. Even as late as 1800, the midwife was 
still in many instances called upon in preference to the male 
physician. She was usually a middle aged woman or even 
older, who had herself been a mother. Oftentimes, perhaps 
more often than not she was of good family and took up the 


profession for the love of it. Her services were of course 
liable to be called for at any time and one important part of 
her outfit was a good riding horse and she knew how to ride 
for it was before the days of good roads and comfortable 

A little girl it is said once gave this definition of a lie : — 
' 'a heinous offense in the sight of God but a very present help 
in time of trouble." — When that little package of mortal 
mystery, that bundle of infantile humanity, the new born 
babe, red in the face, awkward, helpless, without form or 
void, with no language but a cry, — is shown to the small fry 
of the family, the moral uses of a lie have been recognized 
from time immemorial, to answer embarrassing questions. I 
am sure that even the grave and sober members of the Histor- 
ical Society of Burlington County have lied outrageously on 
occasions like this. I will go still farther. Should the fate 
of Ananias and Sapphira come upon this assembly to-night 
for lapses in this particular, — well, Mr. Rambo would have 
the busiest time in his history during the next few days. We 
never hear of the midwife now at all, the blame is laid entirely on 
the stork ; and as the stork is found in Germany I suspect 
this particular lie should be labelled. Made in Germany. 

The families of the settlers who were married before they 
came hither were usually small. Daniel Wills brought over 
eight children and his case is somewhat exceptional. The 
small family was perhaps due to the fact that the expense of 
coming hither deterred those who had a large number of child- 


ren. But there seems to be something in colonization in a 
new land that is conducive to fecundity and our colony rapid- 
ly increased in population by reason of the large birth rate as 
much as from accessions from without. The woods swarmed 
with babies. The storks were exceedingly busy and many a 
time they raced with the midwife to see who should be on 
hand first. Large families were usual. Families of twelve, 
thirteen, fourteen or even more, children were very common. 
Three times the stork visited the home of John and Hannah 
(Horner) Matlack and when John married the second time, 
Mary Lee, they came nineteen times making twenty-two trips 
in all. The names of thirteen of these children have come 
down to us but the other six escaped to the woods and we 
have lost them. Joseph and Dorothy Haines were visited by 
the storks seven times and when Joseph married again they 
brought thirteen more little bundles . Fourteen trips were made 
to the home of Thomas Stokes who married Deliverance 
Horner and Rachel Wright. Fifteen times they came to Jar- 
vis and Elizabeth Rogers Stokes. Seventeen times they came 
to Robert and Ruth(Haines) Miller, Thirteen times they came 
to Thomas and Sarah (Inskeep) Stokes and three times they 
were overloaded for they carried two little bundles instead of 
one, making sixteen in all. Friend Thomas was cast down 
but not dismayed. He accepted the situation gracefully and 
did not demand a recount. All that was needed was to buy 
a new cow occasionally and plant another row of potatoes a 
little closer to the fence. Sixteen times the storks came to 


John Warrington and his two wives, Mary and Susanna. 
Thirteen visits were paid to Samuel and Elizabeth (Butt) 
Woolman, and one of those little bundles fretted and squalled 
like other infants, but he was moulded somewhat on the mo- 
del of St, Francis of Assisi and his saintly life, character and 
utterances induced Charles Lamb to say "Get the Writings of 
John Woolman by heart." The Lippincott family — well they 
multiplied like sparrows. On one occasion three storks came 
at one time with little packages, but this is more modem his- 
tory. As a matter of course all these families and many 
others kept their own private storks, occasionally lending 
them when urgent necessity demanded. 

The first visit the stork paid in Burlington County of 
which we have any definite knowledge occurred soon after the 
arrival of the Kent's passengers at Burlington. We find the 
following entry in the early records of Burlington Monthly 

"Elizabeth Powel Daughter of Robert & Prudence 

Powell was 

Borne in Burlington the 7th Seauenth month, 1677 
Latte of London, Chandlar. Witnesses then p'sent. 
Ellen Harding, Mary Cripps, Ann Peachee." 

Robert Powell located in Wellingboro Township and his 
sons in Northampton. From them a numerous progeny has 
sprung. Little Elizabeth grew up to womanhood and found 
favor in the sight of James Newbold, who married her. After 


his death she married Jacob Decou. Eight little Decous 
comprised the next generation. It would seem that the above 
mentioned Ellen Harding, Mary Cripps and Ann Peachee 
were present at the storks visit. Why it seemed necessary to 
record this fact is something I am unable to understand. 

