Friday, 2 September, 1864

Still cool and pleasant. I made Nan’s Va. skirt and Pigeo made the sleeves to hers, made the skirt yesterday. Bill rode to the C.H. for the mail and returned to dinner, and got ready to start to Richmond at 4 o’clk. Carried thirty-four bushels corn in the wagon. Bartlett drove. Sent Bake some potatoes, 2 doz. some peaches, ginger cakes, a little camphor, one of no. 6, &c.1“ of No. 6” probably refers to a Thomsonian compound, a tincture of myrrh and cayenne. Number 6 was also called Rheumatic drops. The Thomsonian system of medical care was very popular thirty years earlier when Caroline was a young wife and mother, when she assumed the role of guardian of family health. It was a “peoples medicine” that relied on botanicals rather bleedings and harsh, “heroic” medicines administered by professional doctors. By 1864 it was falling out of favor and may have been one source of tension between her and Dr. Ju. For more information try here and here. For the more ambitious, also read this. Chapter 10 – Medicine – in Claudia Bushman’s In Old Virginia gives a very good overview of Thomsonianism practiced just upriver from Woodbury by neighbor John Walker. In fact her book would be a wonderful primer for anyone reading Caroline’s Journal. – – Bill will get kettles for shocking corn if they are to be had, and barrels also.

One thought on “Friday, 2 September, 1864”

  1. The Thomsonian system is new to me and very interesting. I look forward to learning more in Claudia Bushman’s “In Old Virginia.” Thanks, too, for the links in the footnotes!

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