Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Wild West Sayings We Use Today, Part 2

Bodie, California
As a child, while reading dictionaries for fun. I learned to my utter fascination that words contain hidden facets of meaning that glitter when brought to light. If that wasn’t enough to make a future author giddy, the fact that words have a history all their own certainly did.

I don’t know when I first became aware of history as a record of real lives. It didn’t happen in grade school, where I read dry text books and memorized data that held no power of connection to my existence. Perhaps my interest quickened when my family visited Bodie, a California ghost town that made quite an impression. You could walk onto the porches of long-vacated homes, see the tatters of curtains still hanging in the windows, even open the door and walk into a few of the buildings. Whenever it happened, history came alive to me at some point.

I suspect you can tell a similar tale. Let’s step back into history together, shall we? This is the second installment in our blog series. Did you miss the previous post? No worries. The words are in alphabetical order, but the posts themselves can be read in any order. If that would bug you, read “Wild West Words We Use Today” then come back here for today’s sampling of sayings used in the Wild West that are still used today. 

This article is brought to you by Janalyn Voigt.

Wild West Sayings We Use Today, Part 2

Baker’s Dozen: this term had its origin during the Middle Ages but carried through Wild West times to us today. If you aren’t familiar with this saying, it refers to a group of thirteen—rather than twelve—bakery items. It might be tempting to picture a generous baker, his faced wreathed in layers of fat gleaned from sampling his own wares. However, the strongest argument for the expression’s origin hearkens to a time when dishonesty sparked regulations on what a loaf of bread should weigh. Handmade bread being hard to regulate, this presented a quite a problem for bakers. 

Accidentally cutting a customer short could land a baker in the pillary, which was a wooden framework with holes for the head and hands. While forced to stand in this device, a person endured public humiliation and abuse. A wise baker avoided this fate by throwing in a couple of extra slices with every loaf and an extra loaf with every dozen. This cautionary practice gave rise to the term ‘baker’s dozen.’

Balderdash: I can’t imagine a grander word for ‘exaggerated spoken nonsense.’ This word’s origin is obscure, but the earliest references from the 1600’s, link it to a muddled drink of beer or other spirits and milk. Synonyms include ‘claptrap,’ ‘blarney,’ ‘poppycock,’ and ‘tripe.’ I’m sure you get the picture.

Nowadays ‘balderdash’ has an antiquated, even comical feel. Treasure it while it’s here. This word is fading into history.

Bee in Your Bonnet:
If an idea has ever buzzed about inside your head, much like a bee’s pestering after you unwisely use a shampoo smelling of flowers, you can understand this expression. Having a bee in your bonnet is to be obsessed with an idea that won’t leave you alone. It was used in Wild West days, and due to the bonnet reference, you might think it originated during that era. However, Grammarphobia indicates that this phrase evolved from a saying first recorded in Virgil’s Eneados, Gavin Douglas’s Middle Scots version of the Aeneid: “Quhat berne be thou in bed, with hede full of beis?” (“What, man, rot thou in bed with thy head full of bees?”)

According to The Phrase Finder, the country of origin may well be Scotland. “Early bonnets were caps worn by men and boys and had gone out of use in England by the time the phrase emerged but continued to be used in Scotland.” Whatever it’s origin, this charming phrase isn’t used much these days and may be on its way out.

Blue Stocking: You may have come across this term applied in a derogatory fashion to a class of educated, privileged women. It’s origins place it in 1750, at the birth of London’s Blue Stockings Society, when a group of women began meeting to discuss literature, politics, or other topics of the day. The meetings were informal, and many of the ladies adopted blue worsted stockings instead of formal black silk. Members of the Blue Stockings Society encountered scorn until attitudes about women being educated changed.

The Blue Stocking Society ended in the mid-eighteen-hundreds, but the term is still used to describe literary women.

Bonanza:
At last we come to a word that originated in the Wild West. It came from a Mexican word meaning ‘a rich lode.’ The Spanish word derived from the Latin bonacia, which meant ‘fair weather at sea; prosperity,’ according to the Online Etymology Dictionary. ‘Bonus’ is a related word also in use today. I'm sure the Cartwrights from 'Bonanza,' the popular television show, would be pleased.