Many years ago, an old uncle of mine, a staid member of 
Arch Street Meeting, v/ho had a fondness for genealogical re- 
search, learned that there was a family bearing our name liv- 
ing in South Philadelphia. So one fine day he put on his 
broad brim and set out to make their acquaintance and 
find out where the relationship came in. On reaching the 
place he found to his consternation that they were negroes as 
black as a kitchen range. Abolitionist as he was, this was too 
much for him and he returned without claiming them as re- 
latives. Some years ago I found a colored family bearing the 
the name of Matlack in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and I 
am told that there is or was a colored family named Roberts 
in this community, and no doubt we could find lots of our 
good old Burlington County names borne by colored people. 
This is a usually accounted for on the theory, that some- 
time in the past the ancestors of these colored families were 
slaves and adopted the family name of their masters. Now 
this theory has never been entirely satisfactory to me and I am 
half inclined to hold these storks responsible for this. From 
what I have already said it will be seen that the storks were 
overworked. Why may not some of them, grown tired, care- 
less and perhaps a little spiteful, like Little Buttercup in Pin- 
afore, have 


"mixed those babies up 
And not a creature knew it?" 
This is only a suggestion however. I do not ask you to 

accept it. 

To-day the storks have all joined the labor union and 

never work overtime. 

So much for the babies. To tell about the young and 
middle aged men and women in those days is to tell the whole 
history of the Colony and I am not equal to that, so we will 
pass along to the old men. 

The following appears in the records of Chester Town- 
ship: — 

• 'At a Town Meeting at Henry Warrington's 9, March, 


Agreed that y^ Eldest settler in y^ sd Township who 
have never served the Constable's Office shall be 
chosen for Constable— per John Cox. Clerk." 
They knew the value of money quite as well then as they 
do now and evidently there was little or none of it in the office 
or else some patriot would have sought it and there would have 
been no occasion to saddle it on the old men. Even in those 
Arcadian Days there were always some offenders against law 
and others who drank too much liquor and made nuisances of 
themselves, some who appropriated what did not belong to 
them and some who had a constitutional disinclination to pay 
their debts. Hence there were times when writs had to be 


served and arrests made. Neverthless the majesty of the law 
may have been so fully recognized and the duties of the office so 
few and trifling, that any old man or any old woman for that 
matter, could perform them, and so old Billy, or Tommy or 
Sammy as the case might be who was too old and feeble to do 
a good hard day's work could easily manage to toddle around 
and keep the peace. It is a curious fact that even in our day, 
in rural section, the constables are apt to be old men. A 
Samuel Davis was constable in Chester Township in 1756 and 
Thomas Cowperthwaite in 1757. They had never filled the 
office before. 

I am glad that the rule of appointing the oldest men, con- 
stables, who have never held the office before is no longer in 
force. Mine honored friend William R. Lippincott, the 
worthy vice-president of our Society and myself are not old 
men yet but we are walking down the road where the shad- 
ows are growing longer and cooler and we do not want to 
look forward to such a fate as in our old age to be chosen 
constables and perhaps have to chase some colored brother 
through the wilds of Mt. Laurel because he loved chicken 
not wisely but too well. 

One more "Kindred topic" and I am done. We have 
touched on the beginning of life and on old age and only one 
thing remains; — to bury our settler. In Salem County it was 
rather an expensive performance to die. The funeral charges 
were from five to ten pounds, sometimes more than a tenth of 
the amount of the mventory of the personal estate of the de- 


ceased. In one Instance, George Ross, minister at New Castle 
was paid £3. or more than one seventh of the amount of the 
inventory "for trouble in crossing the river and preaching the 
funeral sermon." From what little has come down to us it 
would seem to have been somewhat more economical to die 
and be buried in our County. In the records of Burlington 
Monthly Meeting is the following: - 

"At our Monthly Meeting held at Thomas Gardiner's 

"Peter Woolcot was willing to make graves and look 
to ye Fences of y^ burying-ground and Friends are 
willing to see him paid an old English shilling for 
such men's or women's graves y* may not be paid 
for by ye persons y^ employ him." 
It is no wonder that we do not find Peter's name as a 
member of the Colonial Assembly. At the rate of one shill- 
ing per grave he could never earn enough money to make him 
eligible for anything else than the office of sexton. 

