Tag Archives: medicine in appalachia

Musty corn and the dread scourge pellagra

‘Musty’ is one of those old-fashioned words you don’t hear used much anymore. You might on occasion refer to a damp basement that way, and that’s about it. But in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century the word struck fear in the hearts of mountain folk. One of the great comforts of jokes is […]

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The curse of Milk Sickness, part 2 of 2

(continued from yesterday…) Not everyone sided with Drake, however. On February 18, 1841, the KY legislature offered a reward of two thousand dollars to anyone “who shall, within five years after the passage of this act” succeed in discovering “the true cause of the disease, now known to be caused by the poisonous effects of […]

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The curse of Milk Sickness, part 1 of 2

Variously described as the trembles, the slows, or the illness “under which man turns sick and his domestic animals tremble,” milk sickness was a frequent 19th century cause of illness and death throughout much of Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Ohio (also Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan). It sometimes killed as many as half the people […]

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The number of railroad accidents made the need for a hospital strongly felt

“The Western Maryland Hospital, the first institution of its kind in Allegany County, was erected on Baltimore Avenue to minister to the suffering. The building stands there as a monument to the public-spirited women who made the hospital possible. “In 1888, thirty five years ago, a group of Cumberland women, realizing their duty to fellow […]

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I studied medicine because it was a challenge, and I wanted to know

“I went on to Columbia University, as I had planned. I was just a year late. But Mother promised that I could go on and do graduate work. So, I went on up to Columbia University. I did work in Bacteriology. “And then, I hadn’t known much about hospitals or laboratory work, but then I […]

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