Note from Janalyn: Thanks for reading! Watch for next month’s post on the 20th as we continue our list of words popular in the Wild West that we still use today.


About Janalyn Voigt

Janalyn Voigt's unique blend of adventure, romance, suspense, and whimsy creates breathtaking fictional worlds for readers. Known for her vivid writing, this multi-faceted author writes in the western historical romance, medieval epic fantasy, and romantic suspense genres.

Janalyn is represented by Wordserve Literary Agency. Her memberships include ACFW and NCWA. When she's not writing, she loves to garden and explore the great outdoors with her family.

Learn more about Janalyn Voigt and her books.

Monday, August 19, 2019

The Pollard Theater: Bringing the arts to Historic Guthrie, Oklahoma

 
Ken Parker
http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/10038/photos/155272
 

By Alanna Radle Rodriguez and Judge Rodriguez



Hello Friends!


Thank you for joining us once again as we delve into the history of this great state we call home, Oklahoma. Last month, we covered an overview of the history of the Capital Publishing Museum and some of its historical facts. This month we are covering the Historic Pollard Theater.

After the land-run, the site housed a wooden dry-goods store. The current building, being a structure made of local stone and local-made bricks, was built in 1901. It held The Patterson Furniture and a funeral parlor. Many of the cabinet makers at the time doubled as funeral parlors, as they had the access to the needed amounts of wood for the caskets. In 1919 George Pollard purchased the building, turning it into a vaudeville and silent movie house.

With the invention of “Talkies” (movies with an audio track) in 1926, the building was leased to A.R. Powell, who then renovated the building and decreased the size of the stage to accommodate the need for more viewing room. During the renovations, the Powell family added seating for up to 800 as well as putting in hand-painted murals and art-work. With the change of role in being turned in to a full sized movie theater, the theater underwent a name change as well. The theater was then called “The Melba Theater”.

The Powell family operated the Melba until the theater closed its doors in 1984. The building was renovated by Guthrie Arts & Humanities Council and changed back into a live venue. At the end of the renovations, the Pollard family took control of the building, and completed the renovations, turning the name of the theater back into the “Pollard Theater.”

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the theater and we recommend if you are ever in Guthrie, the time be taken to take in this historic treasure. Today, the Pollard Theater produces a yearly production of the Territorial Christmas Carol, among other productions throughout the year. If you would like more information on upcoming productions or even auditions, you can visit their website.

Thank you for joining us this month as we have looked into the Historic Pollard Theater. Join us next month as we delve into the history of other historic buildings in the city of Guthrie Oklahoma.






Born and raised in Edmond, Oklahoma, Alanna Radle Rodriguez is the great-great granddaughter of one of the first pioneers to settle in Indian Territory. Judge was born and raised in Little Axe, Oklahoma, the son of A.F. Veterans. Judge and Alanna love the history of the state and relish in volunteering at the 1889 Territorial Schoolhouse in Edmond. Her second published story, part of a collaborative novella titled 18 Redbud Lane, is now available. Alanna and Judge live with her parents in the Edmond area. They are currently collaborating on a historical fiction series that takes place in pre-statehood Oklahoma.

Facebook.com/authorAlannaRadleRodriguez
Pinterest.com/alannaradlerodr/
Amazon

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Wall Street Bombing of 1920

By Nancy J. Farrier

Photo by JSquish
Wikimedia Commons
It was a beautiful fall day in September 1920. The lunch rush had started and people were hurrying on Wall Street past the J. P. Morgan building. Almost no one paid attention to the man who guided his horse and cart to the side of the street next to the U.S. Assay office, across from the J. P. Morgan building, climbed down and walked away. Within minutes the cart exploded in what would be the worst bombing in the United Stated until the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.

Because the streets were crowded, there was carnage everywhere. The one
Photo from Wikimedia Commons
hundred pounds of dynamite, overlaid with metal fragments created an explosion that derailed a street car a block away. The blast took the lives of 38 people, while more than 300 were injured. People inside buildings were lifted off the floor and tossed to the ground, including Joseph P. Kennedy, future father of President John F. Kennedy. 