In the accounts of William Cook, administrator of the 
Estate of William Duckworth of New Hanover Township who 
died in 1737, we find he paid Paul Watkings, sexton of the 
church at Burlington for digging two graves, 14 s. and William 
Ashton for two coffins £1. 13s. But they knew how to charge 
and eat up an estate when the opportunity offered quite as well 
then as we do now. The Rev. Nathaniel Horwood, mission- 
ary of St. Mary's Church, Burlington, died in 1730. Heap- 
pears to have had no heirs in this country, his widow was prob- 


ably living in England. His estate was appraised at £71. 
12s. Id. It looks as if the good people of St. Mary's Church 
knew a good thing when the saw it and thought the money 
might as well stay on this side of the Atlantic, for £35. 5s. 
Id. or one half of the appraised estate was paid for funeral 
expenses and I am afraid that a good many that attended the 
missionary's funeral saw double before the day was over. 
Mention is made in Administrator's accounts of that period of 
monies used to defray the expense of rum, sugar, spices, cider 
and cakes consumed at funerals, and in one instance a little less 
than one fourth of the personal estate was used for this pur- 
pose. The result may be better imagined, than described. 
In the Advices of the Yearly Meeting in 1719 I note 
the following; — ' 'Whereas, at some burials where 
people may come far, there may be occasion for re- 
freshment yet let that be done in such moderation, and 
the behavior of all Friends be with such gravity and 
sobriety as become the occasion; and if any appear 
otherwise, let them be reproved and dealt with as is 
advised in cases of misbehavior or indecencies at 
marriages. And it may be further noted, that any 
excess in this case, and the making so solemn a time 
as this ought to be, and really is, in its own nature, 
to appear as a festival, must be burdensome and 
grievous to the sober Christian mind, which will of 
course, be under afar different exercise at such times. 
Friends are desired, therefore, to have great care 


therein and use all endeavors everywhere more and 
more to break from and avoid that offensive and un- 
suitable custom of large provisions of strong drink, 
cakes, etc. and the formal and repeated servings and 
offers thereof. This indecent and indiscreet custom 
and practice has run to such excess that invitations 
being made to greater numbers than their own or 
neighbor's houses can contain, the very streets and 
open places are made use of for the handing about 
burnt wine and other strong liquors. And besides these 
indecencies above mentioned, the custom of waiting 
for the last that will please to come (though ever so 
unseasonable) and the formality of repeated servings 
to each, breaks in upon another decent order among 
Friends of keeping to and observing the time 

Many of the early Friends in their polemic writings 
came close to the boarder line of Billingsgate in the language 
they used and some crossed over the border; but in all their 
official utterances. Friends as a rule have never made use of 
superlatives. They have always used the utmost moderation 
and decorum in their deliverances. In speaking of offences 
against the discipline, general and not specific terms seem to 
be used whenever possible and details and particulars avoided, 
so much so is this the case that an expression like "unbecom- 
ing behavior" may be used to describe offences deserving 
harsher names. In the light of these facts, we may well ima- 


gine from the vigorous and unambigous language used in the 
above recited quotation from the Advices of 1719 that the true 
condition of things was very much worse than appears on the 

If rum and spirits flowed freely at funerals in those good 
old times it is not unlikely, that occasionly at least, the per- 
formance was varied with scenes resembling some of those 
that Father Prout tells us occurred on 

"The night before Larry was stretched." 

And now that the funeral is over, I close. I think that 
you will now agree with me that the tail has indeed wagged 
the dog. 


J*. ERRATA j^ 

The following errors occur :- 

Page 8, 23 line from top. for country read county. 

" 9, 


cartas read cargoes. 

" 13, 


Authority read authority. 

' 13, 


row read vrow. 

" 15, 


iniigimus read indigenous. 

" 15, 


is read in. 

" 21, 


after valued insert at. 

" 21, 


for course read coarse. 

" 26, 


Peace read P/cJce. 

' 28. 

16 • 

edition read translation 

" 29. 


colonist read colonists. 

" 30, 


Montgomery read Montgomerie 

' 31 


Crosby read Cosby. 

' 38. 


emboding read embodying. 

' 40, 


Culpepper read Culpeper. 

" 42, 


Batholomew read Bartholomew. 

' 51, 


Billingsgate read billingsgate. 

' 52, 


occasionly read occasionally . 


160 0^