Wikimedia Commons
People near the wagon were devoured in a column of fire. One man described looking out his window to see a column of smoke rise in the air, people dropping to the ground, some with their clothing on fire. Body parts of the horse were found blocks away from the actual blast site. The site was a scene of horror and destruction like they had never seen before.

Who was this perpetrator? Who was responsible for this act of terror? That is still an unanswered question. There have been many theories, but to this day no one has claimed responsibility and there is little evidence to look at.

J.P. Morgan, Pach Bros.
Wikimedia Commons
Unlike the CSI teams of today, New York in that day was focused on cleaning up the debris and destruction. By the following day, they had the roads passable and businesses were open again. At the scene, there was a short service with music and speeches. But, all the evidence had been hauled away in wagons instead of being collected for clues to the identity of the terrorist.

One theory is that someone wanted to kill J.P. Morgan, whom many thought to be too powerful. At the time of the explosion, Morgan was overseas but his son, Junius, was injured and Morgan’s clerk was killed by a piece of debris that came through a window.

Luigi Galleani
Wikimedia Commons
The FBI was young at this time. They investigated the bombing and suspected Italian anarchist, Luigi Galleani’s followers of the crime. Galleani had been deported in 1919 after eight bombings. Because of the quick clean up and the unknown identity of the man driving the wagon, they couldn’t prove anything. 

Despite the severity of the terrorist attack, which cost $2 million in damages and many deaths, the case has never been solved. The Wall Street Bombing 1920 is still listed on the FBI website on their Famous Cases and Criminals page. No one knows for sure why the bombing happened or what the terrorist hoped to gain. The pock marks in the walls can still be seen today—a testament to this horror from years ago.

Pock Marks, NortonJuster7722
Wikimedia Commons
When we have a new terrorist threat to the United States, I don’t realize this isn’t only a current issue. The Wall Street Bombing was new to me. How about you? Have you heard of this act of terrorism?








Nancy J Farrier is an award-winning author who lives in Southern Arizona in the Sonoran Desert. She loves the Southwest with its interesting historical past. When Nancy isn’t writing, she loves to read, do needlecraft, play with her cats, and spend time with her family. Nancy is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Literary Agency. You can read more about Nancy and her books on her website: nancyjfarrier.com.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Online Dating, Anyone?



By Davalynn Spencer


People have looked for companionship through various means for centuries. Perhaps millennia. From cultural matchmakers to parentally prescribed arrangements, the hunt for heart connections is nothing new. However, it is the mail-order brides of the American West that seem to conjure hope for romance in a way that other nuptials have not.

Without women, Wild would have taken West in a stranglehold. The "fairer sex" brought stability, gentility, and probability that there would be a next generation. Not that these gals were short-winded or weak. Far from it.


However, the original commentary on singular man rang truer in the West than perhaps anywhere: “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” (Genesis 2:18 KJV). As it turned out, the American West clearly proved that people who needed people were the most eager people in the world, (with a nod to 20th-century lyricist Bob Merrill).

In the mid- to late 1800s, many men, from miners, farmers, and loggers to the lonely not wanting to be alone simply did not have the time or wherewithal to go a’ courting. Instead, they wrote personal advertisements in newspapers seeking women willing to partner with them in often less-than-desirable situations.

The western Promised Land lured many men from eastern states with the hope of limitless farming acreage, timber for the taking, and mountains of gold. For example, the fledgling mine-supply town of CaƱon City along the Arkansas River in what would someday be Colorado boasted 720 residents in 1860. Six hundred of that number were men.

Hearts West by Chris Enss
Chris Enss’s national bestseller on the subject, Hearts West, catalogs “true stories of mail-order brides on the frontier.” But, according to Enss, it wasn’t always the potential groom who did the advertising. 

“Our Purpose,” Matrimonial News (Kansas City, MO), January 8, 1887
Though many newspapers carried personal advertisements for those seeking a spouse, one specialized in matchmaking, the Matrimonial News, printed in both San Francisco and Kansas City, Missouri. Historical records show that persons advertising could do so anonymously as far as their names were concerned, and they were assigned a number to keep things straight. However, they had to offer information regarding their appearance, weight, height, and financial situation, as well as the type of person with whom they wished to correspond. Enss records such personal ads cost men twenty-five cents for forty words or fewer; women’s advertisements were published without charge unless they exceeded forty words. (Could this have been the genesis of verbiage limitation imposed in social media today?)
Solicits Correspondence,” The Democrat (McKinney, TX), February 27, 1902
Terms such as honor, love, and willingness to work often were included in the advertisements from women and men alike. “Ordering” a bride was no simple task. 

Other publications also ran personal ads for souls seeking companionship, and several entrepreneurial-minded individuals promoted agencies and bureaus promising incomparable matches. Some of those agencies were honorable, some were not.

Some mail-order marriages worked out, some did not. But many resulted in loving unions nourished by kindness, faithfulness, and a common vision for a better future
the stuff of every mail-order bride romance novel.

~

Was his daughter Gracie so desperate for a mother that she’d write for a stranger to come? Good Lord, you didn’t just order a wife like you did a shovel from the mercantile.

Mail-Order Misfire
Author Davalynn Spencer can’t stop #lovingthecowboy. As the wife and mother of professional rodeo bullfighters, she writes romance for those who enjoy a Western tale with a rugged hero, both historical and contemporary. She holds the Will Rogers Gold Medallion for Inspirational Western Fiction, teaches writing workshops, and plays the keyboard on her church worship team. When she’s not writing, teaching, or playing, she’s wrangling Blue the Cowdog and mouse detectors Annie and Oakley. Learn more about Davalynn and her books at www.davalynnspencer.com.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Pharr Mounds Burial Grounds in North Mississippi


Continuing my posts concerning all things Mississippi, today I’m going to share about the Native American burial mounds in my state. At first glance, the burial grounds don’t look like much, just a pile of dirt heaped up that any bulldozer worth its salt could do in a couple of hours or less.

But Pharr Mounds was not built by bulldozers, but by nomadic Indian hunters and gatherers who returned to Northern Mississippi to bury their dead.

By Unknown - Copied from this picture, shown on this National Park Service website,

Eight mounds sit on 90 acres of land near Tupelo, Mississippi along the Natchez Trace. And, yes, the Natchez Trace played a huge part in the reason these burial grounds are in this location. In addition to the rivers and streams in abundance in Mississippi, the old trace was the primary trail bison used to follow the ridges between the salt licks in Tennessee and the Mississippi River. It was only natural that the natives would also use the same paths cut from the forest for ease of travel as well as the game to be had.

Along this path, Native American settlements began to crop up. Pharr Mounds, estimated to have been settled during the “Woodland Period”, was one of these settlements. This is a generic term for prehistoric sites that fell between the Archaic hunter-gatherers and the more settled agriculturalist Mississippian cultures.

By Fredlyfish4 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44646450

Modern day farming techniques almost wiped out some of the mounds, but reports of artifacts and stories passed down through generations resulted in archaeologists swooping in to save the mounds. In 1966, the National Park Service excavated four of the mounds.

The archaeologists found fire pits and clay platforms at the base of the mounds. They also found human remains, as well as various ceremonial artifacts, many of which were made from materials not native to the area. They recovered copper that hailed from the Great Lakes area as well as greenstone, galena, and mica which proved the connection of the local people with the larger Middle Woodland people of the time.


Due to the work of the archaeologists in 1966, and with the confirmation that the mounds were of great historical significance, they were added to the National Registry of Historic Places on February 23, 1978, and can be seen on The Natchez Trace Parkway at Mile Marker 286.7.


www.pamhillman.com

Thursday, August 15, 2019

MMMadness Blog Party - Six Book Giveaways






Welcome to the Mid-Month Madness Party! We really appreciate you coming by! We will be giving away six books so be sure to pay attention to how to enter.

To enter to win you MUST leave a comment WITH your email and you MUST ask one or more of the authors a question you'd like to know about them, their writing, or their books.

We are looking forward to getting to know you better and hope you'll get to know us better, too!


BE SURE TO DROP BY THE FACEBOOK PARTY FOR A CHANCE TO MINGLE WITH THE AUTHORS, AND EVEN MORE GREAT GIVEAWAYS! 
IT'S TODAY, THURSDAY AUGUST 15TH, FROM 3:00 to 6:00 PM EASTERN TIME.


The Ranchero's Gift


When Maya Garza’s step-father drags her to the cantina, planning to auction her off to cover his debts, she is desperate to escape. She sees no hope as she stands atop the table with a room full of men leering at her. Yaniv Madrigal is searching for his brother, and he can’t believe his eyes when he finds his brother bidding for a young woman. A woman who has the look of a trapped animal. Will Yaniv and Maya find a solution to their trouble before the unthinkable happens? 





Newlywed Games




A hilarious romantic comedy about a "little white lie" that grows into a very big problem. Meghann Livingston invents a husband to soothe her dying mother. But when her mom miraculously recovers, then comes for a visit, Meghann is hard-pressed to explain her "husband's" absence! Before Meghann can come clean, her “handsome", elusive boss, Bruce Halloway, inadvertently steps into her romantic charade ... and to Meghann's shock and horror, insists upon playing "son-in-law" to her mom. The masquerade's success depends upon them playing their newlywed games extremely well. But when they do, both Meghann and Bruce -- even as they struggle to overcome the consequences of their deceptions -- find themselves falling in love ... for real!




Lessons on Love




4 Teachers Find More Than They Bargained for in Their Contracts

Something Old, Something New by Kathleen L. Maher
New York, 1840s
Her father’s sudden death makes Gilda Jacobs the new schoolmaster, but to teach Christian curriculum she partners with fire-and-brimstone revivalist Joshua Blake, who learns a lesson in love.




Stagecoach to Liberty




Coming to America seemed a dream come true for Elsa, but now she wishes she'd never left Germany. Her companions seem less trustworthy, and she comes to the attention of a man with soulless eyes. Can Elsa trust the handsome Irish stranger who wants to free her, or does he have motives of his own? 

Set in Montana during its gold rush -- a time troubled by outlaws, corruption and vigilante violence, Stagecoach to Liberty explores faith, love, and courage in the wild west. 




Fall Flip




The tragic death of Shelby Dodson’s husband—her partner in a successful Home Network house flipping business—stole love, status, and career. Now a bungalow redesign thrusts Shelby into the company of a new contractor. Scott Matthews remembers high-and-mighty Shelby from high school, and her prissy, contemporary style goes against his down-to-earth grain. When the house reveals a mystery, will its dark secrets—and their own mistakes—cost a second chance at love?





The Mystery of Christmas Inn, Colorado




Matthew returns to Christmas Inn to celebrate his fortieth anniversary alone, intending to take his own life so he can join his beloved Sarah, who passed on to glory the previous January. Not certain how—or if—he will go on without her, Matthew learns on his arrival that the old inn will close its doors on New Year’s Eve. A developer has purchased the building and intends to tear it down and put up a chain hotel. Determined to keep his memories and his connection to Sarah alive, Matthew embarks on a harebrained scheme to keep the inn open. 
Edith Cochrane, a widow, comes to Christmas Inn because she has nowhere else to spend the holidays. Her children are angry with her because she refuses to choose to live with one of them. Edith and her husband enjoyed a long marriage and a long mission-field ministry, but ever since his passing the previous year, Edith has found herself at loose ends. She comes to Christmas Inn to spend some time thinking about her options.
Can Matthew and Edith save the old hotel—and themselves—or will they run out of time?









About Your Hostesses




Nancy J. Farrier is a best-selling, award winning author of historical and contemporary Christian fiction. She grew up in the mid-west, moved to the Southwest to be close to the mountains and never looked back. She loves the people, plants and animals found in the desert. She loves the sunshine, and most days she enjoys the heat. Nancy enjoys early morning hikes, spending time with her family, reading and going to church. 
Connect with Nancy: Website Facebook Twitter Bookbub Amazon Goodreads





Bestselling, award-winning novelist Mary Davis has over thirty titles in both historical and contemporary themes. She is a member of ACFW and an active critique group member. Mary lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband of over thirty-four years and two cats. She has three adult children and two adorable grandchildren. Find her online: Newsletter  Blog  FB Readers Group   Amazon   GoodReads   BookBub





Kathleen L. Maher's first crush was Peter Rabbit, and she's loved conflicted heroes ever since. She has two novellas in BARBOUR BOOKS' collections: Victorian Christmas Brides and Lessons on Love. Winner ACFW Genesis Award. Author of Sons of the Shenandoah Series: The Abolitionist's Daughter and The Chaplain's Daughter. Kathleen and her husband live in an old farmhouse in upstate NY with their children and a small zoo. 





Janalyn Voigt’s father instilled a love of literature in her at an early age by reading chapters from The Wonderful Wizard of OzRobinson Crusoe and other classics as bedtime stories. When she grew older and her father stopped reading stories at night, she continued putting herself to sleep with tales she ‘wrote’ in her head. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Janalyn became a voracious reader, something she credits with teaching her to write. When she's not immersed in one of her story worlds, Janalyn can usually be found weeding the garden, spending time with her family, or reading. Find out more about Janalyn Voigt and join her email list at janalynvoigt.com





Denise Weimer writes historical and contemporary romance and romantic suspense set in her home state of Georgia. She’s authored over nine novels and a number of novellas. As a managing editor at Smitten Romance, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, she also helps others reach their publishing dreams. A wife and mother of two daughters, Denise always pauses for coffee, chocolate, and old houses.






Donna Schlachter writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts. Donna loves history and research, and travels extensively for both. Donna is proud to be represented by Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary Management.



Direct a comment below to one or more of the authors for a chance to win her book giveaway! And don't forget to join the Mid-Month Madness Facebook party for even more great prizes!

Please be sure to include your email address in your comment using at and dot so we can notify you of your prize! Example: janedoe at gmail dot com



Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Medicine at Sea and a Giveaway! by MaryLu Tyndall




The more I learn about doctoring on board a ship, the more I’m thankful I live in this day and age! Much more than life on land, shipboard life was wrought with many dangers and diseases. And if the ship was a man-of-war or a pirate or privateer, chances were they were have to endure battle from time to time. Injuries ranged from gunshots, punctures, slashes, dismemberment, to scorching burns from cannons. 

Aside from battle, a wooden ship was a floating bucket of germs and disease. Rats, cockroaches, weevils, lice, and lifestock infected every corner. Pirates clothing was often damp, making it more likely to harbor disease. Sunburn, heat exhaustion, sun stroke, hypothermia, exposure, and frostbite were just a few of the normal problems each sailor faced.

Diseases such as typhus, cholera, yellow fever, or bubonic plague had a nasty habit of invading ships where large numbers of people were gathered together in confined places Scurvy killed more sailors than any other disease, natural disasters, and fights combined. Historians conservatively place the number of deaths at more than 2,000,000 between Columbus’ first voyage to the New World and the mid-nineteenth century. 

In 1596 William Clowes, an English surgeon at sea, described how his men suffered from scurvy: 
Their gums were rotten even to the very roots of their teeth, and their cheeks hard and swollen, the teeth were loose neere ready to fallout…their breath a filthy savour. The legs were feeble and so weak, that they were not scarce able to carrie their bodies. Moreover they were full of aches and paines, with many bluish and reddish staines or spots, some broad and some small like flea-biting. (Brown, 34) 

Aside from battle, most injuries occurred from simple accidents. Scurrying up
and down the rigging as the ship swayed back and forth often caused sailors to lose their footing and fall, resulting at best with a fractured skull, at worst death. Falling or snapping rigging, shifting yards, and accidents with knives and other also caused severe injuries. 

Then, of course, an actual battle normally flooded sick bay with wounded men. The worse of them needed the dreaded, amputation The process involved cutting off the injured man’s clothing and applying a tourniquet. The surgeon then gave him a stick to bite down on. Anesthetics had yet to be invented and contrary to belief, they weren’t given alcohol either. Only after the surgery were opiates or grog given for the discomfort. Without going into details, the limb was sawed off and tossed in a bucket. Either hot tar was applied to the stump or it was cauterized with a hot iron to stop the bleeding. The tourniquet was removed and strips of linen lashed over the stump. If a wool stocking cap was available, this was also pulled over the stump. The entire operation took eight to ten minutes. The man’s chances of survival? Fifty-fifty. 

A seaman aboard HMS Macedonian assisted during an operation. We held [one man] while the surgeon cut off his leg above the knee. The task was most painful to behold, the surgeon using his knife and saw on human flesh and bones as freely as the butcher at the shambles.” 

The Medicine Chest 
Every ship at sea was in dire need of a medicine chest. In fact the medicine chest was considered more valuable than a doctor. In fact, if a doctor was not
on aboard, the captain simply designated someone to tend to the patients. 

John Woodall’s The Surgeons Mate, first published in 1617 was a shipboard manual that listed instruments and medicines found in the chest as well as special instructions for emergencies and ailments. There were 281 remedies listed, which consisted of popular herbs of the day, rosemary, mint, clover, sage, thyme, angelica, comfrey, blessed thistle, juniper, hollyhock, absinthe and pyrethrum. 

Here’s a list of tools and supplies normally found in medicine chest 
 

  • Knives
  • Razors
  • Head-sawes
  • Cauterizing irons
  • Forceps
  • Probes
  • Spatulas for drawing out splinters and shot
  • Syringes
  • Grippers for extracting teeth
  • Sissors
  • Stitching quill and needles
  • Splints
  • Spomges
  • Clouts (soft rags)
  • Cupping glasses,
  • Blood porringers
  • Chafing dishes
  • Mortar and pestle
  • Weights and scales
  • Tinderbox
  • Lantern
  • Plasters

  These medicine chests were so valuable and sought after by ships that Blackbeard himself blockaded the port of Charleston just to get one in exchange for prisoners. The going rate for a medicine chest of the day was between 300-400 pounds.

Remedies or medicines had to be concocted on the spot. Normally the medication consisted of a curative agent, water or oil, flavoring, if swallowed, and a compound used to deliver the medicine (like a pill or ointment). Here’s a list of ailments and their remedies. I think you’ll find some of them most amusing!


  • Vomiting, hiccups, stomach ache --  cinnamon water, licorice juice, peppermint water
  • Urinary problems and fevers -- spirits, salts and tinctures like salts of wormwood, vinegar and quicksilver.
  • To close up a wound or as a varnish on a violin -- dragons blood, the resin made from the agave and the rattan palm.
  • Malaria -- quinine bark
  • Headache -- Chamomile flowers
  • Mucus - syrup from vinegar of squills with sugar and honey
  • Skin wounds -- oil of St. John's Wort
  • Fear of water, bites from serpents, mad dogs, and creeping things -- Methridatum, an opiate
  • Syphilis - apply poultice made of frogs, earthworms, viper's flesh, human fat, wine, grass from Northern India, lavender from France, chamomile from Italy, white lead, and quicksilver.
  • And my personal favorite: Wounds from battle -- apply a poultice made of "burnt earthworms, dried boar's brain, pulverized Egyptian mummy, crushed rubies, bear's fat, and moss from the skull of a hanged man which had been collected from the gibbet at moon rise with Venus ascending."
 
 In honor of all the sailors who had to endure such barbarity, I'm giving away a signed copy of my most recent pirate adventure, The Reckless!  And a signed copy of my most recent War of 1812 book, The Liberty Bride.  Neither of which have any barbarity within them. 

To enter, please either sign up for my newsletter and/or follow me on Bookbub. United States only for the winners. I'm sorry. It's too expensive to ship books. I'll choose a winner and announce next week on this blog, on this post, so bookmark it! 

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